What to do if I just lost power in my apartment and my landlord is refusing to come and restore it?

The fuse box is in the basement and I do not have access. When I asked her for a key, she refused again, even after I told her my food would go bad in the fridge and I am hot. (iin the city it’s around 90 degrees).

Asked on July 16, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Does your city have a help line for complaints?  Like NYC has 311?  Then call it asap.  Keep the fridge closed until you can get the food somewhere so that you have minimal loss.  And you get some where cool as well.  Then start a proceeding in court against the landlord for a breach of the warranty of habitability and ask to pay the money in to court and for an abatement (reduction) in the rent for all of this plus spoiled food as damages.  Good luck. 

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Your landlord is under an affirmative obligation to make his or her best efforts to restore the power to your rental. If he or she flat out refuses to do so, then you have a basis for a legal action against the landlord for breach of the implied covenant of habitability and for payment of all damages resulting from the breach including spoiled food.

I suggest that if you have a portable ice chest that you get some ice and place your food in it for the time being to prevent spoilage and to mitigate any damages that you might have.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.