Fighting the Landlord

Not everyone is aware of Wyoming rental laws.

The city attorney and a local lawyer both say, under Wyoming’s residential rental property act, it’s up to tenants to take initiative in mediating problems.

“The tenant has to notify the landlord of the problems has to do that in writing, has to set forth the nature of the problems and the hoped for remediation,” said Casper City Attorney, John Henley.

If the landlord doesn’t respond within a reasonable time the tenant can send one more notice by certified mail.

“Say that the notices fail and that the landlords unwilling to repair and the tenants unwilling to concede,” said Attorney Craig Silva.
Tenants could bring a civil action.

“They would have to go to court against their landlord which is difficult when you need some place to live, you don’t want to get kicked out, your rent raised or treated badly by your landlord.”

If the landlord acknowledges the initial letter…

“The landlord can say… jeez.. Given the amount of rent that I’m getting it’s an unreasonable request for me and they can actually go in and make the tenant vacate within 10 to 20 days.”

But the tenant can still file a lawsuit…

“It is a lot and it’s probably a lot to expect from most people.”

“The tenant often time doesn’t have the resources to hire an attorney or to fight back with a landlord who tends to have more resources than the tenant. That’s why the act really opens itself up so that tenants can get to court.”

If successful, damages could be awarded including lowered rent, damages for repair, orders to make repairs…

“Also the court can just terminate the lease so there’s lots of remedies within that particular provision that allows the court to do a lot of things to remedy the situation.

While the act isn’t as regulatory as what might be seen in other states, Silva says it covers the essentials

“But it does really put the burden on the tenant to really take those proactive steps and follow the act to get itself in court.”

If steps within the act aren’t followed the way it says the case could be dismissed.

The legislature and municipalities could add more regulations but Silva says that’s not something we usually see in our state.

However, city code and building officials believe one ordinance, previously brought to council, that stirred controversy in the community, could possibly help people facing these issues.