How do I defend myself in small claims court against my tenant who is suing me for 5K for taking out furniture that he claims I included in the lease?

UPDATED: Jan 1, 2012

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How do I defend myself in small claims court against my tenant who is suing me for 5K for taking out furniture that he claims I included in the lease?

I left furniture behind in my condo with the agreement to come and get it in a few months when my house was available for me to move back into. To protect myself, I hand wrote in the lease that I was leaving furniture and if any damage the tenant shall have to repair. I didn’t write that I was coming to get it in a few months. It was verbal that I was not renting it furnished. I only wrote that to protect myself in case of any damage. He claims that I did not lower the rent when I took the furniture 6 months later. He also said he was suing for pain and suffering?

Asked on January 1, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The best way to defend yourself in the small claims lawsuit is to carefully read the written lease in that it controls the obligations owed to you by the tenant and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law. Does the written lease state that the unit you rented came furnished?

If not, then the small claims lawsuit that you are in will come down to the interpretation of the written lease and all other subsequent document after the lease was entered to show that your furniture was left behind temporarily or not.

In most states one cannot get as damages pain and suffering in a real property dispute involving furniture.

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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