Do I have any recourse against my landlord for breach of our lease?

UPDATED: Aug 5, 2011

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Do I have any recourse against my landlord for breach of our lease?

On at least 15 occasions, our landlord and her brother entered our house without giving us notice. Our electric meter was connected to things for their use. We were given a 30 day notice by our landlord because they were going to completely gut the house and make it handicapped accessible for one of their family members. We were told at that time that the deposit would be returned “right away”. Now the landlord is saying that the deposit will not be returned due to damages they found while gutting the house that I don’t believe we are responsible for. Do we have any recourse?

Asked on August 5, 2011 Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You have rights:

1) If the landlord did not provide the proper notice  or have legal grounds to evict, they can't terminate your tenancy and sue you sue for damages and/or to be reinstated in the premises. Sometimes a landlord may evict tenants in order to move family members in or to accomodate a major renovation, but not always; you should consult with a landlord-tenant attorney about the specifics of your situation to see whether the landlord could in fact make you leave.

2) A landlord may only withhold a security deposit for unpaid rent or to make repairs required by damage done by a tenant (or the tenant's family, guests, or pets). If the damage was not done by you, you don't have to pay for it, and you could sue for its return. An attorney could help you with this, too.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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