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Common landlord tenant disputes and how they can be resolved

On behalf of Steven Waldinger

Many New York residents live as tenants, and many of them have had issues with their landlords. But a clear understanding of how common arguments arise can help both parties avoid unnecessary disputes.

New York does not require landlord-tenant agreements to be in writing if the duration of the contract is for less than one year. Still, it is important for landlord-tenant agreements to be in writing. This can help eliminate any disputes that may arise because of a breach of the contract. Many landlord-tenant disputes arise because the contract terms. Having the terms written out in detail can help eliminate confusion and keep positive communication between all parties to the agreement.

Tenants need to be aware that they can change the terms of the lease before the agreement is final. Terms are always negotiable and can be tailored to specific circumstances for the parties to agree upon.

A common problem, especially for young renters such as students, is knowing when a contract becomes enforceable. Many students have reported that landlords have given away rental properties for which the student had already signed the lease. When both the landlord and the tenant sign a contract, it becomes legally binding whether or not money has exchanged hands.

New York has statutes in place that allow for a reasonable amount of time for a landlord to make repairs to property. New York law also allows tenants reasonable wear and tear to the property without owing anything in return, but a landlord can still sue a tenant for property damage worth more than the security deposit.

General responsibilities of landlords and tenants

Both landlords and tenants have specific responsibilities. Tenants have an obligation to pay the rent on time. Some landlords allow for grace periods to give a tenant a chance to come up with the money. Tenants also have the obligation to not damage the property. Another responsibility is to not sublease the property to anyone else without prior permission from the landlord.

The landlord is under obligation to make sure the property is habitable. The tenant may not be responsible for paying rent if the property is not safe or sanitary for a person to live there. Tenants are not responsible for reasonable wear and tear, and the landlord needs to make repairs to normal wear and tear. Landlords should also make sure tenants know when there is a change in ownership of the property. This notice should be in writing.

Having these terms and others in a written contract can help eliminate disputes. Renters and other residents who have a dispute with either a landlord or tenant should contact an experienced attorney to explore all of the legal options and remedies available in the state of New York.