Sunday, June 17, 2018

New Rate Changes Starting July 1, 2018

As expenses have increased, the Firm has found it necessary to increase its initial consultation and hourly rates.

Call or email for the new price sheet.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Firm's Free 5 Minute Screening Consultation & Paid Office Consultation

FREE FIVE MINUTE SCREENING CONSULTATIONS

The Firm offers five minute screening consultations at no charge to provide general information and to determine the need for a paid 30-90 minute office consultation.  Approximately 60-75% of the time, the callers wants one or two questions answered or want to be guided on issues like failure to repair, renewal/nonrenewal notice rights, and security deposit disputes.  In those instances, 5 minutes may be all that is required.  However, if additional services are needed, a paid consultation must be scheduled. 

During the phone consultation, expect numerous interruptions as I try to obtain relevant information.  Although you may want to tell your full story during the call, it's not the best use of your time. 

For landlord-tenant cases, the first questions I will ask the following:
(1) the name of the other party (for conflict check purposes)
(2) whether you live in a house or an apartment
(3) the city and county of the rental property

If you have documents that you want me to see, the five minute screening consultation is not the time to read sentences to me.  Lay people often miss important provisions in documents.   Therefore, an office consultation is the best time for me to review the documents to determine your options. 

Although I offer paid phone consultations, I don't review documents e-mailed to me in preparation for the phone conference unless the matter is prepaid.   Any time taken before the call will be included in the charge.  For paid phone consultations, prepayment for the hour through credit card, debit card, or Venmo is required.  Prior to the end of the time, I will advise the caller of the time expiration.  You can choose to continue the call and incur an additional charge.

Keep in mind, litigation is expensive.  You get what you pay for in many cases.  I've been in 100s of court sessions.  I see people who could have benefited from having an attorney with them in court.  Even if they couldn't afford representation during the trial or hearing, at a minimum a 30 minute consultation may have put them on notice on what to expect and the pitfalls to avoid.






 


Saturday, May 12, 2018

GEORGIA COUNTIES WHERE THE FIRM TAKES CASES

The Firm will accept landlord-tenant cases, divorces, child support matters, child custody disputes, employment matters, commercial litigation, and general litigation in the following counties:

Primary Practice Counties

FULTON
DEKALB
GWINNETT
COBB
ROCKDALE
NEWTON

Secondary Practice Counties
Clients are Charged Mileage From the Closest Office and Travel Time to Court at $200/hour

Cherokee
Clayton 
Paulding
Bartow
Henry 
Fayette 
Coweta 
Hall
Forsyth
Douglas

For landlord tenant matters, the Firm no longer represents tenants in Clayton, Henry or Fayette Counties.

Additional Georgia Counties
Clients are Charged Mileage From Atlanta, Lodging,  and Travel Time to Court at $200/hour 

Chatham County (Savannah)
Richmond County (Augusta)
Bibb County (Macon)

The Firm will not accept dispossessory actions in these outer counties unless the damages or rent exceed $15,000. 


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Georgia Renters - Prepare for a Hurricane with a Review of Your Lease and Renter's Insurance

Georgia renters, while you prepare for the hurricane, pull your lease and renter's insurance policy. If you have to evacuate, take these documents with you or scan the documents and e-mail them to yourself. If your rental unit gets flooded or damaged by wind or heavy rains, your initial contractual rights can be reviewed. LEASES Many leases allow the landlord to terminate the lease if the unit is destroyed by natural disasters (force majeure). Also, partial destruction of the rental unit may not relieve you of your obligation to make timely payments. Remember, any changes to written leases, including termination and the amount of rent or timing of rent must be in writing and signed by both parties. Otherwise, the agreement may not be enforceable. If you don't understand your rights, check with an experienced landlord-tenant attorney. Simply withholding rent because you cannot get back into your apartment or rental house may result in a dispossessory. The court action and the eviction will haunt you for years to come when it shows up on record searches and your credit report. Therefore, it's better to be proactive than reactive. RENTER'S INSURANCE Renter's insurance doesn't cover floods. However, if you can prove the items were damaged by some other cause, you may have a significant claim. Moreover, the insurance policy may cover hotel charges and other expenses even if it doesn't reimburse you for flood damaged items. One you return to your unit and review the damages, call your agent to discuss your coverage.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Tenant Mold Claims are Not Simple Matters

