Can a landlord be responsible for an increased electric billincurred due to a heating unit that has not been repaired?

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Can a landlord be responsible for an increased electric billincurred due to a heating unit that has not been repaired?

We moved into a townhome in 12/10. Our heating has not worked properly since we moved in, so ur electric bill is about 3 times the amount it should be due to the heating unit working improperly. Can our landlord be responsible for not repairing our unit in a timely fashion?

Asked on January 17, 2011 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

All leases have an implied warranty of habitability; an obligation on the part  of the landlord to maintain the premises in habitable shape. This would include keeping the heating system working. If the landlord violates this, you could sue him to force him to make repairs; or you could sue him for monetary damages, such as, for example, the increased cost to heat via electric space heaters or otherwise. So this is something you can hold your landlord liable for accountable for, though to do so--if he does not voluntarily pay--you'd have to take legal action (i.e. sue), which could have its own costs and consequences. That's not to say to not do it if you deem it worthwhile; just to remember that to enforce a right like this, you will need to sue, so you should weigh cost/benefit closely.


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