If you own one or more condominiums, it’s a smart move to seek the services of a lawyer. From arranging for the purchase to developing a corporation to handling disputes with tenants, you can bet that one of the Horlick Levitt Di Lella LLP condo lawyers will make it easier to deal with whatever has taken place.
Remember that you want to hire a condo lawyer that has the background, the personality, and the communication skills that will make working together easier. Along the way, asking some questions and listening closely to the responses will help you find the legal counsel that’s a good fit. Here are a few questions that should definitely be on your list.
1. How Long Have Your Practiced Real Estate Law?
Condo law is only one part of real estate law, but a working knowledge of current real estate laws and regulations will come in handy. The lawyer that you want to work with will understand all aspects of real estate law, including how they relate to ownership and dealing with tenant issues. Much of what applies to other types of properties will also be relevant to your ownership and general use of the condos.
Keep in mind that real estate laws are often complex. A layperson will have difficulty wading through the specifics of each law and identifying what has some bearing on various tenant situations. The same is true when it comes to crafting tenant rental agreements or longer-term leases. The right lawyer will know how to apply real estate law to your situation and ensure nothing is overlooked.
2. Do You Have Experience Specifically in the Area of Condo Law?
Lawyers often focus their practices on specific areas of the law. You may find that a real estate legal firm has one or more lawyers who tend to focus primarily on condo law. That’s especially true when it comes to representing condo owners who share space in the same building. In this scenario, a condo board lawyer could provide counsel to a board of directors or even a less structured group of condo owners.
What you want to know here is the breadth and depth of the experience that the lawyer brings to the table. Does that experience involve providing support while you buy or sell a condo? How about help with creating an agreement with a property management firm? Even something like creating an agreement that governs all short-term condo reservations requires experience. If you’re convinced that the lawyer in question has the background need to help you, it’s worth asking more questions.
3. How About Experience With the Specific Issue I’m Facing?
Perhaps you’re not looking for legal counsel that can provide assistance on a broad scale. There may be a specific issue that needs attention. For example, you may be wondering what steps to take in order to evict a current tenant. If so, that’s what you want to focus on as you question the lawyer further.
Outline what you’re facing and ask the lawyer about past experience with similar cases. While you know the lawyer cannot share confidential information about another client’s case, it’s possible to provide some idea of how many similar cases the lawyer has pursued in the past. Some discussion about how those cases were resolved will also provide you with an idea of what the lawyer could do for you.
4. Who Else May Be Involved With My Case?
There’s a good chance that a few other people may be involved with your case. While the lawyer will head up the process, there’s a good chance that paralegals will be doing a lot of the research. A junior lawyer may also work under the direction of your lawyer and handle some aspects of the case. Administrative support personnel will also likely have access to the case information and ensure that any correspondence surrounding the situation is sent out in a timely manner. That same administrative personnel may also track any responses and ensure the legal team is aware of them.
The fact that the condo lawyer Toronto is able to tell you who will also work on your case is a good thing. You’ll get an idea of how seriously the firm takes pursuing cases on behalf of their clients. The details also ensure that the firm’s process is set up to ensure no task is overlooked or left undone anywhere along the way.
5. Are There Current or Past Clients Who Would Be Willing to Speak With Me?
Perhaps you would like to find out more about how other clients felt about the way their cases were pursued and what happened in the end. It’s not unusual for lawyers to have a few past clients who are willing to speak to those who are in need of legal help.
Don’t expect the list to be exhaustive. As with any type of legal counsel, condo lawyers take client confidentiality seriously. You can bet that any name and contact information that you’re given is provided only if that client has provided express permission. That’s another fact that should be cause for appreciating what the lawyer could do for you.
6. Do You Have Time to Take on My Case?
At some point, you will need to specifically ask if the lawyer has time to take on your case. In many instances, the answer will be yes. That’s often true when the lawyer will have a team assigned to help with the specifics.
Do keep in mind that even condo lawyers with ample support can only take on so many cases at a time. If the lawyer indicates that it would not be possible to help you until after a certain date, take that into consideration. If the matter is serious but not particularly pressing, waiting for a few weeks may be fine. When you need to pursue the matter as quickly as possible, it may be in your best interests to seek legal representation elsewhere.
7. How Are Your Fees Structured?
Condo lawyers structure their fees in a number of ways. The more common will involve providing a certain amount of money upfront and then breaking down the remainder in a series of monthly installments. Depending on the nature of your issue, it may be possible to pay the entire amount upfront or even to receive a bill once the legal services are rendered. As long as you can comply with the fee schedule, all will be well.
Along the way, you’re likely to think of more questions to ask the prospective legal counsel. Don’t hesitate to ask them, even if they seem to not be all that important. Doing so will provide some idea of how well the lawyer communicates with you. That will definitely be important if you decide to secure the lawyer’s services.