You can file a lawsuit for negligence against the manager of a real estate property in the same way you can sue the owner of any type of business. Generally speaking, with certain exceptions, filing a lawsuit for negligence against a property manager is a straightforward process. However, it is not necessarily feasible or a good idea in every case.
Suing your property manager for negligence
In the majority of cases, you will know the name of the property management company. In that case you can usually file a lawsuit against the company for negligence in court – either small claims court or for more severe injury cases, state Superior Court. It is important to gather as much evidence as possible to bolster your case, regardless of whether the lawsuit you are filing concerns illegal eviction or insufficient, unfinished, or nonexistent repairs. You will increase your chances of success with your lawsuit by obtaining as much documentation as possible concerning the issue at hand and the response of the property management company.
However, there are a couple of exceptions that increase the difficulty level of filing a lawsuit against a property management company, or even make it impossible.
First exception – LLC company without listed owners
In certain cases, you may discover that the property management company is a limited liability company (LLC) having no company owners listed. Even though the property management LLC will likely have assets you could lay claim to when bringing your suit, without the identity of real individuals who control the company, there is no clear path to file such a suit.
However, an experienced insurance and property management claim attorney may be able to conduct research that uncovers the identity of the real property management company owners.
Second exception – arbitration clauses
If you also signed an arbitration agreement at the time of the lease signing, you may have relinquished your right to file a lawsuit against the property management company. In that case, you will have little choice but to pursue your claim through arbitration, which may involve mediation first, and if that fails, arbitration before a panel of arbitrators. Arbitration clauses are not as frequently used in real estate leases as they are in contracts between consumers and corporations, often disadvantaging the consumer. The reason is because the arbitration process can slow down the process of eviction against the tenant for a number of months.
Sue as a last resort
Litigation in the case of a property management company that manages the property in which you live should be a last resort to resolve a property conflict. The cost, time, and dedication required to pursue a lawsuit can be a significant challenge. Attempting conversation and negotiation first could help avoid the difficulties of a lawsuit and lead to a mutually agreed to and beneficial outcome for both parties.
At the same time, circumstances may dictate that the only way to motivate the property management company to do the right thing is to file a lawsuit against it.
If you are encountering issues with an insurance claim you submitted or need help handling an insurance disagreement, our experienced Florida and Alabama insurance dispute attorneys at Warhurst Law are here to serve you. We have the experience and resources to fight on your behalf for your rightful compensation. Call us today at 251.207.1296 or leave us a message through our contact form. From our office in Mobile, we represent organizations and businesses throughout the Southeast, including Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and across the Gulf Coast.