How to Write a Letter of Defense Against Eviction Notices When You're Withholding Rent

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It's always a good idea to follow proper procedure and withhold rent when your landlord refuses to meet his or her contractual obligations by doing necessary repairs on your rental property. However, your landlord may file an eviction notice against you for lack of payment. Don't worry; you are well within your rights to withhold the rent, and you can send a letter of defense against the eviction.

  • Put your name and address at the top right side of the letter. Double space and left align to add your landlord's name and address. Double space again and put the date.

  • Start the letter by explaining the situation, and make sure to include your address. For example: "An eviction notice was recently served to the property of: (address)." Then, reiterate exactly what the eviction notice says.

  • State that you are acting within your legal rights and have proof as to why you are withholding the rent. For example, "According to our lease agreement, it is your duty, as landlord, to make necessary repairs on the property. I have, and can produce to you, the letters requesting repairs be made, which you failed to make. By law, I am allowed to withhold rent in an escrow account until the necessary repairs are made."

  • Reiterate that the money is being held in escrow and that you are willing to release it to your landlord when the repairs are made.

  • State that you will not leave the residence and are willing and able to defend yourself against this eviction notice should the landlord take you to court.

  • Explain how the landlord can contact your lawyer. End the letter with "Sincerely, (your name)."

  • Print and sign the letter. Write the date next to your signature.

  • Send the letter via registered mail and keep copies of all your letters.

Tips & Warnings

  • Review your local laws or consult with an attorney to make sure this is the proper procedure for your area. It can vary in some places.

References

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