A Tornado Caused My Apartment Complex To Be DestroyedPosted April 27, 2015
If you live in an apartment complex and it was hit by a tornado and destroyed, it’s likely unfit to occupy. At this point, you have the legal right to move out and therefore stop paying your rent. In the case of a ‘condemnation’, a designated city official informs the occupant to vacate the premises. This is a surefire way to know that your apartment is no longer fit to live in and you can stop paying rent. Once you ask your landlord to return your security deposit, they have a total of five days to do so.
What is a Constructive Eviction?
A condemnation and a constructive eviction are two different things. With a constructive eviction, it’s solely up to you to decide if your unit is a livable space. The problem is there’s no simple way to know whether or not a home or a rental unit is a good case to pursue constructive eviction.
The most difficult part about constructive eviction cases is trying to prove them in a court of law. In order to win your case and prove that your unit is unlivable, you must convince the judge that you need to break your lease. However, a stubborn landlord may try to force you to pay the remaining months you have left on your lease.
Here are a few things you need to consider before you make the decision to leave your rental unit due to tornado damage:
• The longer you decide to remain in your rental unit while it’s in poor condition, the harder it will be to prove your case in court. By remaining in your unit for a number of weeks or months, you’re telling the court it’s not actually an emergency situation.
• In order for a constructive eviction to be valid, you need to relinquish possession of the unit. Leaving your property and belongings in your unit or even keeping the keys will inevitably weaken a constructive eviction case overall.
• If you stay somewhere else, then you are essentially saying your unit isn’t fit to live in.
If you rental unit was significantly damaged by a strong storm or tornado and you’re not totally sure whether or not it’s safe to remain there, it may in your best interest to contact a reputable attorney or local city inspector to get their opinion. Once you make your decision, make sure you take everything you own if possible and give the keys back to the landlord in addition to submitting a formal written statement that explains in detail why you have to break the lease. Be sure to include the date, your signature, and make a copy of the letter as proof.
Feel free to schedule a free consultation online or call The Bennett Law Firm at 405.272.0303 to discuss your legal options with an experienced Oklahoma City lawyer today. No Recovery, No Fee! We will meet with you face to face and can handle cases anywhere in Oklahoma. We can even come to you!