If the tenant has have given the landlord notice in writing of the conditions that need to be repaired, a reasonable time has passed (usually 30 days), and the tenant is current in rent with the landlord, the tenant may deposit the rent in escrow with the municipal court in the city in which the tenant lives. The tenant must deposit rent by the due date and must be current in rent to deposit the rent, or the tenant will not be protected from an eviction action for nonpayment of rent.
The tenant then can deposit the rent with the court each month as it falls due. The hope is that the landlord will make the required repairs, to begin receiving rent from the tenant once again.
The rent deposit will end when either the tenant decides to stop depositing because the repairs are made, or when the court decides that the tenant is to stop depositing.
Some courts will schedule one or more mediation opportunities when a tenant is rent depositing. In mediation the landlord and tenant meet with a neutral third-party, usually a member of the court staff, to see if they can reach an agreement about what repairs will be made, and a schedule for the work. In mediation, issues about access to the property and the way that work will be performed can be addressed as well.
Note: The rent deposit process is not available if the landlord has three or fewer rental units, and gives the tenant notice of that when the tenant first moves in.