Can a Tenant Sue a Landlord for Injury?
When you rent an apartment, condo, or house, you and the landlord expect one another to comply with the terms of the lease agreement. When disputes arise it can be frustrating and draining. Finding a resolution can seem impossible. If you feel as though your landlord's actions or inaction have harmed you in some way, whether physically, financially, or otherwise, you may want to consider taking them to small claims court. If you do, you'll need to represent yourself since lawyers aren't typically allowed in small claims cases.
Reasons to File a Lawsuit Against Your Landlord
Primarily, small claims courts deal with cases involving small sums of money. The value of a small claims court case is generally capped at $20,000. Tenants can court if the goal is to:
|Sue Your Landlord for Bodily Injury as a Result of Negligence||If you are physically injured on the property as a direct result of your landlord’s negligence, you may have grounds to sue. If you slipped down steps which required repair or if carcinogens like asbestos were blatantly disregarded, causing your health to fail, your landlord may be at fault.|
|Demand Return of Security Deposit||If your landlord refuses to return your security deposit, and you've met the conditions of the lease agreement, you may be able to sue. For example, if the landlord claims you haven't cleaned the property, but you have proof that you have and witnesses, you may be able to file suit and win.|
|Compel Landlord to Keep Promises||Many times, people agree to rent a certain property based on promises landlords make in rental ads and other documents. If you can prove that the landlord isn't keeping their promises, or is in fact blatantly lying, you may be able to sue in small claims court for your losses due to the landlord's inaction.|
|Force Landlord to Pay for Repairs||If your rental home is in need of repairs, the landlord is responsible for taking care of it. If the problems persist, the home can become dangerous or uninhabitable. If your landlord is refusing to make necessary repairs, you may be able to sue for damages and for rent you paid, as well as other costs you incur.|
|Make Landlord Follow Security Deposit Laws||If your landlord isn't following local ordinances regarding security deposits, you may be at risk of losing yours. Carefully review your security deposit agreement and make sure it complies with state laws. You may be forced to make your landlord comply with laws that require interest to be earned on security deposits.|
File a Lawsuit Against a Landlord on Your Own
Small claims court is a simplified version of the larger courts. One way they differ is that lawyers aren't even allowed in small claims court whereas they're absolutely necessary in higher courts. Therefore, if you're going to sue your landlord in small claims court, you'll be representing yourself. If you're going this route, be prepared to:
- Gather evidence of the issue including photographs, documents, and any other pertinent information.
- Complete the forms at the courthouse and pay a fee to file them.
- Arrange to have the landlord served with papers to appear in court.
- Show up to court with the appropriate evidence and witnesses to present your case.
- Accept the judge's decision.
Dangers of Filing a Lawsuit Against a Landlord Alone
Chances are, you're not a legal expert. You're just an unhappy tenant who wants to resolve an issue with your landlord. Unfortunately, filing a lawsuit is your last resort. The problem is, filing a lawsuit sounds simple and easy, but it's really not. In fact, your case can be thrown out or lost if you make a small mistake in the filing or if you miss an important deadline. Instead of recovering what you're owed, you could lose even more time and money.
How to Sue Your Landlord with DoNotPay
If you're having problems with your landlord, and you can't find a solution, you may consider taking them to court. But, you know that lawyers are expensive. You may also know that filing a lawsuit on your own is difficult, time-consuming, and unpredictable. Filing a lawsuit against your landlord with DoNotPay is fast, easy, and incredibly simple:
- Log in to and select the Sue Now product.
- Enter the dollar amount of compensation you are asking for.
- Choose the option for a demand letter or court filing forms.
- Provide details about why you're filing the lawsuit including photographic proof, sworn witness statements, and other important information.
That's all there is to it! Once you've entered all the required information, DoNotPay will generate the demand letter or court filing forms you requested. We'll even mail a copy of your demand letter to the individual or business you are suing! In addition, you'll receive a professionally written script that you can use in court to benefit your case and ensure a win.
DoNotPay Is With You Every Step of the Way
You don't have to go it alone. DoNotPay is an AI powered app built to help people file suit against landlords in small claims court and even large corporations like insurance companies and airlines. It's fast, easy, and convenient. Open your web browser, access the DoNotPay chatbot, answer some questions about your case and the app does the rest. Not only does DoNotPay help you prepare to file your case, it also produces a demand letter, legal forms, and a script to help with your court appearance.
Interested in seeing what else we can help you do? Check our library of resources: