Whether your disagreement is over a rent increase, responsibility for repairs, or the return of a security deposit, rarely should lawyers and litigation be the first choice for resolving a landlord-tenant dispute.
Both landlords and tenants should follow these tips to avoid legal problems:
- Know your rights and responsibilities under federal, state, and local law.
- Make sure the terms of your lease or rental agreement are clear.
- Keep communication open. If there's a problem -- for example, a disagreement about the landlord's right to enter a tenant's apartment -- see if you can resolve the issue by talking it over or using a local dispute resolution service.
- Keep copies of any correspondence and make notes of conversations about any problems. For example, tenants should ask for repairs in writing and keep a copy of the letter. The landlord should keep a copy of the repair request and note when and how the problem was repaired.