Repair and Deduct may be a good solution for you if:
• You don’t want to move,
• Your problem is something specific that a repair person can fix, and
• The repairs will cost less than what you pay for your monthly rent. If you have already called or texted the landlord about the repair, but gotten no response, you must write to your landlord about the conditions that need to be repaired. Do not skip this step — you must put it in writing so that the landlord is aware of the situation, even if you’ve already talked about it many times. (There are sample letters on the website).
• Be brief but detailed about the problem — explain how it affects your family’s home, health, safety or cleanliness. If you can, also take pictures and/or videos of the problem.
• Always keep copies of all your letters.
• Give your landlord a reasonable time to do the repairs.
If the landlord doesn’t respond to your request, call around and get about three written estimates of how much the repairs will cost. Write the landlord again and let the landlord know that you plan to get it fixed yourself and to subtract the cost from your rent. Choose the most reasonably priced company. Remember, you can only use the repair and deduct option if you can pay for the repairs yourself and they cost less than a month’s rent.
Before you get the repairs done, take pictures or video and make sure that other people have seen the problem and its effects. You want to have proof that the problem was serious in case you need to go to court. In addition, it would be helpful to ask the repair people to describe the problems in their written estimates or receipts.
When you get the repairs done, get a receipt. Then, when it is time to pay rent, write to your landlord again to tell them that you got the repairs done and how much money you spent. Give your landlord a copy of your receipt and subtract the amount you paid for repairs from your usual rent amount. Pay your landlord the difference for your next month’s rent. Important: only spend the money on the repairs, not on anything else. The next month you must go back to paying your usual amount.