Legal Health: Taking Charge of your Premises

17 Jan

You eat well and work out to avoid the doctor; brush and floss to avoid the dentist – so why not attend to your legal health?

One area in which people commonly run into disputes is in dealing with landlords, whether residential or commercial. 

Here’s some positive, helpful yet simple steps you can take when renting a new space, whether for living or for business.

1.     Create a master file  when you move into your new space – whether it’s an envelope, file folder or box – that is dedicated to your apartment or space.  It should contain the following:

a.     A copy of your signed lease.

b.     Any additional contracts or riders (also signed).

c.     Contact information for your managing agent, super and landlord.

d.     Photos – printed out (don’t leave them in your camera) – of the initial conditions in your empty space.  These should include any cracks, damage, loose floor tiles or anything else that can be attributed to you later on.  Print them out (any drugstore can do this for you these days) and date them.

e.     Copies of your first month/security deposit check.

f.      A legal pad and pen.


2.     As you occupy your space, use the envelope for cancelled rent checks, letters to and from your landlord and any other relevant correspondence.  Use the legal pad to record incidents (such as noise from neighbors, attempts to secure repairs, telephone contact with your landlord).  If additional photos are needed to document damage and repairs, take and print them, date them, and keep them here.

There are many cases where having these documents handy would have been a great help in dealing with a landlord tenant issue – whether it is demonstrating proof of paid rent, disputing security deposit charges, verifying terms of the lease or even going to court.  A little preparation can save you many headaches down the road.

Note that although Michelle is an attorney, this is not intended to constitute legal advice; if you have a legal problem, please consult an attorney specifically for your needs.


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