Attorney explains renters’ rights after tornado damage

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – An attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant law to get answers says unfortunately for many renters, the law may not be on their side. 

Jennifer Bock says, “It’s terrible, it’s really like a Catch-22. You want to stay in your home, but you can’t. And you can’t go anywhere else.” 

Attorney Jennifer Bock says it all comes down to your lease: if you don’t have provisions protecting you in the event of a natural disaster, you may be out of luck. “The tenant actually technically has an obligation to continue to pay rent until the landlord says that the rent is abated or suspended. Even if it’s uninhabitable.” 

Bock says good leases will include a provision where one party could end the lease if the unit is uninhabitable, but that may not be an option if the renter has nowhere else to go. 

“The landlord could put them up in a hotel or but there’s no obligation. Because the landlord didn’t cause the damage. That’s really what it comes down to, is what was the cause for the damage?” 

That means many renters may be stuck, especially if they don’t have the means to find another place to live. It gets worse if they’re told to evacuate. 

Bock says, “They’re actually going to be considered trespassers if they don’t comply with the cities evacuate notice. And they could be jailed for trespassing.”

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