How to Resolve a Lease Dispute

Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, a lease dispute can be stressful, disruptive and a source of unnecessary expense and hassle. Fortunately, for those faced with determining how to resolve a lease dispute, you don’t have to deal with it alone.

Maryland landlord-tenant law attorney Rebekah Lusk, who leads the Landlord/Tenant practice at Lusk Law, LLC, understands what you are going through and is available to help with issues involving breach of a lease. Lusk Law also manages a wide variety of other landlord/tenant cases including failure to pay rent, wrongful detainer, tenant holding over, and violations of the Consumer Protection Act. Rebekah is also a landlord, so she knows from firsthand experience how to find solutions for both commercial and residential legal disputes.

Call Lusk Law, LLC today at (443) 535-9715 to schedule an appointment to learn more about how we can help you resolve your dispute.

How Our Attorney Can Help Resolve a Residential Lease Dispute

While an attorney can help resolve a residential lease dispute by examining leases and negotiating with both landlords and tenants to solve the issues involved and defending your position if it comes to litigation, it is best to prevent disputes from arising in the first place.

At Lusk Law, we help landlords with all matters related to their property and leases. Some of the measures we take to prevent and resolve disputes are:

  • Creating custom leases with clauses that limit the number of disputes that can arise in your dealings with tenants — and protect you if you are sued.
  • Reviewing contracts and leases to make sure they are in compliance with Maryland and federal law and that all contracts are drafted and signed correctly. We review the details of all documents and make sure the language clearly spells out what is expected from all parties.
  • Helping landlords screen tenants to prevent problems by investigating their past records as renters and their financial ability to meet payments.
  • Being available to discuss any issues as they arise and to come up with solutions that can avoid litigation.
  • Representing your interests in landlord-tenant court, district court, and circuit court if necessary. We manage a wide variety of cases in addition to breach of lease, including failure to pay rent, wrongful detainer, tenant holding over, and violations of the Consumer Protection Act.

Need to Resolve a Commercial Lease Dispute? We Can Help.

Commercial leases are generally more complicated than residential ones, as there are more issues involved, and they often involve more money and longer periods of rental. Commercial leases need to have clauses that are specific to a property, to the parties involved, and to the specific situation.  An attorney can consider all factors to help draft commercial lease agreements that are mutually beneficial to the tenant and landlord and that will avoid problems and disputes over time. However, if issues arise, an experienced business attorney at Lusk Law can help resolve commercial lease disputes.

Depending on the situation, your commercial lease should be either a gross or net lease.

  • Gross leases — include all of the property owner’s costs, such as property tax, maintenance and insurance, in the monthly rent payment.
  • Net leases — require the tenant to pay for some or all of those costs while the landlord pays the rest.

Many commercial leases include aspects of both gross and net leases. In any case, all obligations must be spelled out clearly to prevent disputes.

At Lusk Law, LLC, our attorneys will help you determine which type of lease is best suited to your situation. Call us today at (443) 535-9715.

Problems that Lead to Lease Disputes

Maryland law requires that a landlord with five or more dwelling units for rent must include in each lease a statement that the premises will be available in a reasonably safe, habitable condition or a statement concerning the condition of the premises. The lease must also spell out the landlord’s and the tenant’s obligations as to heat, gas, electricity, water, and repair of the premises. Tenants may request in writing an advance copy of the lease before signing so they are aware of all provisions and rules.

To avoid lease disputes, they should be written clearly and should plainly outline the responsibilities of tenant and landlord, and all parties should understand what they are agreeing to.

Anticipate Potential Problems to Resolve Lease Disputes Before They Happen

According to the Maryland Attorney General, here are some of the most common issues that lead to residential lease disputes:

  • Security deposits. The security deposit, to protect the landlord from damage to the property, may not be more than two months’ rent. The landlord must put the security deposit in an escrow account and return the deposit plus interest, less any damages rightfully withheld, within 45 days after the tenancy ends. The landlord must send a list of damages and costs to repair them by first-class mail within 45 days or forfeit the right to the security deposit. Disputes often arise as to what is damage and what is “normal wear and tear.”
  • Rent increases or other changes in terms. Disputes may arise when terms of the lease change. Landlords must notify tenants with leases with an automatic renewal clause of a rent increase or any other change with enough notice for the tenant to decide whether to renew.
  • Breaking a lease. Landlords can hold tenants who break a lease responsible for the rent due through the remainder of the lease, but must make a reasonable effort to re-rent the property.
  • Failure to make repairs. Landlords are required to repair serious or dangerous defects they are notified about within a reasonable time, or tenants can pay rent into an escrow account established at the local District Court.

Serious conditions include:

    • Lack of heat, light, electricity, sewage disposal, or water
    • Rodent infestation
    • Lead-based paint hazards
    • Structural defects that threaten physical safety
    • Conditions that present a serious fire or health hazard.

A tenant can also report the landlord to local authorities for further action if problems are not addressed. Should any of these common issues arise related to your rental property, we can help resolve the lease disputes so both parties can move forward without litigation.

Contact Us to Prevent and Resolve Lease Disputes

At Lusk Law, LLC, we help our clients avoid mistakes that lead to disputes, and we work to resolve them if they do arise. We provide sound legal advice that can save you money and build your reputation. We help clients across Maryland, so contact us today at (443) 535-9715 to discuss your issues.  Advocates For Life’s Obstacles and Opportunities

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