As a rental property owner and landlord, to say that you have your hands full would be a *bit* of an understatement.
That’s why when you have to deal with legal matters– especially the unexpected, unsavory kind– it’s a supreme pain in the butt.
In fact, the right legal issue could land you in a ton of trouble and, worst case scenario, even jeopardize your property.
That’s why having a landlord lawyer, or landlord-tenant attorney, can be such a big help.
Sure, you might not need them all the time.
But having connections with a good one in your area can be a huge help.
To understand better how exactly they can help and what they handle, let’s talk about when you should consider hiring one.
What is a landlord lawyer?
A landlord lawyer, or landlord-tenant attorney, is a lawyer who specializes in landlord-tenant legal issues.
A landlord-tenant attorney isn’t just useful for lawsuits and similar matters, they can even help in things like drafting an effective lease agreement and more.
That’s because they work with landlords and property managers regularly, so they know some of the major issues that those managing properties face.
When to hire a tenant-landlord lawyer?
Now, let’s talk about reasons you might consider hiring a tenant-landlord lawyer.
There are some big, menacing reasons and some smaller less stressful ones.
But overall, each of these are scenarios where it can be a big help to have a legal expert related to landlord-tenant laws in your area.
You should consider hiring a landlord-tenant lawyer when:
Evicting a tenant
Evicting a tenant isn’t easy.
In fact, if you don’t do it properly, you could end up giving your tenant an “out” that gets you in trouble and them off the hook.
This is one of the most useful times to contact a landlord-tenant lawyer as you can get information on how to properly evict that tenant in a way that doesn’t get you in trouble.
Every state’s eviction laws are different, so it can be hard to find your state and city’s policies for eviction online.
A landlord-tenant lawyer will know these laws in detail and can help you navigate them effectively.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to hire a lawyer to evict a tenant.
In fact, landlords do it all the time.
- You’re unsure of local laws of the area the property is located in
- This is your first eviction, or
- If there’s a complication
… this can be really helpful.
Being sued for illness, injury, or illegal discrimination
This is perhaps the most obvious use for a landlord-tenant lawyer, and it’s one of their most vital roles.
As a landlord, you can be sued for a variety of different reasons, and for reasons which are either fabricated or in no way your fault.
In this case, it can be vital to hire a landlord-tenant lawyer to fight for you and ensure you don’t have to pay when a tenant makes a claim against you.
Being sued for property damage
This is a less common type of lawsuit, but still something that can happen.
For example, if your roof leaked and damaged their PC or a jewelry cabinet or something of high value, they might attempt to sue you for the damages.
Typically, liability insurance handles this.
However, for large claims you’ll want to have a lawyer to help you navigate the issue.
It’s worth keeping in mind that your insurance company may provide you with a lawyer in these cases.
So, you might not have to search for one yourself (but if you have your own you can typically use them instead).
Being audited by the IRS or local government
Another common issue that a landlord-tenant lawyer helps with is being audited.
An audit can be scary, but with the right expert at your back you can navigate it safely.
Whether you want to hire a lawyer will generally depend on the severity and reason for the audit.
Only you’ll know whether this seems like the kind of issue you should hire professional help for.
However, when a potentially big tax fine is at stake, it’s probably better to be safe than sorry.
Tips for hiring a landlord lawyer
Now that you have a better idea of when you might want to consider hiring a landlord-tenant attorney, let’s talk about some tips for hiring one.
You don’t just want to use the first landlord-tenant attorney you find.
Instead, you want to find the right one that has the key qualities of a great landlord lawyer.
Here are a few tips for doing that:
1. Try an online legal service
This is the first place many start nowadays because it’s fast and easy.
Plus, there are several recognizable platforms with high perceived trust that you can use.
For example, like LegalShield:
This is by no means the only place you can find a landlord-tenant lawyer (more on that in the next point), but it’s one of the fastest and easiest.
Partly, because you can do the entire process of vetting and selecting online from start to finish.
But also because these services tend to end up being far cheaper than hiring a lawyer the traditional way.
2. Ask for a referral from your personal lawyer
Another easy way to potentially find a good landlord-tenant lawyer is to ask for a referral.
If you have a personal or professional lawyer that you can reach out to, they likely know other lawyers with other specialities.
If they know a good landlord-tenant lawyer, you’re now a step ahead from a simple one-minute email or phone call.
It’s important to remember, however, that you want a specifically landlord-tenant lawyer and not any other kind of lawyer.
They need this speciality in order to help you navigate these often complex and difficult legal matters relating to property and landlord-tenant laws.
Without knowledge of these laws and how they work, they could end up steering you in the wrong direction if it’s not their expertise.
3. Ask questions
Simple point but incredibly important.
Asking questions does a few things.
First, it allows you to get a better idea whether they sound like they know what they’re talking about.
Do they have experience in the thing or things you may need help with, or issue you’re currently in the middle or?
Also, how much experience do they have, period? One year or a decade?
If you’re currently in the middle of a legal issue of some kind, knowing whether the attorney has dealt with such a case before is vital to ensuring they can help you get out of the same situation with your wallet and sanity intact.
4. Be clear on their fees before deciding to work with them
Every lawyer charges differently, and for different types of cases.
It’s important to know how much the lawyer you’ve picked will charge you for certain issues before they happen.
That way, no matter what comes up you’ll never be surprised by how much they charge and how they charge, which can also differ based on the lawyer.
Use every resource at your disposal
As a landlord, handling everything can be overwhelming.
A landlord, or landlord-tenant attorney, can be a valuable connection that serves to not only keep you better informed during key decisions.
Not to mention, protect you in difficult, unexpected situations like a lawsuit.
In the same way, property management software like DoorLoop can be your right-hand in everything else.
- Rent collection
- Filling units
- And more
Check out DoorLoop to see how it can level up your property game and give you more peace of mind.