“Knowing When Should You Hire Rental Lawyers” written by Mike Marko.
Are you considering hiring rental lawyers?
So how do you know when to hire one, or when to do it yourself?
Although having a rental property business seems manageable, the fact that you need to choose the right tenant and maintain your property at the same time is easier said than done, especially if you want to avoid violating any tenant or fair housing laws.
That’s why in this article we’ll talk about the various reasons why property managers need to hire rental lawyers and how can you find the best ones in your area.
Reasons Why Rental Lawyers Are Needed
When running a successful rental property business you want to keep legal disagreements to a minimum. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to make sure that you have good legal advice and know your options. It’s important to have this when making up contracts and all the legal documents needed to run your business.
So the first reason you would need the services of a rental lawyer would be to help in making sure that all documents and contracts meet legal standards for the area you will be using them.
Unfortunately the main reason you would need a rental lawyer is when a dispute or disagreement arises between you and a tenant when managing your rental properties.
So before we all discuss the role of rental lawyers, let’s first talk about why you need them.
Why Do You Need A Rental Lawyer?
The rental lawyer when reviewing or making up contracts for your rental property business, concentrates on the legal issues about the tenant and landlord rights. Rental lawyers can also help property managers in managing their rental property businesses from reviewing the draft of a lease or rental agreement to evicting a tenant.
As the property manager, it is advisable to consult your trusted rental lawyer before making a decision when it comes to your property and your tenants. Doing so can help you avoid any violation of rental laws in your area.
Another unfortunate use of rental lawyers happens when there is a legal dispute or a disagreement on the rental contracts signed and the property manager and the tenant decided to take their problems to be reviewed and decided by the court. In any court proceeding it is highly recommended to hire a rental lawyer to avoid any legal mis-steps or mistakes when litigating disputes regarding tenancy.
When Do Landlords Need Rental Lawyers
Property managers and landlords should always use a rental lawyer to review and examine documents used in their rental property business. Additionally, having a rental lawyer to consult with when legal issues arise around your tenancy agreements is advisable before making any critical decision regarding your rental property business.
Here are the common reasons why property managers need assistance from a legal expert like a rental lawyer…
When evicting a tenant
Evicting a tenant is one of the common reasons why property managers need a rental lawyer. The process of evicting a tenant is tricky and when done incorrectly can labor on for months. The process of evicting a tenant has high legal standards and has a detailed procedures and it requires a couple of legal documents. Hiring a rental lawyer to insure that all steps during the eviction process are done correctly is definitely needed to help you understand and complete the eviction efficiently.
When evicting a tenant the odds of doing it correctly go up substantially when using a rental lawyer to complete the process. Having legal representation in any court proceeding is highly recommended and can save you both money and time when the eviction is done correctly and efficiently.
When being investigated or sued for discrimination
Even if the property manager is doing a good job in choosing the right tenants for their rental property business, complaints regarding discrimination can still happen. Discrimination and unfair screening are 2 commonly used legal tactics or attacks against property managers who have rejected tenants applications.
When sorting and determining the best renter for your properties you will have to reject numerous applications. During the rejection phase of the rental process you need to be able to explain and have verified reasons why you have rejected the tenants over other tenants you have rented to. Unfortunately even when you feel you have done everything correctly and by the letter of the law, illegal discrimination complaints can happen to every property manager even if they are following the fair housing laws.
When complaints arise regarding discrimination it is important to get help from a rental lawyer to make sure you are legally guided correctly during the court and possible housing agency investigation. The penalty for violating a fair housing law can cost $16,000 for first-time offenders and it comes with additional charges. Having legal representation to avoid mis-steps and illegal discrimination while navigating the fair housing laws can save your rental property business money as well as defend your reputation.
When landlords are sued for injuries that happened because of the landlord’s negligence
Sometimes a tenant can be injured at the rental property. When this occurs it’s the property manager’s responsibility to address the injury and determine if it was the fault of something at the property or just the tenants negligence. It’s important to act quickly when made aware of any injury at your rental properties to make sure you can determine liability.
If there was something at the rental property that caused the injury to the tenant then you should employ a rental lawyer to defend why you are being sued by the tenant. A rental lawyer can help to settle or defend a lawsuit when they suffered any injury due to any negligence.
Cases for losing personal injury lawsuits could cost a huge amount of money so it is better to represent yourself with an experienced rental lawyer in this situation. If you have a liability insurance, you could ask them to find the best rental lawyer that could assist you in your case.
When landlords are sued for major property damage
Even if a tenant is renting the property, it is still the property manager’s responsibility to make an action for complaints or reports for maintenance or repair check. If a tenant filed a lawsuit because of property damage caused by negligence on your part, the tenant will usually look for any compensation.
