If my landlord is claiming outrageous back rent, what are my options?

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If my landlord is claiming outrageous back rent, what are my options?

My landlord claimed that I owed her $3000 in back rent. I know that’s not true so I just up and left. I get 40-60 phone calls a week from her but I have just been ignoring her. I live in a friend’s rental home rent free while I do repairs. Can she sue me? Can I sue her? The house barely had electricity and the water barely worked and was kind of a crap hole. Also I didn’t have a lease.

Asked on May 9, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Oklahoma

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The woman from whom you rented clearly doesn't understand landlord tenant law and either something is missing here or she thinks you have a lease with her. Here is the deal: if you did not have a lease, you probably had a month to month and so at most if you left early you would owe for one month. Further, if the house was not equipped with fully functioning electricity and water, then the place was uninhabitable and therefore she wouldn't have been able to enforce the lease if any anyway. At this point, I am unsure as to what you would sue her for other than harassment but you might be able to contact the police and see if they could kindly and gently tell her not to keep calling. If you feel the police may not help, consider a lawsuit under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and harassment. See if this belongs in landlord tenant court if your state has a special court for that or more in civil court.


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