What is a tenant’s right to reimbursement for improvements to the rental premises?

UPDATED: Dec 21, 2011

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What is a tenant’s right to reimbursement for improvements to the rental premises?

My cousin was renting my home with no signed lease signed. She moved out and the house sold at short sale; I made no profit. Now she wants reimbursement for improvements. Can she take me to civil court? I do not have her text that just said she wanted out of the house and did not want any money. My cell phone provider only keeps text messages for 7 days and this text was sent 7 months ago.

Asked on December 21, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If your cousin was renting the home that you once owned, made some improvements to it where the home was sold and there is not written or oral agreement regarding the lease or any improvement issues done to the home, technically you have no obligation to reimburse the cousin for any improvements made.

Even more importantly, if the cousin simply made the improvement to your former home without advising you of such, you have no obligation to pay for any reimbursement that is being requested. There is always the possibilty that the cousin can file suit against you for the money claimed for reimbursement due to improvements on the former home you owned.

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