If you are not satisfied with the conditions of the apartment or house you are renting, you can stop paying rent until your landlord does the appropriate repairs. This act is called “rent withholding” and it can be done through court decision or statute, depending on the state.
To make your rent withholding lawful, the bad condition of the property you rent must be very serious and you or any of your guests must not be the party who caused it. You can only withhold your rent if your state allows it by law. If your state does not allow it, you can choose to have the repair cost deducted from your rent. Also, if your state does not have a law allowing rent withholding and you refuse to pay rent, you could be terminated or evicted.
Rent withholding doesn’t necessarily mean that you will keep the rent money; instead, it means that you will deposit the money to the court, which is a third party. You can also deposit the money in an escrow account, which is set up by a housing agency or a local court until your landlord get the property fixed.
If your state does not allow the escrow scheme and you choose not to pay rent, you may use the bad condition of the property you rent as reason for not paying when the landlord tries to evict you. If the judge or the jury in court sees your case is strong, you will win the eviction lawsuit and you may be allowed to continue to stay on the property you rent.
If you really want to push through with rent withholding you must first know if it is allowed in your state and learn what justifies it. Then, you should notify your landlord through a written notice about the problem. You should also collect evidence of the bad condition of the property. Before filing any papers in court, you should request for another repair. If there are still no repairs, file the charges and deposit your rent to the right third party for the escrow scheme.
To really make sure that you get what you deserve for the property you rent, it would be wise to consult and hire an attorney.