If your landlord has not met the responsibility of keeping your unit livable, you may be able to stop paying any rent to the landlord until the repairs are made. This is called rent withholding. Many states have established rent withholding, either by statute or court decision. To withhold rent, the problem must be serious (and not caused by you or a guest), you must be paid up in rent and in compliance with all lease terms, and you must have met all requirements (described below) for withholding rent. See your state law on rent withholding for information on your state rules.
Rent withholding can be done only in states that specifically allow it by law. If yours isn’t one of them, you’ll have to use another approach, such as repair-and-deduct, or face a termination notice and eviction lawsuit for nonpayment of rent. See the article Tenant Options if Your Landlord Won’t Make Repairs for other ways to get repairs made.â