Williamsburg Bridge Street Scene in Brooklyn, New York City

Understanding Implied Warranty of Habitability

Being a landlord is no easy task. Landlords must meet strict requirements in New York. They can’t just take the monthly rent and do nothing. They have to fulfill certain obligations to tenants throughout the terms of the leases. If they don’t, the tenant has the right to file a landlord negligence claim and receive compensation for damages.

Your landlord may not offer free cable or internet, but he does need to ensure that your apartment is habitable. If you have a lease on a house, apartment or another rental, it likely contains an implied warranty of habitability. This means that you have the right to inhabit a unit that is in livable condition even if your lease does not specifically state that your landlord must make repairs.

What is Included in an Implied Warranty of Habitability?

An implied warranty of habitability applies to residential leases only (not commercial ones). This includes houses, apartments and other dwellings used for living. Condos, however, are typically excluded, as are buildings used for business purposes. It implies that the residence is fit and habitable not only when the tenant moves in, but throughout the duration of the lease. This means that repairs may need to be made by the landlord as needed.

Habitability includes the basics that a human requires on a daily basis, this may include drinkable water, hot water, a working bathroom and toilet, and heat during the winter. A smoke detector and electricity are also required. The premises must also be sanitary at all times. This means that the landlord must deal with pest issues in a timely manner. If the unit violates building codes, the landlord must make the appropriate repairs so that the building is up to code.

The law does not allow a landlord to waive this right in a lease agreement. Even if a landlord attempts to lease an apartment as-is or specifically spell out that the implied warranty of habitability is void, the courts generally overrule.

However, not all incidents are covered under the implied warranty of habitability. For example, issues caused by tenants may have to be fixed by tenants. A landlord may not have a responsibility to fix an issue caused by the tenant, such as an electrical issue, clogged toilet or pest issue. If a tenant attempts to flushes a diaper down a toilet, clogging the toilet, this could be viewed as the tenant’s fault. If the tenant fails to take out the trash and this creates a rat infestation, the landlord may not be found liable.

Furthermore, tenants may be able to seek compensation from their landlords for any injuries to resulting from the alleged uninhabitable conditions that the landlord was responsible for maintaining and neglected.

Get Legal Help from a Brooklyn Landlord Negligence Attorney

As a tenant, you pay rent and therefore expect to have certain amenities. You should not be forced to live in a unit with pests everywhere or no running water. If you are living in such squalor conditions, your landlord could be sued.

The Law Office of Jeffrey K. Kestenbaum fights for tenants’ rights in NYC. He can uncover the evidence needed to help you file a claim for compensation. Contact our Brooklyn office at (718) 237-5586 for a consultation.

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