What are my rights to a safe premises?

UPDATED: May 27, 2012

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What are my rights to a safe premises?

I rent out an apartment. I been asking if the back door could be replaced; I can break in and it certainly isn’t safe. Also, there is only 1 smoke detector and no fire extinguisher.

Asked on May 27, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey


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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In every residential lease there is what is known as an "implied warranty of habitability". This means tha every tenant must be provided a safe and sanitary premises in which to live. In your case, there are obvious safety issues. In virtually all jurisdictions a smoke detector must be provided to a tenant, and in some, a fire extinguisher. A door that is secure and propery locks is also a legal requirment. If your landlord refuses to repair or correct these conditions you should contact you locality's Health Department (or equivalent). They will come and, if the situation warrants (which it would appear to), issue code violations against your landord. Additionally, if he/she still fails to remedy the situation, you could repair the items yourself and deduct the cost from your rent, withhold your rent, or even terminate your lease. However, before taking any of these last 3 steps you need to make sure that you are in compliance with the law; the requirements for a repair and deduct, rent witholding or lease termination vary greatly from area to area. If it comes down to it, you will need to consult with an attoreny who specializes in landlord tenant matters or at least contact a tenant's rights orgnization.

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.

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