One aspect of the landlord-tenant relationship that people forget is that a lease is a type of legal contract. The landlord is to supply a safe place for the tenant to live and the tenant agrees to pay rent and live within the rules of the lease. These rules may include items such as what sort of repairs the tenant is responsible for and what a landlord is responsible for while the tenant is living in the house or apartment.
Most of the time, a landlord-tenant relationship is smooth, and as with any legal relationship, people start to understand each other, and they learn how to work and deal with each other.
A Landlord-Tenant Relationship is a Business Relations and Should be Treated as Such
When issues arise in the relationship, either party may involve an attorney who has a practice that focuses on landlord-tenant issues. When issues do arise, we remind the landlord or tenant that they are in a rental situation, and a lease is a contract that specifies how much the tenant will pay the landlord. The law is also very specific about circumstances when a tenant may withhold rent.
From a tenant’s point of view, they either pay the rent or they do not. Tenants call and say they did not want to pay the rent because the place is a dump or they called the landlord and they did not respond in time, or any other number of reasons.
While not pleasant, alone, these may nt be a valid reason to withhold rent. The first question we ask is if there is a lease in place. We will also want to know of there was a lease at one point, and you have being going month-to-month since the lease expired. We will also want to know how long it has been since you paid your rent, and what you have done to contact the landlord or try to remediate the issues.
What If There Is No Lease?
If there is no lease and they were paying month-to-month, but have paid rent in several months, then we would tell the tenant to start to get funds together and work out a deal with the landlord to vacate the residence. With no contract in place, there is usually little legal recourse. If the landlord knows that you will be out by a certain date and they would get their possession back, it will put an end to the conflict even if the landlord would not be paid any rent for a month or two.
Quite often, landlords who have a conflict with a tenant will call our office to talk about their options. Due to how long a legal timeline would take, as well as the fees involved, landlords will often take the first steps on their own if they have any level of trust in their tenants and are comfortable doing so.
You May Attempt to Negotiate a Settlement with the Tenant On Your Own At First
The landlord will try to work with the tenant to see if they can negotiate a time when the tenant would leave the house or apartment. When it comes to negotiating on a timeline to vacate premises, the services of a landlord-tenant attorney would not necessarily speed up the process.
Contact Our Office When Your Initial Attempt Breaks Down or if You Need to Get a Court Order
The reason to get an attorney involved is if you need a court order to have a tenant removed, or if you are a tenant that has been served and wishes to fight it. A court order would be needed when the communications have broken down to the point where discussion and negotiation are impossible. Once the courts are involved, then the case must follow a certain string of events on a very specific timeline before the court brings in the Sheriff, and eviction is possible.
We Represent Landlords and Tenants. Call Our Office for a Free Consultation
At the Law Office of Matthew Tannenbaum, we work with both landlords and tenants to resolve issues of unpaid rent, holdovers, and other landlord-tenant related issues. Call our office at 516-683-1234 for a free consultation.