Recovering Money from Your Landlord: How to Do It

For the most part, tenants tend to owe landlords money on back rent, for damages, and so forth. However, there is nothing that says the tables cannot be turned 180 degrees. There are many landlord-tenant laws that protect tenants from lease violations caused by their landlords, and that also allow the tenant to recover money for those violations. 

Illegal Rent Increases Should Be Met with Legal Action 

The main reason why a tenant would have the right to recover money from their landlord is illegal rent increases. All too often, dishonest landlords try to find a way to boost their own income by sneaking in rent increases without notifying the tenant. Or, they may notify the tenant but make the increase larger than what is legally permitted. 

Rent increase allowances all vary depending on the specifics of a lease, as well as local or statewide tenant rights laws. For example, California currently requires landlords to notify tenants 30 days in advance for any rent increase less than 10%. An increase greater than 10.0% must first be announced in a notification sent no less than 60 days in advance. Not meeting these requirements likely constitutes an illegal rent increase. 

When your landlord illegally spikes your rent, you have the right to demand your money back. Your landlord can return it in a settlement, but you should expect to end up in litigation. 

Damages you can seek in your claim include: 

  • Amount you paid due to an illegal rent increase 
  • Costs to relocate due to being unable to afford the rent after the increase 
  • Punitive damages due to illegal nature of the rent increase 
  • Non-economic damages, like emotional trauma, such as if you become homeless 

Other Reasons to Demand Money Back 

An illegal rent increase is not the only reason why you might be able to demand money from your landlord, of course. If the landlord damages your property, for example, then they should be the one to pay for its replacement. Or, they might be liable if they negligently allow another tenant to damage your personal property. The same can be said of any personal injuries you suffer due to the negligence of your landlord. 

To bring a claim against your landlord, you should always seek the help of a landlord-tenant law attorney to keep things simple. If you live in San Francisco or the surrounding area, you can call (415) 801-8878 to connect with Tenant Law Group. Our attorneys offer free case evaluations to tenants who have experienced damages due to a landlord’s actions.