If my landlord informed me that he plans to sue me for damages to apartment and lost rent during repairs, what do I need to do to prepare to answer his claim?

We moved out of apartment and my former landlord sent me multiple e-mails where he claims to find damages in apartment: roach infestation, our failure to clean up spider infestation, unidentified smell in apartment, lost rent because he needs to do multiple treatments for roach infestation. He informed us that he will be filing a claim against us. What is the best way to prepare to defend in court? We had a walk-through with a friend and taken pictures of apartment before leaving.

Asked on July 3, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You've already done the appropriate things: you took photographs of the premises at the end of your tenancy to show the condition it was in, and also had at least one additional witness with you. You seem to be well positioned to refute his claims. To prevail against you, the landlord must prove that you did damage causing him a loss "by a preponderance of the evidence"--that  is, that it is more likely than not that you did these things. Any evidence or testimony to the contrary will weaken his ability to do this.

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