Implied Warranty of Habitability

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on August 18, 2006 under Landlord and Tenant FAQs | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

Rental properties can only be rented out, if there is an implied warranty of habitability. Very few landlords are aware of what the term actually means or how they can ascertain their properties meet the criteria.

Simply defined, an implied warranty of habitability means a landlord’s rental property is safe for habitation by human beings. However, certain factors determine habitability, they are as follows:

  1. Known Property Hazards: When a landlord rents out his / her rental property, he / she is implying or certifying the accommodation is safe to live in. If it turns out, there are certain hazards a landlord failed to disclose to his / her tenants, they have sufficient grounds to file a breach of implied warranty of habitability.If, the property has lead paint, or the furnace is known to have a carbon monoxide leak, recurring plumbing issues or a dangerous hot water heater, facts that have not been disclosed to your tenants, then you may be held responsible for any mishaps that occur, as well as, for hiding the truth.
  2. Are fixtures and fittings in proper working order? Most states require landlords to provide working restroom facilities in rental dwellings, which may be extended to fixtures, such as, sinks and bathtubs that work properly. In case, there are issues with your rental property that have not been disclosed or fixed, it may not be considered fit for occupancy.
  3. The building should be structurally sound. If a rental building suffers from termite infestation or has suffered other structural damage, it cannot be considered habitable. A building with holes in exterior walls, or damaged ceilings or floors, or improper protection from weather elements, or a faulty leaking roof, is not to be considered a habitable.
  4. Does the building have recurring problems? Buildings that have frequent issues, such as, plumbing problems posing health hazards may be considered a breach of a landlord’s implied warranty of habitability. Prompt repair or replacement of frequent problems is the best course of action for any landlord, as it will result in considerable cost saving in the long run.

While, so many restrictions may be irksome, they are there for protecting tenants, who otherwise would be the victims of disreputable landlords. In numerous instances, due to landlord negligence, tenants have been forced to live in slum like conditions on properties that should have been condemned.

Landlords, whether reputable or not, should all be aware of the implications of the implied warranty of habitability. The best and only way to protect one from unwarranted claims of habitability violations is by examining and documenting the condition of your rental property, photographing / video-taping and making notes of any existing problems.

In addition, hire an inspector to inspect your rental property. You may have to pay extra for the inspection and to fix any problems that come to light, but it is far better than to force sub-standard living conditions on to unwitting tenants, which may later lead to possible litigation.

Further, what is as important is selecting suitable tenants for your property. Getting relevant information on rental application forms will assist you in screening prospective tenants for your property, tenants who will respect, maintain and limit damage to only wear and tear of your property. For help in suitable tenant selection, visit for tenant screening and background check services, the best and only way to prevent expensive litigation, penalty charges or property damage.

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