Free Tenant Lawyer Advice: How To Get Help When You Need It

Updated December 2021

Whether you’re a seasoned landlord or a new property owner, there will likely come a time when you need free legal advice for landlords. The right advice can help you settle minor tenant issues faster and more effectively than ever before.

While there are many resources available, how do you know which ones you can trust? Free help is something that many landlords seek, but you should always take time to ensure that you are receiving reliable and factual information.

How do you know where you can get free advice for tenant problems? Keep reading for tips and tricks from our real estate and rental experts at RentPrep on finding and effectively using the most cutting-edge landlord-tenant free legal advice.

Table Of Contents For Free Legal Advice For Landlords

Finding free tenant-landlord advice that is reliable, accurate, and easy to access can seem like an impossible feat. In reality, there are many resources to check. Get started on tracking down the best free legal advice with today’s article:

Free Tenant Lawyer Advice For Landlords: What To Look For

Free Tenant Lawyer Advice For Landlords: What To Look For

Why pay for basic landlord-tenant legal advice when there are millions of free resources at your fingertips?

When you first set out, accessing free legal assistance can be overwhelming and daunting. There are a few key things to remember when accessing legal advice either in person or on the Internet!

Regulations Vary By Area

Keep in mind that rental laws and regulations vary by state. Be sure that you are viewing or talking to a legal expert who is knowledgeable about your particular state.

When researching landlord-tenant lawyers, make sure to ask about their experience in your particular county or city if their office serves a larger region. Small distances might not seem like much, but the laws can vary significantly even between neighboring towns.

Consider Multiple Sources

When possible, consult multiple sources. Real estate and rental law are complex. It’s smart to consult a variety of sources to ensure that you are making the smartest and most beneficial decisions for yourself and your business.

Additionally, some information sources will be more biased toward tenants, and some will be more biased toward landlords. Both sources of information might be valid, but they will each provide different value to you. Gain a variety of perspectives on complex situations by using multiple sources when possible.

Seek A Landlord-Tenant Lawyer Free Consultation

Don’t shy away from free consultations. Getting a free landlord-tenant attorney consultation might feel like a scam, but there’s nothing to lose but your time when giving this a try. Plus, you’re more likely than not to end up with useful information for your rental business.

Beyond doing a consult with an attorney, you can also consider resources and consultations from other groups.

There are many non-profit organizations created to protect both tenant and landlord rights. The American Bar Association also offers pro bono options and search tools. Be sure to check out your state’s resources to research these types of options in your area.

Leverage Online Resources When Possible

Consider online sources for straightforward questions. There are many online databases and law resources where you can educate yourself and find the answers to direct questions without actually consulting a lawyer. This could be a logical first step before pursuing further legal help.

In the following section, you’ll find a list of a few of our favorite places to get great landlord-tenant legal information online. Of course, we also have a variety of blog articles here on RentPrep that can help you get the information you need.

Free Online Landlord-Tenant Legal Resources

Free Online Landlord-Tenant Legal Resources

Where can you get free legal advice for tenant problems? There are so many companies and sites out there with information about various aspects of the rental business. Knowing which reliable sites won’t waste your time is tricky, so here are a few options to get you started.

FreeAdvice Legal

A great place to start for legal advice is a website called FreeAdvice Legal: Real Estate Law, Landlord/Tenant.

This website offers sample letters and legal forms (that you can edit), lists of tenant rights and responsibilities, as well as answers to general questions about renter’s insurance, maintenance, and security deposits. Renters and/or tenants can search by state or category to access a mass of valuable information.

SparkRental

Another user-friendly website where you can seek free legal advice during a landlord and tenant dispute is SparkRental: Legal Help for Landlords & Property Managers. This free service has a question/answer feature that allows you to ask your specific question of a qualified lawyer. The site’s blog contains helpful articles, information, and additional resources about property management, eviction, and tenant screening.

LawHelp

LawHelp.org is an organization mainly focused on helping low-income families find legal aid. Still, they also offer information about completing legal/court forms and citizen rights, as well as lists of legal offices by state. This site offers other helpful links to pro bono websites and advocacy organizations.

Using LawHelp, you might be able to find free landlord-tenant lawyer services in your area for you or any tenants you are assisting in helping to find legal aid.

Free Landlord/Tenant Legal Resources: Offline Options

Sometimes, searching online can get plain frustrating. If you have exhausted exploring online or simply want to ask your questions in person, it might be time to start looking at your offline options.

Visit A Local Lawyer

Start by scheduling a free consultation with a local lawyer specializing in real estate law in your state. You can use the American Bar Association website to find a free consultation in your area to get the legal process started.

Asking landlord associates who work in the same region what lawyers they recommend is also a good idea, especially if you can ask those with more experience in the area. Their recommendations will help you understand which landlord-tenant lawyers are known for their successes and which are still working to gain respect within the local rental community.

