Landlord Can Sue Former Tenant for Defamatory Internet Comments
Question: We own a rental home in Gilbert. We had a tenant who was like the crazy tenant that Michael Keaton played in the movie “Pacific Heights.” We were finally able two months ago to evict this tenant, who promptly posted defamatory statements on Yelp.com and other websites about both us and the rental home. We have been unable to rent the home, and two prospective tenants changed their minds for no reason. Is there anything that we can do?
Answer: Yes. Your former tenant can be liable to you for damages because of untruthful and defamatory online statements that affect your ability to rent the home. In a 2013 California case a former tenant made false statements that unsanitary conditions at the apartment complex had caused the death of three tenants. The former tenant was found liable to the owner of the apartment complex for damages as a result of these false statements by the tenant in an online review similar to Yelp.com.
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