Is it legal to withhold rent if the landlord is not supplying the tenant with an adequate air conditioning unit?

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Is it legal to withhold rent if the landlord is not supplying the tenant with an adequate air conditioning unit?

A lawsuit has been brought against me, how should I handle it? Really looking for as much advice I can get without being hindered financially.

Asked on June 5, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Generally speaking no, a tenant should not withhold rent.  Instead you should go to the court and ask to pay rent in to court and start a proceeding against the landlord for either a breach in the lease agreement and/or a breach of the warranty of habitability.  So you are being sued for back rent or evicted for it, correct?  Then you need to respond to the suit and raise the breach of warranty and breach of lease as "affirmative defenses" and ask ing the court to allow you to pay the past due rent in to court until the matter is resolved.  Also ask for an "abatement" - reduction - in the rent for the time that it was not working.  Good luck.


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