Four Cases In Which A Tenant May Have A Legal Claim Against A Landlord
Both tenants and landlords owe each other duties whose breach may trigger legal claims or lawsuits. As a tenant, you may have a valid claim against your landlord under the following situations:
Failure to Disclose
If you are renting a property, the landlord has a duty to disclose important information about the property and laws governing rental properties in the jurisdiction. Some of the things the landlord is expected to disclose include information on any nonrefundable fees, existing environmental hazard, and outstanding code violations.
Failure to disclose such things makes the landlord liable for injuries the failure may cause. For example, you have a valid claim against the landlord if they don't inform you that the bathroom doesn't have a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter), and you end up getting a nasty electrical shock in the bathroom.
Invasion of Privacy
Your landlord may be the owner of the property, yes, but this doesn't mean that they can barge into your house any time they wish. You have privacy rights that the landlord must respect by notifying you if they need to get into your house. For example, if the landlord wants to service the AC and they need to come into your house, they must give you a reasonable notice for the same. The only exception is an emergency, for example, a fire outbreak, in which case the landlord doesn't have to give you a notice.
Security Deposit Refund Refusal
The security deposit is a refundable fee. Since it is meant for fixing damages you may cause to the property, you ought to get it back if you leave the property without damage. If there are damages to the property, the landlord should itemize the damages and their respective costs and refund you the unused portion of the security deposit. A landlord who decides to pocket your security deposit without a valid reason is violating your tenancy rights.
Failure to Provide a Safe Environment
Lastly, your landlord may also violate your rights if they don't provide you with a safe environment for living. The landlord must ensure that the smoke detectors are installed and operational, the heating system is safe and adequate, and the common areas are well lit. The landlord's liability for failing to provide a safe environment for you becomes even greater if you have notified them of the deficiencies and they have failed to make a positive response.
Hopefully, your tenant-landlord relationship won't deteriorate to the point where you need to file a lawsuit. If that happens, however, you have the right to seek legal redress, and a real estate attorney can help you make the claim.