Withholding rent can complicate landlord disputes but tenants have rights

Problem Solvers
This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

DENVER (KDVR) — Cold temperatures can cause a range of problems for those who rent homes and apartments.

If your heat goes out, or a pipe bursts, what do you do?

It can be tempting to just withhold rent from a landlord that isn’t making needed repairs, but legal experts say that’s the last thing you should do unless you follow proper legal procedures.

Shannon tells the FOX31 Problem Solvers her heat was out for six days. 

“I was concerned for my dog and my son, they were home while I was out working and he was trying to do school you know without any heat,” she said.

After withholding rent, she received a late fee. The heat was eventually repaired.

Legal experts tells the FOX31 Problem Solvers most leases will not allow tenants to withhold rent during a dispute, unless notice is properly filed.

Attorney Eric Nesbitt tells FOX31, “a tenant can give a notice of a breach of Warranty of Habitability and in that case there are rights to withhold rent.”

Nesbitt adds filing a complaint and/or notice is the first step before giving the landlord time to make the needed repairs.

“They are given in some cases 96 hours, in some cases 48 hours of time to make those repairs. Then if sufficient repairs or nothing is done, then the remedy of the tenant after that may be there’s a right to withhold rent,” he said. 

Legal experts tell the Problem Solvers it is important to read your lease and discuss clauses that outline how much time your landlord has to make repairs and whether you are entitled to a temporary solution, like being provided with a space heater, or a temporary place to live until the repairs are made.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Most Read

Top Stories