Law Frog March Episode
On the third Wednesday of each month, David McDivitt joins KILO 94.3 to answer legal questions from callers across Southern Colorado. Tune in from 8am-9 am and listen as David addresses legal issues of all kinds. Have something to ask David? Call in at 719-633-KILO or visit here to submit a question.
Episode 3: March 25th, 2020
Legal Issues Covered This Week
Caller: Can I sue for someone giving me coronavirus? If you work with someone who comes into to work and get other people sick is there legal recourse?
David: This is a common concern right now. The law has dealt with this in a very similar manner with STDs. With coronavirus it will be a little different because it is a lot harder to pinpoint the source of how you were infected, as opposed to being infected with an STD. With something like the coronavirus of flu, it would be much more difficult to find the source and prove who infected you.
Takeaway: With an infectious disease like coronavirus that is so difficult to trace to the source, it will be extremely difficult to file a lawsuit against an individual and prove they were the source of infection. Now, if you get coronavirus at work from a line of work such as a medical proffesional, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim. Click here to learn more about coronavirus and workers’ compensation.
Caller: Steve would like to give relief to his tenants by letting them skip some rent payments due to the health crisis, but his wife thinks they need to write a contract so they aren’t taken advantage of.
David: David thinks that this landlord is wonderful for looking out for his tenants’ well-being. A contract always makes sense, and it doesn’t have to be very long or complicated. It can simply be an addendum to the existing rental agreement.
Takeaway: Any sort of agreement, especially between a landlord and tenant, should always be in writing. This way you can be sure that all terms agreed upon are documented and signed by the parties involved. In this case, it will be important to specify if the tenants will be receiving a period of free rent or if they will have to reimburse the landlord at some point.
Caller: Jennifer’s landlord is trying to keep her deposit because of animals in the home. Jennifer’s husband is on disability and the dogs in the house are trained service animals, and the cat in the house has a letter as a companion animal for her son. On top of keeping her $1,200 deposit the landlord wants to charge and additional $4,000 in other damages. Jennifer is concerned that the landlord might try and sue her for the additional amount.
David: David suggests looking back at the original rental agreement to see what the language specifically says about animals. It can be difficult because of discrimination for a landlord to not allow someone with a disability with a service animal to move into the home. Another thing to keep in mind is whether the animals were brought into the home after the initial move-in and signing of agreement. As far as the additional costs they are trying to recover, David suggests getting an itemized list of everything that needs to be fixed along with the estimates to address those issues.
Takeaway: With any landlord-tenant dispute always refer to the original rental agreement. As far as the issue with additional costs for damages to the property: make sure to request an itemized list along with cost estimates for all the damages. The tenant can also get estimates on these damages to make sure the pricing the landlord is providing isn’t inflated or bias.
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