Property Management Education

Five Reasons Denver Landlords Get Sued (And How to Avoid It!)

Key Points:

  • The main reasons landlords are getting sued are as follows: incorrect security deposit returns, maintenance health issues, unenforceable terms of the lease / fees, violation of quiet enjoyment, unrealistic expectations.
  • President Marc Cunningham discusses specific ways to avoid these 5 issues.

It’s every landlord’s worst nightmare — getting sued. What are the top reasons Denver, Thornton, and Westminster landlords get sued? We have five of the top reasons as well as how you can avoid getting sued and sustain a healthy relationship with your tenants

1. Incorrect Security Deposit Returns: The first reason a tenant may sue a landlord is for incorrectly handled security deposits or a lack of a return completely. If a tenant moves out of your property and you incorrectly withhold a portion of the security deposit, tenants may consider taking legal action. This includes making a mistake in charging for damages that you aren't allowed to charge for. For more information about security deposits, check out this post.

Avoid getting sued by:

  • Knowing the difference between damage and regular wear and tear. 
  • Returning the security deposit on time.
  • Reviewing the security deposit laws in your state.

2. Maintenance / Health Issues: It is common for tenants to bring maintenance issues to a landlord's attention (as they should!).  Some requests are more serious than others, bur all require careful attention by the landlord. When maintenance requests are procrastinated or ignored completely, the tenant's health may be at risk. (For more information on maintaining appliances, click here.)

Avoid getting sued by:

  • Taking repair requests seriously.
  • Investigating every maintenance request regardless of how silly you may think it is.
  • Communicating with tenants about the status of the maintenance request.

3. Unenforceable Terms or Fees: At times, landlords write things into their lease agreements that are illegal or that don't make sense. Charging ridiculous fees or writing in the ability to terminate your agreement with a three day notice are just two examples of lease terms that will upset your tenants. In these legal situations, the court will most often side with the tenant.

Avoid getting sued by:

  • Making sure your lease agreement is compliant with your state law. Most states (including Colorado) don't provide a standard lease. It is up to the landlord to make sure your lease complies with state law. 
  • Making sure your lease is reasonable and professional. 

4. Violation of Quiet Enjoyment: You may own the property, but your tenants have the right to enjoy their privacy. Entering the residence without permission or unannounced can leave tenants with a bad impression.

Avoid getting sued by:

  • Giving the tenant notice before entering the property.
  • Getting approval from the tenant before making repairs.
  • Refraining from installing security cameras on the property.

5. Unrealistic Expectations: The number one reason Denver landlords get sued isn't due to what they are doing wrong, but instead in regards to unrealistic expectations of themselves or their tenants. Promising one thing while doing another isn't the consistent or professional.

Avoid getting sued by:

  • Knowing how you will react and respond to certain tenant complaints, and following through.
  • Delivering realistic expectations from the beginning.

Get Your Denver Property Management Questions Answered with Grace Property Management. We know not every relationship between you and your tenant will be perfect, but you can eliminate many unnecessary issues by being aware of the five reasons tenants sue that are outlined above. Contact us by visiting www.rentgrace.com or by phone at 303-255-1990.


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