Although landlord and tenant disputes are common, for the latter it can be more stressful and damaging. Fortunately, with the help of a tenant lawyer, tenants based in Los Angeles can expect their situation to ease and be manageable.
Read on to know and manage your expectations when it comes to hiring a tenant lawyer Los Angeles…
How can a tenant lawyer in Los Angeles help?
A tenant lawyer will provide legal counseling and represent you in any disputes you might have with your landlord. At the same time, your lawyer can dissect your lease contract to make sure that your rights as a tenant are not stepped on and the stipulated terms are compliant with the law.
To put simply, hiring a tenant lawyer in Los Angeles becomes more than necessary the moment you are caught in any of these situations:
- If you are a new tenant and clauses in your lease agreement are questionable;
- If your landlord is showing discrimination or is harassing you;
- If your landlord is stepping on your rights and privacy as a tenant;
- If your grievances are continually being ignored;
- If you are being evicted without due procedure and prior notice;
- If your security deposit is being illegally held;
- If your landlord’s negligence led to you or your family’s injury or harm;
- If your rental fee is not withheld despite shouldering the repair costs that your landlord should have covered in the first place; and lastly,
- If your landlord is filing a lawsuit against you.
Some of the disputes may already be settled in small claims court. Your tenant lawyer should know best whether your disputes are best taken to higher courts or otherwise.
Your tenant lawyer can identify which is legit landlord harassment and which is not
You can be harassed by your landlord in different ways ranging from annoying to criminal. As per the law, you have your set of rights as a tenant such as the right to privacy. However, the landlord also has the right to enter the rented space as the owner of the property. This is where terms can get sophisticated and complex. The right tenant lawyer in Los Angeles will help assess the situation thoroughly to ensure that there are enough grounds against your privacy rights to file a lawsuit against your landlord.
Other forms of blatant, rare harassment can include telephone harassment and defamation. That is, even if your landlord is the owner of the property, it does not give him the right to spread malicious information about you especially in your workplace.
There are cases of harassment in the form of sexual assault and tenant spying. These can be strong grounds for civil harassment claims and even for criminal charges. In such cases, aside from calling your tenant lawyer, you may want to dial 911 too especially if the situation is already threatening your safety and security.
Property Maintenance – Whose responsibility is it?
In Los Angeles, it is mandated by law that all maintenance works of a leased property must be shouldered by the property owner, or also known as the landlord. This covers the necessary repairs and cleaning jobs as well. So, if your landlord is fond of turning a blind eye to such things and ignores repair and cleanup requests, then you have the right to take it to the next level.
Before calling your tenant lawyer though, you can ease up and obtain assistance first from the city administrator who is in charge of building, safety, and rental housing codes.
What happens if your landlord facilitates a forced eviction by cutting off your utilities?
Forcing you out of your rented space is definitely illegal. However, wicked landlords can go as far as harassing their tenants by cutting off their power, water, and other utilities just to force them to move out. If you are experiencing the same, know that such a move is against the law and you have great chances at winning a lawsuit should you take the case to court.
Proper eviction entails notifying tenants 20 to 90 days ahead of the eviction date. A court judgment may even have to follow. These legalities will be discussed by your tenant lawyer to ensure that you are fully aware of your rights as a tenant and a citizen of the land.
Is it legal to be tenant rejected because you have children?
As per the federal law, landlords cannot discriminate against prospective tenants on the basis of protected characteristics including age, disability, race, national origin, color, and even family status. That said, if you as a parent are being refused to rent because your children are still minors, then your rights are violated and your lawyer can act on that.
In the same way, your landlord cannot forcefully evict you as a tenant out of discriminatory reasons.
When to call your tenant lawyer in Los Angeles?
Tenant-landlord disputes can significantly vary but in general, a tenant lawyer’s professional service is needed if the case is already complex. For instance, if being forcefully evicted can impact your quality of life and finances, hiring a tenant lawyer might help alleviate your situation and you can even be entitled to claims for the damages.
If the dispute has become bloody and damaging, hiring a lawyer will help you push the strongest case possible.
Now, if the dispute is as minor as discussing the repairs and lease changes, your lawyer can help facilitate mediation and amicable settlements. This should be a less costly path to take.
At the core, your tenant lawyer will start his role by dissecting your lease agreement. Then he will identify the best moves based on that.
The Cost of Hiring a Tenant Attorney
Most tenant lawyers in Los Angeles charge their services hourly but a few offer flat rates for minor services like lease reviews and minor advice. Their rates may vary according to your place’s accessibility and your required services. Remember, though, that it is always okay to negotiate before hiring one to get your money’s worth.