When Should A Landlord Consult With An Attorney?

Interviewer: Can a potential landlord immediately go to an attorney such as yourself and start kind of receiving some legal advice of what document and paperwork they need to start kind of attain in, what they need to know, can they start doing that from the get go or do they have to already kind of already start their own business and all that?

Glen Malia: No. I mean whether you end it -- because you can’t become a landlord but you’re becoming a landlord because, you’re becoming what I’ve referred to as the accidentally, you see that you’re going to become accidental landlord or you’re intentionally becoming a landlord because you’re going out and buying two family house, you know it makes a lot of sense to sit down and speak with an attorney who does landlord work, who really knows the landlord work and get a good idea right from the very get go. You know what you’re facing, what your responsibilities as a landlord will be, what your rights as a landlord would be and the best way to run, your building as a business.

It is Very Important For Someone Contemplating Becoming a Landlord to Familiarize Themselves With the Legal Aspects

In many respects, whether you’re buying your own building, like you’re buying your first building or becoming an owner occupying and getting a mortgage in your name or you’re the accidental landlord where you have a house and you have to move and you can’t sell the house, you’re not going to base on this or be able to put that building in a business entity because it may violate clauses of your mortgage and things of that nature. So, it’s very important to know, outside of putting a building in a business and see how best do I protect myself from lawsuits and things of that nature. So, it makes a lot of sense for someone whether, you’re just contemplating and becoming a landlord. So sit with an attorney does his work and you can hear the horror stories but you can also hear the benefits of becoming a landlord and you can make a knowledgeable decision to do something you want to do. I mean I’m going to tell you truth, I have thought about becoming a landlord myself but when I think about all the downsides of it, I rather represent landlords and be a landlord.

Owning a Building is Very Much Different than Renting Some Office Space In an Office Suite

I am a small time landlord because I rent some office space in my office suite to other lawyers but that’s a little bit different than owning a building and renting to residential tenants, I mean I’ve rented my office space and I can stop renting whenever I want if I don’t want to be a landlord anymore but once you buy a building, it’s not always so easy to get rid of the building.

Common Aspects of Eviction that People are Generally Unaware Of

Interviewer: What would you say are some of the aspects about eviction that people are not commonly aware of?

Glen Malia: Number 1, it’s a very specific statute that you’ve got to follow, that’s got to be strictly followed and any small little mistake cause the case to be dismissed. Unlike many other lawsuits where maybe you can go and amend the paperwork or something like that or the judge could ignore things depending what it is. I mean it is so, so specific that any small mistake, could cause the case to be dismissed. In terms of the evictions when you’re in the courtroom is not necessarily a level playing field. You know it’s the one area of law that I’ve come to realize basically that the person who is in the wrong or might be using the wrong is if the tenant seems to be believed by the court whereas the landlord, the person who’s in the right. And to me, as I said, the landlord is in the right and the tenant is in wrong is not because I represent landlords, it’s just that I know for business purposes, landlords do not evict good tenant because they don’t lose at least two months for the rent.

Judges are Generally Very Sympathetic towards the Tenant Rather Than the Landlord

So, the landlord who is the person in the right is not believed by the court whereas the tenant who may be didn’t pay the rent or hasn’t moved out when they’re supposed to move out is believed by the court. So, I think that’s really strange and the people just don’t realize and they’re shocked that the judge won’t believe them as a landlord but will believe the tenant. The courts bend over backwards for the tenant and then, even after the judge will say “Well, you can evict the tenant” and the tenant can still go back into court and the same judge will say “Well, yes, the tenant can stay a little bit longer” and that “Yes, the tenant doesn’t have to pay the rent” or this or that. And then, the balance of it is that it’s almost impossible to collect money from a tenant who hasn’t paid the rent even though you get a judgment to do so.

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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