An Expert's Advice On Dealing With Your Landlord
Monique Bolsajian Graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara
Our Legal Meet-Ups are a unique opportunity to get your pressing legal questions answered by a panel of top attorneys, free of charge. These remote workshops are a part of the Court Buddy Cares initiative, created to connect the public with crucial information and resources that they need now more than ever due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Our first Legal Meet-Up drew over 200 participants.
Due to the overwhelming number of landlord-tenant questions we received at our last Legal Meet-Up, our upcoming Legal Meet-Up will be focusing exclusively on landlord-tenant issues.
One of the panelists will be Brandon Loggins, of Legal Freedom Law Office LLC. He has been practicing in the real estate and landlord-tenant space since the Recession of 2008. All areas of his practice deal with consumer-related issues, and he has had extensive experience representing both landlords and tenants in legal matters.
He is also an adjunct professor at the Trinity International University, where he teaches introductory legal courses for students seeking to obtain their Bachelor’s degrees.
We did a Q&A with him in advance of the Meet-Up to learn more about him and his practice, as well as get some of his top tips for landlords and tenants during this time.
Q: How has the Coronavirus changed landlord-tenant issues in Tennessee and Illinois where you practice?
A: When the courts open back up, it might look a lot like what I saw back in 2008. Back then, you had a lot of cases at once and people weren't able to afford attorneys. The 2008 crisis is one of those things that you go through and don’t think you’ll ever see again in your lifetime, but here we are. And this time could be worse. Lawyers have to be ready to step up to this new challenge, because it’s going to be a practical problem. Adapting to this new normal is the biggest challenge, because a lot of the changes happening right now vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In Illinois, for instance, the Supreme Court has left it up to the Chief Justices of each county to decide how to proceed. Overall, it’s a rapidly evolving process. If you’re having landlord-tenant issues, now is the best time to seek legal counsel because in addition to the usual hurdles of the legal process, you have this rapidly changing system in which it’s necessary to be up to date with local rules and regulations.
Q: What are your top tips for landlords during this time?
A: If you’re a landlord and you’re looking to find new tenants during this time, it’s a great time for you to review your current lease to add some provisions or protections. For example, you might want to look at the current provisions outlined in your lease about giving eviction notices and see if you want to make any changes there. You may also want to consider reviewing your rental application to add additional disclosures or background information about the reason applicants left their previous residence. If you aren’t looking for a new tenant, you might still want to review your lease and renegotiate it with your current tenant if there have been any changes in circumstance on either end. If you do reach any new agreements, you’ll want to get something in writing.
Q: What are your top tips for tenants during this time?
A: It’s important to establish communication with one another. If you’re a tenant facing financial hardship or other difficulties because of the Coronavirus, you’ll want to talk to your landlord and see if they’ll be willing to work something out with you. If something is established, get it in writing. The bare minimum is to look over your lease to know what your protections are, and what you might be held responsible for monetarily. If conflict escalates, you will want to seek legal advice. An attorney can act as an intermediary to help facilitate a good resolution, especially because emotions can be high in landlord-tenant issues with all of the uncertainty right now. Having someone to negotiate on your behalf can help diffuse tense circumstances and come up with a workable solution that’s better for all parties.
Q: Is there anything specific that you want landlords and tenants to know?
A: One thing I will caution is that some people think they only need a lawyer when they’re before a judge, but it might help to talk to a lawyer about current circumstances before that point, just to see what is going on that could hurt your case. For example, a landlord not giving a proper eviction notice to a tenant can harm their case later on. Having a lawyer early on in the process can be well worth the fee, because it will alleviate potential problems in the long term.
Q: Is there anything else about you and your practice that you want potential clients to know?
A: Another unique area of law that I practice and that I’ve built up over my career is called Lemon Law, when people who have defective vehicles sue the manufacturer because the repair shop hasn’t been able to fix the problem. In this area of law, if you have a valid claim, then the manufacturer has to pay your attorney’s fees. All of my practice areas deal with consumer-related issues and this is an area where you can often take the money aspect out of the equation, which really allows people to have their rights met and enforced.
If you’re in Tennessee or Illinois and want to speak to a lawyer about your landlord-tenant case, contact Loggins to request a consultation here.
Register for Court Buddy’s Legal Meet-Up today to hear Mr. Loggins and other top attorneys answer your landlord-tenant questions.
Court Buddy is here to connect you with an experienced and trusted lawyer who can help you at an affordable rate. The company assists with the management of your case and lawyer relationship. Your lawyer will assess your legal issue in a timely and confidential manner, explain why you need or do not need a lawyer, and only charge you for the legal services performed and associated out of pocket fees. This article is intended to convey general information and does not constitute legal advice.