What to do about a tenant’s false claims?

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What to do about a tenant’s false claims?

I received a call from my tenant on last month alleging damage to their furniture as a result of mold. I immediately went to the home and found no evidence of mold anywhere in the home. They demanded that I pay for their furniture and stated that this had happened to them in the past and the previous landlord had paid for their furniture. I told them I would get a mold inspection. then 7 days later, on the first, they refused to pay the rent. They said that they were entitled to withhold rent until I “fixed” their problem. I filed an UD and their response is serious habitability issues, retaliation, harrassment, and failure to make necessary repairs. These people never requested repairs nor did they give me anything in writing alleging these issues. It was all about their furniture and not about the home. Everything they are claiming is untrue. What possibility do I have of winning this case if we go to jury trial? Should I speak with a real estate attorney? In Alamdeda County, CA.

Asked on March 11, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It sounds like these tenants are making a living at doing this to their landlords.  Do you by any chance have their prior rental history?  If you do then I would go and seek help from an attorney and I would contact their former landlord to see if indeed this is a pattern in their behaviour.  If you do not have that info then ask your attorney to run their name through the landlord tenant court system in your area (generally they are computerized so it may not be that big of a hassle) and see what comes up.  Did you get the mold inspection?  all this information will matter in how you proceed but I have to say that I think you have a good chance of winning here.  Again, seek legal help.


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