If you see that a problem you're having with your landlord may develop into a full-blown dispute, research the issues before saying or doing anything rash. Frequently, difficulties between landlords and tenants cause tempers to flare; situations which could be handled better turn into bad blood and unnecessary legal expense. Start with the free information available from an Internet Search (but beware of inaccuracies). Of course nothing takes the place of advice from a competent tenants' lawyer. But at least you'll have an idea of the legal terrain. Read up on it so you don't forfeit important rights without knowing about them. Solid information puts you in a stronger position to formulate a strategy for working toward an advantageous compromise in which both sides preserve what is most important. This strategy minimizes the risk of saying or doing something which may have unexpected consequences ... and may even cost your tenancy.
Attention New York City Tenants: Get more information on Landlord Tenant matters at the McAdams Law main site here.