Habitability and Repair Problems

Landlords have the responsibility to maintain your rental home in a habitable condition at all times!


What are my landlord’s obligations to make repairs at my home?

Landlords have the responsibility to maintain your rental home in a habitable condition at all times!

You have a right to a home that is safe, warm, dry, and in working condition. Generally, this means they  must keep the following things in good working order:

  • Waterproof and weather-protected exterior walls, windows, doors and roofs
  • Plumbing facilities, including your water supplyAdequate heating facilities
  • Electrical lighting
  • Floors, walls, ceilings, stairways and railings
  • Safety from fire hazards, including smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms
  • Working locks for all entrance doors and all windows
  • Other similar aspects of your home

When you start renting your home, the landlord must ensure that all parts of the home (including the yard) is safe for reasonable uses, clean and sanitary, and free of garbage, rats, insects and other pests.

What if there is a problem at my home that my landlord refuses to fix?

If there is ever a repair problem with your home, you should probably make sure that your landlord knows about it. You can’t expect a problem to get fixed if the landlord doesn’t know it’s a problem. It’s fine to email or call your landlord, but you should also follow that up with a letter through regular mail.

If your landlord refuses to fix things, the first thing you should do is consult with a lawyer. You may have special rights and responsibilities depending on your specific situation, and you’ll want to know what those rights and responsibilities are as early as possible.

Generally, when a landlord won’t repair a problem, the tenant has a number of options:

  1. You can sue the landlord for money, based on the fact that your home’s fair rental value has been lowered by these problems;
  2. Your lawyer can send a landlord repair letter demanding that repairs be made by a certain date, or else you will move out;
  3. In some cases, you may be able to move out immediately and owe no more rent;
  4. Your lawyer could also send a letter to the landlord explaining the problem, and telling the landlord that if they don’t fix the problem by a certain date, the tenant will just pay to have the repairs done, and then deduct that money from their next month of rent;
  5. Or, the tenant can just stop paying rent altogether.

The most important thing to realize is that you should not do any of these things by yourself. Tenants who try to stop paying rent, or who try to send their own letters, often find out that they failed to follow the technical requirements of the law. Those tenants then realize that not only did they not succeed, but they may actually owe the landlord money.

Don’t fall into any legal traps, and don’t let your landlord bully you or force you to live in an uninhabitable home. Call a lawyer at Portland Defender today, at (503) 592-0606 and get the help you need. We may be able to help you for a very small fee, or perhaps even for no money up front.

We can help you stand up to your landlord

Please call us or click the button to use our contact form

Portland Defender PC

3759 NE MLK Jr. Blvd
Portland, OR 97212
(503) 592-0606
[email protected]