Understanding the Legal System

The following articles are compiled from various sources, are general in nature and only attempt to help the reader understand the complex legal system. The reader should understand that the following information may not necessarily apply in any given state or locality.

The Court System

General overview (not New York specific)

Finding, Dealing and Working with Lawyers

Remember, always ask a potential attorney if they also represent landlords. Some work both sides of the fence and that can be a moral conflict of interests. Also ask your potential attorney if he or she believes in the tenant protection laws where you are. Believe it or not, some don't -- and they still represent tenants!

Housing Court Decisions and related basic legal information

Nolo Press on TenantNet: Self-Help Legal Remedies

Contracts (after all, that's what a residential tenant lease is)

Be aware that in some areas statutory tenant protection laws supersede certain lease provisions. Landlords often insert clauses in leases that are illegal, unenforceable and intended to intimidate tenants.

Small Claims Court

Tenants may have to seek relief in Small Claims Court to recover unreturned security deposits or for other issues not related to possession of their apartment.