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Queens Landlord-Tenant Dispute Law Blog

When can landlords enter apartments without permission?

There are many contentious issues landlords and tenants come up against. One that has taken the forefront in New York concerns whether security deposits for apartments are too high. 

Over the course of a lease, a landlord may need to enter the tenant's apartment. In general, landlords have to provide advanced warnings if they require access to the property. For example, if the landlord needs to schedule a non-emergency repair, then he or she should give the tenant about a week's notice. If the landlord needs to show the unit to prospective buyers, then the tenant should know about the viewing 24 hours in advance. However, there are times when permission is not necessary.

What can landlords do when evicting tenants who don't leave?

In the event your tenant has broken an agreement within the lease, you will have grounds for eviction but must follow detailed steps. You must first obtain a warrant from a court clerk. Once you have the warrant signed, you will be able to hire a constable, sheriff or marshal to visit the premises the evict the tenant to issue a notice to leave. Hiring one of these people will come with a fee. 

Even after you issue the notice, you may have to contend with a tenant who will still not leave the property. Not only is this frustrating, but it prevents you from showing potential new tenants the property. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the tenant's situation, you have several options available to you.

What are the most common types of lease breaches?

Whether you are a New York landlord or tenant, your lease is the legal document by which you protect your property as a landlord or occupy the leased premises as a tenant. A strong written lease sets forth what each party will do – and not do – during the lease term and is your best recourse if and when something goes wrong or a dispute arises.

When one of you fails to do what (s)he promised to do, or does something the lease prohibits, such action or inaction breaches the lease. Whether or not the breach is material, i.e., significant, depends on its nature and what, if any, damages it causes the other party. If you commit a material breach as a tenant, your landlord may be able to evict you and keep your security deposit. If you commit a material breach as a landlord, your tenant may be able to break the lease, move out ahead of time, reclaim his or her security deposit, and possibly sue you.

When to hire an attorney for your landlord-tenant dispute

Although many people rent properties without ever having a conflict with their landlords, the unfortunate truth is that landlord-tenant disputes are quite common. Sometimes disputes are relatively minor and a bit of negotiation between the parties can resolve matters. However, in more complicated or conflictual cases, a simple meeting may not suffice.

It can be difficult to know at exactly which point in a landlord-tenant dispute you should turn to an attorney for counsel and assistance in resolving your issue. Here are a few example cases that illustrate matters that can benefit from hiring an attorney who works with landlord and tenant disputes.

What if one of my tenants gets married?

When one of your tenants gets married, a few things could theoretically happen. The tenant might want to break the lease and move out. Or the tenant might move out but continue to pay rent until the lease ends.

On the other hand, the new couple might choose to live apart. More likely, the new spouse might move in. Does that mean you will have to approve the new occupant and put him or her on the lease? What if you do not want that person there?

Should you reduce rent in exchange for work?

It can make sense in some situations to reduce or even eliminate a tenant's rent in exchange for work the tenant does around the property. For example, the tenant could mow, perform plumbing repairs or remove wallpaper off.

However, does such an arrangement really make sense?

When you are friends with your potential renter or landlord

Well-written contracts are an essential part of what keeps many landlord-tenant relationships smooth. However, when you are considering renting from someone who is your friend or you are considering renting a space out to a friend, it can seem rigid to insist on a rental agreement.

Do it anyway.

3 steps to resolving a dispute with your landlord

When you rent a new apartment or house, you hope that your relationship with your landlord will be peaceful. However, sometimes this is not always the case. Maybe your landlord is not fixing a broken pipe or is violating your privacy. When a dispute arises, you may have concerns about how to resolve it.

So what should you do when there is a disagreement between you and your landlord? Here is a guide for dealing with landlord-tenant disputes. 

Thinking about subletting? Keep a few things in mind

In many rental markets, subletting is a practice that benefits both landlords and tenants, for example, by ensuring that rent gets paid on time. It can also carry many advantages for the subtenants, helping them to establish themselves in New York before needing to commit to a long-term lease or by helping them find a place quickly.

However, if you are considering subletting the place you rent, keep a few things in mind to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible.

3 things to do before you evict a tenant

Is your tenant causing problems? You may want to kick him or her out immediately, but you should be careful to follow all the proper legal procedures. You do not want a lawsuit on your hands. If you infringe on the rights of your tenant, you could be in big trouble. 

In fact, you should go above and beyond following the legal procedures. Before you begin the formal eviction process, you should follow these tips to try to resolve any problems with your tenant first. 

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