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I am a landlord with a tenant. This tenant did not pay rent…

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I am a landlord with...
I am a landlord with a tenant. This tenant did not pay rent for months, but we signed an extension month for her to say (a mistake now looking back). This tenant could not pay rent due to hospital bills and illness. I do not know what kind of illness, but she is still able to work. The tenant was evicted because of unpaid rent. This tenant claims that there were scorpions in the house while she was living there and she spent a fortune on pest control. I worked on the house prior to her move in date on the weekends and did not see any scorpions. I did not know there was a scorpion problem. She didn't say she wanted to be reimbursed money for pest control, rather she said that she will take legal matters against me for the scorpions. She said that I should've warned her about scorpions before she moved into the house.The lease that was signed for the extension month and the original lease states that pest control falls under the responsibility of the tenant.She complained and mentioned over text about the scorpions but never submitted anything written (i.e complaint) pertaining to the scorpions. She never asked for money for reimbursement or asked me to pay for pest control.She said that the scorpions made her nervous. Can she sue me for scorpions making her nervous and therefore causing her illness? What are potential outcomes of going to court on such claims? Thank you for your time. (The house is located in Chandler, Arizona)
Submitted: 4 months ago.Category: Landlord-Tenant
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1/5/2018
Lawyer: TJ, Esq., Attorney replied 4 months ago
TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 12,663
Experience: JD, MBA
Verified

Hello and thank you for the opportunity to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do my very best to answer your legal questions.

Can she sue you? Yes. Anybody can sue anybody else for anything. However, does she have a good case against you? Based on the facts that you shared, it does not sound like she would have a good case. The reasons she doesn't have a good case is because (1) the lease states that the tenant is responsible for pest control, and (2) she never told you about the scorpions. Accordingly, I would not expect her to prevail in a lawsuit.

Does that answer your question(s)? Please let me know if you need clarification, as I am happy to continue helping you until you are satisfied. Also, please remember to provide a positive rating via the stars (and note that your positive rating is the only way that I'll get credit for helping you, so it is much appreciated!). Thank you. :)

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Correction: She did talk about it, and she texted about it. Is that enough to make a good case?I guess my questions are, using your professional judgement: Based on the facts I've given, should I hire a lawyer if sued?
Can you think of how she could prove that scorpions caused her illness?
Can you think of other things that she could sue for in relation to scorpions besides her illness that I haven't thought of that might catch me off guard?Thank you for your time.
Lawyer: TJ, Esq., Attorney replied 4 months ago

​Hi again.

Most judges would not view oral or text message as informing you. Most judges would require an actual written letter. Having said that, even if a judge would view the oral and text messages as informing you, you still have a very good defense in that the lease put the burden on the tenant to remove pests. But if sued, then I would certainly hire an attorney, as that improves your chances of winning 100 fold.

​She could prove that scorpions caused her illness by having a doctor testify as an expert witness that the scorpions caused her illness. That is the only realistic way she could do so. Would a doctor testify as to that? I don't know since I'm not a doctor, but it seems unlikely.

​As for other things she could sue for, she could sue for a refund of any rent that she paid by arguing that any rent was an overpayment because the scorpions made the house unlivable. Of course, that argument is not very convincing since she didn't pay rent for months, but continued living there. You should also note that you can countersue her for the unpaid rent, and so I would likely take that approach when defending the lawsuit.

I hope that helps. Please let me know if you need further clarification, and please remember to provide a positive rating via the stars (and note that your positive rating is the only way that I'll get credit for helping you, so it is much appreciated!). Thank you. :)

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Lawyer: TJ, Esq., Attorney replied 4 months ago

Hello again. I didn't hear back from you, and you haven't yet rated me, so I'm just checking in to make sure that you don't need more help on this issue.

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