Landlord-Tenant Disputes: When to Resolve on Your Own and When to Hire a Lawyer

Discrimination, Eviction, Landlord, Tenant

Many landlord-tenant disputes can be resolved through a simple conversation. There are other disputes, however, which necessitate legal intervention because a tenant’s safety or legal rights are compromised. If you are involved in one of the situations discussed below, then hiring an experienced real estate lawyer is advisable to ensure your interests are adequately protected.

Discrimination

The federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 and the Federal Fair Housing Act Amendment Acts of 1988 outlaw discrimination based on protected categories. These include race, color, religion, national status, familial origin, age, sex, or disability. This anti-discrimination law covers all areas of the landlord-tenant arrangement including advertising, standards for selecting tenants, the terms and conditions of the lease, and reasons for termination. If discriminatory conduct in any of these areas has taken place, the tenant can file a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. A lawyer can advise the tenant on terminating the conduct and recovering compensation for damages that were incurred.

Eviction

If your landlord intends to evict you, an attorney can help you defend the eviction in court. There may be applicable defenses that you can assert to help avoid the eviction. The landlord is required to follow statutory procedures for eviction. For example, self-help remedies are prohibited in residential leases. If the landlord attempts to lock out a tenant or remove his possessions, the eviction may not be enforced.

Failure to Make Repairs

All tenants have the basic right to habitable conditions in their rental properties. Even when this legal right is not spelled out in the lease, it is the landlord’s duty to maintain the premises and unit in a livable state, which includes maintaining a structurally sound building, providing heat and water, and ensuring that the plumbing and electricity work properly. If the landlord fails to make repairs or maintain the unit or building after proper notice, the tenant has several options including withholding rent, paying less rent, or repairing the condition himself. An attorney can help a tenant decide the best course of action and determine if state or local codes have been violated.

Landlords and tenants should be familiar with their rights and responsibilities in order to try to avoid litigation. This includes knowing applicable federal and state laws and understanding the terms of their lease.

The experienced team of attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark Weinstein, P.C. can help you litigate your real estate claims. Contact Mark Weinstein and his colleagues at (770) 888-7707 or visit them at https://www.markweinsteinlaw.com to find out how they can advise you.

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