Most people who become landlords aren’t in the business of making legal decisions. They’ve bought property to make money, and most are primarily self-educated regarding running their properties.
While you may have an idea of how you want to run your real estate business, there are times when landlords should turn to professionals for legal help. If you own only a few rental properties or units in a condominium or apartment building, you may not need a lawyer very often. However, the more units or properties you own, the more likely you’ll need legal help down the road. Here are a few of the most common scenarios where an eviction attorney, HOA lawyer or a team versed in rental laws can pull a landlord out of a bind.
Evicting a tenant is one of the worst jobs that a landlord undertakes. It’s a nuclear option that should only be done when all else fails. The laws governing evictions are strict, yet you may have no choice but to do so to protect your property, other tenants and your peace of mind.
Hiring an eviction attorney will expedite your case and ensure that you thoroughly follow local laws. Having an experienced Dallas eviction lawyer guide you through the process will make this messy business more manageable, especially if the tenant you’re evicting has hired a lawyer.
Evictions can become complex, too, especially if the tenant you’re throwing out is an employee, lives in a state-sponsored housing unit, or has filed for bankruptcy. These are legal situations that you should not deal with on your own.
Housing Discrimination Accusations
This is another tricky area that requires legal help. Many landlords face claims of illegal discrimination from tenants even when they follow all the rules. The same rules apply under condo law if you discriminate against someone trying to buy a unit in your building.
However, if the US. Department of Housing and Urban Development or another fair housing agency investigates you, sit up and take notice. The fine for an initial offense is $16,000, and that figure doesn’t take into account legal fees and other damages you may incur.
A conviction of housing discrimination can have a substantial adverse effect on your business and reputation. Consulting a lawyer can help you resolve the dispute and reach a settlement.
Negligence Resulting in Injury or Illness
The liability portion of your property insurance will cover claims for most negligence involving injury or illness. However, some personal injury claims can become large settlements if the illness or injury is severe.
If a tenant or an HOA member decides to sue you, the amount of the claim will often guide whether or not you hire an HOA lawyer to deal with the lawsuit.
Lawyers will not only help you navigate the case but will remain emotionally detached when confronting a tenant who may need to find temporary housing while repairs are made to your building from negligence or failure to maintain your property properly.
Responding to an IRS or State Tax Audit
Occasionally, you or your accountant make mistakes on your income tax forms. If the amount is small, you can usually have your accountant rectify the problem and pay any applicable penalties.
However, if the amount is significant and you don’t feel you owe any money, it’s time to bring in a lawyer. Hiring legal help before auditors find a mistake can help you avoid a potentially embarrassing situation.
You Suspect Illegal Activity
You can’t kick out tents just because you think they’re doing something illegal, including dealing drugs, prostitution, etc.
You must have proof, which often comes from other tenants’ reports, photos, etc. Consulting a landlord attorney can help you determine if you have adequate evidence.
Hire a Respected Dallas HOA Lawyer Through Manning & Meyers
Whenever you need to step out of your legal comfort zone as a landlord or property manager, contact the professionals at Manning & Meyers. Our team of experienced HOA attorneys can advise you on many complex real estate issues to give you peace of mind during your time of need.
If you’re facing a legal issue as a landlord or member of an HOA board, don’t let the problem fester. Schedule your free consultation with a member of our firm today.