Contact Non-Profit Organizations

Non-profit organizations, like the Housing Rights Center, offer legal guidance at no charge (in this case, for the state of California) to help settle simple landlord and tenant disagreements. Free telephone and in-person consultations help both landlords and tenants know their rights and the best steps to take based on their particular state’s law.

Other states have governmental branches that handle renter protection and landlord disputes. Free landlord and tenant legal assistance and advice in NYC is available through the government Rent Guidelines Board website. The Maryland Attorney General’s website also contains basic information about evictions, breaking leases, and lease renewals in the state of Maryland.

Involving a nonprofit or government organization is not only beneficial for you but is also likely to be beneficial for your tenant. These organizations tend to work for both sides simultaneously, to help reach an agreement after simple disputes. In some cases, you may be able to come out of working through a disagreement on better terms with your tenant than ever before.

Try RocketLawyer

RocketLawyer serves individuals and small to medium-sized businesses with online legal services—including incorporation, estate plans, and legal document review. It’s a perfect starting point for Mom & Pop Landlords if they have any legal questions regarding a rental property. You can browse topics or choose from lawyers by category or location in the U.S. You can also see reviews and one- to five-star ratings from previous clients for each individual lawyer. Check out RocketLawyer here.

The Pros And Cons Of Free Legal Advice

As with anything free, you should always be careful when seeking legal aid and consider getting multiple opinions, as well as do your own research.

Be aware of the potential pros and cons of using free legal guidance. Choosing free legal aid isn’t always going to be the right choice for your situation; consider the following when making that decision:

Pros

  • It’s free.
    If you have a simple problem with your tenant and wonder if it’s grounds for eviction, free legal aid through websites and consultations could help steer you in the right direction.
    Even if you cannot completely resolve the situation through any free advice you receive, you will still be more informed than you were before the consultation. The only thing wasted will be time, but should that time really be called wasted if you learn something? Knowledge is powerful when working as a landlord, which leads us to the next pro.
  • Further your professional knowledge as a landlord.
    Even if you are seeking legal guidance on one particular issue, it’s always good practice to become an expert in your field. Knowing your own rights (and those of your tenants) can help you become a better landlord, benefit financially, and even grow your portfolio.
    By searching the specifics of your local landlord-tenant law online when you have questions, or consulting with a landlord-tenant lawyer about ongoing situations, you are learning in a way that will make you a stronger businessperson and a better landlord. That’s key for long-term success, and you’re on your way there already by reading today’s article.
  • Many great lawyers offer pro bono services.
    Just because the advice is free doesn’t mean it’s not coming from an expert! Government organizations as well as some of the top lawyers in the country offer free consultations, so don’t hesitate to use your resources.
    Top-rated lawyers offer some services for free to expand their reach, improve their reputation, and simply help their community. Finding low-cost or pro bono lawyers to assist when you cannot afford legal aid is a reasonable way to find reliable help.

Cons 

  • Truly free advice is hard to come by.
    Beware of websites and organizations that promise free advice and then charge a fee. Make sure to read the fine print and don’t give your payment information unless the terms of the exchange are clear.
    You also do not have to sign a contract or agreement with a lawyer simply because you visit them for a free consultation. It can often feel like you need to hire their services because they spent time on the consultation, but that is part of their built-in marketing cost. You are not doing anything wrong by deciding to go in another direction after a free consultation.
  • Legal jargon can be confusing.
    Many resources (especially on the Internet) offer information and advice in the language of lawyers. Be sure to further investigate any terms or phrases that are unfamiliar.
    If you don’t understand the terms, you cannot try to use the terms to your advantage. Without realizing it, you might be setting yourself up for failure by misusing legal jargon. Take time to make sure you understand what is being said; look for alternative sources of information if you cannot use your initial finds for this reason.
  • Complex situations need special attention.
    In many cases, your situation might not fit well with the information that you can easily find, and free consultations might not dive deep enough into the heart of the matter. It’s time to consider paying for legal services when you hit this roadblock. Otherwise, you might waste more time than necessary and not find any real results.

Even with the best free legal help, any ongoing conflict you are facing with tenants will continue until your rentals are filled with better tenants. Improving your tenant screening process might help you to avoid the need to bring on legal help altogether.

One way to make your tenant screening more effortless than ever before is to try out RentPrep’s tenant screening. A variety of packages are available that can help you to more effectively choose the right tenants for your property at an affordable price. Learn more about these packages today!

FAQs On Landlord Tenant Legal Help

It’s important to remember as a landlord that there are so many free resources out there to seek advice on whatever situation you find yourself in. Oftentimes, attorneys offer free legal consultation to landlords if they are facing an issue where legal advice is needed quickly.

