business conversation

October 16th, 2018

5 times a landlord may need a lawyer

Being a landlord doesn’t mean you need a lawyer on standby every day of the year, but it does mean that you have to understand which scenarios warrant professional, legal advice from a real estate lawyer or paralegal.

At the end of the day, landlords are small (or big) business owners seeking to make profits and avoid liability claims against their company.

Today we’ll look at some common landlord-related events that justify a lawyer's help.


Eviction lawsuits take comparatively less time than civil cases in most provinces.

Because of the system in place, landlords have to follow strict rules when it comes to beginning the eviction process, and winning an eviction notice isn’t as easy as it may seem.

When landlords attempt to evict tenants themselves, they may succeed without hassle. Alternatively, the tenant may fight the eviction, hire their own lawyer, or take you to the Landlord & Tenant Board.

Hire a lawyer during an eviction if it is the first time you’re entering the process, if the tenant gets their own lawyer to fight the case, or if the tenant is filing for bankruptcy.

If you’re being investigated or sued for illegal discrimination

If you’ve followed the law of the land and complied with fair housing laws, tenants who bring you to court for illegal discrimination will have no case to stand on.

However, angry tenants may still make these accusations against you if you’ve decided to evict them on other grounds. If a prospect or tenant does try to sue you for discrimination, or if you’re investigated, you should probably consult a lawyer.

If you’re being sued for any injuries or illnesses

A tenant or guest may sue you, claiming they got hurt or sick due to your negligence. In this case, you’re going to want to hire a lawyer for the often high-stakes personal injury case.

A personal injury lawyer will know their way around these cases, plus, they’ll approach everything professionally without emotional investment.

If you have liability insurance as an inclusion in your property insurance, your insurer should provide a defence lawyer to help you.

If you’re being sued for major property damage

If you have not taken care of your rental property, tenants or guests can sue you if further damages result from your neglect.

A good example would be a leaking roof that a landlord failed to fix. During a storm, the leak damages the tenant’s property, and the landlord is on the hook for compensation.

Your liability policy should kick in here. If the claim is high enough, consider relegating the case to your insurance company who is obligated to provide a lawyer in most cases.

In small claims court, you might want to handle it yourself with a bit of legal advice before the event.

If you’re being audited by CRA

If you learn that the federal government is auditing your return, you need not hire a lawyer right away. But, if there’s more than a thousand or so dollars being questioned, you should consider hiring a lawyer or tax professional to help you with the case.

If you’ve made a mistake on your taxes by not filing something correctly, failing to report income, or by taking improper deductions, a tax lawyer can help you avoid the disastrous situation if you catch your mistake early enough.