Curious as to whether you should hire a litigation attorney for your landlord business? In some cities, as much as 90% of landlords have lawyers.
And there are good reasons as to why.
Having a landlord attorney provides expert advice, dispute resolution, lease enforcement, and more.
Plus, having a lawyer to defend you when necessary provides peace of mind so you can stop worrying about legal issues and focus on growing your business.
Keep reading to learn when and why you should hire a litigation attorney.
But First, What Is a Litigation Attorney?
Litigation attorneys are hired to represent individuals within civil lawsuits. They handle all phases of the lawsuit: from the initial investigation to the settlement or appeal process.
For landlords, litigation attorneys can help evaluate what evidence exists to defend against a case or to warrant a suit. If a case pursues, litigation attorneys will draft pleadings, exchange information between parties, and handle trial tasks.
They are especially useful for landlords, as litigation lawyers are also trained to work with government agencies and organizations such as the Department of Housing and the IRS.
Why Should You Hire a Litigation Lawyer?
Being a landlord is a business. That means, there are crucial liabilities can arise as a business owner. To ensure your business is protected against harmful liability and a bad reputation, a litigation lawyer may be necessary for certain situations.
Keep reading learn when you should hire a litigation attorney.
1. Protection Against Lawsuits
This one may seem obvious, right? Whether it does or doesn’t, it is important to know exactly how litigation attorneys can protect landlords from certain types of lawsuits.
You may believe that as long as you abide by fair housing laws, you won’t have to worry about being sued or investigated for discrimination. However, if you evict or reject a tenant for legitimate reasons (e.g., aren’t paying rent, they have poor credit), you may still find yourself being accused of discrimination.
If a prospect or resident decides to make a claim or sue you for illegal discrimination, or the Department of Housing and Urban Development opens an investigation of your practices, you will want to have a litigation lawyer to protect your liability.
When hired early, litigation attorneys can help resolve the conflict or misunderstanding and shorten the length of the investigation or lawsuit. A lawyer will also be able to help prevent the case from going to court, saving you money, time, and press. After all, you won’t want your business in the news for something like a discrimination lawsuit or investigation.
Litigation lawyers will also be able to lower any fines and fees related to the suit or offense. The Department of Housing and Urban Development can fine as much as $16,000 per offense if found guilty. And that’s for first-time offenders and doesn’t account for additional costs of damage and attorney fees.
Basically, having a litigation lawyer just in case of a discrimination dispute will help save you money, headache, and protect your business from bad press.
Injury or Illness of Tenants
Have you considered what you would do if a tenant decides to sue you for an illness or injury on the grounds of poor property management?
For example, what if a tenant claims his employee’s respiratory illnesses are due to mold exposure in your property? Or someone claims to have fallen due to lack of step maintenance. Whether you are to blame or not, you’ll want a litigation lawyer to defend you.
Personal injuries are considered high-stake cases. This means they come with expert lawyers who have experience getting their customers justice. A litigation lawyer will know how to handle these cases and reduce the damage to your credibility.
Plus, suits such as these come with a lot of emotions. An attorney will be an objective party who can negotiate fairly and unbiasedly.
It’s common for a landlord to keep a deposit or ask for payment when major property damage has occurred. It is also common for residents to dispute this. Having a litigation attorney at hand for these disputes will provide you the confidence and expertise you need to settle arguments over who is liable for property damage.
In addition, a tenant may decide to sue you for compensation if damage occurs to their own property due to poor maintenance of the rental. For example, if the landlord fails to close a hole in the roof which allows rats to infest and destroy the tenant’s appliances, then the owner may find themselves in a legal battle.
Landlord’s liability insurance should take care of this. However, if the claims are high and the situation complicated, a litigation lawyer will be able to negotiate the claims effectively.
2. Audits and Financial Protection
Getting audited by the IRS can be complicated. A litigation attorney can help you figure out whether you’ve made any tax mistakes, especially when the audit involves large sums of money, and work with the IRS to make accommodations.
Litigation lawyers can also help prevent future fines related to taxes. They will be able to look through your tax and business documents and find any mistakes that the IRS did not. This will help you remedy the problem before it causes long-term damage to your business and your bottom line.
Evictions happen. Actually, 83 million evictions have occurred in the U.S. since 2000. While this number may make it seem like evictions are easy, don’t be so sure. Winning an eviction is complicated.
Evictions include complex regulations mandated by the state housing department. There are rules regarding tenant notification, paperwork, and filing.
Evictions become even more complicated if the resident has a lawyer of their own, is an employee, or is filing for bankruptcy. A litigation lawyer will know what to do in all these cases.
Basically, you’re better off having a litigation attorney in the case of an eviction.
Find a Florida Landlord Attorney Today
Whether you’re in need of a litigation attorney to help with tenant evictions, lease enforcement, legal collections, or dispute resolution, we can help.
Our attorneys are experts in commercial landlord/tenant disputes and act quickly to ensure your business doesn’t suffer in the long run. Click here to meet our lawyers and contact us today to schedule a free consultation.