What to do if my old landlord sued my for back rent since I refused to pay because he refused to fix a gas leak in my apartment?

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What to do if my old landlord sued my for back rent since I refused to pay because he refused to fix a gas leak in my apartment?

We went to court and the Judge ruled from the bench that he was awarded no rent from me but now he is suing me again for the same thing. Is that legal?

Asked on December 6, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Wyoming

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If the landlord had filed a lawsuit for the money and it had been decided against him on the merits, then he should not be able to file again. The doctrine of res judicata prevents someone from being repeatedly sued for the same cause of action.

However, if the prior lawsuit was a tenancy action--that is, he was suing to evict you for nonpayment--then yes, he can sue you now for the money. A determination in a tenancy action is not binding on a subsequent lawsuit for monetary compensation.


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