Here are tips and guidelines for tenants to follow when looking for that "perfect" place:
You are entitled to a safe and habitable living environment throughout your entire tenancy. The State Sanitary Code protects the health, safety and well-being of tenants and the general public and the local Boards of Health enforce the Code.
The following is a sampling of provisions outlined in the Code:
Water: The landlord must provide you with enough water, with adequate pressure, to meet your ordinary needs. Under certain limited circumstances, you can be charged for water costs so long as it is clearly noted in your written rental agreement and there is a separate meter for your unit. The landlord must also provide the facilities to heat the water at a temperature between 110º F and 130º F, however your written tenancy agreement or lease may require you to pay for and provide the fuel to heat the water.
Heat: The landlord must provide a heating system in good working order. The landlord must pay for the heat, unless your lease requires you to pay for it. From September 16 to June 14, every room must be heated to at least 68º F between 7:00 AM and 11 PM, and at least 64º F at all other hours. During the heating season, the maximum heat allowable in the apartment is 78º F.
Kitchens: The landlord must provide within the kitchen: a sink of sufficient size and capacity for washing dishes and kitchen utensils, a stove and oven in good repair (unless your written lease requires you to provide your own), and space and proper facilities for the installation of a refrigerator. The landlord does not have to provide a refrigerator. If a refrigerator is provided, however, the landlord must keep it in working order.
Cockroaches and Rodents: The landlord must maintain the unit free from rodents, cockroaches, and insect infestation, if there are two or more apartments in the building.
Structural Elements: Every landlord must maintain the foundation, floors, walls, doors, windows, ceilings, roof, staircases, porches, chimneys, and other structural elements of the dwelling so that it excludes wind, rain, and snow; is rodent-proof, weathertight, watertight, and free from chronic dampness; in good repair, and in every way fit for its intended use.
Snow Removal: Every exit used or intended for use by occupants of more than one dwelling unit or rooming unit shall be maintained free from obstruction.
More importantly, read the written lease carefully and seek the services of an experienced attorney in landlord-tenant issues to review.
Contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a consultation should you find yourself facing eviction, discrimination or uninhabitable conditions to learn of your rights.