Montana Landlord Responsibilities for Habitability

Montana Landlord Responsibilities for Habitability

Last Updated: May 27, 2023

Most places, including Montana, make a landlord responsible for the “habitability” of rental property. This means rental properties must be kept in proper condition to use for their intended purpose. Habitability is an important right for renters, but can be complicated because of details and differences in habitability requirements.

Montana Implied Warranty of Habitability

In Montana, the implied warranty of habitability means that a landlord must provide and maintain safe and habitable rental property. “Implied” means the requirement applies whether or not the lease agreement specifically says so and even if the lease tries to waive the obligation.

Examples of clear habitability violations include:

  • Exposed electrical wiring.
  • A pipe leaking human waste.
  • A broken front doorknob that won’t lock.

However, the implied warranty of habitability does not guarantee that anything at the property will be pretty, clean, new or issue-free, so it doesn’t cover things like stained carpet or dents in a wall. It only guarantees basic health and safety.

Landlord Responsibilities in Montana

Note: Check local city/county laws and ordinances for additional requirements. Additionally, the landlord and tenant can sometimes make a special agreement to change the usual legal responsibilities.

Item Has To Provide? Has To Fix / Replace?
Air Conditioning / Heating Only Heating (Oct. 1-May 1) Only Heating (Oct.1-May 1)
Hot Water Yes Yes
Kitchen Appliances No Only If Provided
Washer & Dryer No Only If Provided
Smoke/CO Detectors Yes Yes
Window Coverings Not Addressed Not Addressed
Light Fixtures No Only If Provided
Landscaping No No
Garbage Removal Yes Yes
Garbage Pickup Yes Yes
Mold N/A Yes
Pest Control No N/A
Pest Infestations N/A Yes
Water Leaks N/A Not Usually
Clogs N/A Not Usually

Landlord Responsibilities for Heating & Air Conditioning in Montana

Montana landlords must provide heating for rental properties between October 1 and May 1 of every year. They don’t have to provide air conditioning, but they do have to keep it in working order if it’s provided.

Are Landlords Required to Provide Air Filter Replacements in Montana?

Montana landlords don’t have to replace things like air filters, unless provided heating or ventilating equipment won’t work otherwise.

Landlord Responsibilities for Plumbing in Montana

Montana landlords must keep plumbing in reasonable working condition, although the renter is usually equally responsible for using the plumbing in a reasonable and sanitary way that doesn’t cause damage.

Are Landlords Required To Provide Hot Water in Montana?

Montana landlords must provide and maintain running heated water for rental properties.

Are Landlords Responsible for Fixing Clogged Drains & Toilets in Montana?

Montana landlords must fix clogs that keep the plumbing from being in reasonable working condition.

Are Landlords in Montana Responsible for Fixing Leaks?

Montana landlords must fix leaks that keep the plumbing from being in reasonable working condition.

Landlord Responsibilities for Kitchen Appliances in Montana

Montana landlords don’t have to provide or maintain kitchen appliances such as a dishwasher, stove, oven, microwave, or refrigerator. However, when provided, the landlord has to maintain such appliances in good working order.

Landlord Responsibilities for Electrical Issues in Montana

Montana landlords are responsible for making sure there are no electrical issues that endanger basic safety or habitability on the rental property.

Are Landlords Responsible for Replacing Light Bulbs in Montana?

Montana landlords are not responsible for replacing light bulbs or particular light fixtures, except as necessary to maintain appliances they’ve provided on the property.

Landlord Responsibilities for Garbage Removal in Montana

Montana landlords must provide and maintain outside garbage containers and garbage removal services.

Landlord Responsibilities for Landscaping in Montana

Montana landlords have no specific obligation to provide landscaping or maintain it with actions like cutting grass. They only have to deal with issues like fallen trees if they interfere with the cleanliness of common areas, violate local codes, or create a hazard to health and safety.

Landlord Responsibilities Regarding Mold in Montana

Montana landlords are responsible for most mold issues. While there’s no Montana requirement for testing, landlords must investigate and fix mold problems since they threaten health and safety. If the renter created the mold issue, the landlord can make the renter fix it, or pay for repairs.

Landlord Responsibilities Regarding Pests in Montana

Montana landlords are responsible for fixing pest issues the renter didn’t cause, including rats, roaches, mice, bed bugs, and ants.

Landlord Responsibilities for Windows & Window Coverings in Montana

Montana landlords have no specific responsibilities relating to windows and window coverings, other than whatever’s needed for basic habitability. The landlord has to repair broken windows the tenant didn’t cause, since this is a health and safety issue.

Landlord Responsibilities Regarding Safety Devices in Montana

Montana landlords are responsible for ensuring required smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are installed at the beginning of a tenancy.

Are Landlords Responsible for Replacing Batteries of Safety Devices in Montana?

Montana landlords have no specific responsibility to replace safety device batteries. If there are working smoke detectors at the beginning of the tenancy, the landlord has completed his legal obligation.

Landlord Responsibilities for Washers and Dryers in Montana

Montana landlords are not required to furnish their rental properties with a working washer and dryer. However, if provided, the landlord must maintain such appliances in good working order.

Renter’s Rights for Repairs in Montana

Montana renters have the right to repairs for issues that affect health and safety, unless they caused the issue themselves. To exercise their right, the renter must start by notifying the landlord of the issue in writing. The landlord gets 14 days after notice to fix the issue.

If the issue isn’t fixed within the legally required time, the renter can end the rental agreement, repair and deduct the cost from rent, or ask a court to order repairs or compensation. Rent withholding isn’t allowed.

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