You want your home to be a refuge from the ills and stresses of the world. Unfortunately, sometimes disagreements arise with your landlord. If your issues are serious, an attorney can help you file a complaint to get the justice you deserve. Edward E. Dove, Attorney at Law, in Lexington, KY, explains that there are a few factors you should know about landlord and tenant disputes first.
An Attorney’s Guide to Handling Landlord Issues
How & With Whom to File a Complaint
Depending on the nature of the issue, you can file a complaint against your landlord either through a governmental agency or in small claims court. If you suspect housing discrimination, for instance, you should turn to a governmental agency. For an issue like failing to return a security deposit, you’ll need to go to court.
The First Steps
In any dispute, it’s always cheaper to settle out of court. Before you take legal action, submit a written complaint to your landlord. When you do so, check your lease for relevant terms. Ensure all your rent payments are caught up. Give your landlord adequate time to respond before taking further action. If the issue is safety-related—for instance, the fire alarms in the apartment complex have been vandalized—don’t rely solely on writing. Pick up the phone.
Mediating Minor Issues
For many landlord and tenant issues, a “repair and deduct” approach is most convenient for everyone involved. If your house or apartment requires repairs—such as a broken window—you can have the problem fixed yourself and get payment from your landlord in the form of a rent deduction. Note that most states have legal limits in place on how frequently and in what monetary amount this can be done.
Handling Serious Problems
If you’re embroiled in a disagreement with your landlord and are unable to resolve the issue, sometimes the only option left is legal recourse. If you go this route, gather all the necessary documents—including your lease, records of rent payments, and a copy of written complaints made to the landlord. A lawyer will help you organize your case and represent you—whether that means filing in small claims court or a making a complaint with a government agency.
If you need legal representation with your landlord issues, turn to Edward E. Dove, Attorney at Law. With over 30 years of experience, he has earned a stellar reputation for dedication, quality counsel, and compassion. Find out more about his practice areas online. To schedule an appointment with the attorney, call (859) 252-0020 today.