March 2009 Newsletter-Bankruptcy, Landlord News, IRS News

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Jackson Law, Ltd.

 

 

Jackson Law, LTD  

   "  Dedicated to providing clients with attentive

                     representation, sound legal counsel,

                                                           and aggressive advocacy."

 Newsletter-March 2009

 

Jackson Law, Ltd.                     

             I like to think that I'm a pretty smart guy.  After all, I'm a lawyer, with years of education and experience under my belt, and a growing practice where people come to me for legal advice and help with their problems.  Although that may seem impressive, I do not think I have yet attained the level of common sense still exercised by my mother, Mary Jackson.

A few weeks ago, after she received the first edition of our Jackson Law, Ltd. monthly newsletter, Mom offered a few complimentary words regarding the concept and the content, however, she wasted no time in cutting right to the chase;  "Every month? You're writing it yourself? How are you going to find time to do that?"  "Oh don't worry Mom," I responded, in a self assured tone, "It's really not that bad once you get started."  Well, the operative concept in my response is "once you get started."  Ever since that exchange, the wisdom and insight of my mother's comments have only grown. 

The reality is, despite our best intentions, putting out a small monthly publication has turned out to be a lot more work than we originally anticipated, and like any other worthwhile endeavor, requires a great deal of time, discipline and planning.  So although our March edition of the newsletter is reaching all of you a little behind schedule, we are working out the wrinkles and will continue to be committed to providing our clients and friends, a monthly source of good information.

In this edition, our featured articles focus on important aspects of personal injury law and landlord-tenant law, specifically addressing the manner in which they are treated in Rhode Island. 

So read, enjoy, and never forget that Mom is almost always right.  

 

J. Russell Jackson. Esq.

SURVEY RESULTS- Jackson Law conducted an on-line survey that was sent to local Realtors. We asked questions regarding their opinion on a variety of subjects they ranked as most important to them and their clients. The results below tell us that we are on the right track and Jackson Law will continue to improve our services through our staffing and technology to deliver a positive and professional experience to all clients.

 

 

LEGAL HOTLINE EVENT

  

This event was literally Off the hook!  On the evening of February 9, 2009 we opened our telephone lines for a  Legal Hotline, to answer questions and assist callers with their pressing legal issues. 

The response was great and we  covered the gamut from Real Estate to Foreclosure to  Bankruptcy. Feedback has been positive and we look forward to holding more of these events in the future.

Send an e-mail to JacksonLawinfo@Gmail.com

To receive updates about future Jackson Law events.

 

Non-Resident Property Owners Beware!

 

Rhode Island law can be unforgiving to non-resident owners of real estate.  Aside from the burdensome tax liabilities which can accrue to out of state property owners at the time of sale, these investors face other ongoing challenges

relating to their real estate ownership in Rhode Island.  One issue that constantly seems to pop up when I deal with Realtors, out of state owners, and tenants, relates to the statutory requirement for the designation of an agent for

service.

 

R.I.G.L. § 34-18-22.3 mandates that a non-resident landlord designate and continuously maintain a resident agent for service.  The designation must not only indicate the agent, but also the specific properties designated.  Furthermore, the designation must be in writing, and shall be submitted to the secretary of state and the clerk of each town where property is located.  Standard forms can be downloaded from the RI Secretary of State's website, at http://www.sec.state.ri.us/corps.  This all sounds easy enough, but believe me when I tell you that many owners simply neglect to complete these simple steps.  Such an omission can prove very costly.

 

As a penalty for those owners that fail to comply with the designation requirements, R.I.G.L. § 34-18-22.3, provides a stiff penalty. 

 

"If a landlord fails to comply with the requirements of this section, rent for the dwelling unit abates until

designation of an agent is made and the landlord shall be subject to a fine of up to five hundred ($500) dollars per violation, payable to the municipality."

 

Aside from the fine, even more devastating to the owner is the fact that this statute allows for the abatement of rental payments.  In other words, the tenant simply does not have to pay rent until an agent is designated!  Lawyers in Rhode Island have successfully argued that the owner's failure to properly file the designation serves as an absolute defense for the tenant in an eviction action.  This omission can truly serve as a weapon for a non-paying tenant and totally complicate and frustrate a landlord's efforts to move forward with an eviction. 

 Although I usually represent landlords, I recently represented a tenant who was being evicted in Newport by her out of state landlord.  The landlord had owned the property for years, but had never taken the time to properly file the designation forms.  Based on this failure, I filed a Motion to Dismiss on behalf of my client and used it to successfullynegotiate the favorable terms of her eventual surrender of the premises, together with the landlord's waiver of months of past due rent. 

 These cases raise an interesting proposition which out of state landlords should find very frightening; In addition to serving as a valid defense, does the landlord's failure to file the designation which triggers the statutory provision for the abatement of rent, create a cause of action for the tenant to recover past months rent which were paid, during a time when there was arguably no legal requirement to do so?  That's one legal issue I would prefer not to be on the wrong side of.  At the end of the day, completing and filing the necessary designation is very easy, and can quickly be accomplished with the assistance of a local property manager, Realtor or attorney.  Ultimately, it is a small price to pay as a property owner to ensure that your tenant is not given the opportunity to utilize the Rhode Island Residential

Landlord Tenant Act as a sword, and not a shield. _______________________________________________________________________________________________

 

                  Quote of the month

 

 Only when the tide goes out do you discover who's been swimming naked.

                                                                                                                             - Warren Buffett

  Recommended

  Reading:

   The E Myth Revisited:

Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It

By Michael E. Gerber

 This book is a must, for any small-business person, or foranyone just thinking about starting a business.  Gerber reminds us that simply knowing how to do the work of the business, or as he describes it, being a good "Technician," does not translate into operating a successful and profitable business.  To achieve success, the business owner must come to terms with theirinner "Entrepreneur," "Manager" and "Technician" in a balanced way that allows them to dedicate the necessary time and energy to work "on" the business and not just "in" the business. 

I wish they taught these concepts in law school!

The IRS Niche:

 

This past December the IRS announced a two-year test program for certain Offer in Compromise (OIC) cases.  Generally speaking an OIC is an agreement with the IRS, which enables the taxpayer to pay a lesser amount in full satisfaction of an unpaid tax liability.  In an effort to bring a quicker resolution to some of these cases, the IRS is trying out post appeals mediation and arbitration programs.  Under the mediation program, either the taxpayer or Appeals division of the IRS may request non-binding mediation, however the taxpayer retains the right to decline a request for mediation by IRS Appeals.  Binding arbitration will also be available, if both the taxpayer and the Appeals division agree.  This represents a real opportunity for certain taxpayers to achieve an appropriate disposition of their case in a much more efficient way.  After the two-year test period, the effectiveness of these alternative dispute resolution methods will be evaluated by the IRS.

 

 Jackson Law, LTD.

26 Valley Road, S. 203 Middletown, RI 02842 401.848.7979

 

 

                                       

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

     

 

 

 

 

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