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Injured by Someone Texting and Driving? Know Your Rights

Posted on: January 26th, 2021 by dintinolaw

Personal injury attorney Philadelphia
You are minding your own business and driving on the road when another car swerves into your path and crashes into you. You realize afterwards that the driver was texting and driving, and may be wondering what your rights are in such a case.

If someone has ever injured you because they were texting and driving, your case is just as valid and deserving of compensation as someone hit by a drunk driver. This article will explain your car accident rights in Philadelphia in greater detail.

What Is Distracted Driving?

Accidents caused by texting and driving are included as distracted driving accidents. Distracted driving essentially means that the driver in question did not have his full attention focused on driving. This lack of awareness is often related to when a driver is concentrating on an electronic device, including phones, GPS, MP3 players, and tablets.

Texting and driving are illegal in nearly all places and can even be considered a criminal offense. Due to this, drivers will have to go to court and be deemed guilty or not guilty, which will also affect your lawsuit.

What to Do When You Are Injured

When you are injured because of a texting and driving accident, know that you have legal options to receive compensation. These are the steps that you can take after the accident.

1. Receive Medical Treatment

Your priority should be to make sure you receive the appropriate medical treatment. Ensure that you keep any receipts of necessary medication or procedures that you have to go through because of the car accident.

If you require ongoing treatment or future forms of physiotherapy due to the accident, take note of this as well. This information is important because your request for medical compensation from the driver’s insurance company should typically include all forms of medical bills arising from the accident.

2. Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

Suppose you have decided you want to pursue the legal route to receive compensation over the event. In that case, the next step should be contacting a lawyer who has experience dealing with traffic incidents and injury cases—having someone more knowledgeable about the legal process will dramatically improve your chances of having a successful legal claim.

Even if you are still unsure if you want to get into a legal dispute, hiring a personal injury attorney is an excellent way to have an expert evaluate your options and advise you on the most rewarding choice. If your case is not strong enough, for instance, your lawyer may be able to persuade the driver and the insurance company to settle for compensation outside of court.

If you decide on hiring a personal injury attorney, they can perform most of the subsequent steps for you.

3. Request a Copy of the Police Report

The accident’s police report will have a lot of the necessary information about the accident, including the other driver’s contact details and insurance information. This information makes it an important document to get ahold of and build your case on.

4. Obtain Witness Testimonies

Where possible, approach witnesses of the accident and obtain their accounts of what exactly happened. This information will help strengthen your case because their testimonies can support your own and bring you more credibility. This testimony is critical if they saw the other driver holding on to a mobile device during the accident.

Make sure you receive written statements of their testimonies that you can show the court.

5. Communicate With the Insurance Company

Shortly after the accident, it is likely that the driver’s insurance company will contact you. They may contest your claims or try to negotiate for a set compensation instead of a court case.

You will usually receive compensation for your medical injuries, car damages, and other aspects such as lost wages resulting from the injuries.

The way you deal with them will depend on your interests and how strong your case seems to be from this point. If you believe you still want to go to trial and file a legal claim against the other driver, this is well within your rights to do so.

6. Observe the Outcome of Their Criminal or Traffic Case

Because texting and driving are illegal almost anywhere, the driver will have to face a court trial anyway to determine whether they are guilty. How they plea – and what the court rules in the end – are helpful for your case.

If they plead guilty to texting and driving, you can use this plea in your injury lawsuit. This way, you do not have to prove that they were indeed texting, which makes your case a whole lot easier to win. A guilty plea will also increase the probability that the driver will want to settle for a higher price instead of going to court.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney in Philadelphia Today

Sustaining injuries from a car accident can be traumatic and distressing, both physically and mentally. Especially if the accident is caused by texting and driving, you can, in return, choose to file a lawsuit. You can also settle for insurance compensation that provides coverage over all your different expenses, such as your medical bills, lost wages, and car damages.

If you are injured and require a personal injury attorney in Philadelphia, D’Intino Law is well-equipped to provide legal assistance for you. We are highly experienced in car accident cases and can advise you on your options.

Contact us today to access our services in Philadelphia.

Eight Factors That Will Affect Your Personal Injury Suit

Posted on: November 19th, 2020 by dintinolaw

personal injury in philadelphia
How long will it take to settle my case? How much will I receive? If you have suffered a personal injury in Philadelphia, these questions are undoubtedly at the forefront of your mind.

Unfortunately, since every case is different, they are not always easy to answer. However, some factors impact the likely outcome of personal injury settlements. Here are a few things to consider.

