Housing and Community Development Department
Fair Housing - Tenant Law - Tenant's Repair & Deduct Remedy
A landlord is liable to a tenant for necessary repairs. if a landlord fails to repair in a timely manner, the tenant may make the repairs and deduct the cost from the rent. The tenant must follow these steps:
- Give the landlord written notice of the necessity for the repair.
- The notice must state specifically what will be done, and that tenant will take the cost from the next month's rent. The cost is limited to the rent the tenant pays per month. If the tenant is on subsidized housing, the amount is limited to the fair market value for the dwelling.
- The tenant must allow reasonable time for the landlord to make the repair. Generally, reasonable time in this process is seven (7) days. There are exceptions:
- If a repair involves sewage or flooding, the landlord must respond immediately after notification. If not, the tenant is allowed to make the repair immediately.
- If the repair involves the cessation of the potable water supply promised in the lease, tenant may have repairs done within three (3) days, if the landlord has not responded. For other types of repairs, the landlord may delay a tenant's repairs by filing an affidavit for delay, stating the reason for delay.
- The landlord may delay a repair for fifteen (15) days if he has not obtained the necessary parts
- The landlord may delay for 30 days if there is a shortage of labor or materials due to a natural disaster (hurricane, tornado, flood, extended freeze, or windstorm.) If the tenant makes the repairs, he must use an advertised company, contractor, or repairman, who will work in accordance with all applicable local building codes and permits.
Finally, if the landlord makes the repairs, or delivers an affidavit for delay after the tenant has contacted a repairman, but before the works begins, the landlord is liable for the cost of the repairman's trip charge. The tenant may deduct the charge from the next rental payment.