Legal Fees
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Legal Fees (by mapleaf18 [NY]) Mar 17, 2023 8:46 AM
       Legal Fees (by S i d [MO]) Mar 17, 2023 9:50 AM
       Legal Fees (by Moshe [CA]) Mar 17, 2023 12:11 PM
       Legal Fees (by dino [CA]) Mar 17, 2023 2:29 PM
       Legal Fees (by myob [GA]) Mar 17, 2023 3:14 PM
       Legal Fees (by Moshe [CA]) Mar 17, 2023 4:42 PM
       Legal Fees (by Mike45 [NV]) Mar 17, 2023 8:21 PM
       Legal Fees (by mapleaf18 [NY]) Mar 18, 2023 8:27 AM
       Legal Fees (by WL [CA]) Mar 18, 2023 10:14 PM
       Legal Fees (by myob [GA]) Mar 19, 2023 7:32 AM
       Legal Fees (by WL [CA]) Mar 19, 2023 11:28 AM
       Legal Fees (by myob [GA]) Mar 19, 2023 12:44 PM
       Legal Fees (by don [PA]) Mar 22, 2023 4:00 AM
       Legal Fees (by Moshe [CA]) Mar 23, 2023 7:27 PM
       Legal Fees (by Don [PA]) Apr 6, 2023 11:55 PM

Legal Fees (by mapleaf18 [NY]) Posted on: Mar 17, 2023 8:46 AM

Update for today's pro-tenant courts suggested (if you don't live on the left or right coast this probably won't apply to you)

Take out the "prevailing party collects legal fees from non-prevailing party."

it's best to put in "each party is responsible for their legal fees."


Legal Fees (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Mar 17, 2023 9:50 AM

I asked my attorney about adding collection fees, but he says the judges won't do it since you can collect on your own for no fee; therefore, it's not fair to penalize the tenant for a cost that may not actually occur.

So the way I work around that is the Early Termination Fee is due if I have to evict, because the tenant's actions caused the lease to have to be terminated early. This is how it is written up in our lease. My ETF either gets added to the judgment, or even if the judge won't add it for some reason, I simply apply all of the deposit toward it, leaving nothing to apply to the money judgment. So now I can collect the full $ judgment, and most often that includes the ETF.


Legal Fees (by Moshe [CA]) Posted on: Mar 17, 2023 12:11 PM

It all depends on if you expect to win or lose. If you expect to win then you want the clause, because you will not get legal fees of you don't have it. If there is possibility of your losing, then you will wish that you didn't have the clause because you will have to pay YOUR legal fees plus the other side's fees.

If you have a problem with tenants who don't really have a case but will get a lawyer and sue anyway (e.g., legal aid) it may be useful to put into your clause to LIMIT attorney fees to the prevailing party, say to $500. The object would be to discourage an attorney from taking the case, because he won't be awarded enough money to make it worth his while to get involved.

Legal Fees (by dino [CA]) Posted on: Mar 17, 2023 2:29 PM

Keep in mind that problem tenants often are also not going to be those from whom you can collect back rent or attorney fees.

Also judge will often reduce attorney fees to be awarded to landlord so really there is not much incentive to have any attorney fees in your agreement unless you include limit such as $500 as Moshe mentioned above.

Of course this is all from my perspective in California which might not be the case in some other places.

Legal Fees (by myob [GA]) Posted on: Mar 17, 2023 3:14 PM

Why concede you will be the loser? If you have the right lease and did what your state mandates you will not lose. I don't get that thinking. Our collection court is not the same mickey mouse court for evictions. The judges here know which end is up.

Sid first statement and first error "you asked your attorney".

First off-- you will have to spend just as much time as any company would to try and collect. So that's the first mistake by the judge/your atty. Does your attorney think your time is free?

Second I explained in detail in a previous post on how to collect properly. So simple steps and minimal cost. #1 get a business license to operate out of your home with a new company name DBA XYZ collection company. Open a PO box using company name. Next open checking and savings account and get a credit card in the company name to pay for anything you incur.

Now when you make your claim for collection fees you have the XYZ company in the by line @ 30% collect fee.

Dino if you put people in your places who can't be collected from-- well that explains a lot!!!! Why put those types in your place. Get a tent in SFO. --108.239.xx.xx

Legal Fees (by Moshe [CA]) Posted on: Mar 17, 2023 4:42 PM


You listed all your steps to open you own collection agency, but you did not mention that your judgement will be in the name of the landlord, not the collection agency. You will need to assign the debt over to the collection agency.

Legal Fees (by Mike45 [NV]) Posted on: Mar 17, 2023 8:21 PM

I never expect to lose, but I have used a clause “each party bears his own attorneys’ fees” for many years.

1. Some hungry attorney who listens to a disgruntled tenant’s lies during the intake interview also expects to win. If he sees that the prevailing party will be awarded attorneys’ fees, he sees stars and dollar signs. If he sees a clause “each party will bear his own fees”, then he worries a lot more about whether he can collect his fees from the deadbeat tenant/client.

2. If I prevail and if I am awarded attorneys’ fees against the tenant, will I ever see even a penny? I really don’t think so. So what is (in reality) the upside of an awrd of attorneys’ fees to me? Bragging rights? Whereas if fees are awarded against me, they will have to be paid; I am not judgment-proof.

