Responsibilities for Garbage

QUICK FACTS
  • 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.

STATELandlord must provide trash cans/bins/receptacles?Landlord must repair/maintain?Landlord must arrange for collection/removal?
AlabamaYesYesYes
AlaskaYesYesYes
ArizonaYesYesYes
ArkansasNoNoNo
CaliforniaYesYesNot Addressed
ColoradoYesYesNot Addressed
ConnecticutYesYesYes
DelawareNoNoNo
FloridaYes except for single-family units and duplexesNot addressedYes except for single-family units and duplexes
GeorgiaNot addressedNot addressedNot addressed
HawaiiYes except for single-family unitsYes except for single-family unitsYes except for single-family units
IdahoYesNot addressedYes
IllinoisNot addressedNot addressedNot addressed
IndianaNot addressedNot addressedNot addressed
IowaYesYesYes
KansasYesYesYes
KentuckyNot addressedNot addressedNot addressed
LouisianaNot addressedNot addressedNot addressed
MaineNot addressedNot addressedNot addressed
MarylandNot addressedNot addressedNot addressed
MassachusettsFor dwellings with 3 or more dwelling units or rooming houseFor dwellings with 3 or more dwelling units or rooming houseFor dwellings with 3 or more dwelling units or rooming house
MichiganFor 3-family dwellings or moreNot addressednot addressed
MinnesotaNot addressedNot addressedNot addressed
MississippiNoNoNo
MissouriNot addressedNot addressedNot addressed
MontanaYesYesYes
NebraskaYesYesYes
NevadaYesYesYes
New HampshireYesNot addressedYes
New JerseyFor dwellings with 4 or more dwelling unitsNot addressedFor dwellings with 4 or more dwelling units
New MexicoYesYesYes
New YorkFor units with 3 or more families* living togetherNot addressedFor units with 3 or more families* living together
North CarolinaNoNoNo
North DakotaYesYesYes
OhioFor dwellings with 4 or more dwelling units in the same structureFor dwellings with 4 or more dwelling units in the same structureFor dwellings with 4 or more dwelling units in the same structure
OklahomaFor 3-family residences or moreFor 3-family residences or moreFor 3-family residences or more
OregonYesYesYes
PennsylvaniaNot addressedNot addressedNot addressed
Rhode IslandFor dwellings with 4 or more dwelling unitsFor dwellings with 4 or more dwelling unitsFor dwellings with 4 or more dwelling units
South CarolinaNot addressedNot addressedNot addressed
South DakotaNot addressedNot addressedNot addressed
TennesseeFor multi-unit complexes with 4 or more unitsFor multi-unit complexes with 4 or more unitsFor multi-unit complexes with 4 or more units
TexasNot addressedNot addressedNot addressed
UtahFor buildings with more than 2 residential unitsFor buildings with more than 2 residential unitsFor buildings with more than 2 residential units
VermontYesYesYes
VirginiaYesYesYes
WashingtonYes except for single-family residence unitYes except for single-family residence unitYes except for single-family residence unit
West VirginiaYes except for single-family residence unitYes except for single-family residence unitYes except for single-family residence unit
WisconsinNot addressedNot addressedNot addressed
WyomingNot addressedNot addressedNot addressed
Washington, D.C.For residential buildings containing 3 or more dwelling unitsFor residential buildings containing 3 or more dwelling unitsFor 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:

  1. One person maintaining a household, with less than 5 housemates or roommates.
  2. A group of 2 or more housemates or roommates maintaining the household with a maximum of 6 members.

Making Requests

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.

StateHow 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 writingCalifornia, Hawaii, Michigan, New York*, North Dakota, Vermont, DC
NOTE

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.

StateHow Long Landlord Has to Make Repairs
AlabamaAs provided in the notice but not less than 14 days
Alaska10 days
ArizonaAs provided in the notice but not less than 5 days
CaliforniaReasonable time period
Colorado5 days
Connecticut15 days
Florida7 days
Hawaii7 days
Idaho3 days
Iowa7 days
Massachusetts14 days
Michigan24 hours to a reasonable time period
Montana14 days, 3 days if noncompliance results in an emergency
Nebraska14 days
Nevada14 days
New Hampshire14 days
New JerseyReasonable time period
New Mexico7 days
New York5 days
North DakotaReasonable time period
OhioReasonable time period up to 30 days
Oklahoma14 days
Oregon30 days
Rhode Island20 days
Tennessee14 days
Utah3-10 days
VermontReasonable time period
Virginia21 days
Washington24 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.

StateTerminate the LeaseWithhold RentCover Costs & Deduct from RentReduced RentDamagesInjunctive Relief/ Specific
AlabamaYesYesYes
AlaskaYesYesYes
ArizonaYesYesYes
CaliforniaYesYesYesYes
ColoradoYesYesYes
ConnecticutYes
FloridaYesYesYes
HawaiiYes
IdahoYesYes
IowaYesYesYes
MassachusettsYesYes
MichiganYesYesYes
MontanaYesYesYesYes
NebraskaYesYesYes
NevadaYesYesYesYes
New HampshireYes
New JerseyYesYesYesYes
New MexicoYesYesYesYes
New YorkYesYes
North DakotaYesYes
OhioYesYes*
OklahomaYesYesYes
OregonYesYesYes
Rhode IslandYes
TennesseeYesYesYes
UtahYesYes**YesYes
VermontYesYesYesYes
VirginiaYes
WashingtonYesYesYes
Washington, D.C.Yes

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.

StateIs a Breach of Implied Warranty of Habitability Required for the Remedies?
AlabamaYes
AlaskaYes
ArizonaYes
CaliforniaNo
ColoradoNo
ConnecticutYes
FloridaNo
HawaiiYes
IdahoNo
IowaYes
MassachusettsYes
MichiganYes
MontanaNo
NebraskaYes
NevadaYes
New HampshireYes
New JerseyYes
New MexicoYes
New YorkNo
North DakotaNo
OhioNo
OklahomaYes
OregonNo
Rhode IslandYes
TennesseeNo
UtahYes
VermontNo
VirginiaYes
WashingtonNo
DCNo