Landlords and tenants typically argue over issues like a broken air conditioner or past due rent or other easily anticipated elements of occupying a rental property. A family in New Jersey recently filed a complaint against their landlord for a very unusual reason. They believe the house is haunted.

Regardless of whether or not the house is indeed haunted (if that is possible), the family found that the property was not as described and that it was uninhabitable. The particular reason that they were not able to live in the house is quite atypical, which makes this case unique. However, there are a multitude of potential reasons why a tenant might be unsatisfied with a rental property once they move in.

Many things about a home are not immediately apparent from one or two visits, so it may be difficult for potential renters to know if there is an element to the property that they will find acceptable. Everyone’s preferences are different, so landlord may find it hard to foresee the types of issues that require advance disclosure.

It’s important for both parties to consider a wide range of foreseeable conflicts before entering into an agreement, especially one that is long term and has a high value. The landlord in this case is alleging that the tenants ran in to financial difficulties and are trying to escape their obligation. The tenants assert that they have strong evidence that the house is not livable and that their immediate departure from the property indicates that they were not happy with it.

Source: USA Today, “New Jersey couple sues, claiming rented house is haunted,” Douglas Stanglin, April 13, 2012.

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