I regularly receive calls from tenants who took advice from someone who told them to withhold rent because of something their landlord did or did not do. They end up calling me after they receive a 3-day notice to vacate for non-payment of rent. “They can’t evict for this, can they? I told them they needed to make repairs and that I wasn’t going to pay rent until they did.”
Unfortunately, their landlord can evict them for non-payment in this situation. Tenants are not protected if they are not up to date on rent. To be clear, landlords can not evict a tenant just because they asked that repairs get made. But refusing to pay rent (and not putting rent in escrow with the court) will put a tenant in a vulnerable position that gives the landlord everything they need to begin an eviction action.
I can not stress this enough, PAY YOUR RENT! In certain situations, you can escrow your rent with the court and that still counts as (you guessed it) paying your rent. But in order to put your rent in escrow, you have to be up to date on rent in the first place.
If you are at an impasse with your landlord, please contact an attorney to discuss your options. Do not take matters into your own hands. If you have already crossed that threshold and are now behind on rent, still contact an attorney ASAP. It’s a tough situation to be in, but there are things that can be done.