Understanding the Ins and Outs of Repair and Deduct Remedy in Residential Leases

Understanding the Ins and Outs of Repair and Deduct Remedy in Residential Leases

As a tenant, living in a rented property, it is vital to know your rights when it comes to repairs or damages caused to the property you are occupying. It can be daunting to navigate through the legalities and paperwork when facing problems related to repairs and deduct remedies. In this article, we will be discussing everything a tenant in the United States should know about repair and deduct remedy.

The Repair and Deduct Remedy – What is it?

To be clear, the repair and deduct remedy involves allowing tenants to deduct any required costs of specific repairs from their rental payments to their landlord. This remedy is allowed only in specific scenarios where the landlord has failed to fulfill their responsibilities of maintaining the property according to the signed lease agreement. A tenant’s rights to this remedy differ based on the state laws and requirements.

When Should You Exercise Repair and Deduct Remedy?

It is essential to know that repair and deduct remedy should be the last resort when dealing with repairs and maintenance issues. Before invoking this remedy, the tenant should communicate in written form to the landlord about the issue with the property. It is crucial to keep a record of all forms of communication for evidence. Landlords are given reasonable time to correct the issue, depending upon the urgency – typically, the grace period ranges from 7 to 30 days.

What Are Your Rights?

As a tenant, you have a responsibility to keep the property maintained, but it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that major repairs and damages are patched up, secured and to make sure the residents in their property remain safe. When a landlord does not keep the property safe and functional, it is the tenant’s right to notify them in written form and keep a record of everything, including photographs (if possible). If the issues are not resolved, the tenants have the right to use The Repair and Deduct Remedy.

Tenant rights | Mass.gov

How To Use Repair and Deduct Remedy?

If you have tried everything you could, including written complaints, and you are still facing problems, you can initiate the repair and deduct remedy. To use this remedy, you should write a letter to your landlord, stating the repairs needed and costs involved, and how much you will be deducting from your monthly rents to compensate for the costs of repairs. Ensure that you make it clear that you will not be violating any other terms in your lease, and make the payment only for the amount that is needed.

Important Things To Keep in Mind

While the repair and deduct remedy can save a tenant’s day-sometimes it can cause misunderstandings between the landlord and tenant. As you might have already guessed, it is better to avoid the Repair and Deduct Remedy entirely if possible by coming to mutual understanding, otherwise, it can cause disputes and possible court hearings related to lease violations. It is always better to know your tenant rights before renting a property, and also making sure that the lease agreement entails all necessary clauses related to repairs.


In conclusion, when faced with property repair and damages, tenants must understand their tenant rights and the legalities involved. The repair and deduct remedy is an option for tenants dealing with these issues, but it should be the last resort, especially when more effective communication with landlords can resolve problems. It is essential to ensure that proper communication is established before considering the repair and deduct remedy, and tenants should only exercise this remedy with due diligence and informed understanding.

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