When to Use an Apartment Attorney

August 11th, 2009 by

Hiring an attorney is usually the last thing on your mind when renting an apartment. Location, amenities, rent and apartment layout are the topics you’ll think of first, when talking about apartment living. Unfortunately, as with all things in life, something concerning your tenancy could go awry and put your rights in jeopardy. That’s when you’ll need the advice of an attorney.

What Kind of Attorney Should Apartment Dwellers Use?

Certain lawyers specialize in real estate law, which includes apartment rental laws and landlord-tenant laws. When you have a problem involving your rights as a tenant, consider contacting a lawyer with experience in this area of the law. Before hiring a real estate lawyer, make sure that they have handled cases similar to your own.

When Do You Need an Apartment Attorney?

A variety of apartment-related situations may require an attorney. Some of the most common are:

  • Eviction
  • Housing Discrimination
  • Security Deposit Return

In each of these cases, you may need to seek the advice of an experienced real estate attorney to understand and assert your rights. Sometimes the attorney can handle the matter through correspondence with your landlord; and other times they may have to appear in court to defend you.

For example, as soon as you receive an eviction notice, you should seek out a qualified lawyer with experience in landlord-tenant law. Failing to respond properly to an eviction notice may harm your chances of staying in the apartment, even if you have a valid case for why your landlord is wrong in evicting you.

With respect to housing discrimination, there are times when an attorney’s advice may be necessary. Understanding whether your civil rights have been violated is a complicated matter. If you think that you’ve been the victim of housing discrimination, speak to an attorney experienced in filing fair housing lawsuits, as soon as possible, to determine whether you’re entitled to compensation.

When the time comes for your landlord to return your security deposit, you might be charged for damage that you didn’t cause. If you did an apartment inspection at move-in time, you can use it as documentation to make a case in your defense. Even so, your landlord may try to claim that your behavior caused damage to the apartment, rather than normal wear and tear. If  you believe that the landlord is wrong, you may be better off hiring an attorney to refute the charge.

Each situation should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. However, when it comes to security deposits, being charged for damaging the apartment affects you beyond the cost of the repair. This information is added to your rental history and can be used to deny you an apartment in the future. It may be well worth the cost of an attorney to protect your reputation and ensure that you pass a background check the next time you fill out a rental application. As a general rule, whenever your rights as a tenant are in question, and you are unsure how to proceed, consider consulting an attorney.

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Lisa Bernstein: As a long-time apartment dweller and seasoned condominium trustee, I have dealt with numerous landlord-tenant, property management, and day-to-day apartment complex issues. My extensive, direct experience has led to invaluable insights into apartment life from both the tenant and management perspectives.

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11 Responses to “When to Use an Apartment Attorney”

  1. Jamie Says:

    I have a more rare problem as a tenant. My heat keeps going out and my landlord allows this problem to keep happening. My daughter has been sick with colds, strep etc for three months straight. Right now our home is 63 degrees. I keep calling code enforcement on him but they keep allowing him to just get it fixed with in 24 hours. After the third strike he should be fined is how I feel. On top of this I pay a flat rate for my monthly rent to live here and our heat is included in our cost of rent. I am paying full price for a portion of the service that I’m not receiving and that is making my child sick all the time on top of it. I went half the month of December including xmas eve with out heat and my landlord would not reimburse me in any way. And I still had to pay full cost of my rent for that month.

  2. judith Moortell Says:

    I have a problem with a downstairs neighbor, This person has moved back in three different times with different famalies. She is constantly running fans which sound like motors comming through floors and walls, she also rings a clock alarm at night and sometimes all day long! Managemt does not care, they appartently are getting money from her to let her run these fans I am unable t sleep in my bedroom !! she also has a camera that she can see in the hallways if the police are called she shuts off everything and runs out of the apartment! I would like to know what rights I have! I have been there for 34 years! The care taker knws about he fans but says he cannot do anything! I want to know why I am paying rent and not being able to watch t>v or sleep in my own bed! Please advise as to How I can handle this?

  3. Zandra Hill Says:

    I have issue with this complex, first they are telling me I have a $1500 balance on my rent. I have all my receipts I live in a Navtive community I was told by email that I have a judgement against me and I would have to move out. I have all kinds of issues this is the most that stuck out I have a lot of documents to show I am not in the wrong I just needed some assistance
    phone 602-386-6831
    yashie682hotmail.com

  4. kathy wilson Says:

    I refer a person to my complex. the referral fee was $500.00 dollars and was told you will receive it when that person stay in their apartment for over 1month. I will tell the truth was late with my rent that month due to the person that worked in the office of my apartment said i could put that money toward the rent and pay the difference. When i called a different person said that, that was not true and now i was late with my rent and had to pay three hundred more dollars. After I paid i was told that Friday that the owner will come that Monday and sign the check and release them. I called and was told something dlfferent so the office is not on the same page. Now i have a problem that my car was impound and need that money to get it out. This is a new month and if my rent is late due to this should not be my fault. Please help

  5. Paula Says:

    Hi, I have live at a Willmark Property rental for three years. I have had 3 lease agreements, never been late. My last lease agreement ends Oct 31, and was given a NOTE on my door Oct 9th, that the rent was going up another $60 effective Dec 1, and if I did not respond by Nov 15, I would be month to month at $1779 a month. I started at $1295 3 years ago.

