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The low-income tenant is in a uniquely precarious position under the law. He typically holds under an oral lease, often on an implied periodic tenancy from week to week. Even where a written lease is executed, it is almost invariably on a form prepared by the landlord. The tenant has little bargaining power in today's urban housing markets; moreover, he is usually not represented by counsel and is unable to intelligently exert whatever bargaining power he may possess. The land- lord is generally a professional in the renting business, and knows well how to manipulate the legal rules for his own purposes; the tenant is often a rank amateur, dealing with rules which do not favor him in any event.



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