Rental Investments: What Is 'Retaliation'?

Rental investments come with more challenges than many other property investment. As the owner of the rental property, you are the landlord, and, as such, you are responsible for the welfare of your tenants while they stay inside the buildings. There are a number of local, state and federal laws that are designed to protect tenants if the landlord abuses his or her power. One legal concept you must be especially weary of is retaliation.

What Is Retaliation

Retaliation occurs when a landlord punishes the tenant if the tenant made a legal complaint against the landlord. The exact nature of what counts are retaliation varies according to state and/or local law, but under most state and municipal laws, this includes increasing rents, decreasing services, turning off utilities and (in the worst case scenario) evicting the tenant when the tenant didn't violate any terms of his or her lease.

Retaliation and Tenant Lawsuits

If the tenants feel that you are retaliating against them, they have a right to sue you. It will be up to the tenant to prove that you are retaliating. The tenant can seek a restraining order, criminal charges and/or monetary damages, depending on the nature of the retaliation.

The claims of retaliation are considered invalid if the tenant has not actually made the initial complaint, or if you can show that the initial tenant complaint was unreasonable.

blog comments powered by Disqus