2 (Very) Simple Ways Your Property Manager Can Market Your Properties

If you own rental properties, you may have chosen to hire a property manager—or you might be one yourself. The decision of whether to employ one is entirely built around your circumstances, your time, and your money. 

Regardless, the role of the property manager can extend beyond work orders, collecting rent, and managing your tenants. What if the position also included the responsibility to gain new tenants? For instance, if you own several properties, filling those with renters is a business need. It provides the revenue to pay for the property (and its manager). 

Basic supply and demand will prove that the more people you have interested in your property, the more you may be able to charge for rent. Here are some simple ways in which your property manager can help you market your property.

Referrals 

One of the best components of referrals is the cost: they are free. So if you are putting off marketing because you cannot afford it, then you are missing out on this very cost-effective strategy. 

This starts with creating a positive experience for your current tenants. If they do not enjoy renting from you, they are not going to refer you to their friends and family. Their experience may rely heavily on their interactions with the property manager—who is a direct reflection of the property owner.

Quality Tenants

Secondly, you want quality tenants. These are people who are respectful of your property, who pay on time, who contact the property manager for the things that correctly fall under his/her responsibilities. 

The property manager is in a position to see which tenants fit well into your business model. You should be investing in your property instead of continually charging tenants who are flagrantly mistreating their living space. This will demand time, energy, and money. Ultimately, you may have to pursue eviction and seek professional legal advice. 

Good tenants are more likely to refer you to other good tenants. Use your property manager as a source of information to understand who your best tenants are. Who pays on time? Who respects the other tenants? Who is polite? This last one can add to the reputation of your building. 

If your property manager can point out these tenants, invest in them. Maybe you choose not to raise their rent at the end of the year and tell them why. Or perhaps you just send them a card during the holidays and thank them for being a valued tenant. Ultimately, you are increasing your chances that your ideal tenant brings in more people similar to him or her.

Contact Atlas Law

If you or your property manager need a valued attorney to help you with evictions or other issues surrounding property management, contact Atlas Law today. We cover eviction and real estate cases in every jurisdiction of Florida. If you need support evicting tenants who are hurting your property or your business, then there is no one better to have in your corner than Atlas Law.  

Florida Landlords- Your Duty to Repair Explained

When you rent out an apartment, home, or other residential accommodation, you have certain responsibilities as a landlord. Foremost among them is the obligation to keep the unit in good condition. In this blog, we’ll review your responsibility when it comes to repairs and go over situations when the cost can come out of your tenant’s security deposit.

Landlord’s Duty to Repair in Florida

During the tenancy, you must maintain the structural elements of the unit or building, including the roof, floors, steps, windows, doors, and exterior walls. Your other maintenance responsibilities include: 

  • Keeping the heating and plumbing in good shape
  • Exterminating vermin and insects
  • Keeping common areas in a safe and clean condition
  • Maintaining working smoke detection devices
  • Repairing any damage to screens annually

If a tenant requests repairs, you have up to seven (7) days to complete them, provided that request involves an issue that violates Florida’s warranty of habitability. While it is typically your responsibility to cover the repair costs, under certain circumstances you may be able to deduct it from the tenant’s security deposit. 

Using the Security Deposit for Repair Costs

While you cannot normally deduct repair costs related to ordinary wear and tear, one of the purposes of a security deposit is to cushion you financially against any property damage that could result from tenant negligence or carelessness. Examples include:

  • Smashed or broken bathroom or kitchen fixtures
  • Floors or carpets damaged by pet urine
  • Doors broken off the hinges
  • Broken windows
  • Cracked or broken tiles
  • Deeply scratched hardwood floors

If your tenant causes this type of damage, you are legally permitted to deduct reasonable repair costs from their security deposit. 

What if the Tenant Objects to Using Their Security Deposit?

Your tenant may object to you using the security deposit to cover damages that they caused, either directly or indirectly. If the situation looks like it may escalate or you aren’t sure if you can deduct for certain damages, your best option is to consult with the Florida landlords’ rights attorney who can explain how state law applies to your situation.

