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No heat, water, electricity, or other essential service

Sometimes a landlord shuts off a utility (heat, water, electricity, etc.) on purpose as a way to force the Tenant to leave. Sometimes the loss of a utility or other essential service is not intentional, but the Landlord failed to keep up with repairs or pay utility bills. See also information on lock-outs.

In cases of emergency, a tenant may start an action in court for the loss of:  running water, hot water, heat, electricity, sanitary facilities (e.g., toilet, shower/bathtub, etc.), or other essential service that the landlord is responsible for providing (e.g., an elevator in a tall building).

The Court usually schedules these types of cases very quickly. The tenant should let the landlord know 24 hours in advance that the tenant plans to take the case to court.

If the court finds there is a problem because of the landlord, the court may:

  • order the landlord to fix the problem right away,
  • order the tenant to make the repairs (and deduct the cost of the repairs from the rent payment), or
  • appoint an administrator to use the rent money to make the repairs.

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