How many notices doI need to give my landlord about repairs before I withold rent or repair myself?

UPDATED: Dec 12, 2011

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How many notices doI need to give my landlord about repairs before I withold rent or repair myself?

Asked on December 12, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

There is no hard and fast rule for this.

That said, a good rule of thumb would be to provide at least two written notices, sent someway you can prove delivery (e.g. certified mail, with return receipt; fed ex; fax with confirmation report) and--very important--a "reasonable time" after each notice (maybe 2 - 4 weeks) to address, or at least schedule to address, the problem.

Note you may NOT withhold rent to force the landlord to repair. What you may do is make the repairs yourself and deduct the actual cost of the repair; furtheremore, you can only generally do this for conditions affecting habitability or safety (so, for example, for water leaks, lack of water or heat, broken windows or door locks...but not for a sticking kitchen cabinet, one burner out of four being out on a stove, etc.).

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.

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