Can You Sue Your Landlord? You May Have a Case If These Scenarios Apply to You

Posted July 11, 2020 by in Lifestyle
lawsuit signing

Did you know more people are renting than at any point in the past 50 years? If you’re looking to rent a house or are already renting, this is good news. Although homeownership is the ultimate dream, renting offers unique benefits that you’ll enjoy.

Unfortunately, renting involves having a landlord. It’s possible to have a smooth relationship with your landlord, but it’s also possible that you might have a falling out. In some cases, you might be compelled to sue your landlord.

Well, if you’ve never been down this road, suing your landlord might seem unthinkable. However, there are legitimate reasons you might want to meet your landlord and or their lawyer in a court of law.

In this article, we’re fleshing out some of these reasons:

Discrimination 

There are legal reasons a landlord might deny you housing. For example, if you’re applying to be a tenant, the landlord can check your credit history to establish whether you have a history of defaulting on your financial obligations. If you do, they can legally reject your rental application.

If you’ve got a criminal record, a similar fate might befall you. And if you’re already a tenant, things like disrespecting other tenants or violating terms of tenancy can force the landlord to evict you.

However, according to the Fair Housing Act, a landlord can discriminate against you (or give your undue preference) because of your race, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.

If you feel that you’ve been a victim of discrimination, and you’ve got sufficient evidence to back up your claim, you can file a lawsuit against the landlord. The big challenge here is these cases can be hard to prove, especially if you already have bad credit or a criminal record.

Plus, you first have to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which will then investigate the issue before you can take further legal action.

Deposit Issues

Security deposit laws vary from state to state, but tenants are typically required to make a deposit that’s equal to one month’s rent. Landlords must hold this money in a trust account and pay it back to the tenant when they move out.

Sounds straightforward, right? Unfortunately, issues surrounding security deposits are a common reason tenants sue their landlords.

Trouble often begins once a tenant moves out. Some landlords withhold the entire security deposit, claiming the tenanted violated the terms of the lease, or that the entire amount was used to fund repairs for damages caused.

If you’re in any of these situations, there’s a good chance your landlord is up to nothing good. Suing them in court might be the only to get them to pay up.

In other cases, a landlord might charge more than one month’s rent as a security deposit. This is illegal and could even be a way to discourage some tenants from renting a particular unit.

Though, in this instance, it’s not advisable to waste your time and money suing the landlord. It’s better to walk away and find another unit to rent since the particular landlord doesn’t owe you any money anyway.

Unsafe Living Environment

It’s your landlord’s responsibility to provide you with a safe and hazard-free living environment.

There’s a lot that goes into ensuring such an environment is achieved, but typically involves ensure your rental property has secure locks on windows and doors. The place should be quiet and clean, and damaged areas should be repaired immediately.

If you believe that your landlord is not fulfilling the responsibility to provide you with a reasonably habitable environment, you might want to take legal action.

Living in an unsafe environment can result in serious health conditions or even physical injuries. Justin Kimball from Preszlerlaw-ns.com says that you can sue your landlord if you believe that the conditions of your property were responsible for your accident, but you’ll need to be able to prove them in a court of law.

Refusal to Make Repairs

Is your landlord taking longer than necessary to repair damage in your rental property? Have they totally refused to make the said repairs?

If you answered yes to either of these questions, there are sufficient grounds to sue the landlord.

Failure to Reimburse You for Repairs

Not many tenants will file a lawsuit against their landlords when repairs are going unattended.

Indeed, the rational step is to make the repairs yourself and ask the landlord to reimburse you. Most tenants who take this route typically inform their landlord and enter into a verbal or written agreement.

Unfortunately, some landlords can go back on their word or even violate the terms of a written agreement. If you paid for repairs, have a written agreement, and the landlord is refusing to reimburse you, suing them is the right thing to do.

What if you had a verbal agreement? Well, that’s a tricky situation. The landlord can easily say they never entered into such an agreement with you. Be sure to consult with a tenant lawyer on the way forward.

You Can Sue Your Landlord!

As a tenant, you have responsibilities. Your landlord has responsibilities too. Once you rent a house, you expect the landlord to fulfill those responsibilities, as you do yours.

Unfortunately, not all landlords obey the law. When this happens, you can seek redress in a court of law. We have given you a couple of reasons to sue your landlord, but there are more. Importantly, be sure to hire a tenant lawyer to help you understand the issue and take the necessary legal action.