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LEGAL DICTIONARY

Constructive Eviction

Constructive eviction occurs in situations where a landlord doesn’t carry out one of their legal duties or responsibilities, thus rendering the property unlivable. In the event that this happens, tenants can move out of the residence through constructive eviction, ending the lease agreement and seeking damages if they wish to do so.

Examples of landlord actions that can cause a property to be uninhabitable include refusing to provide heating or water to the apartment, not taking care of necessary repairs, or allowing issues on the property that are “hazardous to health”.

How to Avoid Constructive Eviction as a Landlord

In most leases, it’s usually the landlord’s responsibility to carry out any needed repairs on the property in a reasonable amount of time. This is also known as the “Implied Warranty of Habitability”. However, sometimes this is not possible due to budget issues or difficult weather conditions.

In this type of situation, there are various methods for a landlord to avoid a constructive eviction and to maintain amicable relations with the tenant. Some of the most common alternatives are as follows:

  • The landlord should repair as soon as possible any problem that they have the means to fix. This makes sure that the tenant will trust in the landlord’s history of making repairs.
  • In the case that a problem isn’t resolvable, the landlord should let tenants terminate the residential lease agreement if the place is unlivable.
  • Create an agreement with the tenant about how to fix the issues, such as providing them with another rental unit while the repairs are resolved or lowering the rent for the time the problem is present.

How to Claim Constructive Eviction as a Tenant

Tenants claiming constructive eviction should follow certain steps to ensure that the process goes smoothly and that all possible options are exhausted before moving out. First of all, the tenant should inform the landlord of the problem, providing a reasonable deadline by which corrective actions should be taken.

If the issue is not fixed in the designated time period, the tenant can ask for help from a third party in resolving the issue. Otherwise, they should write a letter to the landlord informing them of their date of departure, and why the rental unit was uninhabitable.

In addition, they should demand for the return of their security deposit and explain why they don’t believe they owe further rent.

Seeking Damages for Constructive Eviction

Due to the fact that legally evicting a tenant using an eviction notice can be costly and time-consuming, certain landlords cause constructive evictions purposefully. This occurs by the landlord taking actions that interfere with the tenant's enjoyment and use of the premises.

The right of a tenant to enjoy their residence without external interference is known as the “Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment”, and it is included in the terms and conditions of a lease. Landlords may intentionally break this covenant in order to not have to serve a notice to quit to evict a tenant.

Tenants that go through constructive eviction in this way may solicit damages under a court of law by suing the landlord for breach of contract. However, there are certain requirements that must be met to ensure that the action for damages is legally valid.

For a tenant to successfully obtain damages from a landlord, they must show that:

  • The landlord’s actions were the direct cause of the uninhabitable conditions or the landlord failed to resolve a problem that they were informed of by the tenant.
  • The tenant vacated the premises in a reasonable amount of time.

It’s important to note that for a problem to be eligible for constructive eviction, it has to have been caused by the landlord and not by the tenant or any third party. Furthermore, the issues caused should fall under the landlord’s responsibility.

Helpful Resources:
Tenant Resource Center - Constructive Eviction
Cornell Law - Constructive Eviction

Constructive eviction occurs in situations where a landlord doesn’t carry out one of their legal duties or responsibilities, thus rendering the property unlivable. In the event that this happens, tenants can move out of the residence through constructive eviction, ending the lease agreement and seeking damages if they wish to do so.

Examples of landlord actions that can cause a property to be uninhabitable include refusing to provide heating or water to the apartment, not taking care of necessary repairs, or allowing issues on the property that are “hazardous to health”.

How to Avoid Constructive Eviction as a Landlord

In most leases, it’s usually the landlord’s responsibility to carry out any needed repairs on the property in a reasonable amount of time. This is also known as the “Implied Warranty of Habitability”. However, sometimes this is not possible due to budget issues or difficult weather conditions.

In this type of situation, there are various methods for a landlord to avoid a constructive eviction and to maintain amicable relations with the tenant. Some of the most common alternatives are as follows:

  • The landlord should repair as soon as possible any problem that they have the means to fix. This makes sure that the tenant will trust in the landlord’s history of making repairs.
  • In the case that a problem isn’t resolvable, the landlord should let tenants terminate the residential lease agreement if the place is unlivable.
  • Create an agreement with the tenant about how to fix the issues, such as providing them with another rental unit while the repairs are resolved or lowering the rent for the time the problem is present.

How to Claim Constructive Eviction as a Tenant

Tenants claiming constructive eviction should follow certain steps to ensure that the process goes smoothly and that all possible options are exhausted before moving out. First of all, the tenant should inform the landlord of the problem, providing a reasonable deadline by which corrective actions should be taken.

If the issue is not fixed in the designated time period, the tenant can ask for help from a third party in resolving the issue. Otherwise, they should write a letter to the landlord informing them of their date of departure, and why the rental unit was uninhabitable.

In addition, they should demand for the return of their security deposit and explain why they don’t believe they owe further rent.

Seeking Damages for Constructive Eviction

Due to the fact that legally evicting a tenant using an eviction notice can be costly and time-consuming, certain landlords cause constructive evictions purposefully. This occurs by the landlord taking actions that interfere with the tenant's enjoyment and use of the premises.

The right of a tenant to enjoy their residence without external interference is known as the “Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment”, and it is included in the terms and conditions of a lease. Landlords may intentionally break this covenant in order to not have to serve a notice to quit to evict a tenant.

Tenants that go through constructive eviction in this way may solicit damages under a court of law by suing the landlord for breach of contract. However, there are certain requirements that must be met to ensure that the action for damages is legally valid.

For a tenant to successfully obtain damages from a landlord, they must show that:

  • The landlord’s actions were the direct cause of the uninhabitable conditions or the landlord failed to resolve a problem that they were informed of by the tenant.
  • The tenant vacated the premises in a reasonable amount of time.

It’s important to note that for a problem to be eligible for constructive eviction, it has to have been caused by the landlord and not by the tenant or any third party. Furthermore, the issues caused should fall under the landlord’s responsibility.

Helpful Resources:
Tenant Resource Center - Constructive Eviction
Cornell Law - Constructive Eviction