Solving a personal injury case between a landlord and a tenant is challenging. In most cases, the tenants are intimidated by their landlords, and as a result, they avoid filing their injury claims. In some other occasions where the injured tenant files a complaint, the owner uses some retaliatory actions to evict the tenant.
Although it is possible for an owner to use retaliatory action during a claim, the action is illegal. Both federal and state laws have made retaliatory actions such as eviction illegal. However, some landlords will pursue eviction measures against the law. Therefore, before filing a complaint against your landlord, you should be prepared for a restrained relationship with the landlord. Before filing a claim against your landlord, it is essential to consider the following factors to avoid retaliatory actions.
Illegal landlord Retaliation
Most tenants fear the most frequent retaliatory measure that landlords take during claims, eviction. Scrambling for a place to live is a complicated situation and can lead to homelessness among other complications. Although eviction may seem to be the most distinct form of retaliation from the landlord, the law defines retaliation in different aspects. If you file a claim against your landlord, the landlord is barred by statute from doing the following actions.
• Failing to renew an existing lease agreement.
• Posting an eviction notice.
• Unreasonable cancellation of month-to-month arrangements.
• Petty actions such as turning off utilities, removing laundry services or interfering with the daily lives of the tenants.
If your landlord takes any of the above actions after notifying them of a claim, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to file additional claim to penalize the landlord for such actions.
What a Tenant Can’t Do
On the other hand, it is illegal for the tenant to do any of the following:
• Withhold a part or whole of the rent in protest for substandard living conditions.
• Join an existing tenant union or organize one.
• File a complaint about poor living standards with the local authorities, government agency, fire marshal or zoning inspector.
How Much Time Do You Have?
Although the law strongly protects tenants from retaliation actions from landlords, the protection is limited by a legal window in many states. In most states, this window lasts only between three months and a full year. This time is counted from the day the claim against the landlord is filed, and the landlord notified. During this period, any eviction attempt by the landlord is assumed to be a retaliatory action by the court unless it is proven otherwise.
In the United States, 20 states enforce the ‘burden of proof’ requirement when a landlord issues retaliatory evictions against a tenant after filing a claim. The eviction notice is declared invalid if the landlord can’t prove that the action is not retaliatory. Tenants in these states can, therefore, stay in the comfort of their homes during the claim process or longer depending on their contractual agreement with the landlord.
Seek the Help of an Attorney
Taking legal actions against your landlord is hard. It is clear that filing a claim leaves many things hanging in the balance. Moreover, the landlord-tenant law is one of the most complex areas of law. Aside from protection by the law, hiring a great personal injury lawyer can be helpful. With a powerful attorney, you are assured of remaining in your rented unit and living a life free from retaliation actions. If at the same time you need to file a claim against poor living standards, the attorney will help you navigate the process successfully.
Although the law protects you from eviction during the claim period, some landlords will still pursue eviction even if it is against the law. Therefore, before filing a claim, ensure that you comply with all the terms and conditions of the lease agreement. A slight mistake will give the landlord enough premises to pursue eviction. Moreover, you should seek services of a great personal injury lawyer to protect your rights throughout the process. Failure to hire an attorney could put you in a complicated situation especially if you are dealing with a vindictive landlord.