When would a tenant sue a landlord?

On Behalf of | Aug 26, 2021 | Criminal Law

Tenants and landlords in Georgia don’t always maintain positive relationships that involve ongoing contact and communication. A tenant may repeatedly call his or her landlord’s office and not get his or her calls returned. A landlord could ignore serious maintenance issues or other problems, and a tenant may suffer losses and file a lawsuit. Several reasons exist why a tenant may pursue litigation.

Taking a landlord to court

A tenant may take a landlord to court when there is a refusal to address a problem. The tenant may not be responsible for a leaky roof or plumbing troubles. When the landlord doesn’t take action, a tenant may sue to force the landlord to do so. Or the tenant may fix the problem without the landlord and sue to recover the money he or she spent.

Civil litigation may expand to include other losses. Did a leaky roof lead to damaged personal property? Did the tenant incur medical examination costs after discovering mold? A lawsuit could seek compensation for other losses too.

Preparing for legal action

When taking a landlord to court, expect to present convincing evidence. Was there a waiver to any exclusions to the lease? A signed amendment stating the landlord changed the original lease to include plumbing repairs may refute counterclaims that plumbing is not covered. Hopefully, the tenant kept a copy of the signed statement.

Both the plaintiff and defendant must present evidence to prove their case. Evidence may come in the form of a lease agreement, text messages, written correspondence, repair bills, witness statements and more.

Tenants should review their state laws for the maximum amount allowed in small claims court. In Georgia, small claims court involves lawsuits up to $15,000. Anything beyond $15,000 requires filing in another court.