However, you must follow a strict process laid out by state law. The law requires you to first inform your landlord of the problem in writing via registered or certified mail. In the letter, you must specifically state the problem, and that, unless it’s fixed within fourteen days (or less for certain types of problems), you will have the repair made and deduct the cost from next month’s rent.
If, after the two weeks, your landlord has still not taken care of the issue, you can hire someone to do it for you and deduct up to $500 or one half of your rent, whichever is less. For example: if your monthly rent is $800, you could deduct up to $400. But if your rent is $1,200, you can only deduct a maximum of $500. The repair must be performed by someone who is not a personal friend or relative of yours, and it must be done in a “workmanlike manner,” which basically means it has to be done competently.
When you pay your next month’s rent, include a copy of the repair receipt, an explanation of the issue, and a copy of the original letter you sent to the landlord regarding the problem.
If the problem in your apartment is bigger and more expensive to fix, you may be able to withhold rent if you're in Chicago. Or you can consider moving out and terminating your lease entirely.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.