Is your rent hike illegal?

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Q: After weeks of trying to get our landlord to make a repair to the roof, we decided to withhold rent. We followed our state's rules, and the landlord got the idea -- he repaired the roof. But then he served us with a rent increase. Isn't this illegal? --Dori and Tom T. A: Most states that allow tenants to withhold rent and/or use "repair-and-deduct" also prohibit landlord retaliation when tenants invoke these remedies.The reason is clear enough: It would defeat the purpose of these remedies if landlords could turn around and raise the rent, withhold services, or terminate the tenancy. If such responses were legally tolerated, few tenants would take the risk of asserting their rights. However (Isn't there always a "however" in the law?), a rent hike or even a termination following a tenant's exercise of rent withholding or repair-and-deduct isn't necessarily an instance of illegal retaliation. Landlords always have the opportunity to argue that their ac...