Thursday, 18 April 2013

Constructive eviction

Q: I have received numerous e-mails on this topic, so I will just answer without putting any specific question.

A: Constructive eviction occurs when a tenant vacates the property because he/she feels that due to actions or omissions by the landlord, there was a breach of the terms in a lease or some other convenant. These include:
1. Quiet enjoyment, whereby the landlord must ensure that the tenant can live peacefully at the property without any unecessary or prolonged disturbance and;
2. Fit for occupation, whereby the landlord must ensure that the premises are fit for human habitation. 

A tenant who is constructively evicted may terminate the lease and seek damages, by showing: 
  • the uninhabitable conditions (substantial interferences) were a result of the landlord's actions (not the actions of some third party, so a tenant cannot hold the landlord responsible for the actions of other tenants) and:
  • that the tenant vacated the premises in a reasonable time.

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