What is 'Implied Warranty Of Habitability'

An implied warranty of habitability is an unstated guarantee that a rental property meets basic living and safety standards in order for occupation and for the duration of the occupancy.

BREAKING DOWN 'Implied Warranty Of Habitability'

An implied warranty only applies to leases or rentals for residential properties, not commercial properties. When a tenant rents an apartment, for example, an implied warranty of habitability means that the unit will have hot water, a working electrical system, heat in the winter, lockable doors and windows, a working toilet and smoke detectors, and be free of pests like roaches and rats, among other conditions. However, an employee renting an office space will not have an implied warranty of habitability because the employee will not be living in the office.

Local building codes outline the standards that rental units must meet. As a general rule of thumb, an Implied Warranty of Habitability means that the landlord has provided:

  • Drinkable water
  • Hot water
  • Heat during cold weather
  • Working electricity
  • A Smoke Detector
  • Working bathroom and toilet
  • Sanitary premises, including the removal of insect or rodent infestation
  • Is up-to-do date for building codes

What happens when an implied warranty of habitability is not met?

One major advantage of renting from a landlord is that a tenant is never responsible for ensuring that the warranty of habitability is met on their own. Instead, it is the landlord’s legal responsibility to make sure that the warranty is met and to take steps to make habitability possible as soon as they are aware of any issues. A landlord whose rental units do not meet these conditions is known as a slumlord. Tenants living in uninhabitable units have legal remedies to force landlords to meet their obligations.

However, there are a few legalities to consider. Firstly, renting an apartment or place of occupancy in full awareness of the issues that contradict habitability may violate the warranty. In other words, one cannot rent an apartment known to be without hot water in order to save money and then try to sue the landlord later. Secondly, landlords do have a legal amount of reasonable time, generally considered no more than 30 days, to repair or address any issues, although legal follow-up can be difficult. And lastly, tenants still have to continue to pay rent if they are still living on the premise, even without the warranty.

Tenants who have landlords who refuse to meet the warranty have the right to terminate any existing lease, make necessary repairs that are no more than one month’s rent cost, or sue the landlord. 

RELATED TERMS
  1. Landlord

    A landlord is someone who owns real estate which they rent or ...
  2. Implied Warranty

    Implied warranty is a legal term for the assurances that a product ...
  3. Warranty

    A warranty is a form of guarantee that a manufacturer offers ...
  4. Lease

    A lease is a legal document outlining the terms under which one ...
  5. Rent Guarantee Insurance

    Insurance bought by a tenant that pays the monthly rent for a ...
  6. Retaliatory Eviction

    A retaliatory eviction occurs when a landlord evicts a tenant ...
Related Articles
  1. Managing Wealth

    4 Things Landlords Aren't Allowed To Do

    Whether you're a landlord or a tenant, you need to know the rules.
  2. Insights

    3 Things to Consider When Renting By the Room

    Although renting by the room can increase returns on rental property, it does come with a few caveats.
  3. Investing

    5 Tips For First-Time Renters

    Knowing the main points of a lease will make sure you don't sign - and end up paying for - something you don't want.
  4. Investing

    Top 4 Nightmares For Real Estate Investors

    Renting out your property is not without risks; the good news is, they don't have to keep you up at night.
  5. Managing Wealth

    Everything You Need To Know About Warranties

    Warranties are often considered when purchasing gifts. When should you purchase warranties and for what?
  6. Investing

    Are You A Good Tenant?

    Landlords are looking for specific factors that are perceived to make up good tenants - do you fit the profile?
  7. Managing Wealth

    Top 5 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Problem Renters

    Renting seems like the perfect way to mitigate the costs of an extra home that won’t sell; the intended course of action when a property was purchased for an unbelievable price, or many of the ...
  8. Managing Wealth

    Millennials Guide: How To Read a Lease

    Everything you need to know before you rent a home.
  9. Investing

    Top 6 Tips for Turning Your Home Into a Rental Property

    Learn what you need to do to turn your property into a rental property.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Do landlords set up escrow accounts for their tenants' security deposits?

    Learn when and why landlords place rental property security deposits in separate escrow accounts to make sure the money is ... Read Answer >>
  2. Is a waiver of subrogation clause better for a tenant or a landlord?

    Find out why a waiver of subrogation clause is important to include in a lease agreement, and understand how it affects landlords ... Read Answer >>
Trading Center