In North Dakota, a landlord’s obligation for providing a habitable living space is primarily governed by ND Cent. Code § 47-16-13-1. 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.
Applicable Dwelling Types in North Dakota
The implied warranty of habitability in North Dakota 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?|
|Fraternities/Sororities/Clubs||Not specifically addressed|
|RV parks||Not specifically addressed|
|Mobile home parks||Not specifically addressed|
|Condos||Not specifically addressed|
|Hotels/Motels||Not specifically addressed|
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 North Dakota
The following chart lists possible landlord responsibilities when it comes to habitability. Not all of them are requirements in North Dakota, 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||Yes|
|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.||Not addressed|
|Provide a working washer/dryer.||Yes, if required|
Landlords must comply with all building and housing codes that affect health and safety. Landlords must make all necessary repairs and keep the dwelling unit in a habitable condition. Additionally, for multifamily properties, landlords are responsible for ensuring that any common areas are clean and safe.
In some circumstances, a landlord and tenant may agree, in writing, upon certain maintenance and repairs.
Tenant’s Right to Repairs in North Dakota
Landlords are required to make and pay for any repairs to make the unit livable that are not caused by the tenant.
- Sending Notice – If tenants request repairs, their request can either be orally or in writing. The landlord will then have a “reasonable” time period to make any necessary repairs. What is “reasonable” depends on the degree of the needed repair.
- Landlord Access –Tenants are required to give the landlord access to the property to make necessary repairs during reasonable hours. However, the landlord must get permission from the tenant prior to entering, unless the tenant no longer occupies the property or it’s an emergency. Notice may be given by personal delivery or by posting the notice in a conspicuous place.
Tenant’s Options if Repairs Aren’t Made in North Dakota
If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, the tenant has a few possible options for resolving the issue.
- Withhold Rent – North Dakota’s landlord tenant law does not allow tenants to withhold rent in response to habitability issues.
- Repair and Deduct – Tenants have the right to repair the issue themselves and deduct a reasonable amount for the repair from the following month’s rent.
- Lawsuit – Tenants also have the right to take legal action for damages resulting from habitability issues. Tenants can sue the landlord for the costs of the repairs and other expenses incurred as a result of the failure to make repairs.
Landlord Retaliation in North Dakota
There are no state laws prohibiting landlords from retaliating against tenant for exercising tenant rights.