Real estate can be a lucrative business, especially if you know how to “flip” houses by buying fixer-uppers, renovating them and then selling them for high prices. Whether you’re looking into a real estate career or trying to buy your dream home, however, you’ll need an attorney’s help to make sure your legal rights are protected. CommonWealth Law Group can help you generate contracts, sell homes and more.
Rental Property Owners Have Lots of Responsibilities
A lot of clients dream of making money by renting out real estate to tenants who need homes. While this can be a lucrative business, it’s important to understand your rights and responsibilities as a landlord.
Basic landlord/tenant rights and responsibilities. Both the landlord and the tenant have rights and responsibilities, and you need to be aware of yours.
- Basically, the landlord has to keep the property up to code, repair items as needed, and deal with damage from fires, floods or other natural disasters.
- Anti-discrimination laws. The federal government prohibits landlords from refusing to approve tenant applications on the basis of race, religion, national origin, gender or disability. Some states have additional laws regarding discrimination. It’s important to be aware of what these are so you don’t get into trouble.
- Leases and contracts. Leases must spell out everything from who is allowed in the rental property to what constitutes grounds for eviction. Real estate lawyers can make sure leases are written correctly and cover all needed eventualities.
- Security deposits. State laws govern how security deposits are to be handled. In general, you must keep the deposit in escrow until a tenant moves out. After doing a final inspection, you have 30 days to return the deposit or provide written explanation of why the deposit is not being returned.
Laws for Brokers and Buyers
Before making a brokerage agreement, you should have a real estate attorney look it over. Some brokerage agreements give brokers the right to a commission even if the property doesn’t sell or have other stipulations that might affect you significantly, so it’s important to understand exactly what your rights and responsibilities are before signing.
It’s also important to talk to an attorney if you want to open your own brokerage firm. Depending on state laws, brokers may need to be licensed or meet other legal requirements.
Always Put Contracts in Writing
Regardless of the type of real estate transactions you’re trying to close, you’ll need to put agreements into writing. Verbal agreements are useless if you have to go to court, as they consist of your word against the other person’s, and there’s plenty of room for misunderstandings. Ask your attorney to draft a written agreement for all parties to sign before completing any transaction.
Whether you’re a buyer, seller or broker, you’ll need a qualified real estate attorney to help you accomplish your real estate goals. Contact CommonWealth Law Group to schedule a consultation about real estate issues.