What to do if my furnace blew oabout 3 weeks ago and my landlord won’t fix it?

UPDATED: Jan 9, 2013

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What to do if my furnace blew oabout 3 weeks ago and my landlord won’t fix it?

Asked on January 9, 2013 under Real Estate Law, Illinois


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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

While a landlord must replace a defective furnace, the law does not specify a specific time frame in which this must be done. Instead, the landlord has a "reasonable" period of time to make the repair following the tenant having given them notice of the problem. Obviously, during the winter, they would have a shorter period of time to make the fix. In any event, 3 weeks is well beyond being reasonable.

The fact is that in every residential lease there what is called an "implied warranty of habitability". Basically, this gives a tenant the right to live in a safe and sanitary premises.; providing heat is included in this. Accordingly, in your ituation you have several options, you can:

  1. Repair and Deduct - Fix the problem and then charge the landlord for the cost of repair;
  2. Terminate the lease - End the tenancyand vacate the premises; or
  3. Withhold Rent - Refuse to make any further rental payments until the repair is properly made.

However, before you pursue any of these remedies, you should consult with a landlord-tenant attorney or tenant's rights organization in your are for information regarding specific state law. If you fails to follow the proper procedures for attempting these self-help measures, you could be held liable for breach of your lease.

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.

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