Tenants and Landlords on Social Media

Landlords, Tenants, Social Media and Defamation Lawsuits

In 2009, a tenant was sued by her landlord for defamation after she complained about her moldy apartment on Twitter. A judge eventually threw out the case. However, in 2013, more companies are winning social media defamation lawsuits.

Should landlords and tenants be more careful about what they say on social media?

Defamation involves making a false statement against a person or company that harms their reputation. Libel is defamation by written words, which is the basis for many recent social media lawsuits. In order to have a legal case, a person would have to prove that a comment posted on social media was false and seriously damaged their reputation.

The case of the moldy apartment tweet was thrown out of court because a judge found the tenant’s posted words to be too vague to have negatively impacted her landlord. However, this should be a lesson to all landlords and tenants: Think before you post. While it may be tempting to gripe on social media about a tenant who is late with rent checks or one who has broken a lease agreement, you could be opening yourself up to a lawsuit.

No matter how harmless it might seem to complain to your social media following a struggle you might be having, it’s best to keep the dirty details about your landlord and tenant relationship offline.

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