1. Severity of the Injury

The severity of your injury is one of the most significant factors that impact injury settlements. “Hard injuries,” like broken bones or damage to your spinal cord, typically pay out more than “soft” injuries, like bruising and sprains.

Permanent injuries, like scarring or disfigurement, traumatic brain injury, or permanent loss of a body part, are associated with the highest personal injury values. If your injury makes it harder to walk, sit, stand, or travel, this will also add weight to your case.

2. Treatment and Recovery

If your injury requires extensive treatment, you are likely to get a larger settlement. This reality is common when the injury requires reconstructive surgery or long-term rehabilitation.

The more specialists you need, the higher settlement you can typically expect. Seeking treatment from doctors and hospitals instead of chiropractors and holistic treatment providers can also increase your case’s value.

In addition, the expected recovery time is also considered. This recovery time includes necessary follow-up appointments and the need to take prescription medication on an ongoing basis.

It is important to understand the expected long-term impact of the injury, so it is common for personal injury attorneys to hold off on settling a case until the victim’s medical evaluation is complete. While the delay may feel frustrating when your medical bills are piling up, it is almost always in your best interest for them to take their time to ensure you get a settlement that is appropriate for the extent of your injury.

It is also critical that you continue to follow the doctor’s instructions and keep up with all the recommended treatments, even if you are starting to feel better. Failing to do so can significantly decrease the value of your case.

3. Life Disruption

Has your injury dramatically impacted your daily life? If you cannot work or engage in extracurricular activities, you will have a basis to ask for a larger settlement. When everything else about the case is relatively equal, those who have not suffered a dramatic difference in their lives will generally receive a smaller settlement than those who can no longer do the things they could before the accident occurred.

Showing that your injuries caused you to miss school, training, recreational activities, or even a planned vacation or special event can add some value to your case.

4. Emotional and Mental Trauma

It is quite common for people who have suffered from a personal injury to have ongoing mental issues, like anxiety and depression. However, this is not always easy to prove.

In most cases, the victim will need to have worked with a reputable mental health professional who can testify about the long-lasting trauma caused by the accident and subsequent injury.

5. Newsworthiness

If you are dealing with a high-profile defendant, the desire to avoid any bad publicity could significantly impact your case. Depending on the nature of the incident and how it could play out in the press, the defendant may be willing to offer a large settlement to keep it out of the news and avoid the scrutiny that comes along with it.

6. Complexity of the Case

While it may or may not impact the expected payout, the complexity of your case will impact the time it takes to settle. Dealing with multiple parties, insurance companies, and attorneys takes longer than a claim that only involves a single victim and one liable party.

In addition, if liability is not clear-cut, it will take longer to sort through the details and determine who is at fault. If the defendant denies liability, the case may not settle at all. Instead, all parties may need to wait for a jury to decide who is at fault and, therefore, financially responsible for the resulting damage.

7. Cost of Litigation

There are many expenses involved in pursuing a liability settlement. Hiring experts, deposing witnesses, and even simple clerical work all come with a cost. Sometimes, a defendant will be willing to settle early and for a higher amount to avoid the hassle and expense of fighting it.

On the other hand, a defendant with plenty of disposable money may continue to drag a case on in the hopes of depleting the plaintiff’s resources. This strategy pushes the plaintiff to accept a lower settlement rather than continuing to push for what they deserve.

8. Case Risk

When it looks like a case could be dropped, defendants are not likely to offer a significant settlement. As the case passes certain “milestones,” its value increases. This process may include taking an important deposition or getting past a motion to dismiss your case.

The more milestones you pass, the stronger your case becomes. It is common for attorneys to pressure the other party to settle right before a significant milestone. Not only can this increase the value of a settlement, but it also increases the chances that the case will settle sooner.

Have You Suffered a Personal Injury in Philadelphia? D’Intino Law Can Help

There are so many variables that can impact the outcome of your injury case. If you have suffered a personal injury in Philadelphia, choosing the right attorney can make a significant difference.

Contact us today for a free consultation. We will review the details of your case and help you decide on your next move.

Philadelphia Real Estate Law – CDC Action to Suspend Evictions

Posted on: September 30th, 2020 by dintinolaw

Philadelphia Real Estate Law
The Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a National temporary halt in eviction to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 effective September 4, 2020. The CDC action stops evictions related to nonpayment of rent until 2021. Further, hotels cannot evict guests for nonpayment if the guest is considered a permanent resident under state or local laws, and they have provided the hotel with a sworn declaration stating that they are unable to pay until next year due to financial hardship.

