Can I withhold rent if my landlord won’t fix a big hole in 3rd floor landing and won’t clean pigeon feces?

UPDATED: Apr 3, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can I withhold rent if my landlord won’t fix a big hole in 3rd floor landing and won’t clean pigeon feces?

I live on the 3rd floor of an apartment complex. Been living here for over 6 years. There is a big hole (which is getting bigger) on the 3rd floor landing between my apartment and the next apartment. Also there is dried and new pigeon feces all over the place on this 3rd floor landing. If I take the stairs to get to my place (so I don’t encounter the hole and pigeon feces) there is a loose stair, plus a sticky railing (from said pigeon feces). Either way I seem to encounter a problem. Notified landlord multiple times and all I get is “we will take care of it” What do I do?

Asked on April 3, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Arizona


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The first thing that you should do is to contact the Health Department.  This is a completely unsafe and unsanitary condition.  Additionally, every lease contains what is known as an implied "warranty of habitability".  It gives a tenant the right to live in a clean and safe premises.  Accordingly, if a landlord refuses to make necessary repairs, a tenant may have the right to:

  1. Repair and Deduct - repair the problem and then charge their landlord for the cost of the repair;
  2. Terminate the Lease - end their tenancy and vacate the premises; and
  3. Withhold Rent - refuse to make any further rental payments until the repair is properly made. 

First however, you need to consult with a landlord-tenant attorney before pursuing any of these remedies.  If you fail to follow the proper legal procedures for any of the above, you could be held financially liable.  Contact a tenant's rights organization or a lawyer that specializes in landlord-tenant law. Depending on your income, you could also ask Legal Aid for assistance or the state/county bar association.  A  local law school clinic might also be of help to you.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption