latest articles from our blog

The Most Common Landlord-Tenant Disputes and How to Avoid Them

Maryland Rental LicenseLast June, we wrote about how to reduce the risk of disputes with tenants. This month, we're revisiting the topic to highlight the most common tenant-related disputes landlords encounter. Landlords don't want to keep tabs on their tenants every day, and tenants don't want that either. You want to trust that your tenant is taking good care of the property, but sometimes landlords learn the hard way that the tenants are neglecting their responsibilities. Even worse, you may realize that because of a poorly worded lease, you have little legal remedy for the problem. Most disputes arise not due to negligence, but because of incorrect or misaligned expectations. The following are some examples of disputes that often occur because a lease lacks clarity. Yard Maintenance In most community rental buildings, the landlord assumes full responsibility for upkeep of the exterior. But for duplexes and single family homes, there are many…

The Space Between Psychotherapy, LLC

Thienel & Lusk is proud to offer legal guidance to compassionate and socially responsible organizations. Our Client Spotlight regularly features these businesses. Our selection for this month's spotlight is The Space Between Psychotherapy, LLC. Launched in 2014, this quality private practice delivers care for people facing a range of challenges and goals. The team at The Space Between offers mental health care and counseling services. This incredible business provides services that are all about healing, progress and moving forward. Here are a few of the things that The Space Between offers the community... Counseling for couples and partnerships - The Space Between recognizes the ever-changing needs of growing cycles--sometimes negative and sometimes positive--in personal and professional relationships. The team strives to facilitate the positive growth in all their clients' relationships. Recovery from trauma, depression and anxiety - We all face challenges in life. So many of our struggles are internal…

Many Owners of Small Businesses Don’t Plan to Retire

According to the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, 53 percent of small-business owners say they don't want to retire. That figure comes from a telephone survey of 602 small-business owners in all 50 states. In 2014, only 66 percent of small-business owners were confident they had enough money for a comfortable retirement, but the latest poll shows that 76 percent feel confident about their retirement funding. Still, many business owners surveyed said they wanted to continue working in some capacity, rather than retire completely. Challenges for Family-Run Businesses In family-run businesses, the resistance to the idea of retirement may create some complicated questions about who's in charge, and to what extent, as discussed in a recent Wall Street Journal article. Interviewed for that article were a 69-year-old CEO/business owner and his 36-year-old daughter, who is the president of the family business. Their different management styles and corporate strategies are sometimes…

Maryland Gets Low Marks for Animal Protection Laws

Every year since 2006, the Animal Legal Defense Fund has issued its report, "U.S. Animal Protection Laws Rankings." States with the most comprehensive animal protection laws get high marks from ALDF. Although Maryland recently strengthened some animal protection laws, it ranked number 47 last year, out of 56 total U.S. states, territories, and the District of Columbia. The 2016 report mentions some positive aspects of Maryland animal protection laws: A new prohibition on breed-specific legislation (such as laws that forbid "vicious" breeds in some cmmunities) A new prohibition on any "implement of dogfighting," such as any object, device, or drug that is used to enhance a dog's fighting ability or is used during a dogfighting event. ALDF explains the reasoning behind its choices for the five best-ranked and five worst-ranked states, but it does not say specifically why Maryland is near the bottom. ALDF tends to assign lower marks to…

Considerations for Buying an Investment Property

Maryland Investment PropertyReality TV shows make it look easy: Buy a fixer-upper home, renovate it, sell it, and make a big profit. But that's not how it typically works. In fact, at least one person featured in an episode of HGTV's show "Fixer Upper" said he had already bought his home before appearing on the show and that the show stages the home-shopping process. "Flipping" a house to make a profit is a risky move, for many reasons. First, the biggest mistake people make is underestimating the scope and cost to renovate a home. Complications often arise during renovation, and dealing with those surprises can significantly increase costs. Plus, the people doing the work - carpenters, plumbers, and other craftspeople - can provide estimates for jobs, but the actual costs could end up being much higher. Selling a property can also take longer than anticipated and there are significant carrying costs for…

