Can a Landlord Sue Previous Tenants for Leaving Hazardous Conditions in the Home?

All you need to file a lawsuit is a complaint, but this doesn't necessarily mean that you'll win the suit. To make a case against a prior tenant and win when it comes to hazardous material left on your property, you'll have to prove that damage was done and that the tenants were responsible for that damage.

The first option you might want to take a look at before filing a lawsuit is simply deducting the cost of cleaning and repairs from the security deposit. That is why it is there. California law dictates that a notice must be given within 21 days of any deduction from this deposit, and a detailed list must be provided. If the deposit covers this, there will be no grounds for a lawsuit.

Make sure that you have a cause under the law if you are going to file a lawsuit. If the tenant kept hazardous materials but they caused no harm to the property, the suit would most likely be thrown out. You'll need to gather proof of damage and the fact that it was the tenant that brought the materials inside or onto the property. Receipts, photos, testimonies and other similar evidence should be gathered. Be clear when outlining why you're suing and make sure to reference the lease.

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POSTED January 24 2014 10:52 AM

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