What’s Up With the Implied Warranty of Habitability? | Law Office of Jesse White | 11/2/12

"Woodfall's Law of Landlord and Tenant"

“Woodfall’s Law of Landlord and Tenant” (Photo credit: umjanedoan)

Question: What’s Up With the Implied Warranty of Habitability?  My landlord has consistently failed to fix a problem, even though I have informed him of the issue numerous times. What can I do?

Answer: Pennsylvania law dealing with landlords and their tenants includes a doctrine known as the implied warranty of habitability.

This doctrine gives tenants some leverage to get problems in their apartments fixed, under the right circumstances.

Created in 1979 by the landmark Pennsylvania Supreme Court case, Pugh v. Holmes, the implied warranty of habitability does not require landlords to provide perfect, pretty dwellings for all of their tenants.

Rather, it obligates landlords only to keep their leased property in a condition that is fit for habitation, so that the tenants can use the premises for their intended purpose. Put simply, it is the big things that count, such as ensuring that the dwelling is a safe, sanitary place to live. A lack of heat, potable water or other utilities, broken windows, doors or locks, health or fire code violations, mold or leaking water can all rise to the level of a breach of the implied warranty of habitability.  Creaky floors, ugly paint colors or a broken laundry chute, on the other hand, probably will not be sufficient.

If a landlord’s failure to address a particular problem renders the dwelling unfit for habitation, then she has breached the implied warranty of habitability and the tenant is entitled to certain remedies. Before a court will find that a landlord has breached the implied warranty of habitability, the tenant must also establish that he informed the landlord of the problem and gave her sufficient time to fix it.

(This article is intended as a discussion of legal topics that are often confusing to many lay people; it is not, and should not be relied on, as legal advice. Attorney Jesse White is licensed to practice solely in Pennsylvania and any information discussed relates solely to Pennsylvania law. If you have a question for attorney, contact The Law Office of Jesse White in Cecil at 724-743-4444 or visit www.jessewhitelaw.com.)

For full article see: Ask the Attorney: What’s Up With the Implied Warranty of Habitability? | Patch.com


About vinhsu

Center City Philadelphia General Practice Law Firm with emphasis on Criminal Defense, Family Law, Immigration, Real Property, and Wills/Trusts/ Estate Planning. Licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
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