Stephen A. Martin, Attorney at Law
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Withholding rent from a landlord

Most in Saint Charles may assume that in a typical landlord-tenant relationship, the landlord has the most power. The perceived resource discrepancy that many presume exists between both sides might contribute to this line of thinking. There may be a degree of truth in this notion; date shared by The New York Times shows that 90 percent of landlords have access to legal resources, while an equal precentage of rentersd do not. There are instances, however, where a tenant can sieze a degree of power in his or her relationship with a landlord. 

One of these is when there are issues with a property that need to be addressed. As the owner, the landlord has the responsibility to ensure that a property remains in good condition. If the landlord fails to take action whens its needed., then a tenant may choose to take matters into his or her own hands by paying to have repairs done and then withholding that amount from his or her monthly rent

Can one legally do that? According to the Missouri Attorney General's office, that answer to that question is yes (but only under certain conditions). Those are when damage to a property is so bad that it affects both the sanitary and overall living conditions of the property. Plus, one must prove that: 

  • He or she has been living on the property for at least six months
  • He or she is current with the rent
  • He or she is not violation of his or her lease

One must also provide the property owener with ample notice of the need for him or her to make repairs, and then wait for at least two weeks for him or her to them. If nothing happens, one is then free to withhold rent money. 

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