As a landlord, you have many duties that need to be attended to on a regular basis. While most of these go smoothly and are routine, there are certain situations that may arise where you may need the advice of a real estate lawyer. Since landlords have many rules and regulations by which they must abide, failing to get legal advice on certain matters can make your life more difficult than you prefer.
In particular, if you used to be a landlord in one state and have expanded to another, the laws may differ in the two locations. You will need to take extra precautions and measures to make sure you are aware of all of the laws and guidelines.
To ensure you don't face unexpected legal consequences, here are four times when it is recommended you hire a real estate lawyer.
Eviction of a Tenant
If you are relatively new at being a landlord and need to evict a tenant from your property, it is always best to hire a real estate lawyer. This protects you, your property, and your assets in your actions. Since you as a landlord need to follow specific rules and regulations when evicting a tenant, a court will hold you to a high standard to ensure everything is done correctly. Also, if the tenant has hired their own lawyer to fight the eviction, definitely consult with a real estate law firm. You do not want to find yourself in court against an evicted tenant without your own representation to back you up.
Accused of Discrimination
When a current tenant or prospective tenant accuses you of illegal housing discrimination, always hire a real estate lawyer to handle your case. This will be especially important if HUD agrees to investigate the matter, since a ruling against you could result in heavy fines and other penalties. In cases like this, gather as much evidence and information as you can to prove that you were rightful in your actions and that they were not based on the grounds of discrimination.
Should a tenant allege you have failed to properly maintain the property or you need to take legal action against a tenant you claim has damaged your property, a real estate lawyer can provide expert advice on this matter. Since your insurance company will come into play in this situation, hiring a lawyer will allow them to handle all communications and negotiations on your behalf, increasing the chances you will have a satisfying conclusion to the case. Again, make sure you have plenty of evidence to back yourself up. Any picture evidence with timestamps will be most helpful in showing what property damage occurred over time and by which tenants.
If you have been notified of an upcoming IRS audit, always hire a real estate lawyer to represent you during this process. Also, should you realize you have made a major mistake on your taxes but it has yet to be found by auditors, having a real estate lawyer who can negotiate with the IRS could save you thousands of dollars in penalties. This is also an instance where you will be grateful if you have hired an accountant in the past to assist with your taxes.
Rather than allow one mistake after another to make your life as a landlord more difficult than it has to be, rely on the advice of an experienced and knowledgeable real estate lawyer you can trust. They can help give you advice before any sort of legal action is taken against you, as well as help you get out of any binds that you might find yourself in in the future.
Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. You can connect with Anica on Twitter @AnicaOaks.
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