Landlord and Tenant Disputes and Issues that Need Legal Support
Disputes between a landlord and tenant are common, and there are many ways to find a reasonable solution to the problem. Sometimes, however, the issue is or becomes severe enough to warrant legal intervention. Seeking legal assistance or taking the case to court can happen if there are issues with the rights of the tenant or landlord being upheld. When there is a dispute, the landlord and the tenant have the opportunity to seek legal advice to help them get past the issue and help prevent new ones in the future. Some of the most common disputes and reasons a landlord or a tenant may need legal assistance include the following.
Maintenance and Upkeep of the Property
Property maintenance is generally the landlord’s responsibility. They are required to make sure the property is livable and safe for tenants, and there may be requirements such as having heating available for tenants during the winter months. If there are issues where repairs are not done in a timely manner, especially if the issues with the property make it unlivable, the landlord could face fines. Tenants may be able to break the lease by going through the courts or have other restitution available to them, such as the landlord providing funds to rent a room in a hotel until the repairs can be made.
Cleanliness of the Property
The tenant is generally responsible for keeping the property clean. In apartments, this can mean cleaning up the interior and preventing potential damage. In houses, this can include the interior and exterior of the property, including lawn maintenance and other tasks. If the property is not kept in good condition or there are concerns about the condition of the property, the landlord may be able to keep the deposit when the tenant leaves or start the eviction process if the issue is noticed during the lease. If money is deducted from the deposit to cover repairs or cleaning costs and the tenant believes the withholding is unjust, they may be able to go to court to have a judge look into the withholdings.
Damages to the Property
Property damage can be anything that happens that could alter the property. If the property has torn carpets, especially if they were installed right before the tenant moved in, or holes in the walls from hanging items, the landlord may be able to withhold part or all of the deposit to make necessary repairs. There are limitations to this, though. If the carpeting is older, the landlord can’t withhold the entire cost of replacing the carpet in most cases.
Likewise, tenants may have a claim against the landlord if there are damages to the tenant’s property because of the landlord’s actions or inactions. If there is a fire due to the landlord failing to make timely repairs, they may be liable for any of the tenant’s items that need to be replaced. This will mean the landlord has to provide funds to replace the tenant’s damaged items.
Nonpayment of Rent
If rent is not paid by the tenant or is not paid in full, the landlord may have a claim. There have been complications with collecting rent with the pause on eviction proceedings for nonpayment during the pandemic, so landlords will want to seek legal advice if the rent was not paid during this period. Landlords do have the option of requesting late fees if the rent is not paid in full by the deadline, but there may be a grace period before the late fees can be claimed. If the tenant continues to miss rent payments, the landlord may consider eviction proceedings.
Community Rules and Regulations
Depending on the unit being rented, there may be a list of rules and guidelines that the landlord and their tenant must follow. If a home in an HOA is rented, for instance, the tenant will need to follow all of the HOA’s rules. Typically, rules are created to deal with guests and guest parking, noises, pets, and more. If the tenant doesn’t follow the rules, the landlord could be fined. This could result in issues for the tenant, such as being charged for the fine or being evicted for a failure to follow the rules.
Evictions come into play for missed payments in most cases, but that is not the only reason someone can be evicted. When an eviction is necessary, it must be done according to local laws. Landlords can’t simply remove the tenant’s belongings and change the locks or cut off the power and water. Tenants can’t just move out and stop paying, either. The landlord will need to file the eviction with the courts, provide notice of the eviction, and go through the court process for the eviction to be finalized. In some cases, the landlord and tenant can come to an agreement before the eviction is complete, so there may not be a need to go to court.
Discrimination Against Tenant
Discrimination against a tenant can be illegal, and tenants may be able to recover funds to cover any harm they suffer as a result. If a landlord discriminates against a tenant or potential tenant, they can be investigated by local agencies and required to pay fines. Tenants who must move as a result of the discrimination may receive moving costs and other funds to cover having to find somewhere new to live. If the case goes to court, the tenant may also be able to request compensation for their attorney’s fees.
The last should provide information about the landlord’s and tenant’s responsibilities and should be clear about everything that is expected from both parties. If a landlord makes promises outside the lease, they may still be required to fulfill those promises. If something is included in the lease and is not done by the landlord, the tenant may be able to have a claim for compensation or force the landlord to follow the lease. This may require help from a lawyer to settle the situation without going to court.
Injuries on the Property
If someone is injured on the property, there could be a personal injury claim as a result. If the property is not well maintained and mold starts to grow inside the rental, the tenant may be able to request compensation if they get sick because of the mold. If stairs are damaged and not fixed in a timely manner, the tenant may be able to receive compensation for medical bills and related expenses because of their injuries. If the tenant has damaged the property and the landlord is injured as a result, the landlord may be able to request compensation, as well.
Landlord and tenant disputes can arise at any time, even if the relationship has been amicable up to this point. When there is a dispute, even if it doesn’t need to be solved by the courts, hiring a lawyer for help may be a good idea. Landlords and tenants who need help navigating these issues and settling any disputes can work with Stelzner Law in Rock Hill, SC. Learn how to deal with home boundary disputes or how to get more help from a lawyer for landlord and tenant disputes by talking to a lawyer now.