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Illegal Acts A Landlord May Commit That Tenants Can Bring To Court

Aug 17, 2007
A landlord rents out dwelling places such as houses and apartments. Some properties they rent out are the landlord's property himself. However, some are renting out properties of other people; for which they are then the administrator of the property.

Whichever the case maybe, the landlord has the responsibility of ensuring the peaceful possession of leased property by the tenant.

Some property owners or administrators commit illegal acts whether intentionally or unintentionally, there may be remedies available including arbitration but if the problem cannot be remedied, there are cases where a tenant can bring the matter to the legal fold.

To avoid this, landlords and tenants law designed provisions for lease agreements that will assure legal protection for both parties that will help avoid misunderstanding that may end up in chaotic relationships. Legal remedy may be sought but understanding the rights of each party may not even reach that far.

Executing lease contracts between the parties may also help ensure definite responsibilities of the landlord and the tenant. Signing the least contract makes the parties commit to the terms and conditions of their agreement.

Violations of any portion of the contract may be brought to court for rectification if all means to fix the problem did not work.

Here are some common illegal actions property owners or administrator commit that violate tenants' rights such as lockouts, utility shutoffs and taking the tenants property. These illegal actions of a landlord may be brought before the court for legal relief.


Landlords violate tenants' peaceful possession of the leased property by changing locks or adding locks while the tenant is away. This will avoid tenants from entering the leased property that may cause extreme prejudice to the tenant.

Even in cases of non-payment of rent, lockout is illegal and can be brought to court for necessary remedy.

The court may order payment of damages on a daily basis, until the tenant has taken full possession of his rented unit.

On the other hand, tenants need to pay their rent on time. This is their responsibility and proper care of the property is another responsibility they should commit to.

Utility shutoffs

Especially in cases of retaliation against the tenant for certain misunderstandings, landlords or any of his staff may violate tenant's rights by non-payment of utilities that will surely cause undue discomfort to the tenant.

If the shutoff is intentional and cannot be remedied by contacting the utility company, then the tenant may come to court for legal actions.

Again, the tenant is advised to workout any misunderstanding in the most peaceful manner. This will avoid undue discomfort for both parties.

Taking tenant's property

In cases of abandonment, landlords may take possession of tenants' property for safekeeping. This may also be the means for the landlord to continue with its business of renting out its property.

However, if the landlord claims possession of tenant's property in order to annoy or retaliate against the tenant for complaining against him.

The court may then provide sanction that will cost the offending party at least one thousand dollars for everyday of illegal possession of tenant's property; this will include attorney's fees and other incidental expenses caused by his illegal acts.

Avoiding misunderstanding between the tenant and landlord will enable both parties to continue with their normal activities, the rental agreement may bind them and ensure both parties know their responsibilities.

Commit faithfully to the responsibilities provided you by the agreement, this will ensure the other party may be able to do the same.
About the Author
James Monahan is the owner and Senior Editor of
LandlordBase.com and writes expert
articles about landlord.
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