withholding rent

Obligation To Pay Rent Depends on Satisfactory Conditions

NYC Tenants are covered by the Warranty of Habitability with a written residential lease or an oral rental agreement. This Warranty gives tenants the right to a home that is fit for living in and that does not endanger their life, health or safety. If the landlord breaches this agreement the tenant can withhold rent.

"The obligation to pay rent is dependent upon the landlord's satisfactory maintenance of the premises in habitable condition" (Park West Management Corp. v. Mitchell, 47 N.Y.2d 316).

But if the tenant causes or creates the condition it is not the landlord’s breach.

Tenants can file for rent reduction due to a breach of the Warranty of Habitability, but it is a requirement that the tenant has informed the landlord of the condition and has proof of such.

Understand it is possible to withhold rent for non-repair, however the landlord might bring a non-payment lawsuit against you.

Once Tenant has proof of the breach condition and requests for repair, Judges will grant a rent reduction or waive the rent arrears.

Basics of withholding due to a breach:

It's a breach of the Warranty.

Not caused by the Tenant deliberately or through neglect.

Tenant properly notified the landlord, keeps proof.

Tenant is not behind in rent.

Samples of a breach condition:


Lack of elevator service

Hazardous broken flooring

Garbage creating bugs/vermin

No heat or hot water for long periods

Lead paint

Lack of ventilation

Excessive noise

Offensive fumes

Defective plumbing

Withholding rent often causes retaliation by the landlord.

Make sure you are fully aware of your rights and the consequences of withholding rent, when in doubt reach out and give us a call, we can answer your questions and determine if you have a valid claim.