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I have been living in a townhome in Philadelphia, PA for a little over 2 months. There have been endless repairs needed on the home (all due to previous tenants/times) which the landlord has gotten to slowly, but one particular defect has taken such a long time that it has basically been broken the whole time. I have read that the Implied Warranty of Habitability allows me (and my roommates) to pay to fix the problem ourselves, and then deduct this cost from the rent if the landlord doesn't make the repairs. I have a few questions regarding this:

  • At what point can it be considered that the landlord is 'not making repairs'? It has been nearly 2 months, but she technically doesn't refuse to make the repairs. She just communicates very slowly about it and provides differing explanations as to why it hasn't yet been fixed.
  • Do we have full discretion to pick the repair (within reason, of course)? What if we believe the item needs replaced instead?
  • I would classify that the priority of this 2-month-needed repair/replacement is about an 8.5. We have another repair need that has been unfulfilled for ~2 weeks with a priority of 11/10 (our fridge does not maintain low enough temp). Can I decide to utilize the Implied Warranty of Habitability for this because of its importance despite the short timing?
  • BIG CAVEAT: Our lease only has 3 people on it, though there are 4 people living in the house. We have written record that our landlord is completely and fully aware of this. I believe the reason for this is that the landlord was not allowed to lease it out to 4 people (because of some Philly, PA statute related to the house type/rooms I would imagine), but chose to do so anyway. Would this impact our ability to fight in court if necessary? They specifically directed us to only put 3 on the lease despite knowing we are 4.

Relevant clauses in lease regarding landlord repair responsibility: "Landlord agrees to keep in good repair and working order the electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, air conditioning, and all other services"

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  • It depends on what the problem is. If it's a leaky faucet then probably not. If it's a non functioning HVAC, then probably yes. What is broken? The other alternative would be that you may be able to break your lease without penalty.
    – Ron Beyer
    Sep 8 at 18:33
  • @RonBeyer the two major issues are a broken stove hood (meaning we cannot fan off smoke while cooking, so the alarms go off) and that the fridge doesn't maintain the appropriate temperature, so our food spoils.
    – Runeaway3
    Sep 8 at 18:38

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