Stories of tenants who alter the rental property are fairly common. Whether it’s performing repairs, painting the walls, installing fixtures, or even demolition activities, a rental agreement will prohibit such actions without the prior written consent of the landlord. And, even with approved consent the work must be of a professional standard of quality and all work becomes the property of the landlord. There are, however, situations where the tenant can repair a property and deduct the cost of such repairs from the rent.
Repair and Deduct?
Indiana landlord and tenant law does not include a provision for tenants to repair and deduct for maintenance issues that are the responsibility of the landlord but which landlord fails to maintain. Instead, the tenant must notify the landlord in writing, and the landlord is allowed “a reasonable amount of time” to remedy the maintenance noncompliance, which is considered a breach of the rental agreement. After that reasonable amount of time, if the landlord was notified in writing and fails to repair or remedy the condition the tenant can bring an action in court against the landlord. If the tenant prevails in court they can recover actual and consequential damages, along with attorney’s fees and court costs. This is yet another reason why staying organized and on top of your property management responsibilities is crucial to being a successful and profitable landlord.