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Landlord tenant attorneys work on cases involving evictions, personal injury, property damage, and lease breaches. Although some law firms handle landlord tenant law exclusively, you might want to consider broadening your search. Law firms specializing in real estate law, tort law, contracts, or civil litigation often have attorneys who are experienced in landlord tenant matters.
Begin by looking for a landlord tenant attorney who is licensed in the state where the rental property is located. Each state's bar association, as well as the American Bar Association, offers lawyer referral services. Many of these referral services are available on the Internet at no-cost and are searchable by area of practice. All attorneys located through these searches are guaranteed to have licenses in good standing.
When you talk to a prospective landlord tenant attorney, prepare to interview him or her about the legal process, as well as fees and policies. Many lawyers offer free initial consultations to familiarize you with the legal process and determine whether you and the attorney are a good match. During your initial interview, outline the basic facts of your case and let the landlord tenant attorney know what type of outcome you expect from the case. A good landlord tenant attorney will answer your questions in a straightforward manner and provide an honest assessment of what you should expect from your case.
After you have interviewed prospective landlord tenant lawyers, verify their credentials by contacting your state bar association. The bar association can verify that the attorney is currently licensed to practice in your jurisdiction and let you know whether he or she has had any complaints filed against him or her. The association will also let you know if the attorney has been censured due to professional or criminal misconduct.
Once you have located a landlord tenant attorney that you feel comfortable working with, get his or her fee schedule in writing before paying a retainer. Also, ask for a written outline of the firm's policies before you sign any formal agreements. A reputable attorney should be willing to put all verbal agreements in writing and provide you with a copy at the end of your meeting.
If you are on a limited budget, you might consider contacting legal aid and the public defender's office. Qualifying low-income clients may be offered representation by an experienced landlord tenant attorney at no cost or on a sliding-fee scale. The attorneys offered through these organizations have the same credentials and professional licenses as landlord tenant lawyers employed by private firms.
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