Do You Need to Speak With a Florida Property Law Attorney?

If you are a Florida landlord with questions about your obligation to cover repair costs, let the landlord-tenant lawyers at Atlas Law help. The right advice from an attorney can ensure that any repair deductions are legally valid and, if the situation does escalate, we will protect your rights at any subsequent hearings or legal actions. To schedule a consultation today, call 813.241.8269.

5 Characteristics of a Good Investment Property

If you’re thinking about investing in a rental property, now is a better time than ever. Many people are putting off buying their first homes until they’re at least 30. According to M Report, the average age of homeowners is on the rise, especially in Florida, where Tampa homeowners have an average age of 58.3 years. Until they’re ready to buy, Floridians are living in rental properties like apartment buildings and mobile home communities.

However, not all properties on the market are a wise investment. Before you make an offer, confirm that it has the potential to deliver a reliable and ongoing cash flow. In this blog, we’ll identify 5 characteristics of a good investment property and how to spot them.

  1. Urban Location

While the idea of living in a remote beach house sounds divine, most renters want to be close to shopping malls, public transportation, and workplaces – all amenities that tend to make home buying in the area too expensive for them. Choose a property in a convenient location and you’ll rarely be short of tenants. 

  1. Strong Job Market

Areas with strong job opportunities always attract more tenants. If you see an announcement about a major employer moving to the area, you can practically count on people arriving in search of work. Demand for rentals will be higher, so your apartment building or mobile home community may receive more applications than you can accommodate.

  1. Good School District

Many young families choose to rent while they save up for a home, so the quality of local schools is important. When possible, parents will pay more to rent properties in a desirable school district. Visit Trulia Neighborhoods to learn more about the schools in the area.

  1. Neighborhood Type

The type of tenants you attract (and your vacancy rate) will be dictated by the neighborhood. For example, if you buy an apartment building near a college, you’ll be full during the school year and dealing with summer vacancies. On the other hand, a quiet neighborhood with shops within walking distance will attract young professionals and families who represent a reliable source of rental income all year round.

  1. Rent is Sustainable

The goal of an investment property is to make money. The general rule is that if the rent you can charge is 1% of the sale price, it may be a good opportunity. For example, if a home is for sale at $250,000 and you know you can rent it for $2,500, consider it further. You also want the mortgage payment (insurance and taxes not included) to be less than 50% of the rent, or you won’t make much money over the long term.

Do You Need a Florida Real Estate Attorney?

It may take a lot of research and footwork to identify the right investment property but when it happens, a Florida real estate attorney can guide you through the negotiation and closing processes. At Atlas Law, we support property investors by providing solid legal advice and due diligence services that verify the quality of their new opportunity. To schedule a consultation, contact us today at (813) 241-8269.

Understanding Disclosure Disputes in Real Estate

When someone sells a home or other piece of real estate, they are legally obligated to inform the buyer of known problems. If they do not disclose problems, the buyer can file a disclosure dispute with the courts to seek damages. In general, the person filing the disclosure dispute will ask the courts to require the seller to pay for the damages caused by the issue that was not disclosed and pay to have the issue fixed. With this in mind, it is always smart for the seller to disclose every problem they are aware of. Whether you are buying or selling real estate, read on to understand more about disclosure disputes.

Common Examples of Issues Not Disclosed

Anyone who is selling real estate needs to reveal major issues with the property that could impact the buyer in the future. The following are some of the most common things that trigger disclosure disputes in real estate:

  • Water Infiltration – If a basement has water leaking in during heavy rains, this must be disclosed.
  • Termites – Termites can be very difficult to get rid of completely, and the damage they cause can be very expensive.
  • Mold Issues – If a home has mold behind the walls, it can be overlooked during an inspection. With some types of mold, it can also be cleaned off so that it is not visible, but it will grow back.
  • Radon – If the home has tested positive for Radon, it should be disclosed. It is recommended that Radon tests be performed before buying or selling a home.