What does a landlord-tenant attorney do?

A landlord-tenant attorney is an attorney who specializes in all aspects of landlord-tenant law and the situations that can arise from disagreements between landlords and tenants.

They typically have experience in documentation, evictions, writing leases, filing court cases, and every other legal situation that involves landlords and their tenants. In addition to being familiar with state and federal rental requirements, these attorneys also have a working knowledge of local laws that apply to landlords and tenants.

Getting help from a landlord-tenant attorney when dealing with a complex tenant conflict is a great way to ensure you have the expertise needed to resolve the situation successfully. Take time to choose an attorney who has the experience to match your needs, and you’ll be impressed by all they can bring to the table.

Can legal aid help with eviction?

Tenants facing eviction who cannot afford a lawyer can often get help from non-profit organizations that assist in finding free or low-cost legal aid. If you are facing a tenant in court and they have legal aid assisting them, this is within their rights and reasonable. Just as you should be supported by those who have a working knowledge of the laws, your tenant should as well.

There are also legal aid programs that exist to help lawyers. Searching for your area landlord associations and similar groups can help you to get in touch with any local groups that offer free or low-cost legal services for landlords. These services are particularly helpful for new landlords or landlords facing their first eviction case.

How much does a tenant lawyer cost?

The cost of a landlord-tenant lawyer’s services is going to depend on several factors including:

  • The firm’s fee structure
  • The services provided
  • How complex the work is
  • How long it takes

Many lawyers offer their services for a specific action, such as writing up a new lease agreement, for a flat rate because they can do the work in a set amount of time. Otherwise, you will typically pay by the hour when hiring a landlord-tenant lawyer.

The cost per hour will vary widely depending on experience, location, and several other factors. However, most full-cost attorney services in this sector fall between $150 and $500 per hour.

The only way to know for sure what any lawyer will charge is to see them for a consultation and get a price quote. Many landlord-tenant attorneys offer free consultations, so you can use these brief meetings as a way to find the attorney that will fit your business’s budget.

What kind of lawyer handles evictions?

Landlord and tenant lawyers, also known as L&T attorneys or landlord-tenant lawyers, are going to be the best choice for handling your eviction case. These lawyers, often trained in other aspects of real estate law, are also familiar with the rules that govern the relationships between landlords and tenants.

This means they will be able to give you reliable information on the laws that apply to your situation. Additionally, they will have experience going through the exact processes you are dealing with. This experience will help inform your situation and hopefully lead to a clear, easy resolution.

How much does it cost to hire a lawyer for eviction?

Every eviction case is unique. This means that the cost of hiring a landlord-tenant lawyer to work on your eviction case will vary. Depending on the lawyer’s amount of experience, their fee structure, and the complexity of the eviction case, the price can range from $500 to over $10,000.

If you are dealing with a pretty straightforward eviction and just need a little bit of assistance, you can expect to be on the lower end. If you are dealing with a large property, complex lease agreement, or the tenant is filing back against you, the price is going to start going up.

There’s no set figure for the cost of an eviction lawyer. The best way to get an idea of what an eviction lawyer will cost in your area is to check local attorney websites for their fee structures and contact the firm for a consultation on your eviction situation. This will give you the most accurate idea of what to expect.

Do I need a lawyer for housing court?

Having a lawyer is not required in housing court for either party. Both tenants and landlords can hire or find legal aid to assist in proving their case, but housing courts in most states and cities do not require this addition.

Tenants may want to hire a lawyer if they are trying to fight back against a complex eviction case or they feel they have been discriminated against, as these cases are more complicated to prove than something like whether or not rent was paid.

Landlords may want to hire a lawyer if a tenant is accusing them of discrimination, dealing with a complex lease, or not feeling comfortable handling the court case themselves.

If you are dealing with an eviction post-Covid 19 eviction moratorium and your tenant is using the Covid 19 pandemic as part of the grounds for not being evicted, it’s highly suggested that you hire a landlord. These types of cases have not been tried many times, so you may need some legal assistance.

Ultimately, it is your decision whether or not to consider hiring an attorney to work on your housing case.

Free Legal Help For Renters And Landlords

Whether you are looking to further educate yourself or solve a dispute, free advice is readily available for both landlords and tenants alike. The internet can serve as a great starting point to find advice, pro bono lawyers, law organizations, and answers to questions – all for free!

RentPrep teamed up with RocketLawyer to offer further guidance for landlords looking to vet, interview, and settle disagreements with tenants.

No matter what path you take to increase your knowledge, the bottom line is that you want to keep learning all the time! You’ll be a better landlord with this knowledge in hand, and you’ll also be able to better protect and grow your business. Constantly learning is a key factor in determining long-term success for landlords.

Source: rentprep

Free Tenant Lawyer Advice: How To Get Help When You Need It