Is a landlord allowed to bad mouth me when I paid my rent 2 months in advance and the only time she saw me was when I had to complain?

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Is a landlord allowed to bad mouth me when I paid my rent 2 months in advance and the only time she saw me was when I had to complain?

Manager refused to let me out of lease when I was being harassed on daily basis so I went to her boss who let me out. ive done nothing more than complain when she told me she couldnt do anything about it I wanted out which in turn made her very angry. Now im also having trouble getting some of my rent back. I do have proof of her tell my neighbors personal info along with letting them know what they were doin was illegal but she didnt do anything else. Do I have any kind of case or something so I can hold over her head to get most of my money back from this month’s rent?

Asked on June 20, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A landlord may "bad mouth" as long as it's just his or her opinion--e.g. that you're a bad tenant, that you're rude, that you're unpleasant, etc. Everyone is legally entitled to an opinion, no matter how negative. However, if she says things that harm your reputation and are factually untrue (such as that you committed  crime, when you did not), that may be defamation and you have a legal claim for compensation or damages.

If there was an agreement to let you out of the lease early, you may be entitled to some of your  rent back--it depends on exactly what that agreement was. (e.g. was to let you out and return any excess, previously paid rent--or that it was you could terminate the lease, but the landlord would keep all rent paid to date?)

Depending therefore on what was said about you and also what the terms of the agreement were, you may have a case. If you are unsure, you should consult with an attorney--a lawyer  would need to evalute all the facts in detail to better understand if you have a legal claim. If you cannot afford an attorney, try contacting Legal Services.


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