Skip to main content



The River Club v. Woodson

A-5657-02T2 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2004) (Unpublished)

LANDLORD-TENANT—Lack of heat for prolonged periods during the winter directly affects the habitability of an apartment and supports the complete abatement of rent.

The lower court granted tenants “a 100% rent abatement for three and one-half months.” Two adults and an infant had moved into an apartment. For three and one-half months, “the heating system malfunctioned and required repair. Twice during this period, [the tenants] vacated the apartment for extended periods.” In response, the landlord extended a one month’s rent credit. The credit was accepted by the tenants, but they wanted more.

Eventually, the landlord commenced an eviction complaint based upon non-payment of rent. The tenants responded that the premises were uninhabitable and sought a hearing. The lower court found that the heating problem “was persistent, and that it detracted from [the tenants’] use and enjoyment of the apartment.” The lower court also proceeded “to find that the persistence and nature of the defect in the premises rendered the unit uninhabitable for three and one-half months” and granted the rent credit.

On appeal, the Court opined that “[h]eat is a basic service. Lack of heat for prolonged periods during the winter directly affects the habitability of an apartment and supports the complete abatement of the rent.”


MEISLIK & MEISLIK
66 Park Street • Montclair, New Jersey 07042
tel: 973-783-3000 • fax: 973-744-5757 • info@meislik.com