When landlords and tenants in Los Angeles enter into a lease agreement for a residential property, they often hope that the landlord-tenant relationship remains peaceful for the entire term of the lease. Unfortunately, however, some landlords and tenants may end up in one of the following types of disputes.
A valid lease will often discuss the rent payments the tenant is required to pay. In most residential leases, the tenant is required to pay a deposit, and a certain amount of money on a monthly basis. While this may seem straightforward, problems can occur for a number of reasons including:
- Tenant refusal to pay rent for multiple months
- Tenant refusing to pay additional costs for adjusted rent
- Tenant refusal to pay for apartment maintenance or property upgrades
Failure to maintain property
Landlords have a legal obligation to ensure the property is safe for tenants and lawful guests. The landlord must exercise reasonable care to inspect the property for dangerous conditions, warn tenants of dangerous conditions that exist on the property, and complete maintenance and repairs to fix these dangerous conditions. If a landlord fails to meet these obligations, they may be classified as negligent and be required to pay damages.
An eviction occurs when a landlord decides to force a tenant to leave the premises prior to the end of their lease. Lawful evictions generally stem from a tenant failing to pay rent, engaging in illegal activity on the premises, and other lease violations. However, not all evictions are lawful. The following evictions are generally considered illegal:
- Retaliatory evictions – Landlord evicting a tenant for filing a complaint with the health department, pursuing legal action for injuries caused by landlord negligence, or withholding rent due to lack of property maintenance.
- Discriminatory evictions – Landlord evicting a tenant based on their membership in a protected class (e.g. race, gender, disability, religion).
Landlords may allege a tenant damaged a property by altering the property in violation of the lease and refuse to return the tenant’s security deposit and charge the tenant to repair and restore the original condition of the property. Landlords may also allege a tenant negligently damaged the property beyond normal wear-and-tear.
There are many potential disputes that arise between landlord and tenants, but not all of them require a trial. In many cases, both parties are able to reach a settlement outside of court. Your attorney can review your case and help determine what steps to take to resolve your landlord/tenant matters.