Residents of HUD-assisted and FHA-insured properties are not required to complete the declaration form, but they will not have the CDC eviction protections without it. For properties with multiple tenants, a separate declaration form will be required for every adult. Once completed, the declaration prevents you from being evicted or removed from your rental through December 31, 2020.

The CDC has also made it clear that residents are still required to abide by all other terms of their leases. Failure to comply may result in eviction for another reason.

The CDC has published the declaration itself, and it states that signatories are certifying under penalty of perjury and that the declaration counts as sworn testimony. If an individual were to lie, mislead, or omit any important information, they could be prosecuted, fined, or they can receive jail time.

Those who sign the declaration are attesting to several conditions, including the following:

  • That they have explored all of their options for receiving government assistance for rent or housing payments.
  • That they either expect to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income during 2020 (or $198,000 if they file jointly) or that they were not required to report any income in 2019 to the IRS and did not receive a stimulus check from the CARES Act as a result.
  • That they are unable to pay the full amount due for rent-related to a substantial loss of household income. This loss of income can be the result of a loss of hours, lay-offs, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses (defined as unreimbursed medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of one’s adjusted gross income for the year).
  • That they are making their best effort to make partial payments that are as close to the full payment as possible, taking into account other expenses.
  • That eviction would likely result in homelessness for the individual or family.
  • That they understand that they must still pay rent or make a housing payment and comply with other obligations of their lease. And further, that they understand that fees, penalties, or interest for not paying rent may still be charged and collected.
  • That they understand that the temporary halt on the eviction will end on December 31, 2020.

Housing providers may require payment in full for all of the payments not made prior to and during the eviction moratorium. A failure to pay may cause the person to be subject to eviction after December 31, 2020.

While this declaration may come as a relief to individuals who are in immediate danger of being evicted, there is concern that it may be overturned. A landlord in Virginia has already filed a lawsuit seeking a temporary restraining order against the CDC order. In addition to legal challenges, there is also criticism that the moratorium may not truly help these at-risk individuals and families since it does not include any rental assistance or forgiveness.

The confusion between conflicting housing payment options, assistance, and laws has presented a ton of instability across the rental industry. Conflicting state and local moratoriums are also adding to the confusion. And the CDC declaration is different from other moratoriums in that it requires action to be initiated by the tenant. They must complete the form and submit it to their landlord. Although, it should be noted that HUD and other federal agencies are encouraging property owners to inform their residents of the eviction protections offered by completing the declaration.

Ultimately, all of this confusion has put renters in a very precarious position, especially if they are behind in rent or are facing a potential eviction. Though residents can sign the declaration on their own, they may benefit from contacting an attorney. The declaration is a legal document, and an experienced attorney can advise on how it fits in with other state or local regulations or laws related to eviction during the pandemic.

And while many individuals who are at risk of eviction may fear legal fees, every state has at least one agency that provides free legal help to individuals who are classified as low-income. There are also many low-cost options, and discussing your options may be the best way to protect your family during this period of uncertainty.

While the suspension is only in place until the end of 2020, if you are concerned about your property, have further questions or feel like you may be in need of legal representation, discuss your rights with a Philadelphia Real Estate Lawyer today.

COVID-19 Effects on Landlord-Tenant Law in Pennsylvania

Posted on: August 20th, 2020 by dintinolaw

Landlord Tenant Law
The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to have a tremendous impact on nearly all aspects of life. Currently, the federal extension of supplemental unemployment benefits is uncertain, which leaves many individuals and businesses in Pennsylvania in a precarious financial situation.

Many individuals may have been unable to pay rent during the last several months due to the loss of income caused by the pandemic. Conversely, they may have been able to cover rent with savings or with stimulus funds in the initial months. Still, as the pandemic wears on with no end in sight and savings accounts become drained, the ability to continue paying rent may be in question – leaving many families with questions about their options and rights.

The CARES Act, Evictions, and the COVID-19 Pandemic – Federal Considerations

Federally, the CARES Act’s eviction safeguards helped as many as one-third of the total renters in the nation, or 23 million Americans, stay in their homes. However, these safeguards have expired – meaning that eviction notices are now legally allowed to proceed. Evictions may start on August 24, 2020.

When the CARES Act was signed into law in March of 2020, it prohibited property owners from filing new evictions related to nonpayment of rent against tenants in many types of publicly funded housing. The ban lasted 120 days – until July 25, 2020 – and during that time, the owners of covered property could not file an eviction, issue a Notice to Vacate, charge late fees, or issue any other penalties for the nonpayment of rent.

