How to Resolve 3 Common Landlord Tenant Disputes

Landlord/Tenant - March 19, 2018
Stressed man and woman landlords looking at a document

Breach of lease agreements

Study the lease agreement carefully. Know your rights and responsibilities, some of which include:

  • The right to habitable premises (you are protected against unsafe living conditions, bad wiring, gross infestation of vermin, no lead-based paint and so on)
  • You are protected against discrimination in leasing under federal anti-discrimination law
  • The right to house your service animals
  • Your right to the provision of utilities (your landlord can’t just cut off electricity, water or heat)
  • The right not to be harassed by your landlord
  • Your security deposit shouldn’t exceed the state limits
  • The right to privacy
  • Disclosure rights under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (you have the right to know if your credit is used to deny your application.)

Read up and review your lease before your sign.  Landlord/tenant laws vary from state to stateyou may need to look into resources that advise you on local tenant laws. Make hard copies and notes of all correspondence related to problems with the rental property or your tenancy.

It’s good to trouble-shoot potential landlord-tenant disputes in advance. Start thinking and looking into which forms of lease agreement breach issues come up often and how they are handled (or mishandled).

Make sure that you’re living up to your end of the lease as well. Being in breach of your agreement means you have broken the rules of the lease or tenancy agreement. Even with laws in place to protect you as a tenant. A breach of your lease can lead to eviction which is stressful. Do check the United States of Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) list which details landlord/tenant laws per state.

Don’t ignore problems on the lease agreement; Bring them up with the landlord to see if changes can be made or an agreement can be reached. This can help eliminate future disputes that may arise from a breach of contract.

Landlord-tenant lease breach disputes are so common that you may require the help of an attorney when they occur. If litigation happens, we can help. With a team of attorneys at your fingertips, LegalShield is prepared to help you.

Responsibility for repairs to the rental property

Landlords are generally obligated to make repairs and maintain the rental property, but the laws vary from state to state.

Your lease agreement and state tenant rights are the first place to look for stipulations on repairs. For example, your landlord may be required to receive a written notice of defects in the condition of your rental property before they are obligated to make any repairs.

A landlord is required to keep the rental property in habitable condition, but there are minor problems they are not required by law to fix. That dripping faucet, or the grime and the dirty grout in your bathtub? Unless your lease agreement states that the landlord will fix those problems for you, then the landlord is under no legal responsibility to do so.

Of course, some minor issues in need of repair may actually be violations of a building or housing code. The landlord will be held responsible for these issues by a government authority, but you may risk ruining your relationship with your landlord if you bring in a government agency right away without having a preliminary talk with your landlord first.

  • Do put your request for minor repairs in writing. Show respectfully how this repair would benefit the landlord.
  • Don’t withhold rent or repair the problem yourself while deducting the cost from rentthis will not only escalate the situation but sour your relationship with your landlord in the long run.

These are delicate situations that are best handled by seeking authoritative advice, especially if you have a potential lawsuit on your hands. Take advantage of unlimited free consultations with a team of attorneys at LegalShield.

Non-payment cases

As a tenant, you can be evicted for not paying your rent, which is a distinct issue from chronic late payments.

Before you can be sued for failure to pay, generally the landlord or someone working on their behalf must demand the overdue rent from you and give you a warning. Alternately, if your landlord is failing to pay out your security deposit upon moving out, you can file a lawsuit against your landlord.

Bottom line: Conflicts are abundant

Imagination is your limit when it comes to the mundane forms of conflict that can arise between landlord and tenant.

Smoking is a classic dispute between tenant and landlord. Cigarette smoking produces an odor that spreads its joy or miserydepending on your perspectivefrom room to room, unit to unit. The benefits of smoke-free housing are significant: fewer apartment fires, a larger pool of responsible tenants, shorter vacancies, and decreased maintenance costs.

Perhaps you’re happy with the idea of smoke-free housing, but your neighbors on the second floor aren’t. If your landlord never specified smoke-free apartments in leases, you and others could be affected by secondhand smoke, which is a serious concern for those with asthma. And conflicts aren’t just restricted to landlord and tenantdisputes between tenants can arise without rules governing behavior.

If you can’t find a reasonable short-term solution, you’re looking at a potential relocation. It’s possible that the landlord can help to relocate you to another apartment or building.

Legal recourse support with LegalShield

Knowing your landlord /tenant laws is one thing but in practice, situations can get tricky to navigate. When communication has failed and the dispute has caused unreasonable levels of tensionespecially if it’s landed you in small claims court over a tenancy deposit dispute or some other issueyou’ll need a consultation on how to handle your case. Become a member at LegalShield and get the coverage you need now.

LegalShield provides access to legal services offered by a network of provider law firms to LegalShield Members through member-based participation. Neither LegalShield nor its officers, employees or sales associates directly or indirectly provide legal services, representation or advice. See a plan contract at for specific state of residence for complete terms, coverage, amounts, and conditions. This is not intended to be legal or medical advice. Please contact a medical professional for medical advice or assistance and an attorney for legal advice or assistance.