Will Your Lease Protect You When It Counts?

by Chris on July 10, 2010

When a landlord gets ripped off by a tenant, they have to turn to the courts for justice.  However, the justice they receive may only be as good as their lease agreement.

Attorney Elena Franz warns landlords to take preemptive action and review their rental leases before a problem arises to assure it has the teeth it needs to protect them down the road. 

 “For instance, landlords need to make sure that their leases and contracts provide for the recovery of attorneys fees and costs to the prevailing party. This will allow the landlord to go after past due rents or other charges and receive a judgment for their attorneys fees.”

Without an attorney’s fees provision, the landlord may have no workable option in court.  “When the amount you are seeking to recover is relatively small, litigation fees such as filing fees and attorneys fees can outweigh what you are seeking to recover,” Ms. Franz continues. 

“However, if you have a viable tenant who will pay on a judgment, instituting a court action to recover the fees is not a tough decision, since you can recover what you expend on pursuing the tenant.”

“Without an attorneys fee and costs provision in the lease, the landlord would have to let the amount go as a bad debt.”

Elena Rivkin Franz is an attorney with Pratt & Associates in Campbell, California, specializing in business and real estate law.  Call  (408) 369-0800 or email Ms. Franz at efranz@prattattorneys.com for more information. 

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Services, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

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