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How can I handle landlord disputes?

Renting a home or apartment is a good option if you are not ready to buy property. Renting is also more amenable to certain lifestyles, such as people who travel for work and are never in the same place for too long.

Along with the many upsides of renting, there are also quite a few downsides. For example, should a dispute arise with your landlord, you might find yourself facing an uphill battle. To help you navigate disputes to the best of your ability, U.S. News & World Report offers the following tips.

Document the condition of the apartment

Upon moving in, take as many pictures of your home or apartment is possible. If there are obvious spots of damage, be sure to document them. This will prevent your landlord from claiming you caused the damage while you lived in the home. You should also take picture of the property upon moving out, after everything has been cleaned up. That way you have coverage in case your landlord claims the place was left in disrepair.

Make sure you understand the lease

Your lease is your blueprint for all disputes and disagreements with your landlord. Before taking any actions, make sure you understand the terms of your lease to the letter. For example, your landlord may not be obligated to make certain repairs or alterations unless they directly affect your health and safety. Tenants also have obligations, and these are usually spelled out in the lease. For example, if your lease explicitly states no pets and you have pets, your landlord is within his or her right to evict you in most cases.

Communicate your concerns

Most landlords want to work out issues with tenants when they are acting in good faith. If you have questions or concerns, reach out to your landlord and communicate them reasonably. Keep the tone civil to prevent the situation from escalating further. If that does not work, consider seeking out legal counsel to weigh your legal options.