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Tenant sues 2 years after (PA) - Landlord Forum thread 359476

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Tenant sues 2 years after (PA) by Victor on July 5, 2019 @16:48

My previous tenant just filed a civil complaint for her first month rent($2000) she paid me 2 years.

July 4 2017 is her move-in date. I gave her a tour, she was all good, I gave her keys. (water and electricity were still on my account, although I emailed her to turn on those on 07/02).
07/07 morning, she sent 7 things to repair/upgrade. They were old shower curtain, some unpainted spots, some nick holes on the wall etc. One of them was the old smoke detector on third floor. I replied that these were all trivial, and I would not repair any one of them.
07/08 morning, she told me that a home inspector inspected the property, and that the inspector found mold, electrical violation, etc. She said that she did not want to move forward, and wanted her SD and July rent back.
07/08 noon, I changed the lock. I emailed her "I will refund your security deposit $2100. I will not pursue you for rest of unpaid rent. At this point I can not refund your July's rent. I will put the property back to the market today. If new tenants are found and move in in July, I will prorate your July's rent."
07/08 evening, we exchanged SD and keys.
07/10, she emailed that she deposited the SD and needed for the first month rent. I did not reply.

It has been 2 years. She filed complaint for her July rent with following:
I did not move in for several reasons:
1. Faulty wires in closet down stairs
2. Faulty wires in dining room chandelier
3. Smoke detectors that did not work and was not updated

Each floor and a room has a new smoke detector. But old smoke detector on each floor was not removed. The bare copper wire in the chandelier is the ground wire. The exposed wire in the closet was for ADT security system. The system was powered off(because service was not on, the 16v transformer plug was not plugged in).

So faulty wire in the closet will be in her favor. But she did not tell me about the faulty wire and request to repair, and decided to back out. She should notify me about the faulty wires and wait for my response on it before backing out, based on PA law, right? Do I have better chance to win Judge's favor than She does?

Thank you
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Re: Tenant sues 2 years after (PA) by Garry on July 5, 2019 @20:18 [ Reply ]
This happened 2 years ago this week. A judge is not going to put much faith on what either of you can "remember" about what was said way back then. So if you can find anything in writing, emails, or texts, from that time period, that will hold a LOT more weight than what you remember.

She is the plaintiff, SHE has the bourdon of proof, not you. What may work against you, is if she can produce written proof of what the home inspector found. What works IN your favor, is she had possession for 4 days in July, and then just turned in the keys WITHOUT giving you a chance fix any problems she found. Of all the problems you noted, the mold found by an inspector might be the only reason a tenant may choose not to move in, til eliminated. However, finding mold is one thing, but she needed to have an actual housing inspector, or a health dept. inspector to see the mold, and say it was enough that no one should live there till it was taken care of, and re-inspected again. Most all states require a qualified health dept. or city/county housing inspector to say a property is uninhabitable, not just some tenant who simply say the place is not habitable.

I doubt she went that far. She wanted out, and you accommodated her as much as you possibly could. Bringing a lawsuit 2 years later, after the fact, says to a judge she did not need the money back then, or was willing to let you keep July's rent because she knew she owed it. I give you a 90% chance of winning.
Re: Tenant sues 2 years after (PA) by Brad on July 10, 2019 @02:36 [ Reply ]
Check the statute of limitations for your jurisdiction. Usually for civil suits, it is 1 year.
Re: Tenant sues 2 years after (PA) by Daniel (CA) on July 11, 2019 @18:38 [ Reply ]
part of your problem is understanding that you are no longer in the negotiating/settlement stage but you are in the litigation stage.

so you could either default on the trial and pay whatever the judgment will be ( and this could end up on your credit report and reduce your score )
or you can defend it.

you should watch judge judy and peoples court for a week in order to understand how the judges treat such cases.

deal with facts only.
were you notified by the tenant?
did they give you a copy of an official property inspection report? (were you served with certified mail at any time between the issue and rekeying?)

if you're going to admit that there were 2 smoke detectors ( one defective one ) and one working one + ADT exposed wiring, then your case is over because you will be admitting knowledge of a housing defect.

so the answer to those 2 items should be
there was a working SD
you contacted ADT and they were sending someone to inspect the problem.

But as many used to say here: you are extremely lucky that these people didn't move in. the very fact that they are complaining about exposed wires shows that these people were bad tenants to begin with. The cheapest way to avoid bad tenants is whatever it takes to avoid them moving in to begin with...

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