Being a property manager is not about collecting rent payments alone. Evictions, audits, and other legal issues come with the territory.
Ofttimes property managers undergo litigation for livability and retaliatory issues. They also sue for the same reasons sometimes. Having a landlord attorney helps you avoid and deal with unforeseen legal concerns.
So don't overlook tenant disputes and controversies. Unfortunately, they're a part of your job. Get ahead of possible legal action. Find out here when you need a landlord attorney?
Landlord Attorney for Evictions
Eviction proceedings happen in two types of courts--small claims and regular courts. It depends on what state the eviction takes place in.
Small claims courts are very user-friendly courts. Both landlords and tenants can opt-in or opt-out of legal representation. Yet, in regular courts laws and eviction procedures differentiate. Based on particular state rules, evictions and other lawsuits get held in the same regard.
In such a case, a landlord's held to the same legal standard as an attorney. Unless you understand the laws and how to communicate them, you could wind up paying a tenant a hefty sum. This is when you need to hire an attorney or have one on hand.
Illegal Discrimination Investigations
Even if you're a landlord who complies with fair housing laws, you're not exempt from discrimination accusations. The good thing is that accusations don't end up in court and you don't need an attorney to settle them.
But if a tenant or prospective tenant sues you after an accusation, you better have a good attorney on deck.
A few ways you can get sued for discrimination:
- Denying housing due to race or disability.
- Denial because of sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
- Discrimination based on religion or familial status. (pregnant women or families with small children)
If you don't have an attorney on hand, expect to pay weighty penalties. These include renting to the person suing you. And, compensation for damages and humiliation. Sometimes the federal government will assess a civil penalty--$16000 for the first offense.
If you don't understand certain deductions or how to file your taxes the right way, you could get audited by the IRS. Depending on the type of audit, you may need to hire an attorney.
Minor audits where there are good lines of communication drawn with the IRS need no attorney. Mistakes involving negligible amounts of money are usually simple to resolve.
But if the IRS is not respondent to your request to fix errors, that's a good sign you need a lawyer to step in.
As a landlord, you have a right to deduct basic expenses. But if you've made a major mistake in your claims, hire an attorney right away to resolve the matter.
Hire an Attorney
Should you have a landlord attorney on file or hire one when needed? Hiring an attorney is a serious expense. You need one when problems arise and one to consult with for prevention.
Hire and keep someone with legal expertise around to help you make smart decisions.
Read more or our articles to get the property management tips you need.