This time of year, the Firm receives at least 10 calls or e-mails a week from tenants who complain about health related issues arising from what they perceive to be "black mold."  According to one expert I spoke with recently, there are hundreds, if not thousands of mold types.  Moreover, mold is all around us (inside and outdoors).  Additionally, black mold can range from harmless to deadly.

People react differently to different types of mold.  Someone with allergies may be particularly susceptible to most molds.  If you believe your apartment or rental unit has mold, you should seek the advice of three specialists:

(1) a certified mold expert to collect samples and send those samples to a lab.
(2) an allergist or another health care provider who can tell you if mold is causing your health problems; and
(3) an experienced toxic mold attorney.

There are several home in the store and advertised online.  Those tests may be a start, but you need a certified mold expert to work with your attorney to write a report and testify in court (if necessary). His testimony will be needed for collection methods, chain of custody, and analysis.

Similarly, an allergist or other health care provider will work with your attorney to prepare a report and testify by way of deposition for court or in preparation for a settlement.

Mold experts and doctors are expensive.  Therefore, if your personal injuries are not substantial, it may not be worth pursing the health claim.  However, other claims may still be available to you.  This is why, an experienced toxic mold attorney is essential to analyze your case to place a value on the matter.

If you don't have a health claim, you may have a property damage, breach of contract, negligence, failure to repair, and/or other tort claims.

The McGill Law Firm handles non-health related claims relating to water intrusion that causes mold and mold related damage.  However, it does not handle toxic mold matters.  If you don't know of anyone who can refer you to a toxic mold attorney, Google "toxic mold attorney" and your city or county.  Most times you will pull up at least 10-20 attorneys to call and interview.


Friday, April 21, 2017

Changes in Locations and Types of Cases

Maryland, DC, and New York Cases (Remote Handling)

Effective May 1, 2017 and for the foreseeable future, with the exception of family law and employment (disputes, termination packages, and discrimination claims) in Maryland, the attorney will not be taking new cases in Maryland, New York, or DC that have to be litigated in court.

I will still accept other non-litigation cases in those states if the matters can be handled remotely from my Georgia offices.

If you are looking for a landlord-tenant attorney in Maryland, DC, or New York, I recommend you go to the several websites such as attorneys.com, lawyers.com, and avvo.com and interview several attorneys about their background and experience before hiring one.

Cases in Georgia

Cases in Georgia will still be handled and litigated as normal.   Go to demandingjustice.com to learn more about the The McGill Law Firm, LLC. The attorney will still represent clients who happen to live out of state, but have cases in Georgia.  Approximately 30% of the Firm's small landlord clients live out of state.

This decrease in travel will allow the attorney more time to handle Georgia landlord-tenant, family law, employment, and contract litigation matters.





Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Inspect Before You Sign Your Lease

Standard leases have several things in common, including a provision that states the following:
(1) the tenant has examined the premises;
(2) the tenant is satisfied with the physical condition of the premises before taking possession; and
(3) Everything is in good working order (except as noted).

So, if you haven't examined the premises by doing a complete walk through, why would you sign the lease?  Do the walk through, make sure the checklist becomes part of the lease, and make sure there is a time is of the essence provisions for those material concerns.  At the minimum, the checklist should be made a part of the lease, and you should receive a copy that day of the lease and all referenced attachments.

If the manager tells you "we don't give keys until the lease has been signed", tell him or her to keep the keys and do the walk though together.  If the manager still refuses your request, you should assume there are major issues that need to be repaired.  The safest thing to do may be to walk away.  This is another reason to sign the lease at least a week or two before you intend to move into the new property.  It's easier to walk away if the moving truck isn't outside the door with the meter running.