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How Can a Landlord/Tenant Lawyer Help You?

An experienced landlord / tenant lawyer can help both a tenant and a landlord when issues arise. For tenants, landlord tenant lawyers can help the tenant when they are discriminated against, landlord is evicting in an illegal fashion, when your landlord would not make necessary repairs for you to have a livable place, tenant has been injured because of the property, and when the landlord has broken the lease.

For a landlord, a landlord tenant lawyer can help when the tenant has breached the contract, does not pay the required rent, is using the property for illegal means, and when tenant has stayed past his or her lease without paying rent and has become a trespasser.

What Should I Include in a Lease?

Rental or lease agreements are a contract between the landlord and tenant that tenant that defines the terms of the relationship. A lease should contain the following terms:

  • Rent: How much is the rent paid per month, the date of the month the rent is due and the late penalty if the rent is not paid within a certain number of days of the due date. In a non-rent controlled jurisdictions landlords usually have the right to make residential rent increases without limitation.
  • Duration: How term or length of time the rental agreement will be in force. While rental agreements are generally month to month. Leases are often for six months to one year or more.
  • Occupancy: The rental or lease agreement should identify the maximum allowable number of occupants (renters) permitted in the unit.
  • Terms of Use: The agreement should state restrictions of uses that are allowed, such as whether pets (dogs, cats, etc.) are allowed in the building. Other restrictions that can be singled out are excessive noise and illegal activities. A lease or rental agreement may also forbid certain furnishings or accessories, like a waterbed or BBQ.
  • Utilities: The agreement should state explicitly which utilities the tenant must pay for. Many apartment rentals include water and garbage collection, but usually electricity, gas and telephone are the tenant's responsibilities.
  • Security Deposit: If a security deposit is required, the lease or rental agreement should specifically state the amount. The agreement should also state how the landlord may use the deposit or if interest is to paid on it. Lastly, the document needs to be clear as to how the security deposit refund will be rendered. Most jurisdictions have laws that restrict landlords from deducting damages that are deemed normal rental unit wear and tear.
  • Landlord Entry: The lease or rental agreement should lay out the procedure for the landlord gain entry to the unit. Landlords are usually required to give notice to the tenant before entering the unit. A tenant's right to privacy vary from state to state.
  • Move-in Inspection: Both the landlord and tenant should determine the condition of a rental unit at the time the tenants take possession and make note of (or photograph) any pre-existing conditions.
  • Move-Out Inspection: A move-out inspection assesses the condition of the rental unit when tenants vacate a property. This information is compared to the move-in information provided and generally is the basis for a security deposit refund or reduction.
  • Disabled Tenants: Tenants with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodations for their disabilities, however landlords are not required to substantially impair their ability to do business in making those accommodations.

How Can I Find a Real Estate Lawyer Online?

One of the best ways to find an attorney online is through the services of LegalMatch.com. LegalMatch.com goes beyond the ordinary lawyer directories that are usually found on legal websites. Instead of simply listing phone numbers, LegalMatch.com offers lawyer-client matching services based on the individual needs of each client.

Simply post your case information online at our website. You’ll be matched with a lawyer for free, and will receive a response from a lawyer in your area within 1-3 business days. Our system also allows you to review lawyer profiles and ratings. In many instances, the prevailing party will be able to get their attorney expenses reimbursed, so if your lawyer believes that your case is strong enough to win you may not have to pay any expenses.

Should I Consult a Real Estate Attorney?

A real estate attorney will be able to help you identify the law that applies to your landlord-tenant relationship and help you achieve a beneficial result. A real estate attorney will also be able to review the terms of a lease and help you discover what you will be bound to do under the lease. Additionally, a real estate lawyer can help you if there may be defects on the premise or if you must deal with an eviction.

You may also refer to the LegalMatch Law Library article entitled: What Every Tenant Needs To Know for more information on tenant's rights.

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