If you are considering renting a property or think your rights are being violated in an existing rental, you may need to hire a landlord tenant lawyer. At the Law Offices of Richard A. Kelley, we have helped countless tenants protect their rights and obtain compensation when negligent or difficult landlords cause damages.
Common Causes of Landlord Tenant Disputes
In many cases, disputes between a landlord and tenant can be handled outside of court, but depending on the type and severity of the situation, you may need to take your landlord to court. The following scenarios often lead to landlord tenant disputes:
If your landlord is aware of serious health or safety violations on the property and fails to remedy the issues in a timely manner, you may be able to bring a lawsuit for any damages suffered. For example, if a dilapidated deck collapses and someone is injured, or you become ill due to unresolved mold issues, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other associated costs. That being said, the landlord had to have been reasonably aware of the problem that led to injury. If the problem occurred without the landlord’s knowledge and the tenant never reported the issue, financial recovery is unlikely.
Failure to pay rent is one of the primary reasons for eviction. However, a landlord cannot evict a tenant without following proper procedures to obtain a court order. The landlord must first serve the tenant with a 14-day Notice to Quit. Upon delivery of this notice, the landlord must wait 14 days to initiate a court action. Failure to follow any of the required procedures may stop or postpone the eviction. However, if the landlord adheres to the legal requirements of the eviction process and obtains a court order called an execution, a sheriff or constable can remove the tenant, other occupants, and all belongings out of the property.
If your landlord will not return a security deposit to which you are entitled, a landlord tenant lawyer can assist you with recouping what is owed to you. Similarly, if a tenant is demanding a deposit to which he/she is not entitled, a landlord tenant lawyer can help you defend your reason for keeping the full or partial deposit.
When a landlord or potential landlord discriminates against you based on race, sexual orientation, disability, religion, or your inclusion in or association with another protected group, he/she may be liable for any damages suffered due to tenant protections under the Federal Fair Housing Act. Furthermore, if your landlord is harassing you in any way, he/she may face civil and/or criminal penalties for these actions. On the flip side, if you are a landlord who is being unjustly accused of discrimination, a landlord tenant attorney can help you defend your actions and protect your rights.
Most property rentals are legally bound with a lease, which is a contractual agreement between a landlord and tenant. When tenants sign a lease without understanding its terms, serious problems can arise. If your landlord says you are in violation of your lease, he/she may be able to withhold the security deposit, begin eviction proceedings, come after you for additional rent, or sue you in court. And when landlords use generic, online templates as leases, they limit their ability to recoup damages caused by a problem tenant. An experienced landlord tenant attorney can help landlords draft well-written contracts and ensure that tenants understand the terms of a lease before signing.
Tenants have a legal right to privacy in their rental unit. If a landlord enters the tenant’s rental unit without permission, and/or without proper notice of intention to enter, he/she may be in violation of the tenant’s rights. Most leases limit landlord access to rental units by stipulating a specified timeframe for giving notice, as well as appropriate hours of entry. The landlord is permitted to enter a property in accordance with the lease terms, however.
The Consumer Protection Act protects tenants from unfair and deceptive or dishonest business practices. If you have been harmed by a landlord’s actions, you can bring a lawsuit for any damages suffered as a result. Before filing a lawsuit, however, you must first send the landlord a 30-day demand letter. Failure to send this letter may result in dismissal of your case.
Why You Need a North Andover Tenant Lawyer
If you have questions about a rental lease or are involved in a dispute with your landlord or tenant, the skilled legal team at the Law Offices of Richard A. Kelley can help. We have been providing exceptional legal services to MA landlords and tenants for decades, and our highly-knowledgeable attorneys have an impressive track record of getting the outcome our clients want and deserve. Contact the Law Offices of Richard A. Kelley today at 781-460-9651 for a free and confidential consultation about your case.