A “constructive eviction” is the legal term used when someone is forced out of their rented property due to conditions on or in the property making the property unlivable or due to the conditions you have to leave your home and live elsewhere. A constructive eviction is illegal, and a tenant might not be held responsible for unpaid rent during a period where they have been constructively evicted if a judge finds that a constructive eviction occurred. Here are five signs of a constructive eviction you should watch out for:
- The landlord fails to provide regular maintenance
- One of the most common signs of a constructive eviction is that the landlord fails to provide regular maintenance to the property. This means that issues like water leaks, broken lights, or loose floorboards exist without being repaired, potentially for weeks or months at a time. Those conditions are not only inconvenient, they can be dangerous to people living there.
- The landlord refuses to fix broken utilities
- Similarly, a landlord may simply refuse to make repairs when things break in your apartment. This may include failing to fix broken heating or water, failing to fix a refrigerator, or failing to do any other repairs that are necessary. Leaving the apartment in disrepair can easily render an apartment uninhabitable, resulting in a constructive eviction.
- The landlord refuses to exterminate
- An infestation of bugs or rodents, if sufficiently bad and left unaddressed, can also constitute a constructive eviction. Bugs like termites, cockroaches, and carpenter ants, as well as rodents like mice or rats, can all cause significant damage to your property. They can also pose a potential risk to your health, as many of these pests can spread disease.
- The landlord fails to provide heat or other essential services
- Sometimes, a landlord will deliberately deprive people of heat, water or electricity, resulting in a constructive eviction. This sort of behavior is often calculated to chase out tenants so they can rent out to someone else who will pay more rent. Failure to provide these services can be very dangerous, as no heat in the winter can be especially hazardous.
- The landlord refuses to respect tenants’ privacy
- Finally, a landlord may cause a constructive eviction by refusing to respect a tenants’ privacy, which is formally known as the right to quiet enjoyment. By law, a landlord is supposed to avoid entering a tenant’s apartment without good reason, and even then, they are supposed to give advance notice unless there is an emergency. Some landlords will ignore this rule, by intruding on their tenants without regard to their rights.
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