While the coronavirus pandemic has caused more problems between landlords and tenants than ever before, landlord-tenant disputes are nothing new. All too often, conflicts between landlords and tenants turn from simple arguments into court cases, potentially costing hundreds or thousands of dollars and sometimes resulting in eviction. Here are five of the most common reasons for landlord-tenant disputes:
- Rent disputes
- Unsurprisingly, one of the most common reasons landlords and tenants fight with one another is over rent disputes. This might happen because a tenant has fallen behind on their rent payments, but it can also happen if a landlord attempts to raise the rent without fair warning. A tenant may also try to claim they do not owe rent due to a landlord’s misconduct, which can easily lead to litigation.
- Failure to perform maintenance
- Landlords have a duty to maintain safe conditions on a property. This includes ensuring utilities like running water and electricity are functional, and repairing potential hazards like broken floorboards or exposed wiring. When a landlord fails to perform this basic duty, they put their tenants at risk, and can risk a landlord-tenant dispute going to court.
- Security deposit problems
- It is standard for most landlords to demand a security deposit from their tenants before they move in to cover the costs of any repairs that need to be done. However, if a tenant does not need any of those repairs, a landlord is supposed to return it at the end of the lease. Suffice it to say that most landlords do not like giving up security deposits if they can avoid it, and when they try to withhold a security deposit, it can result in a landlord-tenant dispute.
- Violating the lease agreement
- Before you move into an apartment, you must sign a lease agreement that includes the terms of what you must do to legally remain in the apartment. These terms bind both the landlord and the tenant, and either can be held legally responsible if the terms of the lease are violated. This can include a tenant bringing a pet into an apartment where pets are not allowed, or a landlord failing to provide proper notice of an inspection of an apartment.
- Undisclosed defects
- A landlord also has a responsibility to inform a tenant of any potential defects on the property that might affect their ability to safely inhabit it. This could include problems with the heat or lighting, issues with mold or termites, or a section of the floor that is damaged or weak. Failing to disclose these problems is a violation of a landlord’s duty to their tenants, and a potential source of a landlord-tenant dispute.
If you have questions regarding your rights as a landlord or tenant, you should seek advice from an attorney experienced in handling these matters. A New York landlord-tenant lawyer, who is experienced in handling landlord-tenant cases of all sorts, can advise you of your legal rights and will fight for your best interests in court. If you are facing a dispute over unpaid rent, lease violations, or other similar issues, contact the Suffolk County landlord-tenant attorneys at McGuire, Peláez and Bennett at (631) 348-1702.