May is National Electrical Safety Month

Maryland Landlord LawAccording to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, electrical fires damage 51,000 homes every year, causing nearly 500 deaths and $1.3 billion in property damage. To help raise awareness of electricity-related fire risks, ESFI develops special publications and outreach efforts for its yearly National Electrical Safety Month. Every May, ESFI chooses a focus for its campaign. This year, it's, "Decoding the National Electrical Code(r) (NEC) to Prevent Shock and Electrocution." Topics include the risk of electric shock and drowning when swimming near motorized boats; how childproofing outlets can protect children from electric shock; the importance of circuit-interrupter outlets and surge protection; and the importance of compliance with electrical code. For Maryland landlords - especially those whose properties were built more than a few decades ago - this month may be a good time to reevaluate the safety of electrical components and systems in your rental homes. Aging Wiring Peeling paint and…

Would Your Hobby Be a Good Business Idea?

Some people recognize when their hobby could turn into a profitable business. Not everyone realizes the value of their own talent, though. If your hobby involves making or doing something people would pay for - sewing or landscaping, for example - maybe it's time to consider making that hobby your job. How to Get Started Many aspiring entrepreneurs have full-time jobs. Leaving a full-time job to start your own business is a gamble, so the best approach is to start building your client base whenever you have free time. That might mean selling your product or service to people you already know, as you get established. (A guitar teacher interviewed in Entrepreneur magazine said he advises aspiring teachers to save enough money to cover four to six months of income and expenses before they leave their full-time job). Use Available Resources There are many resources available to small business owners.…

SAS Sport Horses

Thienel & Lusk, LLC, provides legal guidance for a wide range of business clients, among them, people involved in equestrian enterprises. Attorney Rebekah Damen Lusk is attuned to the business concerns of people who raise, train, and board horses, because she owns a horse boarding facility. One of her clients – SAS Sport Horses – is the subject of this month’s Client Spotlight feature. Shera Solomon, owner of SAS Sport Horses, is an accomplished competitor in equestrian events. She won first place in Training Level at the 2015 Col. Bengt Ljungquist Memorial Championships and has won Rider Performance Awards for Second, First, and Training Level from both the Potomac Valley Dressage Association and the United States Dressage Federation. At her facilities in the rural Montgomery County communities of Boyds and Dickerson, she focuses on dressage and eventing training, with an emphasis on establishing a strong bond between horse and rider.…

Are You Keeping Your Employees Happy?

Maryland Business LawyerAccording to a Gallup poll, 51 percent of workers say they're actively looking for a new job. That's not necessarily because they dislike their current job. Many workers are confident that a thriving job market may offer better, more engaging career opportunities. So what can you do to avoid losing your employees? Focus on ways to increase employee engagement. What Engagement Means An employee can be relatively happy and satisfied with a job and still not feel engaged. Engagement is a higher degree of care - a sense of pride in one's work and ownership of the company's mission. So a good way to begin building engagement is with leadership. Owners and managers who don't take pride in their work will never inspire employees to do the same. Leaders who are passionate about their jobs, interested in their employees, and who embody the behavior and work ethic they expect from…

Legal Services for Maryland Landlords

Maryland Landlord LawyerMaryland's patchwork of real estate laws can be confusing for landlords. For example, in Montgomery County, you can't list your home for rent on the online booking site Airbnb, unless you allow rentals of only one month or longer, or if you're licensed as a bed-and-breakfast. But in Baltimore County, it's legal to list your home on Airbnb. Whether you lease your home as a vacation property, manage an apartment complex with hundreds of tenants, or have only commercial tenants, you may encounter a number of legal challenges as a landlord. Thienel & Lusk, LLC, provides the legal guidance you need to operate a successful enterprise - from drafting legal documents to representing you in court, should litigation become necessary. Contact us today to schedule your consultation: 443-535-9715. Commercial Landlord Services Commercial landlords often need legal advice about which type of lease they should use for their properties. Depending on…