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What is the Implied Warranty of Habitability?

Landlord-tenant law in the United States requires all home rentals to be kept in livable condition, no matter what it says in the lease.


Every state has its own version of what is legally referred to as the “implied warranty of habitability”—in simpler terms, a tenant's right to live in a safe and comfortable home. State law varies slightly on the specifics, but they generally give every renter the right to:

  • A building that meets all code requirements
  • A home free from pest infestation
  • Locking doors and windows
  • Functioning electricity and plumbing
  • Functioning smoke detectors
  • Heat when it’s cold
  • Hot water and clean drinking water

The warranty of habitability is “implied” because all residential leases are bound by it, even if it’s not specifically mentioned in a residential lease.

Both the tenant and the landlord are responsible for maintaining the rental in a way that aligns with the implied warranty of habitability. If a landlord’s negligence is causing a unit to be uninhabitable, there are steps a tenant can take to have the repairs made. If all else fails, a tenant can also sue their landlord or property manager for damages—or abandon the rental entirely and claim constructive eviction.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.


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