Warranty of Habitability

What is the Warranty of Habitability?

When you sign a lease for an apartment, an agreement is being made. You are going to pay rent and your landlord is providing you with a livable space in return. If something happens to make your apartment unlivable, then your landlord is violating what’s known as the “warranty of habitability.” You may want the assistance of a New York City tenants’ rights lawyer.

What is the Warranty of Habitability?

The warranty of habitability means that tenants have a right to a livable, safe, and sanitary apartment. This does not have to be written into a lease or explicitly stated. This is a given in every oral or written lease. If a landlord tries to include a clause in a lease that nullifies this warranty of habitability, that lease should be considered void.

What can violate this warranty of habitability? Usually, your rights as a tenant would be considered violated when the landlord neglects to do something that would keep the property clean and livable. A good example of this would be not providing water and heat. This is something all landlords must provide. If the water and heat are not working, the landlord better be doing something to address the problem.

A landlord is also not supposed to drag their feet if there are any problems with the apartment that need to be fixed. If an appliance breaks or there is an infestation of mold or bugs, the landlord is responsible for addressing these issues. If they do not, they are violating the tenant’s right to live in a safe and hospitable environment.

The only time the landlord would not be responsible is if the tenant created the problem. In cases like this, it’s on the tenant to make the apartment habitable once again.

Does the Warranty of Habitability Apply to All Parts of the Building?

The warranty of habitability also applies to common areas. Issues with the hallways, lobby, or stairs of the building all should be addressed promptly. Common causes of complaints include broken flooring, mailbox issues, broken buzzers and intercoms, or dangerous railings in stairways.

What Can I Do If My Landlord is in Violation?

If your landlord does not address these types of issues, you can sue for a rent reduction. You must first notify your landlord, then you can file a complaint with the Division of Housing and Community Renewal if your landlord does not respond. You may be able to withhold rent as well, but you have to be careful because your landlord might be able to sue you for that. We recommend talking to an attorney if you are dealing with an issue related to the warranty of habitability.

Schedule a Consultation

If you are having any kind of dispute about the warranty of habitability or anything else with your landlord, we may be able to help you. Contact Robert Rosenblatt & Associates and schedule a consultation with our team. We would be happy to tell you more about how we can be of assistance.

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