- Family Law
- Real Estate
- Attorney Profiles
- Offices and Contact
We can assist clients in a broad range of real estate matters ranging from residential and corporate leases to land use and zoning matters as well as property tax appeals. Our firm offers a special hybrid contingency arrangement for appealing Tax Assessments. We charge only $200 to complete your appeal petition and appear on your behalf at the first level hearing. Only if we win your appeal, will you owe us the remainder of the legal fees. The following information provides general information regarding specific real estate areas.
Landlords not only have a general obligation to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of their tenants, but they also have many administrative responsibilities mandated by housing codes including maintaining a rental license (varying upon jurisdiction).
The following are just a few of the many obligations landlords must be aware of or else risk forfeiting the right to off set damages from the security deposit.
- Offer of a Two Year Lease (exceptions)
- Rent Payment Record
- Provision for Final Inspection
- Separate Receipt for Security Deposit
- 45 Days to Return Security Deposits
- 45 Days to Provide Notice of Damage(s)
- Interest Paid on Security Deposits of $50 or Greater at a Semi-Annual Rate of 3%.
What Should I Have In My Lease?
Obtaining a good tenant is the single most effective way to avoid leasing problems. Although the lease is very important in governing the landlord and tenant relationship, landlords should use a lease application to extract necessary information prior to entering into a lease agreement. A little known fact is that lease applications are good and unobtrusive ways of obtaining essential information from tenants. We can help you prepare the necessary lease application, or use our online lease application and have us perform the necessary background and credit checks for a modest fee.
While the contents of a lease document can be fairly basic, creating a foolproof lease requires research and careful attention to detail. If you believe you can trust the lease agreement used commonly by realtors, think again. Many lease agreements from realtors lack the appropriate provisions to provide recovery of attorneys’ fees in the event of a tenant’s default. We can draft a lease agreement specific for your needs that provides recovery for unpaid rent and attorneys’ fees.
What Rights Do Landlords Have Against Tenants in Breach or Violation of the Lease?
The landlord-tenant relationship deals not just with the responsibilities of landlords but also with the duties of tenants. A tenant’s most important duties are delineated in the lease agreement. These include such items as paying a set amount of rent each month in a timely manner, maintaining the condition of the property, and alerting landlords to electrical, plumbing, or other equipment problems. We can determine whether your tenant is in default and the appropriate remedy.
Landlords do not have to sit idle while a tenant neglects his duties. In fact, Landlords have numerous remedies under the law. Attorneys at the Koh Law Firm have in-depth experience helping landlords resolve disputes with tenants. We can assist you in deciding on and pursuing a course of action to recover rent, make a claim for property damage, or even evict your tenant. You have a right to force tenants to comply with the lease and with their legal obligations. Do not hesitate to seek legal advice from us if you believe that your rights as a landlord have been violated.
Real Estate Tax Assessment
Home values have greatly depreciated but corresponding decreases in property assessments is often slow to follow, and your local county may be less inclined to adjust your property tax assessment considering local officials are scrambling to fill budgetary shortfalls. The following outlines the mid-cycle appeal process. Although such matters can be handled individually, we can provide our expertise and improve your chances of success with our special hybrid fee arrangement.
Appeals may be filed on three occasions:
1) Homes purchased between January 1 and June 30.
2) Receipt of an assessment notice; the cycle is every 3 years in Maryland, and communities are divided into 3 grids and homes in each grid are reviewed once every three years on a rotating basis. The next notices will come out July 1. You have 45 days to appeal. If your appeal is successful, the fruits of your success will not be seen until next year.
3) During the mid-cycle:
Property value assessments always lag indicators. Thus, assessors are constantly behind the curve using assessed market values from the previous 6 months which translates most likely to appealable tax assessment.
The mid-cycle appeal process:
1) Petition for Review, using a one-page form you can find on the Maryland SDAT website.Useful Tax and Assessment information can be found on the SDAT website.
A. The important part of this form is the supporting documentation you need to attach. You need compelling evidence that your values have declined. There are several appropriate items:
1. Recent sales (comparables) on about your neighborhood.
2. For homes not easily comparable, you should seriously consider an appraisal which cost anywhere from $300 to $500, depending on the size of your home.
3. Data on successfully appealed property.
B. Upon submitting your Petition with supporting documents (address listed below), you will be notified for a hearing or if you prefer, you can opt out of the in person hearing.
1) The Supervisor’s level is the first level of the appeal process which is informal and lasts approximately 15 minutes. You can obtain a copy of the information worksheet that the assessor will use from the website. It seems to me that studying this worksheet will give you an edge.
2) A final notice will be issued after the hearing. If you disagree with the decision, you can appeal to the next level, the Property Tax Assessment Appeal Board. The appeal must be filed within 30 days from the notice date. 3 local residents in each of the counties comprise the independent appeal board.
3) Still dissatisfied with the result? You can appeal to the he Maryland Tax Court. But the odds of a reversal are slim and fall somewhere in the range of approximately 2 cases in 30 years being accepted by the Maryland Tax Court.
The following are some tips from the Maryland Assessment office to help you prepare your documents:
* Focus on those points that affect the value of your property.
* Indicate why the Total New Market Value does not reflect the market Value.
* Identify any mathematical errors on the worksheet, or inaccurate information describing your home.
* Provide examples of sales of comparable properties which support your findings.
* Avoid issues that are irrelevant: past values, additional costs, the amount of the tax bill, and properties in other jurisdictions.