Under what conditions can a tenant pay for anitemand deduct the cost from their rent?

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Under what conditions can a tenant pay for anitemand deduct the cost from their rent?

My wife, 7 year old child and I moved into an apartment. There wasn’t a refrigerator, guard rails, painted walls, or a working oven. We went 5 1/2 months without a the oven and so we purchased our own and took it out of the rent. The management company is demanding the extra $625 we spent or else legal action will be taken.

Asked on September 7, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In most states there are repair and deduct statutes or case law allowing the tenant after notifying the landlord of conditions necessitating repairs due to a health and safety issue can make the repairs themselves and deduct the costs for such in the next month's rent if the landlord is not responsive to the requests for repairs by the tenant.

In your situation, you rented the unit that did not have a working oven. Working ovens (as opposed to having a refrigerator in an apartment) are the norm for any rental of residential property. You ended up spending $625.00 for an oven to replace the one that was not working.

It seems that you were entirely within your rights to do so and deduct the $625.00 from your following rental payment.

If the rental company continues to threaten you with legal action, you should contact your local landlord tenant clinic about the situation.

Good luck.


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