What is Needed in a Disclosure Dispute?

When a disclosure dispute goes to court, the plaintiff (buyer of the home) will need to be able to show several things in order to win the case. First, they need to show that there is an existing defect. They also need to show that the defect was not disclosed at the time of the sale, and that the seller was aware of the defect at that time. Finally, it must be shown that the issue was not something that should have been discovered during a routine inspection of the property.

Understanding Your Rights and Responsibilities

Whether buying or selling real estate, it is critical that you understand your rights and responsibilities when it comes to dealing with problems with the property. The best way to do this is to work with an experienced attorney who can work with you to ensure everything is handled properly. Atlas Law can help you throughout the real estate transaction to protect your interests now, and in the future. Please contact us to discuss your needs today.

Four Tips for Thriving as a Property Manager

Managing rental properties is no easy task. At any given moment, you have a lot to juggle. Rental agreements. Marketing. Upkeep. Corresponding with tenants and potential tenants. The list could go on and on! 

At Atlas Law, we have a deep understanding of how much is on your plate. In today’s blog post, we’re sharing our four biggest tips for success. We hope these ideas will help you thrive in your role as a property manager!

  1. Prioritize maintenance and customer service. 

Number one on our list essential boils down to keeping your tenants happy. It is wise to be proactive about maintenance matters and not wait until something becomes an emergency to fix it. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be glued to your phone and email, just that you need to have a reliable system in place for dealing with issues as they arise and for checking periodically that all appliances and other amenities are in tip top working order. 

  1. Know your portfolio of properties inside and out. 

Don’t miss out on opportunities to get the word out about your offerings by not being as familiar with them as you should. Know your amenities and the types of tenants they typically attract. Know the prices and what might make your property particularly attractive to any given potential renter. You never know when you may be presented with an unexpected opportunity to market.

  1. Build a trustworthy team. 

There will reach a point when you can no longer manage all your properties on your own. It’s important to understand when and how to delegate. When that time comes, screen employees carefully and make sure anyone you hire can share in your vision for customer service, growth, and responsibilities. 

  1. Retain knowledgeable counsel.

This goes hand-in-hand with #3. Make sure you leave the legal side of managing your business to a trained professional. It’s important to choose an attorney who has an extensive background in real estate law and therefore truly understands the challenges your business faces. 

Contact Atlas Law

If you are looking for an experienced real estate law firm, the Atlas Law team is here. We cover eviction and real estate cases across jurisdictions throughout the state of Florida. Are you ready to tackle your legal issues? Is it time to make moves to protect your business moving forward? We can help. Contact Atlas Law today!

When is It Legal to Raise the Rent?

As a landlord, there are going to be times when you need to raise your rental prices. Sometimes the increase is driven by market changes, while in other cases, maintenance costs and taxes have gone up, making it necessary to charge more when you want to keep the property in good shape and stay in business.

At Atlas Law, our goal is to help Florida landlords preserve the value of their property while maintaining good relationships with their best tenants. In this blog, we’ll answer the frequently asked question “When it is legal to raise the rent?” and show you how to avoid potential pitfalls when handling rent increases with tenants.

How often can Florida landlords raise rent? 

With residential tenancies, you can only raise the rent for fixed-term tenants once their lease expires. If they rent from you on a month-to-month or week-to-week basis, you can increase their rent at any time, as long as you give fair and reasonable notice, which is generally 15 days for monthly tenants and seven days for weekly.

If you’re a commercial landlord, your lease agreement may include a rent increase schedule, such as a yearly increase based on a percentage of the current rent. If the agreement is silent on the issue, a Florida rental law attorney can recommend the best way to manage your investment financially.

When can Florida landlords NOT raise rent?

