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3 most common disputes between landlords and tenants

Many disagreements can happen between New York landlords and their tenants due to conflicting views over a lease agreement. Conflicts are frequent between renters and landlords whether it’s over repairs or the return of a security deposit.

Renting is advantageous for those who can’t afford a mortgage or those who often move, helping them avoid costs for major repairs and maintenance. But, conflicts do happen, and both sides should prepare for the most common sources of disagreement.

Disputes and how to avoid them

Many issues can arise, and both parties should clarify the terms of the rental agreement, especially for these three areas:

  • Damage vs. wear-and-tear: Heated conflicts can happen when tenants are accused of causing damage that they feel isn’t their fault. As a general rule, damage is caused by a single event, while wear-and-tear happens gradually over time. Think of a wine spill on a rug compared to a well-worn traffic area in the carpet.
  • Delays in repairs: Landlords know it’s in their best interest to make emergency repairs, such as a leaky roof or burst pipes, as soon as possible. However, less urgent upgrades or repairs may take longer since landlords try to control expenses. Some lease agreements state that tenants are responsible for repairs costing less than $50, for things such as replacing light bulbs or air filters.
  • Guest policies: Renters should pay close attention to this section as some leases place limits on the number of days a guest can stay during a specific time. Consider adding that person to the lease if they are permanent or frequent guests. Also, review sections of the lease defining subletting terms as some leases prohibit this without the owner’s consent.

Seek legal advice for unresolved conflicts

Disputes between landlords and tenants do happen frequently, but not all have to end up in court. An experienced attorney familiar with both sides of landlord/tenant laws here in New York can help find a reasonable solution.

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