Tenants have the right to repair and deduct if their landlord refuses to make repairs to their unit. However, tenants must meet certain requirements, such as living in the home for at least 6 months, paying all rent and charges, and notifying the landlord in writing. The repairs must address issues related to habitability, sanitation, or security, and the cost cannot exceed certain limits based on the monthly rent.
motenanthelpLast updated 06/23/2023
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My landlord won’t make repairs to my unit, do I have the right to repair and deduct?
Yes, in some limited circumstances. A tenant’s right to repair and deduct is governed by Section 441.234 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri. In order to successfully use “repair and deduct” you must meet and follow all of the statutory requirements.
Which tenants can use repair and deduct?
- You must have lived in your home for 6 months or more
- You must have paid all rent and charges due to the landlord
- You must have fixed or corrected any lease violations for which you have received notice from the landlord
- You, your family or guest must not have caused the defective condition deliberately
What repairs can be made?
The problems with the rental property must affect “habitability, sanitation or security” of the premises and be a violation of a local municipal housing or building code. These are generally serious problems. To determine if the problem satisfies this requirement, you should contact your city or county department that is in charge of housing or building codes.
You can only repair and deduct if the repair costs less that a certain amount, based on the amount of your monthly rent:
|If your rent is:||then the repair must be less than:|
|less than $300||one month's rent|
|$300 - $600||$300|
|more than $600||half of one month's rent|
You may not deduct more than one month’s rent during a twelve month period.
What do I have to do to repair and deduct?
Before you can make a repair and deduct the cost from your rent:
- You must notify the landlord in writing of your intent to repair at the landlord’s expense unless he repairs the problem within 14 days, or as promptly as required in case of emergency.
- Your landlord must fail to repair or correct the problem within 14 days after being notified, or as promptly as required in case of emergency.
- If your landlord during the notice period disputes in writing the necessity for the repair, you must obtain a “written certification” from the local building or health department that the condition violates a local or municipal housing or building code before you make the repair.
- After you give a copy of the certification to your landlord, you must then wait to see if your landlord corrects the problem within 14 days of the date you either obtained the written certification, or the date you sent the notice, whichever is later, or as promptly as required in the case of an emergency.
- You must submit an itemized statement and receipts to your landlord before deducting the cost of repair from your rent.
Keep important records
Keep copies of the following for your records:
- Your notices to the landlord
- Landlord’s written responses
- Certification from building or health department, if applicable
- Photos of the condition needing repair
- Photos showing the completed repair
- Receipts and itemized statement
What is the problem is more serious
If the problem is a serious one which will cost more than $300 or one-half of the monthly rent to repair, this law does not apply. If you have serious sanitation, health, structural, heating or plumbing problems, you should contact your local city or county government about the problems. The conditions may be a violation of housing or building codes in your city or county, and if so, the landlord may be required to make repair.
For these types of serious problems you may also be allowed to withhold your rent and pay it into escrow. However, this is a complicated procedure and you should talk to an attorney before beginning this process.