Landlord-Tenant Disputes


“A man’s home is his castle.” That’s how the tenant feels. But to the landlord, the “castle” is his or her life investment on which a predictable rental stream is needed.

So, again we are faced with potentially explosive disputes.

As is the case for other kinds of disputes, I try to minimize my attorney fees and related costs by seeking creative solutions for my client (landlord or tenant) while keeping my client’s opponent aware of the ‘legal artillery’ I am setting up to ‘fire’ if the disputing parties can’t settle on a solution. For my landlord clients who often come to me already upset over nonpayment of rent or damage to their rental property, one suggestion in certain cases may be the “bitter pill” and “counter-intuitive” one of paying the tenant in return for the tenant’s vacating the property(!). Such payment may take the form of moving-out expense reimbursement or paying first month rent on the tenant’s relocated rental unit.

My landlord client’s occasional initial brief disillusionment with me often quickly turns to appreciation when I point out the “net loss savings” which might be achieved for the landlord by working out such a tenant pay-out rather than continuing to pay attorney fees to permit me to demonstrate my lawyer skills. I point out to the landlord my concern that his or her justifiable resentment of the tenant should not be channeled to my financial benefit if a “dollars and cents” analysis calls for some kind of settlement short of “teaching a lesson” to the tenant.