If my landlord serves me eviction papers for non-payment even after proof of payment has been made, do I have the right to sue for illegal eviction?

UPDATED: Aug 8, 2011

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If my landlord serves me eviction papers for non-payment even after proof of payment has been made, do I have the right to sue for illegal eviction?

Typically when I pay my rent it is through the on-line service. However this month I went in and paid with a money order. The rent was then also processed on my bank account and denied for insufficient funds. I have shown receipt from the money order with their signature on it and was given a piece of paper showing my money order payment in their system. They stated that my account still claims I owe them rent and late charges and so I must pay them.

Asked on August 8, 2011 Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) If you can prove payment, you can certainly avoid eviction and also having to re-pay the money.

2) If you haven't actually been evicted, though, there is nothing to sue for--you haven't suffered any damages. There is no right to sue simply over a dispute which forces you to spend some effort clearing the matter up.

Furthermore, even if you were evicted improperly, while you might well have grounds to vacate the eviction and be restated in your apartment--and possibly to recover ancillary costs, like the cost to move belongings out, store them, then move them back--there probaby is not much else monetarily you could recover, especially if the landlord can show that it was acting reasonably, on reliance on the numbers in its financial/bookkeeping/etcl system--i.e. that it was not acting intentionally or with malice. You could undo the eviction, but likely not recover damages or compensation other than the direct costs you incurred.

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