Whenever the seasons change in New Jersey, it’s common for heating and cooling repair needs to arise. Whether it’s in the middle of the hot summer months or at the first cold snap in the late fall, it’s important to know your rights as a tenant about appliance repairs.
Do You Know Your Rights When It Comes To Heating and Cooling Repair as a Tenant?
The landlord-tenant law can be complex, even when it comes to something as seemingly simple as heating and air conditioning.
In New Jersey, if the heating or air conditioning unit (provided by your landlord) needs repair, the landlord must repair the issue, within a reasonable amount of time. If a landlord fails to take care of important repairs, tenants have several legal rights including:
- the right to withhold rent until repairs are made, and
- the right to “repair and deduct”—that is, to hire a repair person to fix a serious defect that makes a unit unfit and deduct the cost from your rent.
Under the NJ state housing codes, landlords must provide enough heat so that the temperature is at least 68 degrees from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and at least 65 degrees from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. from October 1 through May 1. They are not required to provide air conditioning but if you had a working air conditioner in your rental property when you took tenancy, they are required to repair it. Always double-check your lease to make sure.
For an overview of the New Jersey landlord-tenant law, including your rights to habitability and options for getting your landlord to make a heating and cooling repair, review this tenant rights manual.
Waiting for Cooling Repair?
While you’re waiting for your landlord to take care of cooling repairs in the summer, try to cool your space by covering windows, turning on ceiling fans, and eliminating the use of excess appliances. Read more on our blog: “Cool Off! How to Lower AC Costs Over Summer.”
Do You Know NJ’s Law on Heating and Cooling Repair as a Landlord?
As a landlord or property manager, it’s your responsibility to ensure the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems are in good working order. Plus, keeping the heating and cooling units in good working condition makes good business sense. It obviously benefits your tenants, but it also saves you money in the long run. Regular upkeep of your HVAC unit decreases the need for repair jobs and increases the lifespan of the unit.