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Owning and managing rental properties can come with a multitude of roadblocks and issues.

These issues include:

  • ​Illegal Discrimination
  • ​Personal Injury
  • ​Property Damage
  • ​Evictions
  • ​Audits

Most likely, these problems are not frequent enough or serious enough to take legal action, though.

Most rental property companies can’t afford a lawyer, don’t need a lawyer “on retainer”, or have the staff to make sure they are alleviating the previously stated issues properly.

There are a handful of situations, though, that as a landlord you will need an expert’s help, even if it is just some advice.

Hiring an attorney in these moments could not only save you a lot of money but it could protect you as a business owner as well.

It is important to recognize when these situations arise so you can get the legal help you need.

In this article, we will discuss 5 instances that you should highly consider finding legal help for as a property owner.

Investigated or Sued for Discrimination

Even if you are diligently complying with fair housing laws, accusations of illegal discrimination can arise from tenants.

These accusations can also come from prospects that were rejected or tenants that were evicted for legitimate business reasons.

If a tenant decides to sue for discrimination or if a fair housing agency, like the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), agrees to investigate for discrimination, it is time to reach out for legal guidance.

If you lose a discrimination case, HUD administrative law judges can award up to $16,000 per violation by first-time offenders.

This isn’t including costs like damages and attorney’s fees.

If taken to court, your liability goes way up as well, not to mention the negative effect a discrimination lawsuit or investigation could have on you and your business’ reputation.

So, it is gravely important to find a good lawyer that can resolve this issue quickly and effectively.

Sued For Illness Or Injury

A landlord can also be sued if a tenant feels like their sickness or injury was due to the landlord’s negligence.

Personal injury suits can easily turn high stakes, so it is adamant that you hire a lawyer to handle it.

It can also be hard to face a tenant that has suffered a significant loss, even if you are sure it was not your wrong-doing.

A great personal injury lawyer is not emotionally attached and knows how these cases work.

Also, if you have liability insurance and keep up with premium payments, your insurer should provide you with a personal injury lawyer to defend in these kinds of cases.

Major Property Damage Suits

A tenant may also sue if they think your failure to maintain and care for the rental property caused damage to their own property.

For example, if a tree limb falls off of a tree that desperately needs to be trimmed and lands on a tenants’ car, that tenant may blame you for not getting the tree trimmed when it needed it.

Like personal injury cases, this is a good situation for your liability insurance policy to kick in.

Use the lawyer that your insurer is obligated to provide to resolve the claim quickly. If inapplicable, hire your own.

If it is a very small claim, you could take on the suit yourself, but at least sit down with a lawyer beforehand to make sure you can handle it.

Evicting a Tenant

Out of most civil suits, eviction lawsuits are usually much faster than other cases.

Landlords, though, must abide by the protocols for this kind of suit.

These protocols include filing the proper forms and documents and notifying the tenant involved in the lawsuit at the right time.

Judges may also lean in favor of the tenant, considering it is their home that is at stake, but expert consultation with a lawyer will help provide fair treatment across the board.

Even cases that are unquestionably in your favor can still be difficult to win if you do not have the experience in dealing with these sorts of cases.

You should strongly consider hiring an attorney if:

  • The tenant is fighting and has hired a lawyer
  • The tenant is an employee whom you’re firing
  • The tenant is filing bankruptcy
  • This is your first eviction

Now, of course, there will be other cases in which you will require expert legal help, so find a lawyer you can at least consult with on your eviction lawsuit.

Audits

Audits by the Internal Revenue Service and state governments are not usually something you would need a lawyer for.

If you made a small mistake on your taxes worth a few thousand dollars, you can settle it yourself without much hassle or legal advice (although we recommend it).

Big mistakes, though, could potentially be detrimental for your business.

To avoid the embarrassment and damages, hire a lawyer before the audit takes place and your mistake is found.

This will save your money and ultimately your business.

In Conclusion

Being a landlord and business owner you must understand what rights you have and when it is time to ask for help.

Choosing to hire a lawyer at the right time might just be what keeps you afloat if you get caught up in a messy lawsuit.

Now the situations discussed in this article are not the only ones you should consider getting legal help but they are the most frequent.

Don’t wait to until something bad happens to talk to a lawyer.

Do your research and become acquainted with a local civil law and personal injury attorneys to be ready when a lawsuit hits.

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