Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Constructive Eviction Definition:

An implied eviction where the landlord's act or omission justifies the immediate departure of the tenant.

In a case involving a law firm as tenant, Stinson Lyons Gerlin & Bustamante, Justice Johnson of the US Court of Appeals Court adopted these words:

"... a constructive eviction (is) a wrongful act by the landlord which, though not amounting to an actual eviction, is done with the express or implied intention of interfering with the tenant's beneficial enjoyment of the leased property.

"For the landlord to be liable for the act allegedly causing the constructive eviction, the act must be wrongful, unwarranted or unlawful."

To establish a claim for constructive eviction, the law would generally expect that the tenant abandons the premises.

In Woodfall's book, the authors use the examples of the landlord who:

"... induces the tenant to quit or where a nuisance for which the landlord is responsible causes the tenant to quit (or) where the landlord enters and uses the (rented premises) or re-leases the premises to someone else."

In Ferguson, the Court held that the landlord's failure to heat an apartment. without an intention to thereby force the tenant to leave, was not a constructive eviction.

Each case will turn on its own facts.

REFERENCES:

  • Duhaime, Lloyd, Legal Definition of Eviction
  • Ferguson v Troop 17 SCR 527 (1890)
  • Hughes v Westchester Development Corporation 77 F. 2d 550 (US Court of Appeals, 1935)
  • Lewison, K., and others, Woodfall's Law of Landlord and Tenant (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 1994), page 7/46 and 7/47.
  • Stinson Lyons Gerlin & Bustamante v Brickell Building 1 Holding Company 923 F 2d 810 (1991, US Court of Appeals)

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