What to do if my 89 year old mom has been living in a rental home for 3 years and her landlord just decided to lock her thermostat so that he can now control the heat?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What to do if my 89 year old mom has been living in a rental home for 3 years and her landlord just decided to lock her thermostat so that he can now control the heat?

My mom is always freezing. We purchased 2 electric heaters for her and she still wears 3 sweaters day and night. She is responsible for electricity. The heating is his responsibility. Do we have any say regarding the temperature?

Asked on January 2, 2013 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If her rental unit or home is kept within the normal reasonable "room temperature" range--say around 68 degrees Fahrenheit or so--then the landlord is doing nothing wrong and can do this. The landlord's obligation is to provide a rental unit which is fit for inhabitation; room temperature is considered to be fit for inhabitation, even if a particular tenant likes things warmer, is particularly susceptible to the cold, etc. The landlord needs to make the unit habitable for the theoretical average person; he does not need (and is not required by the law) to take into account that your mother always feels cold.

If the temperature is below normal room temperature, however, then the landlord is violating the "implied warranty of habitability." In that case, your mother should consult with a landlord-tenant attorney to explore her options, which include seeking a court order requiring temperature to be raised to the room-temperature range; seeking monetary compensation for living with impaired habitability; or potentially, in some circumstances, terminating the lease early without penalty.


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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption