What should a tenant do if their landlord is threatening them because they will not pay rentdue to a lack of repairs?

Landlord has called and texted more then 20 times cursing and using very bad language.

Asked on March 13, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The tenant should consult with an attorney *immediately* since the landlord may be able to evict for nonpayment. Landlords need to make important repairs, ones affecting use or habitability (e.g. leaking roof or pipes, no heat, no electricity, broken window, no working lot on door, mold remediation, etc.). They don't need to make minor fixes--sticking window, old paint, rip in carpeting, one burner on stove doesn't work, etc.

Tenants can *sometimes* withhold rent due to a lack of repairs, but this *must* be done properly--for example, after written  notice to the landlord; and usually rather than withhold all rent, the tenant can pay for repairs and deduct the actual cost from rent. If withholding rent is done improperly, the tenant is breaching the lease and can be evicted. Speak with a lawyer about to safely and appropriate vindicate your rights while avoiding eviction.


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