If I paid to remodelmy apartment and have just been served notice, can I counterclaim for the cost of the renovations?

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If I paid to remodelmy apartment and have just been served notice, can I counterclaim for the cost of the renovations?

I have lived here for 4 years and when I moved in the apartment it was almost unlivable (but it was a great price). I spent the first 2 years renovating the apartment and upgrading the appliances including the heating and plumbing systems. Now 2 years after I finished the renovations, my landlord has served me with an eviction notice. Can I counterclaim and sue him for the cost of the renovations that he didn’t pay for?

Asked on January 31, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There is too little in your question to give you answer: you need to consult with an attorney who can evaluate all the specifics. Here are some principals to bear in mind:

1) Was there an agreement with the landlord that you would do renovations yourself that otherwise the landlord might have had to do? If so, that might provide grounds for a claim, but if you simply voluntarily did renovations to improve your lifestyle or suit your taste, that probably does not. The lanndlord doesn't owe you anything for changes you chose unilaterally to make.

2) Why are you being evicted? For nonpayment of rent? For damaging the landlord's property? Because you and he could not agree on a lease renewal? And if because of non-agreement, was it because the landlord was trying to put through an unconscionably large increase or a reasonable one?

3) Are you a member of protected category (e.g. based on race, religion, age over 40, disability, sex) and are you arguably being discriminated against on that basis?

These factors will all impact your right and remedies.


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