North Dakota Habitability Laws

QUICK FACTS
  • Landlord Responsibilities. A landlord must keep the property in reasonable repair including all electrical, plumbing and heating systems (read more).
  • Making Repairs. Landlords are required to make and pay for repairs for items under their responsibility. They must do so within a “reasonable time” after receiving a written request from tenants (read more).
  • Tenant Options. If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, tenants can’t withhold rent but are allowed to repair and deduct or file a lawsuit (read more).
  • Retaliation. There are no laws regarding landlord retaliation in North Dakota (read more).

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

Dwelling TypeLandlord/Tenant Laws Apply?
Single familyYes
Multi-familyYes
Fraternities/Sororities/ClubsNot specifically addressed
RV parksNot specifically addressed
Mobile home parksNot specifically addressed
CondosNot specifically addressed
Hotels/MotelsNot 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

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 IssueLandlord 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/cookingYes
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 detectorsYes
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

Additionally, for multifamily properties, landlords are responsible for ensuring that any common areas are clean and safe.

Making Repairs

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.  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.

Tenant’s Options if Repairs Aren’t Made

If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, the tenant has a few possible options for resolving the issue.

  1. Withhold rent – North Dakota landlord tenant law does not allow tenants to withhold rent in response to habitability issues.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

There are no state laws prohibiting landlords from retaliating against tenant for exercising tenant rights.

Sources