Whether you are a renter who is leasing a house or apartment or a landlord who rents out real estate, there are a variety of reasons that you may need legal advice. A landlord/tenant attorney can help you analyze your situation, determine what your rights are, and make a well-informed decision about how to protect your interests.
We've created a list of trusted Santa Monica landlord/tenant attorneys to help you find a lawyer who is the best fit for your situation.
Legal issues related to real estate and the landlord/tenant relationship come in a variety of forms. In California, these often include:
Landlord/tenant disputes, such as those related to rental rates, late or unpaid rent, security deposits, disagreements about the habitability of rental property, and other tenant rights and landlord rights issues.
Eviction, either seeking to evict a tenant or helping a tenant fight eviction and stay in their home (especially during times where additional tenants' rights/renters' rights are in effect, such as the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic).
Rental agreements and lease agreements, including initial drafting and review of rental contracts, updates to the terms of the lease, and other contract-related matters.
Discrimination claims, including those related to housing discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, sex, religion, disability or other classification protected under the federal Fair Housing Act or other California laws or local ordinances.
Commercial real estate matters, from negotiating an initial commercial lease to litigating business disputes related to the lease or other issues.
Personal injury claims, if a property is not kept safe and in proper repair and someone is injured as a result.
Addressing tangential issues for landlords, including business law and estate planning-related issues such as business succession planning, and protection of rental property assets in a divorce or other family law matter.
Contact the law firms listed here to discuss your landlord/tenant matters or any other legal issues that you are facing.
Many people who need to find a lawyer in California have never hired a lawyer before. Talking to a lawyer may be a new experience and you might want some help getting started. Here are some questions you may want to ask a lawyer before deciding who to hire.
What is your main practice area?
How many years of experience do you have in California with cases like mine?
How often do you take cases to trial or settle them out of court?
Can I take my case through mediation or arbitration?
Do you offer a free consultation?
What are your fees and costs?
Will you be the attorney primarily handling my case?
How will I be kept up-to-date about my case?
In order to practice law in California, attorneys have to both pass the California bar exam and be admitted by the State Bar of California. Most attorneys in California graduate from an accredited law school but some lawyers are admitted through on-the-job experience for a minimum of 4 years and through passing an additional legal exam. After a lawyer is admitted to law practice in California, they can practice in almost any area of law.
Lawyers in California are held to strict ethical guidelines known as the Rules of Professional Conduct. Attorneys may have duties and limitations in:
Duty of client advocacy
Conflicts of interest
Duty of candor
Limitations in soliciting clients
Restrictions on handling a client's money
Many people avoid calling a lawyer because they are worried it will be too expensive. In many cases, a lawyer can end up saving the client money. This includes getting an increased award, recovering additional damages, avoiding financial problems in the future, and avoiding future disputes and litigation. Some legal areas even allow the lawyer to recover legal fees from the party at fault.