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Although the great majority of landlords and tenants enjoy a mutually beneficial agreement with little or no problem, there are many potential legal issues that can arise. Whether you're a renter or a property owner, understanding your rights is crucial to avoiding and resolving disputes.
Following are the top five legal issues faced by landlords and tenants and how a lawyer can help.
A lease agreement is a legal document that outlines the terms of a rental agreement. It is important for both landlords and tenants to fully understand the terms of the lease agreement before signing it. A lawyer can help ensure that the lease agreement is fair and that it fully protects the interests of both parties. They can also review any clauses that may be confusing or potentially problematic, such as late payment fees, early termination clauses, and security deposit requirements.
In some cases, landlords may need to evict a tenant for reasons such as non-payment of rent or breach of the lease agreement. Conversely, tenants may need legal representation to fight an eviction notice that they believe is unjustified. Eviction protocols vary by state, which is why it's important to find a landlord-tenant attorney who's familiar with local laws.
Security deposits are a common source of disputes between landlords and tenants. Landlords may try to keep the security deposit for damages that are considered normal wear and tear, or tenants may not receive their full deposit back due to deductions that are not justified. A lawyer can help tenants understand their rights and negotiate for the return of their deposit. They can also assist landlords in understanding the legal requirements for holding and returning security deposits.
Repairs and Maintenance
Both landlords and tenants have obligations to maintain the property. Tenants have the right to a safe and habitable living environment, while landlords have the obligation to maintain the property in good condition. A lawyer can help tenants understand their rights to prompt repairs, while also advising landlords on how to fulfill their responsibilities. They can also provide guidance on how to resolve disputes related to maintenance and repairs.
Fair Housing Laws
Federal and state fair housing laws prohibit discrimination based on factors such as race, ethnicity, gender, and disability status. Landlords must comply with these laws when selecting tenants and must provide reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities. A lawyer can help landlords ensure that they are in compliance with these laws and can assist tenants who believe they have been discriminated against.
Contact a landlord-tenant attorney in your area to learn more.