Run down public housing can I set up an escrow

Hello, I am disabled and live in public housing. At the place I live, 3/4 of the
gutter/drainage has been ripped down as though some moron was hanging from it. As
a result, I get about 2-3 inches of standing water right in front of my porch
EVERY time it rains, and it remains that way for a few days after the rain stops.
I have pictures. It has been this way since I moved in and I have put in several
maintenance requests, but was told by that it probably wouldn’t get fixed for
another year because they will be fixing the ROOFING on a lot of these places
then. This is the just biggest of the problems that they won’t fix, but there are
many more. Can I set up and an escrow account to pay my rent into until public
housing fixes the river that flows through my front yard? Thank you in advance

Asked on November 19, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Kansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

You can only legally withhold rent for conditions that negatively affect habitability, which is narrowly defined by the law as thigs making it unsafe or unhealth to live there. Other maintenance, etc. conditions--old paint, scratched floors, peeling wallpaper, muddy yeards, etc.--do not entitle you to withhold money.
Even if you believe a condition or condition is so bad--has such a negative effect on habitabiity--as to justify withholding rent:
1) Make sure you first gave the landlord written notice of the conditions and a reasonable chance or opportunity to fix them.
2) Make sure you don't spend the money, but put it aside--you will need it later.
3) Expect that the landlord will likely try to evict you and you will have to go to court and raise the lack of habitability as a defense to eviction. Bear in mind that if you should miss the court date for some reason, you will lose by "default' and be evicted.


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