Unfortunately, during the course of a relationship between landlord and tenant, it is not uncommon that a disagreement or dispute arises. It is important to maintain professional interactions during a dispute to avoid additional problems.
Every effort should be made to resolve the dispute without going to court. This could be as simple as reviewing the lease contract and advising each other of their legal rights, notifying the other party of any and all problems during the course of the dispute, and maintaining full documentation of correspondences, in case you do need to go to court.
If you are still unable to address the problems and resolve the dispute amicably, you may want to consider seeking a third party arbitrator to look at both sides from a neutral perspective to make a decision on behalf of all parties.
Depending on the nature of the dispute, you may be able to go to small claims court for a decision. In small claims court, each party is able to represent him or herself, and the court costs are generally low, saving both sides money. Small claims court is a viable alternative only if the amount to be settled does not exceed a certain amount, often ranging between $3000 to $10,000.
For larger lease disputes, small claims court may not be appropriate. When involved in larger disputes, it is often helpful or sometimes required that each party have legal representation. Finding a strong firm with a history of success will help you achieve the outcome you desire.
Source: findlaw.com, “Landlord Tenant Disputes FAQs“, Accessed July 14, 2015