Landlord tenant lawsuits are more common than we think and it's better to be prepared than caught unaware. Sometimes it is the tenant bringing on the lawsuit, while other times it is the landlord that must step in and take action. Although there are a plethora of reasons why a lawsuit may arise, there are a few things you must know about landlord tenant lawsuits to protect yourself.
1. Tenant safety
As a landlord, it is up to you to make sure everything in the apartment or home is up to par to maintain the safety of the tenant prior to them moving in. This includes updating appliances, changing the locks from previous tenants, and even applying specific rules and regulations prior to their acceptance. If a tenant credit report shows delinquent activity, it is up to you to decline their application rather than running the risk of them living there and missing payments.
As a tenant, it is your responsibility to inform the landlord of any problems upon moving in as well as throughout the time you live there. Conducting a thorough walk-through and taking photos of the place before moving in can reduce the risk of you as a tenant getting in trouble for things that were already wrong.
2. Disclosure upfront before move in
The next thing to keep in mind to avoid landlord tenant lawsuits is to be upfront about anything and everything when moving in. As the landlord, you want to let the tenant know what kinds of upgrades will be made and what problematic areas they need to keep an eye on. This way if something were to go wrong, the tenant can quickly notify you and allow you to correct it.
As a tenant, it is imperative you are honest and upfront on your application. This includes everything from your income to your criminal history to your rental history. If you say on the application you have never had a felony and the landlord finds out down the road that you have, eviction and even a lawsuit is possible.
3. Discrimination law
The final thing to think about with a tenant landlord lawsuit is the discrimination law. As a landlord, you may have it in your head that it is your property and you can rent to whomever you like. And while this is a reasonable, there are legal limits on this decision. You cannot base your decisions on race, religion or any other categories that tenant laws protect.
There are some states and local laws that even go as far as to say you cannot base your decision off of marital status, sexual orientation, presence of children and age. As long as you are not discriminating against any of these issues, you can essentially rent to whomever you like. And if you do discriminate, it is time to get a lawyer as you can face a large charge with a landlord tenant lawsuit.