Under California landlord/tenant law, a residential tenant may sometimes avail himself of the “repair and deduct” remedy. When the requirements of this remedy are met, the law allows the tenant to make necessary repairs at the property and deduct the amount of the repairs from the rent payment.
The “repair and deduct” remedy can only be used for damages deemed to create an uninhabitable premises. California law establishes guidelines on what is considered a habitability issue. For a list of habitability concerns, view this blog post on the warranty of habitability.
Before a tenant can use the “repair and deduct” remedy, the tenant must give notice to the landlord and allow the landlord a reasonable time to correct the problem. Only after the landlord fails to make the repairs within a reasonable time may the tenant utilize the “repair and deduct” remedy.
The repair and deduct remedy may only be used twice in any 12-month period.