    So I found a place and secured it a week ago, and had to pay first and last etc….
    I called their HQ and told them Oct 9 I could not stay. And how much deposit had I put down, etc for refund. Iwas told to schedule a walk through later. I did, NOW they are saying I did not give them a fromal 30 day WRITEN notice and they will charge me another months rent/deposit etc…
    I wrote a letter to Will mark stating I talked to their office and never did they mention signing any notice, nothing. They wrote back and said they do not have a record of that call. WHAT can I do?

  6. Zach Says:

    I’ve been in my apartment about 6 months now. My issue is the hot water valve in the shower keeps breaking seals and leaking. As well as during a shower the water temperature will change to scalding hot. It’s to the point where you have to jump back to get out or the harmfully hot water or injury will occur. I’ve called leasing 4 times and every time they just fix the seal. One time the took the shower head off and cleaned it and it helped a little but the problem still persists. I have. Pregnant wife and this situation is very dangerous for her. What more can I do?

  7. Kyle Says:

    I’m not sure if I require the same type of attorney… My landlord is responsible for checking the smoke detectors every year, but you may opt out of it via letter… I have the letter (a faxed copy from their office) and a slip their employee left on my door notifying he was in my apartment when I wasn’t home… Also (I haven’t called them yet) but on my lease agreement it’s noted that my landlord is responsible for all tenant water utility fees… Now, starting in April, they’re going to use a new service called ‘yes energy’ which involves tenants paying their own units water bills… I’ve been harassed on other occasions, but I’d prefer not to share them publicly. Any advice?

  8. Nicole Jiles Says:

    I’ve been living in my complex for almost two years now. My downstairs neighbors has been making complaints about my 4yr old disable son. All of sudden she gets sick and makes complaints on me. I’ve never had a problem sense i been here until now and she trying to get me evicted only on that. They put me above this older lady and now i have to move,i have to be extremely quiet,and i can’t even walked on my floor with my shoes on without her banging on my ceiling. She wants everyone to bow down to her and comprise with her situation,but she don’t want to that with others. I do not have no company over or loud music or anything i apply by all rules and regulation,but now there telling me i have to move and i do not have the money to move. I also dealing with anxiety,depression,and i have had three surgery in one year on my back and both hands. I do not know what else to do about this situation. Can the landlord evicted me on this or What can i do?

  9. Cortlyn Sanders Says:

    Hello!! I was going to move into an apartment complex called Normandy. Well when i got my keys and inspected the unit,it was horrifying. There were roach feces allover the window screens and along the borders. There was trash inn the closets, every single door of the unit had some type of dirt on them, all the vents were black with dirt and/or mold. There were roaches EVERYWHERE!!! What should i do i gave these people my trust and the rest of my savings and this is how i get treated. They didn’t even give me my security deposit back! What steps should i take now?

  10. ESPERANZA BENSON Says:

    MY FAMILY MOVED TO THIS APARTMENTS DEC.10 ,20013. WE REPORTED THE FLOORS THE TILE WAS GETTING ALL UNCLUED WE WERE TOLD THEY WERE GOING TO FIX IT TILL THIS DAY NOTHING HAPPEN .THE APARTMENTS WERE BOUGHT SO THIS NEW MANGER GAVE US TH RUNNING AROUND .MY SIS IS STAYING WITH ME BECAUSE I AM REAL SICKNOT TO MENTION HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE WELL THE HEATER BROKE AFTER MANY EMAIL SEND TO THE CORPORTION THEY FIX IT AND THE MANGER HER NAME IS JOY SEND SOMEONE TO CKECK THE HEATHER SHE HAD KNOW IDEA THEY HAD FIX IT THEN FEW WEEKS LATER THE AIRCONDITION BROKE AND AGAIN THE MGE SEND SOMEONE TO CHECK THE HEATER .EVERYTIME WE ASK HER SOMETHING THAT HAPPEN IN OUR PLACE MGER HAVE KNOW IDEA WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT. NOW IT TOOK IT ABOUT A WEEK TO FIX THE A/C NOT TO MENTION THE TIMES WE SEND EMAILS TO THE CORPORTION.ALSO THE MGER TALKS BACK BECAUSE SHES ALWAYS RIGHT .

  11. Anonymous Says:

    I need a lawyer to help me wit a scam in trying to rent a property

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