Warranty of Habitability in New Jersey

Last Updated: June 2, 2023 by Elizabeth Souza

In New Jersey, a landlord’s obligation for providing a habitable living space is primarily governed by case law and  NJ Rev Stat § 2A:42-85. 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, Mailboxes, Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detectors.*Multi-family units may have additional requirements.
Time Limit for Repairs “Reasonable” Amount of Time
Tenant Recourse Options
  • Withhold Rent: Yes
  • Repair & Deduct: Yes

Applicable Dwelling Types in New Jersey

The implied warranty of habitability in New Jersey 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 Some state laws apply
Multi-family Yes
Fraternities/Sororities/Clubs No
RV parks Not specifically addressed
Mobile home parks Not specifically addressed
Condos Yes
Hotels/Motels Yes

Additionally, rental agreements are not allowed to include any provisions that waive the tenant’s right to live in a habitable residence.

Landlord Responsibilities in New Jersey

The following chart lists possible landlord responsibilities when it comes to habitability.  Not all of them are requirements in New Jersey, 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. Multi-family units
Ensure the roof, walls, etc., are completely waterproofed and there are no leaks. Multi-family units
Provide hot and cold running water. Yes
Provide working HVAC equipment. Multi-family units (AC not required)
Provide working plumbing and electrical wiring/outlets/ lighting. Multi-family units
Provide working gas lines if used for utilities/cooking Multi-family units
Provide working sanitation facilities (bathtub/shower, toilet). Multi-family units
Provide a trash can (for trash pickup services). Multi-family units
Ensure that any stairs and railings are safe. Multi-family units
Ensure that all floors are in good condition and safe. Multi-family units
Provide fire exits that are usable, safe, and clean. Multi-family units
Ensure storage areas, including garages and basements, do not house combustible materials. Not addressed
Provide working smoke detectors Yes
Provide a mailbox. Yes
Provide working wiring for one telephone jack. Not addressed
Provide working kitchen appliances. Multi-family units
Provide working carbon monoxide detector. Yes
Provide a working washer/dryer. Not addressed

All residential leases in New Jersey must contain an implied warranty of habitability. A landlord who rents or leases a single-family or two-family occupied home is required to file a registration statement with the Clerk of the Municipality. All buildings with three or more rental units shall comply with the regulations for the maintenance of Hotels and Multiple Dwellings and the rental units must be registered with the Bureau of Housing Inspection (BHI) in the Department of Community Affairs. BHI enforces the regulations for the maintenance of a building.

Nearly all of the state-level laws are focused on multi-family units. For single family units and duplexes, you will need to look to the laws of your local government for additional landlord and tenant requirements and responsibilities.

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If the lease requires the landlord to provide heat to the dwelling unit, there are State housing codes a landlord must meet. From October 1st to May 1st heat must be supplied so the dwelling unit is at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit from the hours of 6 am to 11 pm and between 11 pm and 6 am the temperature must be at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit.


In addition to the above, New Jersey Landlords must keep multi-family units free from rodent and other pest infestations.


Landlords of multi-family units must also provide locks for all exterior doors and windows.

Lead Paint

Under New Jersey law, landlords are required to remove “dangerous” lead paint from single and multi-family rental properties built prior to 1978. You will need to check with state and local ordinances to determine whether any lead paint in your rental unit is considered “dangerous” and must be removed.

Sprinkler Systems

Not all states require existing apartment complexes, townhomes, and condos to have sprinkler systems. Many states do not require new construction to have sprinkler systems, either. However, New Jersey has enacted laws requiring “retroactive” installations for high rises.

Window Guards

Landlords are required to install and supply window guards in all common areas of the multi-family dwelling unit for tenants who have children 10 years old or younger. Landlords must inspect the window guards twice a year.

Repairs, Recourse & Retaliation in New Jersey

If a rental property is in violation of the implied warranty of habitability in New Jersey, 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 New Jersey

New Jersey 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 by certified mail. The landlord gets “adequate time” after notice to fix the issue.

If the issue isn’t fixed within the legally required time, the renter can repair and deduct, ask a court to abate (withhold) rent, or ask a court to order repairs or compensation. In severe cases, the renter can claim constructive eviction and move out.

Renter’s Rights if Repairs Aren’t Made in New Jersey

New Jersey 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 an “adequate” time 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 New Jersey

It’s illegal for New Jersey landlords to retaliate with attempted eviction or substantially changed terms of tenancy, against tenants who have taken one of the following protected actions in the past 90 days:

  • Complaining to the government about failure to maintain the property, after asking the landlord for repairs.
  • Participating in a tenant organization.
  • Pursuing rights or remedies given by the law or lease.
  • Winning a retaliation claim against the landlord.

The law allows an exception when the landlord can prove a non-retaliatory, good-faith reason for the alleged retaliatory action. For example, a landlord who raises rent proportionately in response to a large increase in property tax is not retaliating, even if a tenant has recently complained about maintenance.