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Hilder v. St. Peter

From lawbrain.com

Hilder v. St. Peter, 478 A.2d 202 (1984), is a property case dealing with the implied warranty of habitability and whether it exists in a residential lease setting.

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Contents

Summary of Case Facts

Hilder leased an apartment from St. Peter that had serious defects and was in general disrepair. The apartment had numerous issues, ranging from broken windows, clogged pipes, presence of raw sewage, noxious odors, no lights, no heat, faulty ceiling panels, etc. Hilder stayed and continued to pay rent, addressing the issues with the landlord (St. Peter) who indicated the problems would be fixed (but they never were). Hilder eventually brought a suit against St. Peter to recover her amounts paid in rent in addition to any costs she spent on repairs on the basis of breaching the implied warranty of habitability.

Issue

Does an implied warranty of habitability exist in a residential lease?

Holding and Law

Yes. Interpretations of old held that no implied warranty of habitability existed in leases, and that the lessee took the property as he or she found it. That, however, was the view in an agrarian society. The court recognized that as more people now live in an urban setting, they are bargaining for viable housing, and the receipt of anything less than that results in receiving less than what the tenant contracted for in their lease. Thus, if a tenant receives uninhabitable housing it amounts to a breach of contract by the lessor, resulting in the availability of not only contract damages, but any tort damages that may have resulted as well.

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