Landlord and Tenant Disputes
As a tenant, if you pay to rent a home or an apartment, you may at some point have a dispute with the landlord or management company. Often disputes are about the conditions of the building, essential services, rent increases, or your right to stay. It’s best to come to an agreement directly with the landlord or manager. Make sure you get everything in writing. And if you and the landlord can’t agree, you can turn to outside help.
Getting Help for a Dispute with a Landlord
Laws about the rights of tenants and landlords are almost always handled at the state level. Find help from your state with this directory of state-level agencies and resources for tenants. Results differ for each state, but you may find:
You may eventually decide that you need help from a lawyer. See if you qualify for free legal aid from a non-profit organization.
Direct complaints about housing discrimination or landlords who receive assistance from the federal government to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Before There's a Problem
It's best to avoid a dispute if possible.
Understand your lease completely.
Keep all correspondence between you and your landlord.
Communicate problems early on and in writing, noting date and time of phone calls.
Keep proof of rent and deposits paid.
Complaints About Mortgage Companies
If you have a complaint against a mortgage company, try to resolve it with the company first. Several government agencies accept complaints about mortgage lenders. In some cases, you should file your complaint with more than one agency, especially at the federal and state level.
Report a Mortgage Company for Discrimination
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) enforces the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. This law prohibits lenders from denying credit because of certain characteristics. File a complaint with the CFPB if a lender has denied a mortgage application because of your:
- Sex (including gender)
- Marital status
- Nationality or ethnicity
- Income from public assistance programs
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) enforces the Fair Housing Act. This law prohibits discrimination when you rent, buy, or secure financing for a home. Your state may also have a similar law. File a complaint with HUD and the fair housing office in your state if a mortgage company discriminated against you because of your:
- National origin
- Presence of children
File a Complaint About Mortgage Company Services
The CFPB enforces several laws, such as the Truth in Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. These laws require lenders to disclose information to homebuyers before buying and over the life of the mortgage. File a complaint with the CFPB if you have a problem with a new or existing mortgage. Examples of common mortgage complaints include:
- Applying for a mortgage
- Receiving loan estimates and closing documents
- Transferring a mortgage to another servicer
- Applying your payments correctly
- Refinancing or modifying a mortgage loan
- Misreporting mortgage account status to you or to credit reporting agencies
- Requiring private mortgage insurance
- Paying additional fees
Report Deceptive Mortgage Practices and Scams
The Federal Trade Commission Act is the primary statute of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). It states that unfair and deceptive practices affecting commerce are unlawful. Report a mortgage company to the FTC if it makes deceptive statements, omits important facts, or takes misleading actions. Examples include:
- False statements about their ability to offer a loan
- Fees for mortgage services that aren’t provided
- Illegal tactics to collect on mortgage balances
Also, file a complaint with your state consumer protection office about a mortgage fraud or scam. Call the HOPE Hotline at 1-888-995-HOPE (1-888-995-4673).
Identify and Complain about Housing Discrimination
Housing discrimination happens when a housing provider gets in the way of a person renting or buying housing because of their
- Race or color
- National origin
- Familial status (such as having children)
A housing provider that discriminates against someone could be a landlord or a real estate management company. It could also be a lending institution like a bank or other organization that aids in the homebuying process.
Housing discrimination is prohibited by the Fair Housing Act. Discrimination covered by the Act can take many forms beyond just raising prices or lying about availability. For example, the Act addresses wheelchair access in some newer properties. Learn what the Fair Housing Act covers, how to complain, and how the investigation process works.
File a Housing Discrimination Complaint
If you think you have experienced housing discrimination,
The Fair Housing Act does not specifically prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. But discrimination against someone who is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ) may still be in violation of the Act or other state or local regulations. If you think you've been discriminated against based on sexual orientation or gender identity, file a complaint as described above.
Do you have a question?
Ask a real person any government-related question for free. They'll get you the answer or let you know where to find it.
August 10, 2021