Search thousands of topics on CostHelper.com

BROWSE ALL TOPICS >> appliances babies & children  cars  consumer electronics health & personal care home & garden personal finance  pets  schools small business weddings
CostHelper > Personal Finance  > Real Estate > Landlord-Tenant Dispute

Landlord-Tenant Dispute Cost


How Much Does a Landlord-Tenant Dispute Cost?

 
low costLow: Assistance Like Legal Aid May Be Available for Free or Low-Costaverage costMedium: Small Claims Court Can Run $20-$320high costHigh: Attorneys Usually Charge $200-$500 Per Hour
post E-mail post Post  

Typical landlord-tenant disagreements can be about rent payments, the need for necessary repairs, eviction or avoiding eviction, the return of a cleaning deposit after the tenant moves out, or other issues.

Typical costs:

  • For landlord-tenant disputes that can't be resolved informally, many areas provide free or low-cost mediation or arbitration services as an alternative to going to trial. Call your city manager's office or the housing agency and ask about local mediation or arbitration programs; many court systems will offer mediation as an option when you file a Small Claims Court case. If no free or low-cost program is available, the services of an arbitrator or mediator can cost anywhere from $80-$250 an hour; a typical session might last anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours. This cost is typically split by the parties involved in the dispute.
  • One of the most common landlord-tenant disputes is when a landlord keeps the security deposit and the former tenants want their money back. If the amount involved is less than $2,500-$15,000 (the maximum varies by state), you may be able to handle the case yourself in Small Claims Court, usually without lawyers. (In some states it may be called Landlord-Tenant Court or Magistrate's Court.) Filing fees and other costs can run $20-$320 or more. At SmartMoneyDailly.com, a tenant describes his successful[1] Small Claims Court experience.
  • For disputes involving more money or other issues (such as needed repairs), a private attorney will typically charge $200-$500 an hour for assisting with a landlord-tenant dispute. The exact cost of having an attorney handled your landlord-tenant dispute will depend on the complexity of the case and the amount of time involved. If your budget is tight and you're fairly confident in handling this on your own with a bit of legal coaching, you may be able to find an attorney to meet with you for an hour or so on an occasional basis, to provide a bit of guidance. If other tenants are having similar problems with the landlord, you might want to hire the same attorney for a class-action lawsuit, or consider forming a tenants association[2] .
  • If you need legal assistance and can't afford an attorney, often Legal Aid or other agencies can provide free or low-cost help. The American Bar Association lists legal resources[3] for each state. You can also contact your local consumer affairs or fair housing department for guidance.
Related articles: Eviction, Fighting Eviction, Real Estate Contract Review

What should be included:
  • The landlord-tenant relationship is governed by state laws, which vary. Cornell University Law School gives a brief overview of landlord-tenant law and Nolo Press provides a list of each state's landlord-tenant statutes. FindLaw.com defines common terms and phrases[4] in landlord-tenant arrangements.
  • It's important to stay calm, try to keep communications open, and to document everything related to the dispute. If the dispute involves unhealthy or dangerous living conditions, contact your local housing or health department, or your state department of consumer affairs or attorney general.
  • Nolo Press provides charts of what a landlord can legally deduct from a security deposit and state deadlines for returning security deposits, as well as discussing when a tenant should hire a lawyer.
Additional costs:
  • Some attorneys offer a free initial consultation, but others may charge their usual hourly rate.
Discounts:
  • Check your lease for an "attorney's fee" clause allowing the winning party to recover legal fees from the losing party in a dispute.
Shopping for a landlord-tenant dispute:
  • Ask about the attorney's training and experience. Lawyers.com explains how to find a tenant's lawyer[5] .
  • Referrals to a landlord-tenant attorney are available through Lawyers.com[6] and FindLaw.com[7] .
  • Your attorney should provide you with a written fee agreement; be sure you understand what is included and any additional costs (court fees, clerical work) you might have to pay.
post E-mail post Post  
CostHelper News


Top 7 Ways to Trim Pet Expenses
Pets, for many, are part of the family; another member that needs love, feeding and treatment, just like anyone else in the household. || Posted September 18 2013


Forgotten Expenses In a Home Addition Budget
Items like construction costs, permit fees or debris removal aren't the only expenses to consider when calculating the total costs of a home remodeling project. || Posted August 5 2013

‣ All CostHelper Blog Posts


What People Are Paying - Recent Comments


 

Comment On Your Experience With a Landlord-Tenant Dispute
 
Subject:  *
Amount Spent:  * total
Law Firm: Fee Per Hour: 
Comments: 
Purchased:  Year: 
City:  * State:  *
 
Information about you:
Email:  * Email addresses are not displayed.
Name:  This is the name we'll display with your post.
me on this computer
*=required field.
 



External Resources:
  1.  www.smartmoneydaily.com/consumer/true-story-of-landlord-tenant-dispute.aspx
  2.  tenantresourcecenter.org/pc/
  3.  apps.americanbar.org/legalservices/findlegalhelp/home.cfm
  4.  realestate.findlaw.com/landlord-tenant-law/landlord-tenant-dictionary.html
  5.  real-estate.lawyers.com/landlord-tenant-law/Finding-Legal-Help-As-A-Tenant.html
  6.  www.lawyers.com/landlord-and-tenant-law/find-law-firms-by-location/
  7.  lawyers.findlaw.com/lawyer/practice/Landlord_Tenant
More Personal Finance Topics
Check Out All Costs for Personal Finance How Much Does a Traffic Ticket Attorney Cost? How Much Do Funeral Flowers Cost? How Much Do Tax Returns Cost?

Search Thousands of Topics on CostHelper.com

 
Today's Featured Cost Articles

About CostHelper
CostHelper is based in Silicon Valley and provides consumers with unbiased price information about thousands of goods and services. Our writers are experienced journalists who adhere to our strict editorial ethics policy.

CostHelper Community
Outrageous Expense
Paid: 79000.00
1 hour and 20 minute flight from a hospital who is in my plan to a hospital that is in my plan and both have medflight helicopters... [more]
-Youare KiddingMe
Air Ambulance Cost
Family friend's wedding
Paid: 710.00
1 bridal bouquet/1 toss bouquet, 2 MOH bouquets, 1 jr bride bouquet, 5 bride maids bouquets, 2 wrist corsages, 2 flower girl baskets, 1 ring bearer pillow and supplies for 19 centerpieces (11 tall pilsner vases with approximately 20 flowers... [more]
-Mrs. Murray
Wedding Flowers Cost
Ignition coil
Paid: 46.00
Bought at O'Riley auto parts. Watched YouTube video.Removed 2 screws it sits on top of engine. Replaced coil and bad spark plug... [more]
-James Smith01
Ignition Coil Replacement Cost
Concussion
Paid: 7459.00
Hit my head hard and had speech deficit and blurry/double vision. Urgent care advised I go to Emergency because they had MRI. I was able to understand what I was told, but really having difficulty finding words and talking... [more]
-KS
Emergency Room Visit Cost
Cat declawing just front know anywhere that isn't outrageously priced??
Paid: 0.00
Need to have my 2 yr old cat declawed. Unfortunately where I live they are now making it mandatory. My vet I currently use wants over $450. I really can't afford that. I'm currently dealing with medical issues myself and getting chemo etc... [more]
-Livey
Cat Declawing Cost
Pricing--alterations/custom
Paid: 0.00
I have to chuckle over the comments about pricing. Custom dresses should not cost less than ready to wear (unless you are buying the label/shop name). The things I try to remind brides of are: 1. I make your pattern for you alone... [more]
-smsivulabydesign
Wedding Dress Alterations Cost