Can he evict?

By Dee

we rent a single family house in College Grove TN. In January the hot water heater went out. Contacted our landlord and told him we had contacted manufacturer who advised we replace lower heating element. We bought the element and special too required to remove the old element but that we could not get the old element loose. Landloard came right away to replace it but he couldnot do it either. He contacted the manu and ended getting a new heater under the warranty. However, he did not have the skills to put new one in and landlord contacted local service repairman. Unfortunatly the landlord did not have the money to pay repairman for the services so I paid the repairman in cash. When I paid the Feb rent I sent landlord a copy of the paid in full receipt and deposited the balance in landlord’s bank account. (this is how rent is always been paid per landlord’s request). Landlord called and left a voice mail that we could not do that, we woulld at least have to pay half of the repair bill (?). He also stated he was going to sherrif’s dept to file eviction since we had not paid rent in full. Several attempts to contact landlord have failed neither he or his wife will answer phone or return calls from messges I have left them. So because of the threat I went ahead and deposited the 1/2 of the repair bill in to the account, still can not understand why we needed to do that but to keep good terms bit the bullett and did it. Still can’t get response from landlord. Can he evict us?

Edited on: Thursday, October 6th, 2011 11:38 pm

2 Responses to “Can he evict?”

My response: (We welcome stories, examples, explanations, answers and a touch of your personality)


February 9th, 2009 2:51 pm

Hi Dee!
I love your name, I had a good friend named Devola, she was a sweatheart. To answer your question about whether the landlord can evict you over your repair bill is pretty straight forward.
Yes, your landlord can evict you if the rent was not paid in full. The water heater should be the responsibility of the landlord, but that doesn’t mean that you can automatically deduct it from your rent. Normally, what you have done is fine. But, if there is a term or condition in the agreement that requires you to make such repairs, and you signed it, you are stuck. Contractually a landlord can have an agreement that states these kind of unfair practices, and if you don’t catch it– you can be responsible. I say “Can be responsible” because the condition may or may not hold-up in court. A Judge may rule that it is not your responsibility even though you agreed to it.
Now, if there is no such condition spelled out in your agreement-then No, your landlord cannot evict you over the repair charges. He can try, but the courts will side with you. If it were me, I would allow him to go ahead and evict me… then tell him you have every right to deduct repair charges from next months rent, and that if you were evicted you will fight it in court. Yes, that’s a little bold, but seriously why should your landlord get to call all the shots? I mean, you helped him by paying the repair bill?! If you’re concerned about it, the best thing to do is to file a complaint with the RPA. It will cost you $35 to file, but it will create a legal paper agreement that will allow you to deduct the repair bill from next months rent.
Good Luck, 😉


February 11th, 2009 3:42 pm

It looks like Sarah summed it up. There is a link on this site to your local state laws. You may want to check them to see what it says, if anything. Click on the Renter Rights link to see what it says about your state. You will need to click on “S” or scroll down to State Laws.


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