When a tenant leases an apartment, they make an agreement with the landlord about the rules of the house. If a tenant breaks any of the rules, then the landlord can file an eviction notice. If the tenant is not in the wrong, then the tenant can defend against the eviction proceedings. It is best to hire an experienced law firm such as Express Evictions for maintaining the legal procedures.
Before evicting a tenant, the landlord must provide the tenant with an appropriate eviction notice. Each state has its own requirements for the notice of eviction, and the method by which the tenant receives the notice. If the landlord did not provide sufficient notice before filing a court action or did not correctly deliver or serve the notice to the tenant, the tenant may have a defense to the eviction, even if the tenant has not paid the required rent. If this argument is successful, the landlord will usually be forced to redo the procedure from the beginning.
Acceptance of Partial Rent
If the landlord accepts partial rent from the tenant, knowing that the tenant is in noncompliance with the lease agreement, either because of nonpayment of rent or some other reason, the right to evict the tenant during that rent period is usually waived. The landlord could have the tenant sign a paper indicating that partial acceptance on the part of the landlord waives any rights the tenant would otherwise have to claim partial payment. Such waivers are valid in many jurisdictions.
Failure of the Landlord to Maintain the Premises
A tenant seeking to use this theory as a defense to eviction should provide written notice to the landlord that there is a defect in the property. The notice to the landlord typically must give the landlord a reasonable amount of time to accomplish the repairs. If the landlord is nonresponsive, the tenant may then hire and pay for a professional to make the necessary repairs, then deduct the cost of the repairs from the rent paid to the landlord. Some states restrict this repair-and-deduct tactic and provide that the value of the repair must not be more than one month’s rent.
This type of eviction happens when the landlord takes action against a tenant for acting as a tenant activist. If the landlord seeks to evict the tenant for informing government agencies of code violations or requesting that the landlord make repairs and maintain the rental property in fit and habitable condition, a retaliatory eviction claim may be a valid defense to an eviction action.
Constructive eviction occurs when the residential rental property is in an uninhabitable condition. When a rental property is uninhabitable, it is said to create circumstances under which the tenant has been deprived of the full use and possession of the rental property and has therefore been “evicted.” The theory of constructive eviction is that since the tenant did not receive what was contracted for, the tenant is not obligated to continue paying rent to the landlord. For such a claim to be valid, the tenant should give the landlord written notice of reasons for the constructive eviction and provide the landlord with a reasonable amount of time to correct the problems. If the landlord does not fix the issues within a fair amount of time, the tenant may leave the rental property and not be responsible for the payment of rent, which would have otherwise been due.
In 1968 the federal government passed the Fair Housing Act, which has since been modified and adopted by states and various localities. The Fair Housing Act, as amended, prohibits discrimination in housing and related transactions based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, and familial status of the presence or anticipated presence of children under 18 in a home. The act covers discrimination in all types of housing-related transactions, including rentals and leases.
When you are defending against eviction as a tenant, you have to be in the right. If you broke any one of the lease terms, then it can become very complicated for you to defend the unlawful detainer action if the landlord asks the court to evict you.