How Much Money Can You Sue Your Landlord for Emotional Distress? It Depends

Eva Hagan - Author

Dec. 6 2023, Published 1:11 p.m. ET

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The Gist:

  • It is possible to sue your landlord for emotional distress if you have the evidence to prove it.

  • You can receive money in compensation for emotional distress, however, the amount is usually calculated based on the total damages suffered.

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Many things can put a tenant and landlord head to head, and unfortunately, with tight job markets, a pandemic, and an increasing cost of living, it’s likely to happen. In some of the worst cases, tenants have sued their landlord for emotional distress if the actions or inaction of the landlord caused severe emotional injuries to the tenant.

However, as good as it sounds to get back at your landlord, these cases are incredibly hard to win and need a lot of verifiable proof. If the judge is willing to hear the claim, you could receive compensation for emotional damages as a tenant. But how much exactly could you sue your landlord for emotional distress?

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Can I sue my landlord for emotional distress?

Yes. As a tenant, you can file a civil lawsuit against your landlord for emotional distress because any United States citizen can sue another individual they believed caused them injury. If you believe your landlord had negligent or intentionally harmful behavior, there could be a case to argue that your landlord intentionally inflicted emotional distress, per Steadily.

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Common types of emotional distress include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, anger, and depression, among many other mental health disorders that can negatively impact your life, per Healthline.

To win, you will need a preponderance of evidence, which means you must prove that the claims are more likely true, according to Cornell Law School. According to Steadily, lack of evidence is where most cases fail, and it is hard to find verifiable proof for your claims.

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How much can I sue my landlord for emotional distress?

The compensation or settlement for the case depends on a lot of factors. Many states have different interpretations of emotional distress, or what qualifies as intentional infliction of emotional distress, per Steadily.

If you win the case, compensation is awarded by calculating the sum of the damages, which could be anything from medical bills, lost income, etc, and then multiplying it by a set number to propose a settlement total, per Van Law Firm.

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How do I sue my landlord for emotional distress?

You need to take several steps before suing your landlord for emotional distress. First, gather as much evidence as possible that supports your claim. This can look like documentation, voicemails, text messages, photos, videos, or anything that shows negligence or intentional infliction of emotional distress from your landlord.

Next, you need to find a lawyer. Specifically, a lawyer who is skilled in personal injury litigation. They will determine whether or not your case is worth pursuing and help you organize evidence to file a case.

According to Property Club, once you have your attorney, you will file a claim on the basis that your landlord caused intentional or negligent emotional distress. From here, it is up to the judge to decide whether or not you have a case that will go to court. .

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