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Do property owners tend to spend more money on fighting cases then tenants?

Bronx, NY |

When fighting cases in court normally can a property owner spend more than the tenant or can it be about the same? I know it is risky for both parties when dealing with a case but who tends to spend the most money fighting?

Attorney Answers 5


  1. Owners usually spend more money than tenants because most tenants cannot afford to pay for lawyers.

    The above constitutes general information only and should not be considered legal advice.


  2. It depends on the situation. Owners of multiple units or multiple buildings will have more to spend but an owner of a small building who is bearly breaking even may not have much to spend.

    The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.


  3. Dear Bronx Tenant:

    In the NYC Housing Court most tenants do not engage legal counsel and most landlord/owners do.

    Often with tenant representation, the individual's expense may be greater than the landlord's. That is usually due to the tenant lawyer having one client in court on a given day and the landlord appearing by a firm with flat charges per court appearance. Landlords achieve some discount in basic services because of volume. Also owner attorneys perform many routine services outside of court proceedings for their clients. Legal expenses are a cost for doing business. Settling a case has no connection with a notion of being cheap. If all landlords decided at one moment not to resolve cases by agreement and pursue trials for all cases, the court would break. There are not enough judges to handle trials for every housing lawsuit. Most landlord lawsuits are considered routine nonpayment proceedings. Owner attorneys are very experienced in moving the bulk of the volume of those cases to conclusion by settlement.

    The answer provided to you is in the nature of general information. The general proposition being that you should try to avoid a bad outcome if you can.


  4. Putting aside the obvious - legal fees - I think the cost of an eviction is much greater on the landlord's side, since the landlord is almost always forced to eat some of the past due rent (assuming it's a non-pay) and/or forced to give the tenant a free month or two in order to get out and find a new place. Even if a money judgment is granted at the end, most landlords don't pursue enforcement because they know the tenant has nothing to go after.

    I'm just 3 "helpful" answers away from a free toaster-oven! I may be guessing or not licensed in your state. No atty/client relationship exists.


  5. The short answer is that no one likes to spend money without the potential to yield some benefit. Allow me to clarify. Landlords, like tenants, do not want to spend money on attorneys' fees unless they feel that they can realize some benefit at the end of the day. Accordingly, both sides tend to be "fee sensitive." It is important for counsel to discuss a clients concerns and expectations BEFORE a claim is filed so that both attorney and client are on the same page and working toward the same results. Sometimes, for instance, the intention of a landlord is not focused on obtaining funds from a delinquent tenant, but instead the intention is to take possession of the property. Each case is different and each client must make a case-by-case determination as to whether it makes economic sense to retain counsel and/or file a claim.

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