Introduction – Are Paralegals needed for rental issues?
Paralegals Needed for Rental Issues.
Canada is emerging as the most popular venue for hosting secondary dwellings or secondary suites. This type of accommodation option has become the preferred housing option for renters, including; students, professionals, and families.
This is an additional rental option has led to the expansion of the real estate business, since many basement apartments are rented out on a lease, for which Real Estate Agents seek to earn a fair commission. Most importantly, rental dwelling units are becoming the major highlight of the real property economy.
In Canada, 74.4% of rental properties belong to individual investors who aim to make the best out of such vibrant financial growth opportunities. Due to the ease of income for homeowners who opt to rent out a basement or other secondary suite, there seems to be a great need to protect properties from rental disputes and related issues. Hence the key question as to how to avoid or mitigate rental disputes?
The simplest answer would be to draft a ‘legally sound’ Rental or Lease Agreement, in consultation with licensed Real Estate Lawyers or Paralegals.
Key considerations while dealing with rental issues
Though Paralegals play a key role in addressing and resolving various rental issues, it is important for both tenants and landlords to consider taking a few basic steps, before bringing legal authorities into a rental matter.
- Each party shall review the lease agreement and maintain records of all actions and previous communication, with each other.
- Be knowledgeable about the laws of the Province where the property is located. This can help to avoid disputes and reduce the chances of fraudulent activities.
- The homeowner shall send a notice of intent to seek legal remedy to the tenant, in breach of the rental agreement, prior to involving legal authorities. Both parties should ensure proper communication takes place between themselves, to avoid the necessity of involving civil or criminal authorities for enforcement of their respective rights.
- Both the landlord and tenant should document every activity that is considered to be a breach of the rental agreement, before contacting legal authorities and prior to issuing legal documents to one another.
- Only in cases, where all of the communication measures have been exhausted and no solution is reached, should either of the parties to the tenancy hire Paralegals to resolve the matter. It is advisable, however, at all stages of a rental dispute for parties to a matter to consult with Paralegals, Lawyers, and/or civil servants for advice on how to proceed to resolve a rental dispute.
Procedure Paralegals Follow To Resolve Rental Disputes
Paralegals are the legal professionals that provide specialized legal services, including Landlord and Tenant Tribunal matters. Paralegals help mediate and settle rental and lease-related issues. To be fully efficient and highly successful in resolving rental and tenancy matters, Paralegals apply three key strategies: consultation, documentation, and negotiation, in order to reach the best alternative to a hearing, at the Landlord and Tenant Tribunal or Small Claims Court.
- Consultation and Advice: Paralegals begin by meeting with a client for a fact-finding consultation, during which they aim to fully gauge the situation in dispute. They work with the client to find suitable answers to questions posed by the client, by researching relevant laws, regulations, and local by-laws and by reviewing related case law that may offer a precedent, on which to rely to resolve the matter or to win the case, should it proceed to a rental tribunal or court.
- Document Review: Since Paralegals, like Lawyers choose to specialize in certain specific areas of law, the Paralegals that work in Landlord and Tenant issues, have a complete understanding of the laws governing rentals, in the Province where they practice. At the request of their clients, Paralegals will review leases and rental agreements. Paralegals will carefully evaluate these documents to find beneficial terms that favor their client, in the landlord-tenant relationship for the property over which the dispute arose.
- Negotiation: Based on the precisely worded lease or rental agreement, Paralegals can negotiate the terms to pave the way towards a successful negotiation or mediation of the landlord-tenant relationship. Paralegals that deal solely with rental issues and matters before the Landlord and Tenant Tribunal also hold a designation of Alternative Dispute Resolution specialist. Therefore, their aim is to settle rental issues through mediation, versus going to court or to the Landlord and Tenant Tribunal.
Rental Agreement Review by Lawyer or Paralegal
The property owners shall strictly consider drafting a rental agreement, with the assistance of either a Real Estate Lawyer or Paralegal, to ensure that the Lease Agreement or Rental Agreement is initially drafted properly, with clear and concise wording.
There are some key points that Paralegals consider while dealing with rental matters.
- The exact location and address of the rental unit.
- A rental agreement, having been duly signed and sealed by competent adults that have the capacity to enter into a legal agreement for a rental property. Financial consideration, in the form of a deposit, was paid at the time the rental contract was signed, in the presence of competent adult witnesses.
- The clear details of the rental, including; rent amount, date rental began, date of the month that rent is due and the mode of payment to be employed.
- Clear terms for breach of contract and associated penalties.
- Lease termination or renewal period.
- Maximum rental occupancy limit of the property.
- Proof of home inspection and proof that the rental property is a legal secondary suite or legal basement apartment.
Why Hire Paralegals for Property Rentals?
Rental issues often arise, at some point, during the term of a property rental. As a result, either the landlord or tenant may choose to seek legal remedy to defend or enforce their rights, in the tenancy. Paralegals can offer expert advice at the onset of a tenancy, which can prevent potential conflicts in the rental.