Unscrupulous landlords sometimes delay accepting rent payments in hopes that you'll spend the money for another purpose, and then come up short when they finally demand it. In some instances they may take a long time to cash your rent checks. In others, the landlord might wait until the back rents build up to a level he or she believes you can't pay, and then spring the trap of an eviction suit. So, the rule to protect your tenancy is this: once money is allocated for your rent, don't spend it for any other reason, no matter how long it takes the landlord to accept or collect it. Certainly, if you're withholding rent because the landlord has not repaired bad conditions, make sure it is available for payment once they're corrected. Otherwise, the judge will have no choice but to give you five days to pay before issuing a Warrant of Eviction.
Attention New York City Tenants: See this new page that has just been added to the McAdams Law main site on Bad Conditions .