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Legal Information for Housing

Nothing is more essential to an individual’s well-being than a home.

A landlord-tenant relationship can create problems and questions about the rights and responsibilities of both parties. NLS pamphlets provide information to answer some of your questions, including the Tenant’s Guide to Renting. Rights that a tenant should be aware of are the right to safe, sanitary and secure housing and the right of quiet enjoyment. Also, it is important for the tenant to know what procedures the law requires if a landlord decides to evict.

Additionally, if there are court proceedings, it is helpful to know tips for representing yourself at a Magisterial District Judge hearing and how to appeal the Magisterial District Judge judgment. If you are ending the landlord-tenant relationship, you will need to know what you must do before moving out and how to obtain your security deposit. Tenants who have a manufactured home community (mobile home park) lot lease need to be aware that special rules apply to that type of lease.

With increasing utility prices causing extreme budgetary problems for low income consumers, knowing what sources of assistance are available becomes extremely important. The Dollar Energy Grant Information brochure provides information on how low-income families can acquire these services. LIHEAP is also another way in which low-income people can arrange for help to pay for their heating expenses. Many utility companies offer a CAP or EAP program for low income customers. These programs can allow customers to make minimum monthly payments and to have past bills forgiven over time. Consumers should contact their local gas company and electric company or electric co-op for more information.

The number of people entering into “rent to own” agreements. It can be hard to understand who has what responsibilities under the agreement and even to determine if it is a sales contract or a lease. Community Legal Services has developed a video to help people understand the consequences of these types of agreements.

NLS also helps people who are struggling with a Tangled Title. A title is “tangled” when the occupant of the house owns an interest in the house but is not the owner of record. The usual scenario leading to a tangled title occurs when the owner dies and the title is not placed in the names of their heirs or beneficiaries. In the typical case, one of the record owners’ heirs has been living in the house, but did not realize the importance of having the title in his or her name. The clients who come to NLS for help in untangling their title usually do so when they have been unable to get some kind of assistance to maintain the house because they are not the record owner. If you would like to find out more, additional information can be found in the Tangled Title brochure.

Legal Resources: Housing

Videos

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