This is an equally important question. In Florida, landlords are prohibited from raising rent as a discriminatory or retaliatory measure. For example, a landlord can’t impose an increase because a tenant has reported code violations or requested repairs, not can they raise rent based on characteristics like the following:

  • Sex or sexual orientation
  • Race, religion, color, ancestry or national origin
  • Age
  • Marital or parental status
  • Physical or mental handicaps (real or perceived)

The problem is that a landlord who imposes a rental increase in good faith may be accused of discrimination or retaliation by tenants who honestly believe it to be the case or who are trying to gain an advantage. If this happens to you, it is essential to seek legal advice to protect your rights and reputation as a landlord.

Additionally, if you are the owner of a manufactured home community governed by Chapter 723 of the Florida Statutes, you may only raise your rent based on limited circumstances, and only after providing your tenants with 90 days notice of the increase.  In the event that you are the owner of a mobile home park and wish to increase your rental rates, you should consult with a Florida attorney who has experience representing mobile home community owners.

Work with an Experienced Florida Landlord’s Rights Lawyer

Raising the rent is an important part of maintaining necessary cash flow for landlords. It can also be a contentious area where tenants are concerned. At Atlas Law, we will provide you with valid and accurate legal advice in all matters related to rent increases, including tenant objections. To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, call 813.241.8269.

As you have likely heard, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the “CDC”) issued an agency order (the “Order”) attempting to halt all residential evictions due to nonpayment until December 31, 2020. Yes, the CDC is now putting their gloved hands into the residential tenancy realm, effectively attempting to materially alter the already tumultuous landscape that we are presently facing. The Order is set to be codified on September 4th, 2020. A copy of the Order is attached as Exhibit A. According to the CDC, the Order seeks to “prevent the further spread of COVID-19” by imposing a nationwide moratorium on evictions. It is important to note that the Order does not immediately require landlords to refrain from filing eviction actions due to nonpayment. Instead, the Order prevents landlord from filing nonpayment, residential evictions ONLY WHEN the tenant provides a signed declaration, which is discussed below. 

While we disagree with the CDC’s logic, reasoning, and actions taken, it is important to understand how this Order affects tenancies, and what responsive measures are required. On its surface, the Order appears to be unconstitutional, or enacted without appropriate authority. However, attempting to directly fight the enactment of the Order through legal efforts (e.g. a lawsuit against the CDC) isn’t something that most landlords would want to finance. Moreover, the likelihood that a decision would be made regarding the constitutionality of the Order within a reasonable amount of time is not good. As a result, the best remedy that we have is to arm ourselves with specific knowledge regarding the ins and outs of the Order. 

Before we go through the details regarding the Order, it is important to understand that landlords can still file eviction actions against residential tenants for nonpayment of rent. The Order creates an exception to that general rule. The exception is that no action can be taken to remove a tenant from a property if the tenant has provided the landlord a signed, written declaration in the form of Exhibit B. Reports of the CDC Order generally state that there is a national eviction moratorium. That is not entirely true. The Order creates an “opt-in” moratorium, which is limited to people who meet the specific criteria contained in the Order. It is not as far-reaching as is being reported in the news. 

Applicability 

The first question we have to answer is whether the Order applies in Florida. The Order expressly states that it “does not apply in any state, local, territorial, or tribal area with a moratorium on residential evictions that provides the same or greater level of public-health protection that the requirements listed in this Order.” It is unclear whether Florida’s current moratorium provides the “same or greater level of public-health protection” as the Order. Florida’s eviction moratorium requires tenants to demonstrate that they have suffered a “COVID-related loss” that prevents them from paying their rent. Similar to the Order, the Florida eviction moratorium requires a tenant to provide proof to the Judge that the tenant qualifies for protection under the moratorium. Just like the Order, Florida’s moratorium does not allow tenants to be removed from their homes so long as the moratorium is in effect. The Order and the Florida moratorium are different, in that Florida requires the loss of income to be “COVID-related.” Additionally, the Florida moratorium allows landlords to send demand letters, file for eviction, and receive final judgments. The Florida moratorium only requires that no “final action” be taken to remove tenants from a property while the moratorium is in effect. Whether the Florida moratorium or the Order provides more protection truly depends on the facts for each particular tenant. 

