An implied warranty of habitability provides that the landlord must maintain the premises in good condition for the use and enjoyment of the tenant. A tenant’s duty to pay rent is often conditioned on the landlord’s obligation to maintain the living space in a habitable state. Nearly every state has an implied warranty of habitability with respect to residential leases either as a result of legislative action or judicial decision-making. Commercial leases do not contain the same guarantees with respect to the leased property.
The warranty of habitability specifically assures the safety and health of the tenant in connection with the conditions of the leased property. The obligations of the landlord extend to the following items:
Structural elements. A landlord must maintain the structural soundness of the property, including floors, stairs, walls etc. These repairs are generally considered elemental to the physical building and would not reasonably be undertaken by an individual tenant.
Utilities and plumbing. It is the obligation of the landlord to ensure that all electrical, plumbing, heating, sanitation and air conditioning systems are functional and safely maintained. The provision of hot and cold water and heat or air conditioning, depending upon seasonal factors, is similarly required.
Common area upkeep. Hallways, stairwells, elevators and outdoor common areas must be maintained by the landlord.
Environmental dangers. Landlords must test for and, if necessary, eliminate known environmental toxins such as lead paint and asbestos. Many states require proper notice and disclosure of the existence of lead paint.
Extermination services. The extermination of rodents and vermin is the responsibility of the landlord. The landlord cannot abrogate this duty by requiring a tenant to sign a waiver of these rights.
Mark Weinstein and his experienced team of attorneys can assist you, whether you are a landlord or a tenant, in negotiating your lease, legally fulfilling your obligations and protecting your rights under Georgia law. Contact them at (770) 888-7707 or visit http://www.markweinsteinlaw.com to find out how they can advise you.