Can my Landlord require me to Pay for a Broken Heating System Repair?

Question

My landlord is trying to charge me money to replace the heating system that had broken on its own. Am I liable for this?

 

Answer

When a landlord rents property to a tenant, the landlord makes an implied guarantee that he or she will provide for the tenant’s basic needs for habitable housing, such as heat and running water.   If something happens that makes the property uninhabitable (which would be the case with a defective heating system), the landlord is typically responsible for fixing the problem, without deducting the cost from the tenant’s security deposit or raising the tenant’s rent.   The security deposit covers damage inflicted by the tenant, but not, as a general matter, necessary repairs.   Depending on where you live, you may have several legal rights when it comes to habitability problems, such as the broken heater. You may have the right to withhold rent until the heater is replaced, sue the landlord, or move out without notice. Check your state laws   for details.

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