How to Write a Letter to Withhold Rent from a Landlord


If you have rental-property repairs that must be made and your landlord is unwilling to make them, you can write a letter stating that you are going to withhold rent from your landlord until they are made. Consult your local laws to make sure this is the proper procedure in your area, and speak with a rental attorney if you have any doubts.

  • Deposit the rent you're going to withhold into an escrow account. Don't withhold the entire rent amount -- withhold between a quarter and half of the rent.

  • Use a word processor program, but don't email the letter. You must mail it to a physical address. Right-align your text and put your name and address here. Double space and left-align the text. Your landlord's name and address should go on this line. Double space again and place the date here. Double space once more to get started on the body of the letter.

  • Open your letter by stating where you live. This is important if there is litigation over the rent or repairs and also for landlords that own multiple properties. Keep it simple: "Repairs are needed at (address)."

  • State when you first brought the needed repairs to the landlord's attention. If you wrote a letter asking for the repairs, detail the date you sent that letter and the repairs you asked for.

  • Indicate that the landlord is responsible for necessary repairs to the property, as per your agreement. Almost all rental agreements say this. Cite the applicable section of the lease agreement and say that you have allowed a reasonable amount of time for these repairs to be made, but no action has been taken.

  • State how much you are withholding and that you are placing it into an escrow account.

  • Say that you are willing and able to pay the rent and will release the escrowed amount once the repairs are made.

  • State where you can be contacted by phone. Conclude the letter with "Sincerely, (your name)."

  • Print the letter and sign it. Write the date underneath your signature.

  • Send the letter via registered mail. Always keep copies of your letters to the landlord.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consult county and state laws to make sure this is the proper procedure in your area.
  • Consult a rental attorney if you have any doubts or confusion.


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