Retaining An Attorney For A Landlord / Tenant Dispute

Interviewer: What, in your opinion, makes a good landlord attorney? What is a red flag ?

Glen Malia: In my opinion, the good attorney for the landlord is one that focuses his or her practice on basically the field, representing landlords, particularly if you’re talking about any eviction. I mean it’s like if you think about the personal injury field, you’re going to have one of the male guy who handle your automobile case with his broken arm but you have a medical practice case and you want to go to the attorney that does medical malpractice.

Landlord / Tenant Dispute is a Specific Area of Civil or Real Estate Practice

I think it’s the same thing when it comes to landlord/tenant work, it’s just a specific area of the civil practice and the real estate practice that the first thing is an attorney that does a lot of it and an attorney that knows what it is and can explain to the client all the different steps and all the different needs and is moving to say to the client right from the very get go “Look, we’re not rushing into this. Let me look at the paperwork you’ve served on a tenant. Let me look at your lease before we start moving. Let’s make sure we’ve done things right, right from the very stop because you’re landlord, any good for me to start up and to have the court kick it out because we missed the step, it’s much better to start, to go slow at the beginning and the attorney is not willing to do that, that would be a red flag. An attorney just willing to jump in and say, “Yes, okay. Let’s just move forward. They haven’t paid rent; okay, let’s go.”

An Attorney that Can Explain All the Steps to the Client and Has the Temperament to Deal with Biased Judges is a Suitable Choice for a Landlord

Certainly any attorney that, as I say, can explain what’s going on to the client and explain all the steps and has the patience and has the temperament to deal with the judges knowing full well that the judge is going to bend over backwards on behalf of the tenant, and not to lose the cool, just to move forward and being willing to take it step-by-step and when necessary whether it’s going through with the process of answering a written motion and having a hearing and things of that nature. And then, the attorney that then has the, I don’t recall, connections but don’t have the ability to get the sort of eviction done in a prompt manner in terms of okay, here is what I have to do. You get it out, you get the paperwork out to the right officials so that it all goes forward and things of that nature.

An Attorney who is the Jack of All Trades and Master of None Should be Avoided

I think the real red flag is the attorney who, you see, seems to be a jack of all trades, the master of none and doesn’t mean different things and is not willing to realize that landlord work, eviction work is a very exact and you can’t be a specialist in New York as lawyer but the very exacting, very specialized field that you really need to know and so that’s type of attorney to avoid that thing.

Attorneys that Handle Too Many Cases Cannot Provide Specialized Attention to their Clients

The other red flag is in terms of getting what you as a landlord need from the attorney is the guy that is, charges less than everybody else and is running around, doing 13 evictions in the court that your case is going and not that that attorney is not a good attorney but that’s the type of attorney you’re not necessarily going to get the personalized attention that most of the landlords deserve, I mean they deserve personalize attention, just like their other clients.

Malia Law, LLC located in Cortlandt Manor, NY represents Landlords/Tenants throughout Westchester County, Putnam County and Southern Dutchess County, NY.

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