How to repair and deduct (step by step instructions)

Category: Tenant Rights & Laws Last Updated: Monday, 30 July 2018 Published: Monday, 30 July 2018 Written by ATA Admin

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How to repair and deduct (step by step instructions)

Repair and Deduct may be a good solution for you if:

you don’t want to move,

your problem is something specific that a repair person can fix, and

the repairs will cost less than what you pay for your monthly rent.

1. Send your landlord a written or typed letter explaining the problem. You should send this letter certified mail (return receipt) through the united states postal service. Do not skip this step– you must tell him or her in writing, even if you've already told him or her before about the problem. Be detailed about the problem– explain how seriously it affects your family’s home, life, health, safety, cleanliness, etc. If you can, also take pictures of the problem. Always keep copies of all your letters.

2. Next, give your landlord a reasonable amount of time to do the repairs.

3. If he or she doesn't fix the problems, you need to write to him or her again. Tell him or her that because he or she has not fixed your problems, you plan to get it fixed yourself and to subtract the cost from your rent, if he does not repair it immediately.

4. If the landlord doesn't do anything within a day or two, call around and get about three written estimates of how much the repairs will cost. Choose the most reasonably priced company. Remember, you can only use repair and deduct if you can pay for the repairs.

5. Get the repairs done. Get a receipt. Then, when it is time to pay rent, write to your landlord again, telling him that you got the repairs done, and how much money you spent. Give him a copy of your receipt, and copies of the other estimates you had gotten, so he can see you spent a fair amount. Subtract the amount you paid for repairs from your usual rent amount, and only pay your landlord the difference.

Important: only spend the money on the repairs, not on anything else. The next month, you must go back to paying your usual amount. 

Before you get the repairs done, make sure that other people have seen the problem and its effects, so that if you ever need to go to court, you’ll have proof that the problem was serious. In addition, if you can get the repair people to describe the problems in their written estimates or receipts, that could be helpful.

Take pictures and/or video of the repairs that need to be made.



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