There are some downsides to being a landlord similar to everything in life. For instance, the tenant can rightfully sue their landlords if landlords are breaking certain landlord-tenant laws at the federal, state, or local level. So you must be careful, things can get ugly if your tenant takes you to court. You may be wondering, can a tenant do that? What are the reasons they can legitimately sue the landlord?
The reality is that, yes, your tenant can sue you. Some lawsuits won’t hold up in court, but there are at least five legitimate reasons a tenant can sue you. Here are 5 Reasons Why Your Tenant Can Sue You.
1. Wrongful Eviction
When tenants have not paid rent or have broken their lease agreement, removing tenants yourself might seem like the most straightforward solution. However, you could get in trouble without the proper paperwork even when you have a valid reason because it’s illegal to kick your tenants out on the streets.
So you must get a court order before removing tenants’ property from the premises, changing the locks, or cutting off utilities following the correct procedure.
2. Illegal Clauses in the Lease Agreement
The rental agreement defines a landlord-tenant relationship making it a critical document, so it might be tempting for certain landlords to squeeze in a few clauses that restrict certain activities. You have to be careful, you could be in trouble because those clauses infringe on your tenants’ rights.
3. Inhabitable House
As a landlord, you must know that tenants have the right to live in a safe and healthy environment, and you have your part to play in fulfilling that obligation.
That means everything must be in working condition you are legally required to provide, which means anything related to electricity, plumbing, or mould and pests. You would be open to a lawsuit if your tenant finds any defect on your end that compromises the habitability of your rental unit.
So if you ignore these issues or refuse to make repairs your tenants can legitimately sue you.
4. Keeping Security Deposit Illegally
One thing is true, you’ll find yourself in hot water if you don’t follow the rules of your state. You are only allowed to use a security deposit for the following items:
- If the damage to your property is beyond normal wear and tear
- If there is an early termination of lease agreements by the tenant
- You can get excessive cleaning costs
- You can get unpaid utility bills upon move-out
- You might find yourself being sued by your tenant for breaking the law if you use it for anything else.
5. Violating Tenant Rights
Quiet enjoyment is one of the most important tenant rights. Tenants have a legal right to use and enjoy their property without obstruction or intrusion from others. If a landlord enters the home without giving notice or having a good reason, renters can rightfully sue them. Typically, landlords can only enter your home if they need to check for damage, make repairs, investigate rent violations, or show others the apartment.
Also Read: Top Tenant Complaints and How to Solve Them
People easily forget that lease agreements not only protect landlords and their properties, but also the tenants living in the rental. However, it’s important to know that lease agreements are legally binding and protect not only the rights of landlords but of tenants as well.