Lease Disputes — Advice for Landlords and Tenants

We live in a world of landlords and tenants. And for the most part, everyone gets along famously. But there are those times when disputes arise in the otherwise happy landlord/tenant universe and thus, we wanted to share some good legal guidance from Dean Sperling, master of all legal puppets.

For tenants, Dean says — “Number one, if there is a problem, contact the landlord as soon as possible.  Don’t wait until the matter reaches a critical point.  It’s better to deal with it at the beginning rather than to wait until you are considered a problem, which is costing the landlord in administrative time and money. Secondly,  If the dispute is something other than money, do not fail to pay the monthly rent. The obligation to pay rent is a separate covenant and is not dependent, unless there is a provision to the contrary in the lease, on performance of other covenants. If you don’t pay you will get a notice to pay or quit. Third, always notify the landlord of any issues in writing. Most leases, if not all, have provisions that the landlord is not in breach unless a formal notice, in writing, is provided in the manner specified in the lease. Oral conversations and agreements technically mean nothing.”

And for the landlords who Dean typically represents — “If there is a problem, attempt to contact the tenant first to see what is causing the issue. Informal discussions between the parties can resolve the matter easily and without much cost. Secondly, If the tenant, after attempts to contact them, fails to respond then serve a formal notice to perform or quit according to the lease.  And don’t let the problem go on too long…especially if it is affecting other tenants. Finally, any resolution that changes any provision in the lease must absolutely be in writing. Oral agreements, e-mails and conversations mean nothing. It must be in writing and signed by the parties. “

And there you have it — good legal advice for both landlords and tenants. And if you’re a landlord and dealing with a dispute, you can always contact Dean Sperling Law who will work hard to resolve that matter with your best interests in mind.