- Responsibility for Providing. Some states require all landlords to provide receptacles for garbage, maintain them and/or arrange for regular collection. Some states only require the landlord to provide the receptacles but do not address maintenance or collection. Some also exempt certain types of rentals from the requirement. (read more).
- Time to Repair. If it’s the landlord’s responsibility, some states specify a time frame to repair (usually ~14 days from request), while others aren’t specific beyond a “reasonable” time period (read more).
- Tenant’s Options. If the landlord fails to comply with duties in a timely manner, depending on the state, tenants may have multiple options for recourse, such as withholding rent or terminating the lease (read more).
Each state has its own rules on what needs to be provided for living conditions in rentals to be deemed “acceptable”, known as the Implied Warranty of Habitability. Below is a breakdown of those laws as it relates to garbage disposal.
Providing for Garbage Disposal
Landlords are not always required to provide trash cans or receptacles for their tenants. Some states make this the tenant’s responsibility or allow this responsibility to be assigned to the tenant. Also, just because landlords are required to provide trash receptacles does not automatically make them responsible for their maintenance or for making sure trash is collected regularly.
The following chart lists what landlords are required to provide according to state law for each state when it comes to trash receptacles, maintaining or repairing them, and arranging for garbage collection or removal. Any exceptions to the requirements are noted for each state.
Note: the below table only addresses state laws. Always check with county or city housing codes for additional requirements.
|STATE||Landlord must provide trash cans/bins/receptacles?||Landlord must repair/maintain?||Landlord must arrange for collection/removal?|
|Florida||Yes except for single-family units and duplexes||Not addressed||Yes except for single-family units and duplexes|
|Georgia||Not addressed||Not addressed||Not addressed|
|Hawaii||Yes except for single-family units||Yes except for single-family units||Yes except for single-family units|
|Illinois||Not addressed||Not addressed||Not addressed|
|Indiana||Not addressed||Not addressed||Not addressed|
|Kentucky||Not addressed||Not addressed||Not addressed|
|Louisiana||Not addressed||Not addressed||Not addressed|
|Maine||Not addressed||Not addressed||Not addressed|
|Maryland||Not addressed||Not addressed||Not addressed|
|Massachusetts||For dwellings with 3 or more dwelling units or rooming house||For dwellings with 3 or more dwelling units or rooming house||For dwellings with 3 or more dwelling units or rooming house|
|Michigan||For 3-family dwellings or more||Not addressed||not addressed|
|Minnesota||Not addressed||Not addressed||Not addressed|
|Missouri||Not addressed||Not addressed||Not addressed|
|New Hampshire||Yes||Not addressed||Yes|
|New Jersey||For dwellings with 4 or more dwelling units||Not addressed||For dwellings with 4 or more dwelling units|
|New York||For units with 3 or more families* living together||Not addressed||For units with 3 or more families* living together|
|Ohio||For dwellings with 4 or more dwelling units in the same structure||For dwellings with 4 or more dwelling units in the same structure||For dwellings with 4 or more dwelling units in the same structure|
|Oklahoma||For 3-family residences or more||For 3-family residences or more||For 3-family residences or more|
|Pennsylvania||Not addressed||Not addressed||Not addressed|
|Rhode Island||For dwellings with 4 or more dwelling units||For dwellings with 4 or more dwelling units||For dwellings with 4 or more dwelling units|
|South Carolina||Not addressed||Not addressed||Not addressed|
|South Dakota||Not addressed||Not addressed||Not addressed|
|Tennessee||For multi-unit complexes with 4 or more units||For multi-unit complexes with 4 or more units||For multi-unit complexes with 4 or more units|
|Texas||Not addressed||Not addressed||Not addressed|
|Utah||For buildings with more than 2 residential units||For buildings with more than 2 residential units||For buildings with more than 2 residential units|
|Washington||Yes except for single-family residence unit||Yes except for single-family residence unit||Yes except for single-family residence unit|
|West Virginia||Yes except for single-family residence unit||Yes except for single-family residence unit||Yes except for single-family residence unit|
|Wisconsin||Not addressed||Not addressed||Not addressed|
|Wyoming||Not addressed||Not addressed||Not addressed|
|Washington, D.C.||For residential buildings containing 3 or more dwelling units||For residential buildings containing 3 or more dwelling units||For residential buildings containing 3 or more dwelling units|
* In New York, for the purposes of determining how many “families” are living together, the following are count as 1 family even if they are unrelated:
- One person maintaining a household, with less than 5 housemates or roommates.