If the tenant is demanding for a huge amount of money, it is best to talk to your insurance company and let them get the best lawyer for you. However, if the stake is not that high you can also call for a legal assistance directly from an attorney.
When landlords are planning on changing their business structure
Whenever a property manager is buying or planning to purchase a new property, calling a rental lawyer is still advisable. Any kind of successful business transactions comes with a wave of legal documents and tax requirements. It’s best to hire a lawyer to lessen up the workload and move on with the next phase of changing their business structure.
When landlords are Buying or selling a property while it is rented
Like planning or changing a business structure, buying or selling a property while it is being rented is a tough one. The process is a bit complicated and there is legal risk involved. It is best to hire a rental lawyer to avoid any fees or penalties for violating the rental laws.
Tips Before You Hire A Rental Lawyer
The stakes are high whenever there is a rental lawyer involved. Avoid the risk of hiring an inexperienced rental lawyer. Here are some tips before you hire one.
Searching for a Rental Lawyer
Consider using these tips in searching for a rental lawyer.
- Look for available attorneys by checking the state bar association in your area. There are also a number of directory websites that has a list of available lawyers by practice area. State business or real estate magazines also contain a list or advertisements of rental lawyers that could help you in your situation.
- Ask experts in this industry for any referrals. Ask for any references from fellow property managers or real estate agents. People that are involved in the real estate industry are familiar with lawyers who are good in specific areas.
- Ask a lawyer for a referral to another rental lawyer. Getting a reference from a lawyer who specializes in different areas of law can also help you in finding the best lawyer that you need. Just like doctors, lawyers are not good with everything, some of them specializes in different types of cases and situations.
Hiring A Rental Lawyer
Once you have a list of possible lawyers that could help you in your case, follow these tips to filter the best one for you.
- Start the process by calling the lawyers on your list and set up an appointment. Pay attention to the lawyers that can easily be contacted. Remember, your lawyer must be responsive so they can be on your side whether it’s an emergency or not.
- Have a meeting with the lawyer and let them review your case. Ask them various questions that will help you determine if they can win your case. Aside from being responsive, your lawyer must have the set of traits that could give you a boost in winning cases. Consider asking these questions while having a personal meeting with your rental lawyers.
- How many cases have you handled?
- What are your expectations with my case, what are the possible outcomes?
- Could my case end up in court?
- How much this case could cost me?
- Are there any alternatives to lawsuits?
- Ask about the details on fees and billing procedures. Before hiring your preferred lawyer, make sure that you both agreed on terms of payment. Ask the rate of their services and make an agreement about payment process for any legal billings.
Working With A Rental Lawyer
Hire a rental lawyer who can help you navigate legal requirements and help protect you. Check the list below to know how you can maximize their capabilities to benefit your rental property business.
- Hire the rental lawyer to create your lease agreement. Let your lawyer make (or at least review) the lease agreement because they have knowledge about your rights and laws in your area. Instead of downloading a generic lease agreement, it’s advisable to ask your lawyer to make the rental agreement. They could write the agreement that would actually reflect the terms and policies of renting your properties, as well as the rental laws in your area.
- Know when you should consult a rental lawyer. Remember the common reasons why you need rental lawyers. If you are being investigated for illegal discrimination, evicting a tenant, sued for injury, sued for damage to property, audited by the IRS, fighting slander or libel or anytime you are going to court, you need your lawyer. Your lawyer will help you understand the certain process of your case or situation. They could also give you advice to avoid further mistakes that could actually end up in a bigger issue.
- Don’t be stuck on the first lawyer you meet. Keep looking for another lawyer if you are not impressed with the last rental lawyer you met. Don’t just settle. Find the right lawyer that fits you needs. Maybe, the right lawyer for you is just a few bucks away.
Cost Of Hiring A Rental Lawyer
The lawyer will charge you depending on the difficulty of your case. The cost of their services also differs depending on where you are living.
Many lawyers charge their clients per hour. The average cost of rental lawyers ranges from $200 to $500 per hour. However, some lawyers are charging a flat fee for a specific service. For example they may charge $500 for the whole process of evicting a tenant.
Final Thoughts About Rental Lawyers
In this article we talked about when you may need to enlist the help of rental lawyers. Rental lawyers may be needed to help guide you in managing your rental property business. From making a lease agreement to evicting a tenant, a rental lawyer could help you in understanding the risks and laws governing each process.
Check the state and local resources to find the best and available rental lawyers in your area. Make a list of your candidates and choose the most responsive so they can attend to your needs when the situation arises. Also, consider asking the questions that I gave you in this article. Those questions can help guide you in finding the most reliable lawyer to help support your property management business.
Feel free to comment below with any questions or additional ideas on hiring rental lawyers.
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