Tenants are often very concerned about the cost of retaining a lawyer when they have a problem with the landlord. If litigation is involved, and a tenant hasn't had to hire an attorney before, legal fees can seem to be expensive. It's true that going to court can be costly, yet investing in the right representation needs to viewed within a broader context. The larger and more important question is: What's the value of keeping your apartment? For example, if you live in a rent-regulated unit that is half the cost of the same space at free market rates, you have a very valuable asset at stake. It's unlikely you will find another rent-stabilized apartment if you lose the one you have. Let's say it would cost you an extra $1000 a month to replace the space you now have in a similar neighborhood. If you lose your apartment because you scrimp on your defense, and have to pay current market rates, then the very first year you've lost $12,000. In two years, it has cost you at least $24,000. Three years, $36,000...not to mention unregulated rent increases, or the costs of moving if the landlord doesn't renew your lease. You get the point - good legal representation from a competent Tenants' attorney can be well worth the fees you pay.