Landlords need to be aware of local laws and regulations for landlords and tenants to avoid serious issues that could lead to a lawsuit. There are a number of reasons why a tenant can sue a landlord today, depending on the location and what happens while the home is rented. Some of the most common reasons a tenant can sue a landlord include the following.
Injured on Property
Injuries on the property that are the result of the landlord’s neglect could mean the tenant is able to sue the landlord for medical and related expenses. An example of this would be if the landlord failed to make appropriate repairs and the tenant fell because the steps were in disrepair. Landlords can take out insurance to protect against a lawsuit like this through a company like Roger Butler Insurance Agency.
Unit is Uninhabitable
Units need to be habitable and if there is an issue that could lead to health and safety issues for the tenant, it needs to be repaired quickly. An example of this would be mold growth due to a leaking pipe. The mold could cause health issues for those living in the home. If the issues are not repaired and the home can be deemed uninhabitable, tenants may be able to sue the landlord to recover the costs needed to look for a new home and to move. This could include hotel expenses for the time they cannot live in the home.
Landlord Enters Unit Illegally
There are limits to the times and reasons for a landlord to enter the home. Landlords typically are required to provide at least 24 hours notice before entering the home and can only do so for allowed reasons, such as to make repairs. Otherwise, it is considered an illegal entry. Emergencies that could result in injury or damage to the home, such as a burst pipe in the home, might be an exception to this.
Evictions must be done through the local courts according to local laws. Though it might be faster to move the tenant’s belongings outside and change the locks, that is an example of illegal eviction. Another example is turning off the utilities to the home in the hopes that the tenants move out quickly. If that happens, the tenant could sue the landlord to recover money for damaged belongings, hotel costs while they find a new place to live, and related expenses. Always serve proper notice of the eviction and go through the court system to avoid issues.
Unjustly Withholding Deposit
Security deposits can be withheld by the landlord, but there are restrictions to this. Landlords typically have a certain period of time in which to return the security deposit to the tenant. If they do not return the deposit in full, they need to make sure they provide an itemized list of why the deposit is being withheld before the time period is over. They can withhold part or all of the deposit for damages to the home, but cannot withhold it for normal wear and tear.
Landlords do have a lot of rights when they rent out their properties, but tenants have rights as well. Landlords need to ensure they understand the rights of both landlords and tenants under local law to make sure they are following the law and to minimize the potential for a lawsuit.