Frequently, homeowners that have a single property; or multiple properties to rent out often make the choice to save time and money and not have an attorney review, revise and draft their leases. We at Arnold A. Arpino & Associates have often seen the tragic consequences of homeowners attempting to draft their own lease, or using a do-it-yourself type service that provides a standard template. Issues that sometimes cause controversy are issues relating to snow removal and the failure of the landlord to provide lead paint disclosures in homes built prior to 1978.
However, most often overlooked is a provision for the recovery of attorneys fees should the tenants default or break their lease. While no landlord wants to think about such scenarios, the landlord must be prepared for them to occur.
Let's take a look at some numbers. You have a tenant who broke a lease and owes you $6,000.00. You hire an attorney who takes your case on a contingency fee basis, and that's great. The attorney will not get paid a fee unless your case is collected. However, if your attorney fee is one-third, your net recovery will be $4,000.00. Having that provision in your lease might allow the landlord to recoup some, and maybe even all of the attorneys fees (being awarded the full amount of your attorneys fee is not guaranteed, the Court may grant a landlord a lesser amount).
A good attorney not only is able to plan for what happens if you need to sue a former tenant, they also will plan for what will happen should you win a civil money judgment against the tenant for past due rent. Do not be the landlord that will not spend a couple of hundred dollars now and then be out thousands of dollars later.
If you need a lease or any contract reviewed, call our office today. The initial consultation is always free.