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Group of tenants sue landlord for abuse, neglect

While the following story did not occur here in Arizona, the circumstances are applicable to any tenant or landlord in Avondale or the Phoenix area. A group of tenants is suing their landlord after alleged repeated harassment and a failure to provide basic maintenance to their building.

The story is out of San Francisco, where the city is undergoing a massive gentrification movement due to many tech companies moving into the area. The building in question is a commercially-zoned space that has been used for "office lofts" for many years. The tenants have been there for quite awhile. Since this gentrification though, the owner is allegedly trying to force the tenants out so that the landlord can make more money off the space by letting a tech company purchase or rent space.

The tenants say that the building is in tatters, as water, heat and security concerns have inflicted emotional distress. In addition, they were apparently given eviction notices a few months ago.

This is a classic landlord-tenant dispute, and there some things to learn for both sides of the dispute. First, for the tenants: when you feel your landlord is neglecting your building (or even your unit), you should comb over your lease with an experienced real estate attorney. It's tough to do alone, as these contracts are usually long and complicated. Likely there is some nugget to be found in the document that holds the landlord responsible.

For landlords, it is important to remember to treat your tenants with respect. However, if something needs to be done, always remember to act accordingly and within the confines of the law. Again, an experienced real estate attorney can help in this regard. You don't want to take action without getting legal advice first, because you may make yourself liable or breach the lease.

Source: SF Gate, "Mid-Market tenants sue landlord, alleging harassment," Carolyn Said, Jan. 8, 2014

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