What to so if landlord does not respond to request for repairs?

UPDATED: Oct 16, 2010

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What to so if landlord does not respond to request for repairs?

Model tenant for 16 years. Water seeped through old window frames and brick of a 100 year oldo building causing blistered/peeled plaster and 5 large areas of exposed brick. Surface area needs repainting after repairs (50% bedroom). Requested total apartment. Not painted for the entire term of the tenancy (again 16 years). Also, asked for 4-5 minor repairs (cheap closet hardware came out of wall in LR, drywall torn in bath during tub repair). Landlord only agreed to doing wall repair (not yet done) and does not respond to me (made 4x in writing, sent certified mail, plus e-mail). What are my legal options?

Asked on October 16, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

You could make the repairs yourself and deduct the cost from the rent.  If you hire someone to make the repairs, you will need to mitigate (minimize) damages by not hiring the most expensive repair service.  To mitigate damages, you will need to hire someone whose charges are comparable to others in the community for the same type of repairs.

The repairs you described do NOT appear to rise to the level constituting a breach of the implied warranty of habitability.  The implied warranty of habitability is included in every lease and requires the landlord to maintain the premises in a habitable condition based on compliance with local and state housing codes.  If there had been a breach of the implied warranty of habitability, you could sue the landlord for breach of implied warranty of habitability.  The tenant could then withhold rent and defend against eviction or move out and terminate the obligation to pay rent for the balance of the term of the lease.

Again, the repairs you described do NOT rise to the level of a breach of the implied warranty of habitability.  I am only mentioning the implied warranty of habitability in case the landlord's failure to make repairs renders the premises uninhabitable in the future given the track record of this particular landlord. 

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