Friday, April 17, 2009

Is a Landlord Tenant Lawyer Worth Your Money and Time?

The services of a landlord tenant lawyer are crucial whether you are a new landlord or have been renting out your properties for years. The simple fact is that you will need legal advice on landlord tenant issues at some point in time. Whether the matter is trivial or urgent, getting the right legal advice is vital.

While you may be reluctant to shell out cash to hire a lawyer, doing so may actually save you more money in the long run. Your lawyer can help make sure that you comply with all relevant landlord laws and safety regulations to avoid stiff fines and penalties. He can also help you draw up contracts and lease agreements to protect your legal rights.

What are the Issues that a Landlord Tenant Lawyer Can Help You with?

A lawyer can help you out at all the stages of renting a property, from screening tenants to an eviction should one become necessary. For example you may think that screening tenants is a simple matter but you should know that you could be slapped with a discrimination lawsuit if you run afoul of anti-discrimination laws.

While you can certainly use a standard lease agreement, it's much better to make sure it is tailored to your own situation. At the very least, your lawyer should review the agreement to make sure it's not missing any critical provisions that could provide you with protection in the case of property damage, late rent and so on.

If you do have tenants that cause problems, a good landlord tenant lawyer can also help you collect late rent, recover money for damage caused by tenants and even evict a tenant if necessary.

If your tenants turn nasty and decide to sue you for counter-claims, you will definitely want have an experienced lawyer by side to defend against any counter-claims, no matter how baseless those claims may have.

Choosing the Right Landlord Tenant Lawyer for Your Rental Property

Now that you what a landlord tenant lawyer can do for you, just how do you go about choosing one? Fortunately there are several resources that can point you in the right direction.

First contact your real estate agent or mortgage professional for their recommendation. These professionals can often provide a reference to an experienced attorney. You can also contact the lawyer association in your county or state for a referral. Make sure there is no past or pending disciplinary action on the lawyer's record.

If you have a family or general practice attorney, chances are he or she can provide a referral as well. If all else fails, you can look in the yellow pages, but this is a bit like a stab in the dark so leave it as a last resort.

Even if you find a big name firm, this does not guarantee that the lawyer is competent, though it will probably guarantee you will end up paying high fees!

Once you have a referral, call around for a quick phone screening. Find out how many years of experience the attorney has, and choose someone who's been practising real estate law for a minimum of 3 to 5 years. Find out about his fee structure and billing rates; also ask what tasks are billed hourly and which ones are billed on flat rate.

Finally make sure the landlord tenant lawyer you choose is attentive and willing to work with you. An experienced lawyer knows how to tailor their services to meet your needs. Think of your lawyer as an assistant in your rental business. Choose wisely and the advice you receive will be well worth the money you spend.

Teo Zhenjie has been showing landlords how to manage their tenants and rental property effectively on Propertydo - To learn more important tips on landlord tenant lawyer, visit his website today for step-by-step real estate guides, free resources and forms.

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