Warranty of Habitability in Montana

Last Updated: May 27, 2023 by Elizabeth Souza

In Montana, a landlord’s obligation for providing a habitable living space is primarily governed by MCA §70-24-303. This legal requirement, commonly known as the “implied warranty of habitability”, also outlines the rights of tenants when repairs are not made in a timely manner.

Quick Facts Answer
Landlord Responsibilities Hot/Cold Water, HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, Sanitation Facilities, Trash Can, Carbon Monoxide/Smoke Detectors.
Time Limit for Repairs 3 Days or 14 Days
Tenant Recourse Options
  • Withhold Rent: No
  • Repair & Deduct: Yes, Less Than 1 Month’s Rent

Applicable Dwelling Types in Montana

The implied warranty of habitability in Montana does not apply to all types of dwellings. See the table below for which are and aren’t included.

Dwelling Type Landlord/Tenant Laws Apply?
Single family Yes
Multi-family Yes
Fraternities/Sororities/Clubs No
RV parks Not specifically addressed
Mobile home parks Yes
Condos Only if person in condo is renter, not owner
Hotels/Motels No

Landlord Responsibilities in Montana

The following chart lists possible landlord responsibilities when it comes to habitability.  Not all of them are requirements in Montana, as indicated below.

Note: Some of the below items may not be addressed at the state level but may be addressed on a county or city level. Check your local housing codes to see which additional requirements may apply.

Habitability Issue Landlord Responsibility?
Provide windows and doors that are in good repair. Not addressed
Ensure the roof, walls, etc., are completely waterproofed and there are no leaks. Not addressed
Provide hot and cold running water. Yes
Provide working HVAC equipment. Yes
Provide working plumbing and electrical wiring/outlets/ lighting. Yes
Provide working gas lines if used for utilities/cooking Not addressed
Provide working sanitation facilities (bathtub/shower, toilet). Yes
Provide a trash can (for trash pickup services). Yes
Ensure that any stairs and railings are safe. Not addressed
Ensure that all floors are in good condition and safe. Not addressed
Provide fire exits that are usable, safe, and clean. Not addressed
Ensure storage areas, including garages and basements, do not house combustible materials. Not addressed
Provide working smoke detectors Yes
Provide a mailbox. Not addressed
Provide working wiring for one telephone jack. Not addressed
Provide working kitchen appliances. Yes, “if required”
Provide working carbon monoxide detector. Yes
Provide a working washer/dryer. Not addressed

Landlords are obligated to keep all common areas of the premises in a safe and clean condition. In some instances, landlords and tenants may agree in writing that the tenant may perform certain routine maintenance or repairs.

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Landlord Responsibility for Heat

Montana landlords shall supply reasonable heat between October 1st and May 1st, except if the building that includes the rental unit is not required by law to be equipped for that purpose.

Landlord Responsibility for Pests

Montana landlords are required to keep rental units free from vermin and rodents, which includes extermination.

Repairs, Recourse & Retaliation in Montana

If a rental property is in violation of the implied warranty of habitability in Montana, state laws outline how the repair process works, what tenants can do if repairs aren’t made, and how tenants are protected against retaliating landlords.

Requesting 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.

Renter’s Rights if Repairs Aren’t Made in Montana

Montana renters have the right to repairs for a variety of potential issues, including things that impact health and safety. To exercise their right, renters have to give the landlord written notice about the issue that needs fixing and wait 14 days for the landlord to do repairs.

If the issue isn’t fixed by the landlord in a timely way, the renter could end the rental agreement or get a court order for repairs or compensation. However, the renter usually can’t repair and deduct, or withhold rent. Read More

Landlord Retaliation in Montana

It’s illegal for Montana landlords to retaliate with raised rent, reduced services, or threatened eviction against tenants who have taken one of the following protected actions within the past six months:

  • Complaining to the landlord or government about maintenance issues.
  • Participating in a tenant organization.
  • Pursuing rights or remedies given by the law or lease.

Tenants can respond by suing for quiet enjoyment of the property or ending the lease. In either case, the tenant can recover court costs and attorney fees, plus either triple the monthly rent or triple the costs associated with the retaliation (whichever is greater).