3. MYOB, even if a tenant is collectible at the inception of the lease, if the tenant and I are involved in litigation, things have changed, and I will count of the tenant still being collectible.

Legal Fees (by mapleaf18 [NY]) Posted on: Mar 18, 2023 8:27 AM

myob, you are in Georgia where sanity still exists. The fact that leftist judges are pervasive in an increasing number of areas has to be addressed. Many places the LL will lose, in reality, by default simply because he/she is a LL. I saw this in Rochester NY for one example.

Legal Fees (by WL [CA]) Posted on: Mar 18, 2023 10:14 PM

Dennis Block has a section on this subject on his website www dot evict123 dot com in the FAQ section - Nutshell - uncapped attorneys fees clause over $500 sends tenant lawyers into a feeding and litigating frenzy against you. Do you really want to litigate for a few years to finally win against a deadbeat tenant who will never pay because he doesn't own real estate? Dennis Block has a form on his website to limit atty fees - I used it and it saved me from having to litigate an eviction - once the T lawyers saw it, they stopped making their discovery demands and gave up on the case. No $$$ pot of gold waiting.

Legal Fees (by myob [GA]) Posted on: Mar 19, 2023 7:32 AM

A little known fact. When you have your collection people go to court to collect YOU have to go. WHY becase most collection company's don't have attorneys on retainer. The owner has to go not your collection company. As far as GETTING you judgment collection is a line item on the paper for you.

When questioned: your honor the collection company I use charges 30% on top of the debt. Which is what your XYZ charges-- REMEMBER.

WL first you have to put collectable types in your property. Doesn't own RE? It's not just RE. It's anything with a title. Its a job they want that requires the employees to get bonded. I am by no means saying we collect from everyone. I will say they know we are on their shirt tails and at every purchase there will be questions and in some cases denials. Some time-- sometimes they will have to pay up and it would bother me if for example they had the funds to pay me and just walked.

Mike NV I get that-- crap goes down hill fast. I want my claim and I will renew it every year I can.

Mapleleaf let me burst your bubble. there is no state in the USA that when it comes to LL/tenant law is saine. We mare the cruelist professsion. --108.239.xx.xx

Legal Fees (by WL [CA]) Posted on: Mar 19, 2023 11:28 AM

MYOB, GA is not Comifornia or NY - here LLs are hunted by starving T lawyers who look for uncapped atty fees clause in your rental agreement. The T gets to litigate for free while you pay per hour - best case - do you really want to pay for a jury trial and win ($$$$ for your own lawyer) against) tenants who will just declare bankruptcy and not pay you the judgment? Remember, the goal is to somehow technically win just $1 against the LL so Atty Fees of $30000 plus can be awarded against the LL by the T lawyers. I had a T law firm think I had an uncapped atty fees clause in a CAR lease - they didn't know I had served a Dennis Block - 30 Day Notice to Cap Atty Fees at $500 form. Once they found out, they basically gave up on the eviction defense for their T client. The stress of fighting CA evictions (aka jury trial evictions) disappear when atty fees are capped at $500 - T free lawyers, as Dennis Block says, won't bother doing eviction jury trials for peanuts. The T lawyers are gambling on being paid $30 to $50k by you the LL.

Legal Fees (by myob [GA]) Posted on: Mar 19, 2023 12:44 PM

WL let me say out front. I love LL's who know what there doing BEFORE THEY NEED TO. The what if's are covered.

Honestly you are expected to know what the in's and out's are don't you agree. Yes each state is different-- heck each county tries to be.

Keep in mind if you do everything per your law code YOU will prevail. I know many say well it's lower court and anything can happen. That is so.

I did lose once in lower court and appealed to state court right away-- now the atty has to come back for deadbeat tenant-- AGAIN and this time they lose--- more money down the drain. WHY because these are the real deal atty's not some uncle of your aunt on the bench. --108.239.xx.xx

Legal Fees (by don [PA]) Posted on: Mar 22, 2023 4:00 AM

"Each party bears their own attorney fees" is the general norm under our law; no need to put it in the lease. If you ARE gonna put something re attorney fees in the lease, why would you put "losing party pays prevailing party's attorney fees?" That goes both ways. Why write a benefit to your tenant into the lease? Just put that if landlord must take tenant to court, tenant agrees to pay landlord's attorney fees. A judge will, of course, only give it to you if you at least partially win the case---but if you lose at least you need not pay your tenant's attorney fees.

Legal Fees (by Moshe [CA]) Posted on: Mar 23, 2023 7:27 PM

A general rule of law is that a benefit conferred by the lease without consideration to only one [arty must be extended to benefit both parties.

So, in CA al least, absent any agreement to pay legal fees, neither party are entitled to fees. And, If there is agreement favoring only one party, the judge can (and will) apply that privilege to both parties. I expect that its true elsewhere, also.

Legal Fees (by Don [PA]) Posted on: Apr 6, 2023 11:55 PM

Why would you have to put such a clause into a contract? That is the default allocation of fees in our legal system unless specified otherwise in a particular statute or contract.

AS far as the contracts that specify that the losing party pays the prevailing party's legal fees, I see difficulty in interpreting it. For one thing, who is the prevailing party? If the LL sues the tenant for $9k and the judge awards him $5k, is he the prevailing party? What if the tenant prevails on some sort of counterclaim?

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