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I was renting a room from a live-in landlord. My girlfriend came from Japan to stay with me for a few weeks. While she was here, the landlord asked for an extra €100 per week while she was here to cover electricity costs to which I agreed.

During her stay we both got Coronavirus. After I informed the landlord, we got into an argument and she told us to get out, so we got a hotel for the week, until we could sort something else out.

She is now refusing to return the money (full deposit, and €300 of the €400 I paid in advance for the girlfriend) I believe she owes me. So I will be taking this matter to the small claims court.

My question is, should I include the hotel costs in my claim? The hotel cost up to €1,500 for the week. Or should I consider that a sunk cost?

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    If you had to pay the hotel costs in addition to the rent, then I think yes, that should also be brought in. But can you elaborate a bit more what that argument was about? Getting corona is certainly not a reason to throw somebody out of a rented flat (particularly if you are supposed to quarantine yourself there)
    – PMF
    Aug 6, 2022 at 5:48
  • @PMF The argument was about putting fruit back in the fridge. The landlord wanted us to stay in the room because we had Coronavirus. I argued the we still had to use the kitchen or she had to bring stuff up and down for us.
    – user46253
    Aug 6, 2022 at 9:50
  • Don't know about Ireland law, but if they induced you to leave without following the proper processes to evict you then I don't think it's just for you to pay for a hotel after you do, and certainly not that much. Aug 6, 2022 at 10:43
  • @Ger Sounds reasonable to me. Either she lets you continue to use the kitchen or she has to bring you the food. Obviously she cannot let you starve.
    – PMF
    Aug 6, 2022 at 12:51
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    Its probably irrelevant because you agreed to pay, but €100 per week for extra electricity sounds a bit steep. Aug 6, 2022 at 15:56

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should I include the hotel costs in my claim? The hotel cost up to €1,500 for the week. Or should I consider that a sunk cost?

You might be able to recover all your expenses, including hotel costs, under the legal theory of unlawful ouster.

Black's Law Dictionary defines oust as "to deprive of the possession or enjoyment of an estate". The details of your argument with the landlord are relevant for establishing a claim of ouster insofar as the landlord's vehemence and/or statements are indicative of her intentionality.

Your claim of ouster would need to be premised on common law or as a matter of equity because the Irish Residential Tenancies Act 2004 does not appear to address issues of ouster.

Statutory law in other jurisdictions does provide remedies for ouster. For instance, Oregon Revised Statute 90.375 provides relief that includes "an amount up to two months’ periodic rent or twice the actual damages sustained by the tenant, whichever is greater". Likewise, section 34.03.210 of the Alaska Uniform Residential Landlord & Tenant Act provides "an amount not to exceed one and one-half times the actual damages".

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  • Is Ouster applicable in all common law jurisdictions including England and the USA? If so then why do English of lawyers speak so much of illegal eviction rather than unlawful Ouster? Aug 6, 2022 at 21:30
  • @JosephP. "why do English of lawyers speak so much of illegal eviction rather than unlawful Ouster?" Can't answer that with certainty. But the notion of ouster is used also in other common law jurisdictions. See [Murphy v. Gooch [2007] EWCA Civ 603](familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed905) and Suhashini Dasi v. Ahi Bhusan Dey. In those jurisdictions, ouster seemingly refers to contexts of co-possession or co-sharing as in the OP's scenario. Aug 6, 2022 at 23:38
  • I see. Can you cite any precedents of it being used in a context of landlords making tenants leave as you are suggesting OP to apply it to? Aug 7, 2022 at 7:43
  • @JosephP. "Can you cite any precedents of it being used in a context of landlords making tenants leave as you are suggesting OP to apply it to?" Unfortunately, no. Precedents and information on common law ouster are scarce. However, I am suggesting ouster as the legal theory because neither the OP's situation was forcible enough to constitute actual/wrongful eviction (even if temporary), nor his return to the tenancy a few days later would allow a claim of constructive eviction. The latter entails more of a permanent abandonment. Aug 7, 2022 at 12:27
  • Makes some sense. Aug 7, 2022 at 14:14

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