A former apartment tenant in Hyogo Prefecture has successfully sued the landlord for 1.04 million yen (approx. US$10,650) after it was hidden from him that a woman had taken her own life there just over a year before signing a renting agreement. The man argued in the Kobe District Court that the landlord, who regularly works as a lawyer, knowingly broke the law by not disclosing the suicide as he was required to.
The tenant was seeking 1.44 million yen ($14,800) to compensate lost rent as well as mental suffering. The presiding judge at the trial agreed that the landlord was fully responsible, and dismissed his claims that a third-party had been trusted with the apartment’s paperwork, and that he had not received any information about a suicide prior to renting to the plaintiff. Judge Kazuki Sugiura said this argument was “hardly conceivable,” as the woman’s body had been carried out of the apartment by police, and was seen many neighbors and other local residents.
On May 2nd, 2011, the lawyer won control of the Amagasaki apartment in an auction, which was followed only three days later by the woman’s suicide. The male tenant moved in at the end of August 2012, having not been informed of the incident, but learned of what happened the very next day from neighbors. He then terminated his rental contract with the landlord in September of that year. Judge Sugiura ruled that knowing what had taken place in the residence, most people wouldn’t think of it as “suitable for living.”
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