What can I do if it has been in the 20’s and 30’s but my landlord refuses to turn the heat on?

My lease says heat included but when I asked about this he told me to shove it up or buy a heater.

Asked on October 26, 2015 under Real Estate Law, New Hampshire


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

1) You can try filing a complaint with your local housing department, which will often investigate and take action against heating complaints.
2) Because of the landlord's breach of both the lease and the "implied warranty of habitability" (the obligation, added by law to all leases, that the leased premesis be fit to live in and safetly inhabitable), you could withhold rent to force him to turn the heat on; if/when he tries to take you to court to evict you for nonpayment of rent, you would raise the failure to provide heat as a defense to failing to pay rent; be prepared to deposit the money in court if required by the judge while the matter is being heard & decided. To strengthen you hand for this, send the landlord a written demand, sent some way you can prove delivery, stating the facts, briefly receiting any conversations you had, and requesting heat.
3) You can yourself go to court and seek a hearing before a judge requiring the landord to provide heat; contact the clerk of the court for instructions and possibly sample/template forms (I often find it helpful to go in to discuss the matter with the clerk in person). You would go to country court.

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