It should also be noted that the true intent of this Order was to provide a moratorium in states and cities where an active moratorium was not already in place: 

“The Federal moratorium, however, did not reach all renters. Many renters who fell outside the scope of the Federal moratorium were protected under State and local moratoria. In the absence of State and local protections, as many as 30-40 million people in America could be at risk of eviction.” 

Interpreting this paragraph above, an argument could be made that this CDC Order does not apply to Florida or any state/city that has an existing moratorium. The concerns stated in the Order are already being addressed in the State-level moratorium, therefore the CDC Order is inapplicable in the state of Florida. Unfortunately, that is only an interpretation, and does not necessarily reflect what the final decision will be regarding applicability of the Order. 

Just as the applicability of the Order in Florida is unclear, the answer as to who determines whether the Order applies in Florida is equally unclear. Is it the CDC that makes the determination regarding applicability, or is it Florida’s Governor who issued the Florida eviction moratorium? Will it be local Judges who make the decision, or will the Florida Supreme Court issue an administrative order declaring which eviction moratorium should apply? These are questions that we simply cannot answer at this stage. What we can advise is that landlords have the ability to comply with both moratoriums simultaneously, and that landlords may still conduct evictions due to nonpayment of rent. To ensure proper compliance, it is important to understand how the Order works. 

How does the Order work? 

In this newly enacted Order, the CDC made the following key declarations to take effect on September 4th: 

“Under this Order, a landlord, owner of a residential property, or other person with a legal right to pursue eviction or possessory action, shall not evict any covered person from any residential property in any jurisdiction to which this Order applies during the effective period. This Order does not apply in any State, local, territorial, or tribal area with a moratorium on residential evictions that provides the same or greater level of public-health protection than the requirements listed in this Order.”

There are a few things to unpack in this paragraph above. First, we will focus on how the CDC defines a “covered person.” A “covered person” is defined as: 

“any tenant, lessee, or resident of a residential property who provides to their landlord, the owner of the residential property, or other person with a legal right to pursue eviction or a possessory action, a declaration under penalty of perjury indicating that: 

1) The individual has used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing; 

2) The individual either (i) expects to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return),6 (ii) was not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or (iii) received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) pursuant to Section 2201 of the CARES Act; 

3) the individual is unable to pay the full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, a lay-off, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses; 

4) the individual is using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual’s circumstances may permit, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses; and 

5) eviction would likely render the individual homeless— or force the individual to move into and live in close quarters in a new congregate or shared living setting— because the individual has no other available housing options.” 

In order to qualify as a “covered person” the tenant will have to jump through some hoops. The tenant will need to attempt to procure government assistance; the tenant will have to demonstrate that he/she is making best efforts to pay at least a portion of the rent; the tenant will have to show that he/she suffered an income loss; and the tenant will have to show that he/she would be forced into a communal living situation or homelessness if evicted. Looking at the criteria listed above, it appears to be a difficult task for a tenant to prove that they are in fact “covered” under this Order. If the tenant does not issue a declaration to the landlord, then the tenant cannot receive any protection under the Order. If a tenant signs and delivers a declaration to the landlord, it should be examined to ensure that the tenant is being truthful. The declaration is supposed to be made under penalty of perjury, and the Order provides that untruthful statements by a tenant could subject the tenant to fines, imprisonment, or both. 

In addition to “covered person” the Order defines the term “evict.” According to the Order, “evict” and “eviction” means “any action by a landlord . . . to remove or cause the removal of a covered person from a residential property.” By defining eviction this way, the Order requires that once a tenant has provided a landlord with a signed, written declaration, the landlord may not take any further action to attempt to remove the tenant. This means that once a declaration is received, the landlord would not be allowed to send a standard rent demand letter, as a rent demand letter requests either payment in full or possession of the premises. It is very important that landlords be aware of who has sent in a declaration and who has not. If a declaration is received, the landlord should immediately cease any further action with regard to the tenant, and consult with legal counsel on the next steps. 

