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The implied warranty is designed to insure that a landlord will provide facilities and services vital to the life, health, and safety of the tenant and to the use of the premises for residential purposes. This warranty is applicable both at the beginning of the lease and throughout its duration. Additionally to assert a breach of the implied warranty of habitability, a tenant must prove he or she gives notice to the landlord of the defect or condition, that he, the landlord, has a reasonable opportunity to make the necessary repairs, and that he fails to do so.
Joni Marie Asper died of smoke inhalation in a fire which occurred in the apartment that her father, John Asper, rented from appellee, Ronald Wayne Haffley. As a result of her death, appellant administratrix instituted proceedings against appellee. Appellee's motion for summary judgment was granted on the grounds that appellant had not alleged sufficient facts on which appellee could be held liable on a theory of negligence, that appellee could not be found strictly liable for maintaining a building in violation of 34 Pa. Code § 37.3, and that appellant could not amend her complaint to incorporate a theory of strict liability because her request was untimely. Appellant administratrix sought review.
Did the appellant allege sufficient facts on which appellee could be held liable on a theory of negligence, thereby rendering the grant of summary judgment in favor of appellee an error?
The court reversed the order. The court held that appellant's negligence claim presented a question of fact because the facts alleged, and reasonable inferences therefrom, were sufficient, if proved, to support a finding that a dangerous condition existed with respect to the premises leased, that the landlord was aware of the dangerous condition and failed to exercise reasonable care to correct the condition, and that the existence of the condition was in violation of an implied warranty of habitability.