Rent Withholding Definition

A residential tenant's refusal to pay the rent, based on the landlord's unjustified refusal or failure to fix a defect in the rental that renders it unlivable or seriously unsafe. Rent withholding is legal only if a state statute provides for it, and often the tenant must deposit the rent in court or in an escrow account, pending the landlord's repairs. (See also: implied warranty of habitability)