Tips On Winning Landlord-Tenant Disputes As A Tenant
Published on:January 6, 2016
Landlord Tenant Dispute

In the state of New York, there are laws set up to protect landlords from unruly and destructive tenants. But there are also plenty of laws set up to help tenants get basic services from their landlords. There are plenty of myths about landlord-tenant relationships, but it is in your best interests to know the truth and understand how to use that truth to protect your rights.

What Is Expected Of The Tenant?

A tenant is expected to respect the owner’s property by not doing any willful damage, and allowing the owner adequate access to make repairs. The tenant is also responsible for reading the lease between the two parties prior to signing it, and abiding by the conditions of that lease. Any tenant who neglects or abuses the property, or does not allow the owner access to the property to make repairs, can find themselves in the middle of eviction proceedings.

What If My Landlord Is Negligent?

If your landlord is not responding to reasonable requests to make necessary repairs, then your first course of action is to start sending those requests registered mail. Utilizing registered mail will give you a paper trail that leads right to your landlord, and that paper trail can act as proof of negligence, if necessary. You should also take plenty of pictures of the neglected areas to document the damage.

If your landlord does not respond to your certified letters requesting repairs be done, then you can take your landlord to housing court. If you have properly documented the issues at the property you live in, then you stand a much better chance of getting a positive ruling in housing court.

What Are My Landlord’s Maintenance Responsibilities?

Most tenants do not realize that their landlords have maintenance responsibilities beyond repairs and upgrades based on building codes. For example, the City of New York requires that all occupied properties get a fresh coat of interior paint once every three years. Your landlord is also responsible for making sure that there are adequate safety measures in place such as deadbolts and proper lighting. If your landlord is negligent in these areas, then make requests to your landlord in writing to rectify the situation.

What Are Other Basic Landlord Guidelines I Should Know?

Many tenants are under the impression that a landlord can enter their premises whenever the landlord chooses, and this is not true. The only way a landlord can legally enter your premises is if the entry was agreed to beforehand, it is part of the lease agreement, there is an emergency, or the landlord is showing the property to potential tenants with your knowledge.

Another situation tenants find themselves in is having their door locks changed by their landlords without notice. Unless the tenants are violating the lease or behind on their rent, a landlord is not allowed to arbitrarily change locks on any premises.

As a tenant, you have rights that protect you from dishonest landlords. If you find yourself in a dispute with your landlord, then document your side of the issue and then hire a good attorney to help you to protect your rights in court.