If my apartment has roaches and I pay my rent on time, canI refuse to pay rent until the problem is fixed?

UPDATED: Nov 4, 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

If my apartment has roaches and I pay my rent on time, canI refuse to pay rent until the problem is fixed?

I don’t have a lease.

Asked on November 4, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

No, you can't do this. If you withhold rent (or go on a rent strike, as it used to be called), you can be evicted. That is not to say that you do not have rights or recourse--you do. Your permissible options are:

1) Sue the landlord, seeking both a court order forcing him or her to exterminate the roaches and also monetary compesation for the time you've had to live with them.

2) Hire an exterminator yourself, if after written notice of the problem and a reasonable opportunity to respond to it, the landlord has not done so; you may then be able to deduct the actual cost of extermination, but no more, from your rent.

Ideally, you should get an attorney to help you; taking action against your landlord improperly can result in you facing liability yourself, or eviction. But if you cannot or will not hire a lawyer, you could pursue the options above. The key to both is provide written notice of the problem and a chance to fix it, before acting (and be able to document that you did this); and keep paying rent, except in the event of option 2, where ou withhold only what was necessary to pay the exterminator. Good luck.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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