Housing laws are frustrating and complex on their own. But when you pair these with the pressure of knowing your state and local laws, things can get downright overwhelming. Landlords have to stay knowledgeable and up to date, but it’s impossible to run a real estate business and become an expert in housing law overnight. Eventually, you’ll need legal help. As a landlord, when is it time to call in the pros and hire a lawyer?
You’re Worried About Being Sued
There are many legal issues that a tenant can bring against you. For example, they can sue you for failure to maintain the property or claim that an injury that occurred on the property was due to your carelessness. They can even sue you for illegal discrimination. Even if you’re certain the situation isn’t your fault and you haven’t violated any fair housing laws, you still have to worry about all the time spent in court and the legal fees. Whether you’re worried about a lawsuit in the future or a tenant is currently suing you, hiring a landlord-tenant lawyer is the easiest way to protect yourself from unnecessary litigation and lengthy court processes.
You’re Struggling To Evict a Tenant
Evicting a tenant is a lengthy process on its own, but landlords can usually handle an eviction by themselves. However, there are times when it’s wise to have a lawyer on your side. If you’ve never evicted a tenant before, you might want to hire a professional. And if the tenant is filing for bankruptcy, is an employee of yours, or has their own lawyer, it’s time to lawyer up. Remember, an eviction essentially means that a person’s housing is at stake, so most judges set the bar for it very high. Hiring a lawyer increases your chances of a successful eviction overall.
You’re Drafting a New Lease Agreement
Using a cookie-cutter lease is one of the most common mistakes landlords make and can land you in hot water if you don’t cross-reference your lease with local laws. A lease that you find in free PDF form on the internet simply isn’t enough to cover all your bases. However, as mentioned, keeping all those laws in mind isn’t easy. Also, an accident violation doesn’t exclude you from responsibility. If you’re drafting a lease agreement for the first time or creating one for a new property, a lawyer will help ensure that your lease agreement follows federal, state, and local laws.
You Suspect Illegal Activity on Your Property
Tenants have a right to privacy that landlords are legally required to respect. Even if you’re completely sure that illegal activity is occurring on your property, you can’t simply barge in and stop it, nor can you kick them out. Of course, protecting your property and the safety of other residents is your job as a landlord. However, you need to obtain the right evidence first. A landlord-tenant lawyer can help guide you through the steps so that you can find that evidence and have solid ground for eviction.
As a landlord, if you ever feel uncertain of the law or are faced with the threat of litigation, it’s time to hire a lawyer. It’s always better to get protection as opposed to leaving yourself vulnerable.