AgentRentals

Repair and deduct: What are the rules?

When landlord ignores fix-it requests, tenants take action

Q: My landlord ignores my repeated requests for repairs. Can I get things fixed and take it out of the rent? A: Yes and no. Yes, the remedy known as "repair and deduct" does exist as an option for renters living in a multitude of states. It is a last resort to consider after exhausting all other options. No, you can't just skip paying the rent and start wielding a hammer. Like all laws, there's a procedure to follow to avoid getting into hot water and getting scorched by landlord retaliation. Consulting with a legal resource such as an attorney, mediator or tenant organization is vital. First, get organized by listing and photographing the offending conditions. A step by step path that may resolve the problem with your landlord is offered through various sources, including a joint project of Housing Rights Inc. and the East Bay Community Law Project in Northern California. Suggestions include putting repair requests in writing, continuing to pay the rent until the issue i...