A residence that is fit for human occupation and is free of serious defects that might pose a risk to one's health and safety is considered habitable. By law, landlords in each state must offer habitable premises and maintain them. Although the definition of a habitable dwelling varies from state to state, all agree that basic services (adequate heat, hot water, and plumbing) as well as a sound structure that does not pose unreasonable safety risks are required in every rental. Tenants have various remedies when premises become substandard. See: Landlord-Tenant Law; rent withholding, and repair and deduct.
In Miller v. Christian, the Third Circuit held that every tenancy agreement has an implied warranty of habitability which casts upon the landlord a duty to keep the premises in “safe and sanitary condition” and fit for habitation.
[Last updated in December of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]