In Jan., I had no phone service for 17 days. A repairman from the phone company finally came out and he said the problem was the phone jacks were old, worn out and needed to be replaced. I called the landlord and left her a message but she didn't respond. I used my own best judgement and had the phone company replace all 3 of them. When I got the bill, I made a copy of it and highlighted the $130 charge for the replacement of the phone jacks and sent it to my landlord, asked her to pay it and gave her my account # and the address of the phone company. She STILL hasn't paid it. Can I write her a letter and put it with my rent and tell her I'm deducting $130 from the rent?
Theoretically the landlord has a duty to maintain the premises in reasonably good order during the tenancy. See RCW 59 18 060. *IF* the premises came with phone service (jacks) and addressed your duty to pay for landline service, then the landlord should have kept the phone service useable.
The first problem is that when you need repairs or maintenance done, you don't give notice by voicemail, it always has to be in writing. Voicemail is not a writing. It doesn't surprise me in the slightest that she is ignoring your request to pay the bill, as she has not effectively been provided with notice to fix or repair anything.
Before you deduct any value from your rent, you want to read the statute on deducting repairs from rent really carefully. As you did not give her effective notice, shorting the rent could well result in her deciding to commence an eviction action, which is very heavy-handed but will have devastating consequences for your rental/credit history.
I'd strongly recommend that you pay the $130 yourself, and just promise yourself not to make any repairs or do any maintenance without following the statute. I know this is not what you want to hear, but there it is.
I don't think landline phones fall into the same category as a working furnace or a functioning refrigerator. Ten years ago? Yes. Now? Not so much. I'm not sure I know anyone who has a landline any more, which makes it less of an essential service.
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