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How are legal disputes between landlords and tenants settled?

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Quick Answer

Legal disputes between landlords and tenants can be settled by negotiating a settlement, using a mediation service or through a tenants' rights group, according to Nolo. Attempting to solve the problem with the landlord or tenant is preferable to small claims court or hiring a lawyer.

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How are legal disputes between landlords and tenants settled?
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Full Answer

Tenants and landlords should schedule a time to meet in a neutral place to air grievances, states Nolo. Both the tenant and the landlord should have an idea of the desired outcome and allow each other to speak during the initial meeting. If an agreement can be reached, it should be written down and signed by all parties involved. The agreement should be one that satisfies both the tenant and landlord.

Mediation may be necessary if the landlord and tenant are unable to reach an agreement on their own, notes Nolo. No agreement reached in mediation can be legally enforced the way an agreement reached in arbitration can be. Inexpensive, community mediation programs are available by calling the city manager's or mayor's office. Additional mediation services can be located through the American Arbitration Association.

City-wide tenant associations are available in some locations for legal and technical advice, according to Nolo. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's website is a good resource for finding a local tenants' rights group.

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