LIABILITY OF LANDLORD FOR WATER SUPPLY.
A correspondent of the New York Journal of Commerce sent the following query to the editor of that paper: “In April of this year (1905) I rented, for a term of one year, an apartment on the sixth floor of an apartment house in Brooklyn. It was equipped with bathrooms and all necessary plumbing. The house has a large water tank on the roof. During the existing water shortage I am unable to get water, except for about two hours each day. It is then necessary to fill the bathtubs and other receptacles in order to have a supply for ordinary uses. The tanks cannot be kept full, and the bathtubs cannot be used for bathing purposes. I find that the house has no pump for forcing water to the roof-tank, and. therefore, the latter is of no use, the supply being dependent upon the city pressure. The tenants of the apartments on the lower floors have an abundant supply. My lease says nothing about water supply. Is the landlord under any obligations to me in this respect, and have I any recourse against him ?”
The editor’s reply is as follows: “When an apartment is hired, which is apparently supplied with water from the outside, that fact alone amounts to an implied agreement on the part of the landlord that there is such a supply, and that it will not be interrupted by him. It would he a fraud on the part of the landlord to fit up his apartments with an appearance of a water supply, and to make no explanation to his prospective tenant, if, in fact, there were no water. The implied agreement goes no farther, however, than a covenant on the part of the landlord that he will not interfere with the water supply, and an implied representation on his part that the supply is such as the pipes and plumbing show it to be that is. that it is such a supply as is ordinarily furnished in apartments of that height, in that part of the city, when the supply comes from a tank visible upon the roof, and not directly from the street mains. If the tenant desires more than that, if he wishes to hold the landlord for an interruption of the supply not caused by the landlord himself and not attributable to any latent defect in the plumbing arrangements, it can be done only bv having the landlord enter into an express covenant to that effect. Our correspondent has no redress in this case. The landlord has not interfered with the water supply He has not, so far as we are advised, entered into a covenant that he will keep up the supply of water, or that the supply shall remain in the same condition in which it was at the beginning. In such a case, an interruption of tbe supply arising in the way our correspondent describes is at the risk of the tenant. For New York decisions to this effect see 3 Jones and Sp., 412: 8 App. Div., 54, and 23 Misc., 348.”