A tenant seeking to use this theory as a defense to eviction should provide written notice to the landlord that there is a defect in the property. The notice to the landlord typically must provide the landlord with a reasonable amount of time to accomplish the repairs. If the landlord is nonresponsive, the tenant may then hire and pay for a professional to make the necessary repairs, then deduct the cost of the repairs from the rent paid to the landlord. Some states restrict this repair and deduct tactic and provide that the cost of the repair must not be more than one month’s rent.
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