Suing Your Landlord: Is it the Best Option?

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what reasons can you sue your landord?

When you decide to move to a new place, you never think that you will have issues with the landlord. However, sometimes problems do arise which cannot be resolved with a simple conversation or phone call. You later opt to sue your landlord if you face serious damages that affect your health and safety. But is this the best way forward?

When Should You Sue?

A legitimate reason that can make you sue your landlord is if you seriously get injured in your house or if your safety is compromised due to the landlord’s negligence. If it is a less important reason, you shoud look for other ways of sorting out the problem with your landlord because going to court could get costly and time-consuming.

Can you sue your landlord for unsafe living conditions? Most definitely. As a tenant, you have the right to live in a habitable place, The landlord should make necessary repairs in your house to make your stay as comfortable as possible.

Advantages of Suing Your Landlord

tenancy agreement

Receive Money Owed

If you sue your landlord and you win the case, you will get the money you are owed and maybe even more depending on the damages. For example, if the landlord refuses to refund your rent deposit and you win the case, you can get back you rent deposit and double the amount.

Settle Out of Court

Going through the court process is both time-consuming and costly for you and the landlord. If you inform the landlord of your plans to sue, this could motivate him to do everything in his power to settle the matter outside the courts which is a win for you.

Receive Compensation for Damages

If you sue a landlord because you feel that your house is inhabitable and win the case, you can get compensation for the damages and pain and suffering that you had to undergo in that house.

Disadvantages of Suing Your Landlord

It’s an Expensive Process

Going through the court process is expensive. You have to file for a lawsuit and pay for legal fees which are expensive. Some courts can allow you to represent yourself but most times, you will need an attorney and lawyers are pricey. If you lose the case, all the money you spent during the whole process was for nothing.

The Landlord Can Countersue

No one likes getting sued. Serving a landlord papers can make him angry to the point that they want to counter sue. Which means more work on your end, more costs. If you do lose the court case, you might be responsible for settling your legal fees and those of the other party.

Reasons to Sue Your Landlord

wrongful eviction

Not Refunding Your Security Deposit

A landlord is required to refund your rent deposit after you move out of your house. If he does decide not to refund it, the tenancy agreement should state reasons he is allowed to keep it. If a landlord uses other reasons which are not stated in the agreement, you are allowed to take them to court. But remember to use this route only if the rent deposit is high. It doesn’t make sense to sue for a rent deposit of Kshs 5,000 and spend over Kshs 100,000 in court.

Entering Your House Illegally

Before a landlord enters your house, they need to give you prior notice and the reason as to why he wants to come into your house. If he enters your house without your approval, you can take him to court which could make you get rewarded for damages.

Wrongful Eviction

A landlord is allowed to evict you from his property due to various reasons. If he does so without a court order, you can rightfully sue him. As a tenant, knowing the reasons a landlord can evict you will help you know whether you are within the law to sue or not. You don’t want to start a legal process which you won’t win.

Have you experienced any situation that makes you feel like suing your landlord? We’d love to hear from you.

Maureen Mbithe
Content Writer at BuyRentKenya