Can I Repair and Deduct?

What does it mean to Repair and Deduct?

If your landlord does not make necessary repairs in a timely manner, you have the right to pay someone to do the repairs and deduct the cost from your rent.

How does it work?

If your landlord has not responded to your request for a necessary repair, you can follow these steps:

  1. Ask a contractor to give you an estimate for the cost of the repair. The cost for repair should not be more than the amount of rent owed for the full term of your lease. For tenants on a month-to-month lease, the cost should not be more than a single month of rent.
  2. Send a letter to your landlord stating that if they do not make repairs in a reasonable amount of time, you will pay for repairs and deduct the cost from your rent. Include the estimate from the contractor. Check out our sample letter
  3. Hire the contractor if the landlord does not complete the repairs in a reasonable amount of time.
  4. When you pay your next month’s rent, send your landlord the invoice and payment receipt along with any remaining rent owed.

Can you give me an example?

Say it’s the middle of August, and you have a toilet that keeps running in an apartment that you rent for $1000 a month. You text the landlord and call them on the phone, but after a week, they still haven’t come out to repair it. You know you’re going to have a high water bill if the toilet doesn’t get repaired, so you ask a local handyman to give you an estimate to repair the leak. They email you an estimate stating that it will be $95 to come out and fix a leaky flap. You then email your landlord the estimate and explain that if they do not repair the toilet in 48 hours, you’re going to pay for the repair and deduct it from your rent. After two days the landlord still does not respond, so you hire the handyman and get a receipt. The whole job ended up costing $150 because the fill valve was also faulty. When you go to pay your September rent, you send the receipt for $150 repairs along with $850 for your remaining rent.

What are the risks?

If you want to exercise your right to Repair and Deduct, you should be aware of some risks:

What do I do if my landlord retaliates?

It’s an unfair rental practice for a landlord to retaliate against a tenant who exercises a legal right. If your landlord threatens to evict you for exercising your right to Repair and Deduct, you can file a Fair Housing Commission complaint.


Call Hotline
(267) 443-2500
Need Help?
Call Us