Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Why it is now especially important that tenants know their rights

2. What is a Tenant, really?

  • The tenant-landlord relationship
  • Rights and Responsibilities
  • The 3 Main Forms of Tenancy
  • Leases
  • Tenants at Will
  • Tenants at Sufferance
  • The Water Bill
  • Keep Records Now, Avoid Problems Later

3. Housing: What There is and How to Access It

  • Regular Market Housing
  • Public Housing
  • The Section 8 Program
  • Privately Owned, Subsidized Apartments

4. Security Deposit and Last Month’s Rent

  • What is a Security Deposit and how to make sure it is being used properly
  • What is the Last Month’s Rent payment and how to make sure it is being used properly
  • Security Deposit and Last Month’s Rent for Section 8 Tenants

5. Bad or Unhealthy Conditions in your Apartment

  • The laws and codes that protect tenants from living in unsafe or unhealthy conditions
  • Steps you can take to get your landlord to make repairs
  • Options you have if your landlord refuses to make repairs
  • Can my landlord come into my apartment whenever he wants to?

6. Childhood Lead Poisoning, Asthma, and Your Home

  • Lead Paint and Childhood Lead Poisoning
  • What is Lead and Why Would it be in My Home?
  • How Can My Child be Exposed to Lead?
  • What does Lead Poisoning do to My Child?
  • How to Protect Your Child From Lead Poisoning (including The New “Lead Law”)
  • Asthma and Your Home
  • What is Asthma?
  • What are My Landlord’s Responsibilities in Keeping the Apartment Safe from Asthma Triggers?
  • Some Changes You Can Make at Home to Decrease Contact with Asthma Triggers

7. Eviction and Rent Increase

  • Eviction
  • Don’t Be Intimidated – Only a judge can evict you
  • Act Now: Make Contacts, Organize, and Negotiate
  • “Notice to Quit” and “Summary Process Writ”
  • Getting Legal Representation
  • “Discovery” – get more time
  • Your Defense, Counterclaims, and “Answer”
  • Some Common Defenses and Counterclaims In Court
  • Mediations and Agreements to Judgment
  • Judgments, “Execution”, and “Appeal”
  • “Stays of Execution”
  • Rent Increase
  • Don’t Panic! Don’t Move
  • Your Right to Resist and Negotiate

8. Organize, Organize, Organize! Why and How

  • Why it’s important for tenants to organize
  • Tenant Unions and Resident Associations
  • What are the Benefits of forming Tenant Associations?

9. City Life’s Healthy Homes – Healthy Families Program

  • About the program and how it can help you
  • The new Healthy Homes – Healthy Families Committee
  • Schedule of appointments

10. Tenants’ Resource List

  • Tenants’ Advocacy
  • Legal Help
  • Other Housing Needs
  • Homeless Issues
  • For Women (and Children) Leaving Abusive Relationships
  • Housing Health Issues

11. Housing Code Checklist