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Safe Housing for Residential Tenants

Concerning safe housing for residential tenants, and, in connection therewith, establishing and clarifying procedures regarding a tenant's claim of breach of the warranty of habitability.
2024 Regular Session
Bill Summary

The act modifies existing warranty of habitability laws by clarifying actions that constitute a breach of the warranty of habitability (breach) and procedures for both landlords and tenants when a warranty of habitability claim (claim) is alleged by the tenant. Updates to existing warranty of habitability laws include:

  • Establishing time frames for when a landlord must communicate with the tenant and commence remedial action after having notice of a condition related to the habitability of a residential premises;
  • Requiring a landlord to perform conduct to address an uninhabitable condition until such condition is completely remedied or repaired;
  • Establishing a rebuttable presumption that a landlord has failed the landlord's duty to remedy or repair a condition if the condition continues to exist either 7 or 14 days after the landlord has notice of the condition, depending on the condition at issue in the tenant's claim;
  • Determining when a landlord is presumed to have notice of a condition;
  • Requiring a landlord to provide a tenant with a comparable dwelling unit or hotel room for up to 60 days while the landlord addresses any uninhabitable conditions that materially interfere with the tenant's life, health, or safety;
  • Requiring a landlord to maintain all records, including correspondence and other documentation, relevant to a tenant's claim and any remedial actions taken by the landlord;
  • Requiring rental agreements entered into after January 1, 2025, to feature a statement in English and Spanish regarding where a tenant can report or deliver written notice of an unsafe or uninhabitable condition;
  • Establishing procedures for when a landlord may enter the dwelling unit of a tenant to address an uninhabitable condition and identifying circumstances when a tenant may deny a landlord entry to the dwelling unit;
  • Clarifying certain conditions or characteristics of residential premises that are considered uninhabitable;
  • Establishing that there is a rebuttable presumption that certain conditions and characteristics of a residential premises materially interfere with a tenant's life, health, or safety; and
  • Modifying and clarifying a tenant's option for remedies when bringing a claim against a landlord and modifying procedures for accessing those remedies.

The act establishes legal standards and court procedures related to claims, including authorizing a tenant to raise a breach as an affirmative defense against a landlord's action for possession or action of collection against the tenant. The act also establishes legal standards and procedures for a landlord's defense to a claim and limitations on a tenant's claim. The act instructs the court in its calculation of actual and punitive damages for breach cases.

The act prohibits retaliation and specifies what tenant actions are protected by the prohibition on retaliation and what actions constitute retaliation by the landlord.

The act clarifies the jurisdiction of the attorney general and county and district courts over matters related to violations of the warranty of habitability.

The act also modifies the statement included in a summons issued to a defendant in a court proceeding regarding an action for possession brought by a landlord.

APPROVED by Governor May 3, 2024

EFFECTIVE May 3, 2024
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)


Became Law


Bill Text

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details