Topic No. 261: Rent Withholding and the Repair and Deduct Remedy

The Rent Ordinance does not authorize a tenant to withhold rent when a landlord fails to make repairs, nor does it permit a tenant to make needed repairs and deduct the cost from the rent. These matters are covered exclusively by state law. Tenants and landlords should seek the advice of an attorney before exercising the right to withhold rent or attempting an eviction based on non-payment of rent due to rent withholding.

The issues of rent withholding and the "repair and deduct" remedy are covered in the California Tenants handbook, published by the California Department of Consumer Affairs. A complete copy of the California Tenants handbook is available at the Department of Consumer Affairs website at

June 2006


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