What is a tenant liable for if their landlord sued them for possession and back rent, but only possession was awarded?

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What is a tenant liable for if their landlord sued them for possession and back rent, but only possession was awarded?

In 02/09, I was sued for rent and possession of a property. They won possession only; no back rent was awarded. Last month I got a call from a company stating that the rental company was suing me for back rent and damages. They are claiming that they had to replace the carpets, there were holes in the walls, cleaning fees, etc. I told him that I had already been sued for the back rent and possession and only possession was awarded. I then asked him to fax or mail me a copy of the list of damages so I could see what they were claiming. He said, “I guess we will just let the courts handle this then”. Can they sue me for back rent again?

Asked on January 27, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Missouri

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Someone really needs to read the order that was issued on the matter to determine if the court outright denied them back rent and if the order states it so that it is seen  as definitive or it was just glossed over.  If it was definitive as it appears that it was adjudicated, then it can not be re litigated before the court.  The landlord or its agent would be estopped from doing so.  No, the damages may be another issue but that too may be a problem for the agent of the landlord depending.  You really should seek some guidance on the matter with all the paperwork in hand, from an attorney in your area.  Good luck.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

IF you were sued for back rent and the landlord either lost that case or it was dismissed with prejudice, they can't sue you for that back rent anymore--though they could sue you for any amounts of rent not sued for previously. (For example: say they sued for rent for Jan to May and lost; if you remained in the apartment without paying rent for another month or two after that, they could sue for those months.) If however they dropped the case voluntarily or it was dismissed without prejudice, they could bring it again. You should be able to determine, by contacting the court, which it was and whether you can be sued again.

If they did not previously sue for damage to the apartment, they can sue for that now.


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