Washington, DC asked in Landlord - Tenant and Real Estate Law for Maryland

Q: Current tenant of home that is for sale. Surveillance video was recorded of real estate agent going through belongings.

I entered into a lease last month for my current home. The home is currently listed for sale. During a showing of the home, surveillance video captured the owner of the real estate company and acting agent, allowing a client to go through my personal belongings. What can be done about the negligence of the real estate company, invasion of privacy, the breach of the implied covenant of quiet enjoyment of the home and or infliction of emotional distress?

1 Lawyer Answer
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
  • Potomac, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: It might be interesting to see the video to determine how egregious the invasion was. The bottom line is that you will almost certainly be limited to the actual damages you experienced due to the trespass to your property. I suspect that would be zero, but an interview might uncover something. If the invasion was an inadvertent glance, I doubt you can expect more than nominal damages of $1. If it was egregious, there is a tiny possibility of punitive damages or of a settlement to keep you from filing a lawsuit against the broker. If, on the other hand, some potential buyer stuck his nose in your closet before the agent had the chance to tell him to look at the size of the closet but not your belongings, you've got a very weak claim. Even if it is a strong claim, I think you'll have a hard time finding a lawyer who would take this kind of case on a contingency fee basis.

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