What Makes A Rental Property Uninhabitable?

Are you searching for information on what makes a rental property uninhabitable? If so, you’ve come to the right place.

The first thing that makes a rental property uninhabitable is a lack of essential utilities.

That’s right, utilities like hot water, cold water, electricity, and heating are essential. If a rental property does not have these basic utilities, this is one clear indication that the property can be classified as being uninhabitable.

When a tenant moves into a rental property, they do so with a basic understanding that that property is going to have a ‘warranty of habitability’. This means that they move into the rental property knowing that it’s going to have the basic utilities that they need to live on a daily basis.

Mold, Mildew, and Water Leaks

Not all water leaks amount to a “major issue” or immediately make a property uninhabitable. The scope, severity, and actions, or lack thereof, taken by the property owner come into play here. A roof leak caused by a recent rainstorm that your landlord resolves quickly with the help of a professional roofer is very different from a persistent leaking pipe that your landlord does nothing about, even after written notice.

Mold and mildew growth are the typical byproduct of unresolved water leaks or flooding in a property. This is more than just a nuisance: many forms of mold and mildew can be dangerous for humans and animals to be around. This falls into the category of environmental hazards, which can also include exposure to lead paint dust (common in older properties) or asbestos insulation. 

In most jurisdictions, landlords have an obligation to address such issues promptly and may be required by local or state codes to take other steps such as putting the tenant in alternative housing until the hazard is resolved. Lead and asbestos are also subject to U.S. federal law, which requires property owners to warn you about known lead or asbestos problems before signing the lease. Check your lease paperwork to see if there are any details about either.

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