When Can I Sue My Landlord? 

Generally, you should sue your landlord after you have exhausted every other means of coming to some type of agreement or compromise. This includes offering to mediate or arbitrate and/or having an attorney send a demand letter. If all these fail your only real remedy is to sue. Also remember if you live in a house/townhouse/duplex you also have a landlord. There is often a misconception that only apartments have landlords. Landlords also take the role of housing management companies. This is not like the dorms in college people, you have more rights, exercise them. You can sue a landlord:

  • If your landlord has not acknowledged your complaints over a long period of time
  • Has refused to do major repairs as required by law
  • Misrepresented your rent charges or apartment
  • Your rental is not available for you to move in
  • Your rental is not hospital for human living
  • If you have paid to fix things within the hotel and the landlord refuses to reimburse you
  • If you have been falsely evicted
  • If the landlord is trying to force you into another lease term
  • If the landlord is harassing you
  • If the landlord has committed a crime a tort towards you
  • If your landlord has attempted to harass or has harassed you
  • If you have been constantly overcharged
  • If they will not return your security deposit and you have proof it should be returned
  • Any other reasonable reason. 

Ok You Hired A Lawyer Know What?

When you bring suit you will be in civil court. Each state has different substantive and procedural rules when it comes to civil court. This means each state will have various reasons on what you can bring as claims against the landlord. Under, common law, it was difficult to sue a landlord, but thank goodness for modern times! First your attorney will file a complaint with the court and serve your landlord. This is of course after the landlord has refused your demand letter drafted by your attorney. After the complaint, subpoenas, discovery, and all that good law drama occurs. Usually at this time, if your landlord is smart, and they know they’re in the wrong they will attempt to settle. Most of these cases tend to actually end after the demand letter. The last thing a landlord wants is to have their complex in the news or on social media as not treating residents fairly. The longer the case is drawn out the longer they have to worry about losing future residents.  So to make sure that your landlord is feeling the pressure, you should prepare your case. That means:

  • Having all the evidence present (documents, copies of your letters you sent to your landlord, pictures of any damage etc)
  • Witness Statements (if relevant)
  • A copy of the lease

Thanks! So What If I Still Live On The Landlord’s Premises?

Well, this may seem like a predicament for someone who lives at the residence of the person they are suing. However, it is against the law for a landlord to self-help (as in evict you or penalize you for bringing suit), or to retaliate against you. What you must still do however is continue to pay your rent on time and make sure to keep a record of doing so. Continue to abide by the lease. Make sure to keep any records relating to your landlord’s behavior towards you. This includes any of the landlord’s employees.