Withholding rent for repairs

By Chris Schell

We moved into a beautiful house with a Beautiful Yard in August. On August 14th my property manager told me that they would be putting in a new septic tank, and had been planning to since February (this info was withheld from me when I signed the lease) The work started September first and was completed October 30th. During this time I had 10 foot holes in my yard, a missing section of fence, the toilet had to be replaced ( forcing us to leave for the night), the plumber left debris on my floor in the bathroom, bedroom and living room that took me hours to scrub off, I had backhoes parked within 3 feet of my porch and 5 foot piles of dirt within 10 feet of my door.

My yard which was lovely grass was 1/2 an acre, now there is less than 200 square feet of grass left, the rest is dirt. The property manager says grass will be planted in the spring. Snow will cause a huge mud bog in my yard this winter as the snow does not cover the ground but for a few days after the snow, causing my dog to track mud all over my house. My two year old daughter will not be able to use the yatrd for playing in the snow (which she loves).

The construction caused many hazzards and we could not use the yard at all during those two months.

My lease says I am entitled to “quiet enjoyment of the property”.

My landlord gave me free rent for September, saying that due to the hazzards it was the right thing to do. For October she demands total rent on the first or as $50 late charge plus $5 a day after that. She said she should not have to compensate me as it was the contractors fault, even thought the problem worsened for October. They were supposed to put in 2 tanks, but put in 3.

What are my rights? Can i withhold rent for October (due in November). What can the landlord do if I withhold rent?

Please help, I’m desperate.

Edited on: Thursday, November 6th, 2008 10:09 am

3 Responses to “Withholding rent for repairs”

My response: (We welcome stories, examples, explanations, answers and a touch of your personality)


November 6th, 2008 11:28 am

If you with hold rent you will be evicted! So I wouldn’t ever suggest doing that. The only work around would be to create a paper trail such as filing a complaint with the RPA, or having an attorney draft up a document for you. Be cautious with how you proceed.


November 11th, 2008 7:44 am

I would try working this out with the landlord… It sounds like they are dragging their feet on getting things back to normal. If your landlord refuses, file a landlord complaint with the RPA. If you’re really desparate, the $35 processing fee will be money well spent.
Good Luck :)

Randy Stone

November 12th, 2008 6:36 am

I had to file a complaint on my landlord too. I was nervous at first, but after I filed the complaint with the RPA my landlord finally took care of a leaking pipe. Ever since I filed the complaint, it seems like my landlord respects me more. You know you are protected against landlord retaliation, so if you can’t get them to respond– file a landlord complaint.


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