When Should A Landlord Hire a Lawyer?

If you are a landlord and thinking about renting your property, then you have to deep think about it. If, like many landlords, you own or control only a few rental homes, then you are unlikely to have a lawyer on staff or on retainer. You shouldn’t need to pay extra money to have an attorney on retainer and continually consult them or even keep them in the wings just in case a problem develops.

In California, be aware of the expert eviction lawyers who have so much experience, Express Evictions. Express Evictions provides full-service evictions for commercial and residential properties and is also available as specialist help, even if it’s just advice and coaching on how to handle a sticky situation or how to write terms and conditions in leases or rental agreements.

Landlords are similar to other types of business owners — they try to make their businesses profitable while staying clear of liability. In some situations, hiring or conferring with a lawyer to help you properly evict a tenant the first time is a smart move. If you get the eviction wrong, a non-paying tenant could remain for a long time.

Here are the most popular situations that will benefit from a professional attorney’s review or help:

Evicting A Tenant

In most cases, an eviction lawsuit takes less time than standard civil cases in most or all U.S. states. State laws are written such that landlords must follow highly specific rules, from notifying the tenant of the lawsuit to filing the right papers and forms to testifying and presenting evidence in court. It must all be done properly.

If the tenant fights the eviction, courts take this into account because it is the tenant’s home that is at stake. The landlord is trying to get the state to force the tenant out of their home. Many experts set the bar very high when it comes to ruling in the landlord’s favor. Getting an eviction lawsuit, even one that you’d think is a slam-dunk, isn’t so easy.

Many experienced landlords try to evict tenants themselves, often with success.  But you’re better off hiring a lawyer if:

  • This is your very first eviction.
  • This tenant is upholding the removal and has a lawyer.
  • This tenant is an assistant whom you’re firing.
  • This tenant is filing for insolvency, or.
  • You must comply with rent limitation or housing program rules for eviction.

Staying Investigated or Sued for Illegal Discrimination

You want a lawyer every time a renter prospect or tenant accuses you of unlawful bias. Landlords who diligently comply with fair housing laws can still get these accusations from prospects they reject or tenants they evict for a cause or for legitimate business reasons. But if a prospect or tenant sues you for discrimination, or if HUD or a fair housing agency agrees to investigate a claim, you’ll probably want to consult a lawyer.

HUD official law judges can award a civil punishment of $16,000 per infringement for first-time offenders, in addition to real damages, attorneys’ fees, and other relief. Your costs can be much higher, and it’s more expensive if your case goes to court or you settle. Also, if you become the subject of an unfairness claim, it can cause confusion and harm your business’ reputation. A smart and expert lawyer can help you resolve the conflict and end the investigation or trial as soon as possible.

Sued For Injury Or Illness

If a tenant or guest sues you, saying they got hurt or sick because of your carelessness, you’ll almost surely want to hire a lawyer because it could be costly for you. Personal injury claims are typically high stakes, and experienced, knowledgeable personal injury attorneys know their way through these cases and court much better than you do. Also, you may find it problematic to fight a tenant who has experienced a severe loss, even though you think you should not be held liable.

A good lawyer is emotionally disconnected from a case and is experienced in any of these legal situations. Make certain you pay your insurance premiums because your insurer should provide you with a lawyer to defend you against personal injury claims that arise.

Sued For Major Property Damage

Tenants or guests may also sue if they believe that your negligence to manage the rental business caused harm to their business. For instance, if you don’t fix the roof and a leak occurs during an average winter rain, soaking the tenant’s things, the tenant may look to you for payment.