Landlord-tenant disputes can have unique facts. Sometimes unusual fact patterns seem to fall outside existing regulations. In making a determination, the judge may have discretion in applying the law.
For example, let's say you are living in an apartment where the original leaseholder, a family member, moved out. Every year he or she renews the lease for you. You pay your rent directly to the landlord, on time every month by personal check. Further, the landlord has been fully aware of this arrangement when accepting every renewal lease. Now, you have a fight with the landlord, and next thing you know a set of eviction papers is taped to your door. The documents say you are not the leaseholder and must go.
Situations like this raise many issues. Are succession rights available to you? Maybe, maybe not. Is it a sublet, or were you a roommate? It depends. The point is, there's room for interpretation. A skillful Tenants' lawyer may know how to argue to your advantage, even when the law isn't clear or fully on your side.
In this illustration, if properly argued, the judge may decide that since the landlord accepted your rent and renewals, while knowing of your presence and the original leaseholder's departure, you are entitled to stay. A persuasive argument can make all the difference in the world to a successful legal outcome, even when the law doesn't apply in the usual way to the specific facts.
Attention New York City Tenants: Get more information on Landlord Tenant matters at the McAdams Law main site here.