If my landlord has failed to fix my hot water heater for a little over 2 months now, is there anything i can do about it?

I have been unable to take a shower whenever i want for a little over two months now. They have replaced a couple parts but it has not solved the issue. I requested that they come out every day and relight the pilot which they agreed to but have failed to do. I keep having to re light it. I know this isn’t the trickiest thing in the world to do however, it should not be my responsibility.

Asked on August 1, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you have provided written notice to the landlord and a reasonable opportunity to fix the problem but they have not, you should be able to hire someone to fix it and deduct the cost of the service call from your rent. (This called "pay and deduct" and its a remedy sometimes available to tenants.)  Be prepared that if the landlord takes legal action to recover that money from you, a court could conclude that the problem was not serious enough as to warrant the service call (i.e. that you should have re-lit the pilot yourself) and award the money to the landlord. Therefore, if you do this, be sure you keep the money somewhere safe (e.g. in your savings account) and don't spend it, so you could pay it to the landlord if required to do so.

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Given the fact that your landlord has not adequately repaired your water heater after numerous attempts, I would write him or her a letter giving a due date to have the system in order or you will fix it yourself by hiring a repair person and will debit the cost of such from your next month's rent. Keep a copy of the letter for future use and need.

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