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Common disputes between NYC landlords and tenants: Part I

Landlord-tenant disputes can arise due to a number of different factors. A landlord may raise the rent unexpectedly or fail to make required repairs, or a tenant may cause damage to the property or break a term of the lease. There are however, certain landlord-tenant disputes that are more common than others.

One common form of dispute arises in Queens when a tenant does not vacate the property after a lease has expired. This is known as a holdover. Sometimes a tenant may not leave voluntarily and a landlord will change the locks, which can lead a tenant to pursue a self-help eviction lawsuit to obtain treble damages. Rather than change the locks, a landlord with a holdover tenant may better protect his or her rights by beginning eviction proceedings and declining to accept additional rent money from the holdover tenant. A tenant who has paid rent following the expiration of a lease may convert the lease into a month-to-month tenancy if the landlord accepts the rent payment.

Another common dispute between landlords and tenants arises if a landlord discovers damage to the premises after a tenant has vacated the property, whether in the form of broken appliances, holes in the walls or stained floors. A landlord may bring a lawsuit against a tenant to recover financially for alleged damage to the property. Often tenants will contend that the condition of the property is substantially similar to when they took possession of the premises. A landlord who has dated and signed pictures documenting the baseline condition of the property at the time a tenant moved in will be in a more favorable position to prove his or her case than one who does not have such documentation.

These are just two of the most common ways that a landlord-tenant dispute might arise. A New Yorker involved in a landlord-tenant dispute, whether as a landlord or a tenant, may wish to seek attorney guidance.

Source:, "The 5 Most Common Landlord/Tenant Disputes," Andrew M. Lieb, accessed May 6, 2016

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