Penalties for Violation 

There are severe civil and criminal penalties for violating the Order. The Order states that an organization that violates the Order is subject to a fine of no more than $200,000.00 per event if the violation does not result in death, or $500,000.00 per event if the violation results in death. The Order also provides penalties for individuals who violate the Order, which includes one year of jail time for each violation. 

What does this mean for evictions? 

We have arguments that we can make to a judge or any decision-maker that the CDC Order should not apply, but what does the landlord do right now to put themselves in the best position possible in the wake of this Order? Answer- get any rent-based evictions out as soon as possible. We do not know for certain the extent of the applicability of this Order, but we do know that if we wait instead of act, we may find ourselves having to overcome even more hurdles. The only time an eviction action cannot be filed is if a tenant submits a written, signed “declaration” to the landlord that complies with the language stated in the Order. A copy of the form declaration is attached hereto as Exhibit B. Once you receive a signed declaration, you should immediately provide it to your legal counsel and cease collections and eviction efforts until advised otherwise. 

If you haven’t received a declaration from a tenant, then you are free to move forward with eviction of that tenant due to nonpayment of rent. It is incumbent on the tenant to advise the landlord or the Court that the tenant is claiming entitlement to the protections of either the CDC Order or the Florida eviction moratorium. Until the tenant takes this step, the landlord may evict the tenant. It is advisable to file any nonpayment eviction actions as soon as possible, before additional restrictions are imposed and before tenants begin sharing information regarding the Order. 

The State and Federal government can continue to move the goalposts on us, but we will remain vigilant and will continue to adjust course, as necessary. If you have any questions on this memorandum, please do not hesitate to contact the attorneys at Atlas Law at 813.241.8269 or brian@atlaslaw.com

Respectfully, 

ATLAS LAW 

Four Tips Maximizing Property Value Before a Sale

Whether you’re planning to sell commercial or residential real estate, it is worth your while to put some work into increasing its value before you put it on the market. Sometimes a small investment in your property can have a big payoff in the sale, and inexpensive or even free fixes that just take a little effort can do a lot for your bottom line as well. In today’s blog post, we’re sharing our tips for increasing your property’s value before you put it on the market.

  1. A fresh coat of paint.

New paint can go a long way towards updating a space. Opt for neutrals like light gray. Even if there’s nothing inherently wrong or bad about the current paint job, it can be helpful to redo it to cover any scuffs or fading caused by time. Plus, the smell of fresh paint tells your potential buyers that you’ve been making improvements from the moment they walk through the door. 

That being said, a poorly done paint job — one that leads to smudging on the ceiling, for instance — is an instant detractor. If you’re not sure of your painting abilities, it will be worth the expense to hire professional painters. 

  1. Curb appeal. 

Small improvements can make a huge difference when it comes to curb appeal. A new mailbox is a great, inexpensive addition to a residence. Landscaping can be a major improvement for commercial or residential properties. Also consider new or improved siding, walkways, and outdoor living space like patios and decks.

  1. Fixtures.

If you have outdated fixtures like doorknobs, cabinet handles, or even lighting fixtures, it is wise to replace them with something more modern, while also keeping it neutral. These kinds of details will make an especially big difference if your property is being shown to potential buyers unfurnished.

  1. Cleanliness.

This one should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people put a property on the market without cleaning up first, even if they’ve just evicted a tenant. You aren’t doing yourself any favors when you let potential buyers see a property that isn’t squeaky clean. If you don’t feel up to taking the time and energy to clean up yourself, hire professionals. It’s definitely worth it. 

Contact Atlas Law for Your Florida Real Estate Needs

Our team represents property owners in real estate transactions and evictions. We work with clients throughout the state of Florida. No matter what region of the state you’re in, we have the knowledge and experience to help you. If you’re interested in learning more about our services, contact us today!

