What is the warranty of habitability?
If you rent your home, your landlord has duties under the law to ensure that your residence is safe. While your landlord does not hold responsibility for every issue that may occur in your home, if something happens that endangers you and your family, it usually falls under the landlord’s obligations to fix the situation.
According to Legal Services of New Jersey, when you rent, there is a warranty of habitability. This warranty assures that the landlord will keep your home in a livable condition. Generally, this means that he or she will make sure that you always have electricity, heat and water. Also, it covers major safety issues, such as a leaky roof, broken floorboards or anything else that could put you in danger.
You have responsibilities under this warranty, as well. You must keep the home in good condition. This means taking proper care of the property and not breaking things on purpose. You also need to do your part to ensure that your residence is safe and secure. Your landlord is not responsible for issues that occur due to your negligence, such as a broken window or a burglary due to not locking your doors.
Because your landlord is not in the home regularly, you also have the responsibility to let him or her know about issues as soon as possible. If you do not report an issue and it continues to worsen, then you could hold some liability.
Your landlord’s responsibilities
In general, your landlord has to fix major systems when they break. For example, a broken pipe or a furnace that is not working properly are both issues that your landlord should fix. You should make sure to read through your lease, though, because it may limit your landlord’s responsibilities. For example, even if your rental came with a stove, your lease may say that your landlord is not responsible for its maintenance.