What are my rights to a safe premises?

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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

Answers:

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

Answered 9 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.


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