How Does the Commercial Eviction Process Work in Florida?

If you own a corporate property like a store or an office space and you rent it out to a business, it’s your worst nightmare when your tenant’s business begins to fail and they stop paying rent as a result. This leaves you in the uncomfortable situation of needing to evict your commercial tenant so that someone else can move into the space and you can start getting paid again. Where do you begin? What will the process be like? Read on to learn how the commercial eviction process works in Florida.

One of the most important things to keep in mind as you begin this process is the importance of going by the book. Don’t give the evicted tenant any reason to sue you or even threaten a lawsuit!

First, talk with an attorney and review the lease agreement to make 100% sure you are not infringing upon any of their rights or breaking the agreement by beginning this process. Next, you will need to give the tenant notice that you intend to begin eviction proceedings. If you are evicting them because they didn’t pay rent, you must give them three days notice. If you are evicting them for another reason, you must give them fifteen days notice. This is not the amount of days before they must vacate the premises, just the number of days before you can actually begin the official eviction process.

Once enough time has passed since you provided the notice, you can file an unlawful detainer complaint with your local state court. Your tenant will then need to be served with a copy of this complaint. The complaint must be thorough — it should include information about how much rent is due as well as who has legal possession of the property and whether your tenant will be required by the lease agreement to pay your attorney fees and court costs.

Your tenant has five days to respond to the unlawful container complaint once they’ve been served. Failure to respond will allow you to win the case by default. If they file a counterclaim, you then have a five-day window of your own to respond. After that, a court date gets scheduled.

Courts typically move quickly in these matters, but at present there may be a delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

You don’t have to handle the commercial eviction process on your own.

Mistakes in this process can be costly. You need to work with an experienced attorney to make sure that the complaint is properly presented so your tenant can be removed as quickly as possible. Don’t take a risk! Contact Atlas Law today to learn how our team can make this process less stressful so that you can get back to your life!

Understanding Contingencies

Real estate contracts usually include provisions called “contingencies.” Never heard this word before? Not to worry! Today’s blog post breaks down what contingencies are and how they work when it comes to real estate.

Contingencies are essentially provisions included in a contract that will make the whole thing null and void if certain events do or do not occur. In essence, they note that “I will fulfill my side of this agreement, contingent upon x, y, or z.” You could also think of contingencies as conditions of your contract and sometimes they’re even referred to conversationally as conditions. Buyers and sellers are each able to propose contingencies as a way to protect themselves. Contingencies can also be bargaining chips. Let’s look at some of the most common examples of contingencies found in real estate contracts.

Contingency Regarding Selling Another Property: Perhaps the buyer only wants to and is able to buy a new house if they’re able to sell they’re old house. If, for instance, their old home is under contract, they can propose a contingency that their participation in the contract for the new house is contingent upon the sale of their old house going through. If you’re thinking this doesn’t sound very appealing to the seller, you’re right! The seller does not have to accept the contingency. Whether they do will likely depend on how confident they are in their ability to get another option. They could also potentially say, “Yes, I’ll accept this contingency, but only in exchange for increasing the price by so-and-so amount.”

Contingency Regarding Appraisal or Inspection: Buyers who want to make sure the value of the property they’re buying is consistent with what they’ve been told or their personal assessment may request contingency based upon a professional appraisal. You can also request contingency based on inspection to make sure there aren’t any flaws that need to be fixed for a high price. This gives you room to negotiate for a lower price or even back out altogether if you learn the property is worth less than expected. 

Contingency Regarding Mortgage Approval: Oftentimes, real estate contracts include a contingency for approval of the buyer’s mortgage. These can be quite specific, and may clarify that the terms of the mortgage approved must be the same as the terms stated in the contract.

When it comes to contingencies, these examples really only represent the tip of the iceberg. Still, we hope it gives you some clarity on what these provisions are and how you might be able to utilize them in your real estate contact. As always, if you have questions about this or any other matter related to real estate law, the Atlas Law team is here to help. Contact us today!