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