Legal Updates

Why You Should Get a Lawyer to Fight Your Landlord

Since the 1950’s, Philadelphia case law has recognized that tenant’s are in an unfair position when dealing with landlords in court.  (See e.g., Pugh v. Holmes). When a tenant signs a lease, they cannot ask the landlord to change terms and conditions.  The tenant is obligated to sign or continue their search.  Often times, the tenant signs away their rights as a condition to move-in to the property.  Once in the property, some landlords treat tenants like sub-citizens.  Even tenants in luxury properties are sometimes treated as inferior by snobbish landlords.

The problem is exacerbated when the tenant is sued.  The tenant goes into court and is usually up against the landlord, and the landlord’s lawyer.  The unrepresented tenant then does their best to work out a deal.  The problem is the tenant does not know their rights, the avenues available to them, the judges who may be sympathetic to their case, and that they can appeal.  They often work out a Judgment by Agreement with the landlord’s lawyer.  The great farce of the JBA is that many tenant’s believe the landlord’s lawyer is looking out for their interests.

When a tenant hires a lawyer to represent them in court, they often save thousands of dollars.  These savings may come from rent forgiveness, late fee forgiveness, and additional time in the property.  The tenant’s rent may be forgiven if the landlord does not have the requisite licenses or certificates, or if the property has been deemed in violation of the Property Maintenance Code.

If you have been sued in court, or you are suing a landlord for a security deposit, do not attempt to navigate the legal field alone.  You may save a few hundred dollars on a lawyer, but you are probably leaving thousands of dollars in settlement or trial negotiations on the table.

The smart move is to Call Copoulos.  His reviews on Avvo can be viewed here.