Multifamily/Apartment Management Law

We provide our clients with assistance for all of their multifamily/apartment needs throughout North Carolina and South Carolina, and in the Savannah and Atlanta metro areas in Georgia.

Our footprint is growing, so please reach out to us regarding adjoining states! As government agencies adopt more regulations regarding the operation of multifamily and apartment communities, we help residential property owners and managers maintain compliance in their policies and procedures. Brownlee Whitlow & Praet, PLLC has extensive experience in protecting the business interests of multifamily apartment owners and managers by creating sound strategies and tools—including leases and addendums—that meet many goals yet stay within regulatory compliance.

The growing demand for rental homes coupled with the growing number of governmental regulations has put a strain on the day-to-day operation of multifamily apartment communities. It is our goal to help our clients realize an improved return on investment and opportunities for future growth through our guidance. To that end, we represent and counsel multifamily property owners and managers in all phases of multifamily and apartment law, including:

  • Formulating Strategies for Good Management Procedures and Policies
  • Creating and Revising Leases and Addendums
  • Addressing Environmental Complaints including Mold Complaints
  • Addressing Fair Housing and other Governmental Complaints
  • Addressing Permissible Resident Conduct and Rules
  • Ensuring Compliance with Laws Applicable to Security Deposits
  • Employment Practice Compliance
  • Assisting with Lease Terminations
  • Advising on Rental Collection Procedures
  • Reviewing and Advising on Resident Qualification Procedures
  • Complex Summary Ejectment/Eviction Hearings and Appeals
  • Multifamily Purchase, Sale, and Refinance

Multifamily Litigation

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Environmental

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Real Estate Commission & Consumer Rights Compliance

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Premises Liability Defense

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Bankruptcy Stay Litigation

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Fair Housing Defense/ADA Defense & Compliance

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Lease Drafting, Review & Amendment

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Affordable Housing Compliance

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Multifamily Litigation

Our firm regularly handles any and all litigation needs that may arise for our clients including claims filed by tenants and former tenants or their guests alleging some negligence on the part of the owner or property management company. These claims can involve slip and falls, dog bite cases, mold or other environmental hazards, breaches of the warranty of habitability and other generalized claims brought by the tenant alleging some breach of duty by the owner or management company. We work with our clients to analyze the facts and provide sound legal and practical advice on the best way to reach a sound result.

Environmental

We have all seen headlines regarding resident/tenant mold or lead based claims. Often these claims are defensible. But they must be taken seriously because, if not handled properly, your liability can be significant.

Ultimately you may choose to submit environmental claims to your insurer, your initial action/reaction in response to the claims can have a drastic effect on the claim, and your carrier may try to find a way to avoid defending these claims.

Our multifamily attorneys have significant experience working with property owners, managers, and insurers to triage environmental claims and, if necessary, work with you to provide a zealous defense of environmental claims.

Real Estate Commission & Consumer Rights Compliance

Too often, when residents face eviction or loss of security deposit, they will seek to retaliate by filing a complaint with the real estate commission or a state consumer protections agency. We are experienced in resolving real estate commission and consumer protection complaints. 

Additionally, highly qualified property management companies and owners will enter North Carolina markets without understanding that they need to be licensed with the North Carolina Real Estate Commission. We regularly assist clients in complying with North Carolina real estate management registration requirements and completing their applications.

Premises Liability Defense

We regularly represent and defend our clients in all nature of premises liability cases wherein an injured person alleges that the entity or person who owns the property failed to properly maintain the property or warn of a potentially dangerous condition which the owner knew or should reasonably have known about leading to injury by the person. These types of cases includes things such as: slip and fall cases; snow and ice accidents; inadequate maintenance of the premises; defective conditions on the premises; dog bites; swimming pool accidents; fires; and water leaks or flooding to name a few.

Bankruptcy Stay Litigation

When a resident files bankruptcy the bankruptcy code provides them with automatic protections against creditors seeking to retake possession of property or pursue the collection of a debt. We regularly make appearances on behalf of our clients in Bankruptcy courts seeking relief from those debtor protections in an effort to allow our clients to then take action in state court to regain possession of their property wherein the resident has defaulted on their lease. In addition, we regularly advise clients of their rights, limitations and best practices when dealing with a resident who has filed a bankruptcy petition.

Fair Housing Defense and Compliance

Individuals who are denied residence in a rental home sometimes claim they are the victims of housing discrimination because of race, gender, national origin, or other factors. These charges are taken seriously by governmental bodies.

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) was adopted in 1968 to prevent discrimination based on race, color, religion, and national origin. It was later amended to add additional protected classes, including those preventing discrimination based on sex and those adding handicap (disability) and familial status as protected classes. In addition to federal law, some state laws and local ordinances provide various other protections based on categories such as source of income, marital status, sexual orientation, occupation, age, and criminal history.

To many, the law seems simple enough: do not discriminate. But each situation is fact-intensive and requires an individualized review of the circumstances. Unfortunately, the fair housing laws are not always straightforward or simple. We provide both training and defense regularly to clients throughout North Carolina and South Carolina.

Lease Drafting, Review and Amendment

Though many of our clients use leases provided by the National Apartment Association, or the State realtors boards, many have drafted their own leases that they use in many different states and need review for North Carolina or South Carolina compliance. Even our clients who use the leases and amendments provided by the National Apartment Association often require assistance with the preparation of lease amendments or review of rules and regulations. Our involvement in the multifamily industry at the local, state, and national levels — as well as our daily litigation of multifamily issues — provide us with an unparalleled understanding of the issues our clients face and their needs when drafting, reviewing, or amending their leases.

Affordable Housing Compliance

Our firm represents real estate owners of single-family homes and large multifamily projects, including tax credit properties, properties receiving project-based Section 8 assistance and other subsidies, housing authorities and rooming houses. We are intimately familiar with local, state, and federal laws and procedures relating to properties managed, controlled, or operated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Our representation includes compliance with the additional rules and regulations for those communities that accept government assistance in terms of daily policies, as well as litigation and pre-litigation requirements. Additionally, we apply our experience with LIHTC and Section 8 homes and communities when assisting our clients with the purchase and sale of properties subject to these programs.