The number of U.S. households renting is at a 50-year high. And it’s not just households, millions of businesses across the country are operating from rented or leased spaces.
Although most people dream of owning residential and commercial property, there’s nothing wrong with being a tenant. In fact, renting offers a range of unique benefits, from financial flexibility to low maintenance costs.
However, renting has its fair share of downsides. A landlord, for example, can evict you without a justifiable reason.
If your tenant’s rights are being infringed upon, don’t hesitate to hire a tenant attorney. Continue reading to learn about instances when you should get in touch with an attorney.
You Believe You’re a Victim of Discrimination
Landlord-tenant laws vary from state to state, but under the federal Fair Housing Amendments Act, it’s illegal for landlords to discriminate tenants. You cannot be denied housing because of your race, religion, sex, national origin, color, or disability.
Most instances of discrimination occur when a prospective tenant is looking to rent a house. Since landlords typically require tenants to make applications, yours can be rejected for a reason that may or may not be discriminatory. If you’re in this situation, a tenant attorney can study the rejection letter and advise on the way forward.
Discrimination can also occur when you’re already living in a rented house. If your landlord raises your rent without raising that of other tenants, you could be a victim of discrimination. Don’t suffer in silence.
You’re Facing Eviction
A landlord has a legal right to evict a tenant, but only under specific circumstances.
For instance, you can face eviction if:
- You’re using the unit for illegal activities, such as selling illegal drugs
- You’re conducting (legitimate) business in the property
- The landlord is taking the property off the rental market
- The landlord wants to move in
- The house no longer meets health and safety regulations and the situation cannot be remedied unless the tenant moves out.
- Other conditions fleshed out in the rental/lease agreement you signed – such as violating a pet policy.
And even when there are legal grounds for your eviction, the landlord must give you an eviction notice.
Now, what if your landlord is forcing you out without a legitimate reason? Perhaps you have had a disagreement with the landlord and they’re taking a retaliatory measure. Or you and your spouse have just had a baby and the landlord doesn’t want a screaming newborn making noise for other tenants.
Regardless of your specific situation, if you feel you’re being evicted unfairly, it’s time to call a tenant attorney. This professional will get the landlord to drop the eviction and even pursue compensation on your behalf.
On that note, be sure to hire a tenant attorney who specializes in your situation. For example, if you’re facing a commercial eviction, you need a commercial tenant attorney. This useful link has more information on this type of legal service.
A Legitimate Eviction Is Turning into Harassment
When there are legitimate grounds for an eviction, you have to move out. Timelines vary from state to state, but you can get as little as 20 days or as many as 90 days.
The landlord has no right to force you out until the legal expiry of the eviction notice. However, your landlord may resort to underhand tactics to get you to move out sooner. These tactics can include turning off your power and other utilities, threatening you, taking away your possessions, or even removing doors and windows.
If this is happening to you, the law is on your side. But you need a competent tenant lawyer on your team to enhance your chances of winning the case.
You Have Sustained an Injury
Injuries can happen anywhere, including in your rented property. While an injury can be the result of your own making (like if you slide and fall in the shower because you left a running tap), others can be the result of a landlord’s negligence.
For starters, landlords have a responsibility to ensure the property is reasonably free of health and safety hazards. So, if you fall down the stairs and break a bone because the staircase was faulty or damaged, you can hold the landlord responsible for your injuries.
It’s important to note that, in some instances, there is a thin line before tenant and landlord negligence. If you sue the landlord on your own, their legal team might be able to prove that the injury is your own fault. The right thing to do is to let a tenant attorney prosecute the case for you.
Also, an injury isn’t the only health issue that should prompt you to seek legal redress. There are certain illnesses that can arise from living in unhealthy conditions.
For example, if there’s mold in the property, you and other tenants will have an increased risk of respiratory conditions such as asthma. If you’ve fallen ill and you suspect the property’s unhabitable conditions are the cause, you can sue your landlord.
The Landlord Isn’t Keeping Their Word
Sometimes you can bring a landlord to account based on the promises they have made.
Let’s say insecurity is on the rise in your neighborhood. You ask the landlord to increase the property’s security and they respond by saying they’ll install an electric fence or hire security guards. Day, weeks, and months pass, yet nothing happens.
If the landlord’s promise was in writing and signed, you can use their words against them. A tenant attorney can send your landlord a demand letter, asking them to make good their promise or face a lawsuit.
Don’t Hesitate to Hire a Tenant Attorney When Necessary
Renting has its joys, but it exposes you to potential violations of your rights. The good news is you’re free to pursue legal action when a landlord is stepping on your rights on not doing their part. Just be sure to have a tenant attorney on your side.
Keep reading our blog for more useful legal tips and insights.