In the matter of a dispute between a tenant and a landlord, there are cases where a tenant can withhold rent without any worry of whether this breaks the law. It is important to note that guidelines vary by region when it comes to this. Also, the circumstances must be pretty severe. A unit must be deemed uninhabitable by fault of the landlord. It is also important to note that the tenant must’ve been up to date with all payments and not in conflict with any other aspect for the lease.

Things can become quite tricky depending on which state the situation is occurring. Not all states allow a withholding of rent. In some areas, other methods may be presented as alternatives. A common one is something called repair-and-deduct. This means that a tenant may pay to fix a problem themselves and simply subtract that amount from the amount owed for rent.

Before withholding rent, it will be in a tenant’s best interest to consult a lawyer first. In many cases, landlords will approach the matter as if the tenant just refused to pay rent without a reason. Eviction is typically the desired outcome of the landlord in these cases. To avoid that, a lawyer’s consult will be the best course of action. In addition to this, it is important to provide the proper documentation of any unbearable living conditions. recommends sending a letter via certified mail so there is proof that the notice was received and read. Another key point is to keep visual evidence of the noted problems with the living unit and the ways in which the landlord responded or not.

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