Exercise Your Tenant Rights
Housing Code Violations
Don't wait until you have been taken to Landlord & Tenant Court by your Landlord to claim housing code violations. This is an old trick that many lawyers use at the eleventh hour. Landlord & Tenant Court is for the Landlord...not the Tenant.
Be smart. Go on the offensive before you fall behind in your rent. Hire counsel to file a Tenant Petition against your Landlord so that if and when your landlord takes you to court, you will have a more credible claim. You may even get some of your money back for rent you paid or get the landlord to waive the current rent you owe.
Many Tenants make the mistake of representing themselves when filing a Tenant Petition. The Administrative Proceedings are just like court proceedings, you need a good lawyer that can persuade the Judge to see that your rights have been violated and the landlord is in no position to cry about past due rent.
Last Resort (BANKRUPTCY)
I f you and your lawyer can't persuade the landlord and/or a Judge to stop eviction proceedings, the Bankruptcy Court may be your only option. It may give you the time and breathing room you need to find a new place to live, discharge past due rent, telephone and electricity bills or even get the money you need to stay in your current apartment.
Your Duties As A Tenant
Your rights as a Tenant are determined primarily by your lease. However, if the Landlord is in violation of the D.C. Housing Code, then you may have options to fight against the terms of the lease. Of course you have to pay your rent on time, keep your unit clean, not disturb the peace and quiet of other tenants, destroy the building owner's property, etc.
The Landlord has many duties. Many landlords do not follow the law because they believe tenants are ignorant of their rights and can't afford a lawyer. No, good lawyers don't work for free, however, some lawyers will work with you if they know you are going to hold up your end of the agreement. The landlord must do the following (list is not exhaustive):
1) Make sure that the building is clean & secure.
2) Make sure that the common areas in the unit are clean & safe.
3) Make sure your rights to peace & quiet are protected from noisy tenants,
4) Take legal action when he is aware of the presence of criminal activity such as drug distribution, prostitution, etc.
5) Make timely repairs to your unit after he is given proper notice (usually in writing).
6) Give tenants the first right to purchase a building before he sells it to someone else..
7) Follow all relevant D.C. Housing Codes.
M-Sat. - By Appointment
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***Credit Cards are not accepted for Bankruptcy consultations or services.
The content of this website is subject to change without prior notice. The content of this website is not intended to be understood by anyone reading it as an agreement with specific terms for legal services. The contents of this website is not intended to provide legal advice. If you are seeking legal advice, we advise you to contact a lawyer of your choice to obtain said advice. ( 2021 )