Do I have any recourse against my landlord for breach of our lease?

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Do I have any recourse against my landlord for breach of our lease?

On at least 15 occasions, our landlord and her brother entered our house without giving us notice. Our electric meter was connected to things for their use. We were given a 30 day notice by our landlord because they were going to completely gut the house and make it handicapped accessible for one of their family members. We were told at that time that the deposit would be returned “right away”. Now the landlord is saying that the deposit will not be returned due to damages they found while gutting the house that I don’t believe we are responsible for. Do we have any recourse?

Asked on August 5, 2011 Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You have rights:

1) If the landlord did not provide the proper notice  or have legal grounds to evict, they can't terminate your tenancy and sue you sue for damages and/or to be reinstated in the premises. Sometimes a landlord may evict tenants in order to move family members in or to accomodate a major renovation, but not always; you should consult with a landlord-tenant attorney about the specifics of your situation to see whether the landlord could in fact make you leave.

2) A landlord may only withhold a security deposit for unpaid rent or to make repairs required by damage done by a tenant (or the tenant's family, guests, or pets). If the damage was not done by you, you don't have to pay for it, and you could sue for its return. An attorney could help you with this, too.


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