Evicted for Being Nudist: 4 Common Eviction Defenses

By Javier Lavagnino, Esq. on June 09, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A couple in Colorado say they are the victims of discrimination via threats of eviction from their landlord. One of them fumes, "We want our freedom...We want exactly what the law gives you, and we don't want to be harassed about it." Well said! So, what insidious form discrimination do they face? It might be...well...thong and pasties discrimination?

Robert and Catharine Pierce, 58 and 51-years old, respectively, say that their near nude gardening wearing such skimpy gear has got their neighbors and landlord all fed up at the sight. The cops haven't been much help, as they reportedly say the Pierces aren't breaking "the law as long as their genitals are covered."

So now, the landlord is turning to threats of eviction, claiming the Pierces, in all their undressed-gardening-glory, constitute a nuisance. Although hopefully their case doesn't end up in court (although we might love to hear the arguments for and against their being a nuisance), it might make people wonder what sort of defenses exist in eviction cases. Here are four commonly employed defenses to eviction actions:

1. Landlord Failed to Maintain the Premises

Many have faced the frustration of a landlord that absolutely refuses to make necessary repairs and/or upkeep to their property. In many places, however, tenants may not be helpless against such landlord laxity. Once a landlord is given proper notice and sufficient time to complete requisite repairs (which varies by jurisdiction), a tenant can hire a professional to take care of the problem. The cost can then be deducted from the rent. As a heads up though, the repair and deduct strategy is restricted by cost in some states, so major structural upgrades might not be in the cards.

2. Retaliatory Evictions

Of course just about all evictions are "retaliatory" in some way, whether a tenant is getting evicted for being a deadbeat on rent, or for having a meth lab on the premises. However, some reasons for retaliation are not allowed. For example, if a landlord tries to evict a tenant who was asking them to get necessary repairs done, or if the tenant reported code violations to the city, that could very well constitute an impermissible retaliatory eviction.

3. Improper Notice

It may be somewhat surprising how often landlords don't follow proper procedure in evicting a tenant. Every state has particular method and timing requirements regarding the notice given to a tenant that they are being evicted. A failure to follow the proper procedure can totally nix a landlord's efforts and make them start from scratch with their eviction action, even if the eviction was otherwise entirely proper.

4. Fair Housing Laws

State and federal laws prohibit various types of discrimination in housing sales, leases, and similar sorts of transactions. Discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, religion, disability, and familial status (whether there are or will be any kids in a home), is not going to be allowed. Perhaps noteably absent, are other forms of discrimination, such as say, excessive partiers or nudists...

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