Can I take the landlord to court?

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Can I take the landlord to court?

My former landlord rented to us and didn’t have a certificate of occupancy for the building. Is that Illegal to list a 2 bedroom for rent when it is actually a basement and den converted into 2 rooms, in which one of them had no windows or way of egress?

Asked on July 12, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

In every residential lease there is something known as the "warranty of habitability". This means that a landlord represents that the rental unit meets health and safety codes. So, as in your case, if there is no C/O for the unit, the landlord is clearly in breach of the lease (whether it was written or oral). Accordingly, you can vacate without penalty (e.g. you are entited to the return of your security deposit). Additionally, you can sue your landlord any other damages (i.e. expenses and such), that you incur as a result of having to vacate the premises.


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