Counter-Claim During Eviction


Tenant moves in about 4 months ago. Late paying rent each time. Each time I deliver 3 day notice, etc. Each time they pay up (after numerous excuses/lies). This month they are late again, I deliver 3 day notice telling them this is their last chance (i.e., no payment w/in 3 days I will have them evicted).

Court was yesterday and I’ve been through a few evictions proceedings prior so I was prepared for most scenarios. Except this time tenant hired a lawyer and filed an “answer with counterclaim” stating the tenant will move out, but wants all past rent refunded due to house being “unliveable due to mold”.

Now, the first time I heard anything about mold was about the same time tenant received their court summons (about 1 week before court). Tenant called me to tell me they had everything they owe, and by the way they found some mold in a closet – the carpet seems to be damp. I have a plumber fix the problem within 2 days.

Any thoughts? Does having some mold in a closet make a house unliveable? Since the tenant only notified me about the mold about a week ago entitle them for a refund of all rents paid?

I’m interested in all of your responses!


Despite all of that I think its not going to hold water, he’s been living there 4 months and you’ve just now heard of this? Didn’t send anything in writing 4 months ago? He didn’t move out 4 months ago when it was unlivable due to mold. Sounds like his argument is going to hold about as much water as a colander.

most of the time, these kind of “unliveable” complaints have to be 1)in writing 2) give the owner reasonable time to apply corrective action (usually “reasonable” is defined in the code).

this is appears to be a really lame attempt to get back at you. I’ve never heard of a judge forcing your to give back rent money; at worst, he could order the lease terminated (which is what you want anyways)!)

Thanks for your response. Its kinda what I was thinking. It just a little strange that they hired an attorney (or more specifically that an attorney agreed to represent them).

I’m interested to see how this turns out…

What does your lease say about paying legal fees. Mine says that if I have to take them to court and I prevail, they get to pay my reasonable legal fees.