Residential Landlord's Implied Warranty of Habitability Extended To Guests of Tenants


The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled last week that a landlord was liable for breaching the implied warranty of habitability when a tenant’s guest seriously injured himself falling from a defective porch. The case is Scott v. Garfield, and can be found here.

The implied warranty of habitability is a multi-faceted legal concept that encompasses contract and tort principles, as well as the State building and sanitary codes. It imposes a legal duty on a residential landlord, in the form of an implied agreement, to ensure that a rental unit complies with the State building and sanitary codes throughout the term of the lease. If a tenant is injured due to the premises being in violation of code, the landlord can be held liable under the implied warranty of habitability. The implied warranty cannot be waived by a lease provision.

In Scott v. Garfield, the SJC extended the reach of the doctrine from tenants to the guests and lawful visitors of any tenant. T

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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