- A group of 2 or more housemates or roommates maintaining the household with a maximum of 6 members.
Tenants must notify the landlord if the landlord’s duties regarding garbage are not being complied with. This is done not only to formally request the landlord to rectify the noncompliance but also to be able to avail of the remedies available to the tenant should the landlord fail to remedy the situation despite the notice.
Depending on the state, this can be done orally or in writing. However, most states only allow for notices to be made in writing. The below table shows which types of repair requests are legally acceptable in each state.
|State||How Repair Request Can Be Made|
|In writing (only)||Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington|
|Orally or in writing||California, Hawaii, Michigan, New York*, North Dakota, Vermont, DC|
Even if a state does not require it, it’s highly recommended to put all requests in writing in case there is a dispute about the need for the repair or the timing of the request.
Time to Repair
Below is a table for the time frame landlords have to make the repair, starting the day the request is received.
|State||How Long Landlord Has to Make Repairs|
|Alabama||As provided in the notice but not less than 14 days|
|Arizona||As provided in the notice but not less than 5 days|
|California||Reasonable time period|
|Michigan||24 hours to a reasonable time period|
|Montana||14 days, 3 days if noncompliance results in an emergency|
|New Hampshire||14 days|
|New Jersey||Reasonable time period|
|New Mexico||7 days|
|New York||5 days|
|North Dakota||Reasonable time period|
|Ohio||Reasonable time period up to 30 days|
|Rhode Island||20 days|
|Vermont||Reasonable time period|
|Washington||24 hours to 10 days|
|Washington, D.C.||Reasonable time period|
Tenant’s Options if the Landlord Does Not Comply
Some states offer remedies for tenants if the landlords fail or refuse to comply with the latter’s duties to provide garbage receptacles, repair them or ensure proper collection.
Also, tenants cannot resort to the following remedies if they have not given the landlord appropriate notice/time to make any repairs or correct the issue.
Common remedies tenants have in these situations include:
- Termination of the lease without losing the deposit or incurring other penalties.
- Withholding rent until the problem is rectified.
- Paying for the garbage receptacles, their repair or for collection and thereafter deducting the cost from the rent.
- Paying less or reduced rent.
- Suing for damages incurred as a result of the landlord’s failure to comply with duties.
- Injunctive relief, which will compel the landlord to comply with a certain order of the court to do or not to do something.
We break down tenant options by state in the chart below.
|State||Terminate the Lease||Withhold Rent||Cover Costs & Deduct from Rent||Reduced Rent||Damages||Injunctive Relief/ Specific|
These remedies would only apply if the landlord knew there was an issue and ignored it or the steps taken were inadequate or wrong.
*In Ohio, the tenant is not allowed to simply withhold the rent, the tenant must “tender” the rent to a relevant court. The court will then hold it as if it were in an escrow, to be delivered to the prevailing party in the suit.
**In Utah, tenants may be able to recover rent that they had already paid on account of the landlord’s noncompliance.
Breach of Warranty of Habitability Requirement
Some states make the remedies available to the tenant upon the landlord’s noncompliance with the latter’s duties regarding garbage. However, there are some states require some breach of the Warranty of Habitability before the tenant can avail of any of the remedies. That means that the remedies would only be available to the tenant if the landlord’s failure or refusal to comply with the latter’s responsibility has caused the unit to be uninhabitable or has made a health or safety hazard.
We break down this requirement by state in the chart below.
|State||Is a Breach of Implied Warranty of Habitability Required for the Remedies?|