Owners must also legally provide 30 days of notice of filing an eviction for nonpayment of rent after the ban ended, effectively extending the ban on filing eviction cases for these tenants until August 23, 2020. After this date, the CARES Act will not provide any protections for individuals who are unable to pay their rent. While there are several political proposals to extend protections on a federal level, nothing has been put into law or executive order yet – meaning that there will no longer be federal protections without further Congressional action.

Pennsylvania Housing and the Pandemic

To provide additional protection for homeowners and renters, the Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, signed an executive order on July 9. To extend protection from eviction and foreclosure until August 31. However, this order only covers homeowners and renters who have not received assistance from the PA CARES program administered by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA), or those that are not already receiving relief through one of several federal foreclosure moratorium programs or judicial orders.

The Pennsylvania eviction moratorium does not cover evictions that are due to tenants damaging property, breaking the law, breaching the terms of the lease, or any other eviction that is for a reason other than nonpayment of rent.

Looking Forward

President Trump has recently called for an extension of the federal eviction moratorium and signed an executive order to explore assistance for renters to prevent evictions. He is not alone; many key political figures and organizations have been promoting plans that may assist renters in some fashion. But there is a persistent fear that once the bans end, millions of renters will owe months of back rent that they cannot afford. And for many individuals, they may not even be able to resume current rental payments.

Currently, approximately 110 million Americans live in rental homes. It is estimated that as many as 20% of these households may be at risk of eviction by September 30, 2020. And up to 24 million people across the nation report that they have little to no chance of being able to pay rent in the month of August.

Unfortunately, this data indicates that there may be a wave of evictions across the country over the next couple of months. However, no matter how long it has been since a tenant has last paid rent, the landlord must follow proper procedures before they can legally evict someone.

The Landlord and Tenant Act of1951 outlines the specific steps that landlords must take to serve the eviction complaint and set up a hearing before a judge or magistrate. Other procedures include:

  • A notice of lease violation must be provided to the tenant. If it is for nonpayment, they have ten days to settle the debt owed.
  • A Notice to Quit must be served to the tenant explaining the violation and the deadline for them to vacate the property.
  • If the tenant does not leave the property by the deadline, the landlord must file an eviction lawsuit and obtain a court order to force the tenant to vacate.
  • Landlords may not take actions to force the tenant out themselves, such as changing the locks or removing the tenant’s property.

The pandemic is a scary time for many people, and particularly renters. However, renters must have all of the information they need about potential financial assistance options, mediation strategies, and a strong understanding of their legal rights. The best way to remain apprised of your rights is to enlist the help of a Real Estate Attorney in Pennsylvania. Let a trusted attorney help guide and protect your rights in such an unprecedented time.

Real Estate Law Philadelphia: How to Ensure Lease Obligations Match the Current Economic Climate

Posted on: August 10th, 2020 by dintinolaw

real estate law Philadelphia
It is estimated that over 44 million Americans lost their job due to COVID-19. Unfortunately, rent is still due. Or is it?

If you are a Philadelphia-based landlord or property manager, you may be wondering if you still need to charge rent.

While the eviction moratorium is extended until August 31, you may need to make some changes to your residential lease obligations to match the current economic situation. This moratorium applies to tenants renting both residential and commercial property.

Here is your update on the latest real estate law Philadelphia and knowing your lease obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis.

Is Rent Still Due?

While tenants are safe from eviction, are they still safe from paying rent? This answer depends on what you stated in your original lease.

The average lease has tenant obligations for payment. This lease tells tenants that they must pay rent “without abatement, set-off or deduction.”

What about during the pandemic? Depending on your lease, most leases state that rent obligations cannot be fully eliminated. You can make changes to your lease to limit your tenant’s obligations. For example, you can change your lease to allow early termination for either you or the tenant.

Your tenants also have options. Philadelphia offers a rental assistance program for anyone struggling with income.

Can Your Tenants Provide a Rent Abatement Request?

Even though rent is still technically due, you may be wondering if your tenants will try and delay their rent payments without any penalties. According to real estate law in Philadelphia, as long as you stated there are no rent abatement requests in your lease, then your tenants have to pay rent in full and on time.

Does this mean you should immediately impose penalties on your tenants? All landlords are advised to change their provisions on late and no payments. If you do not, at least wait to impose these penalties.

What about businesses? If you rent out a commercial property to businesses, you may have to provide some relief. That is because many businesses are forced to shut down and operate at a lower capacity. We will explain this more in detail in a later section.

It is also recommended you include the actions you will take when everything returns to normal.

Even though a residential property is not as impacted as commercial property, your tenants had serious financial setbacks during the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes should include possible lease and payment negotiations with their financial obligations in mind.

What Rights Do Landlords Have?

Landlords are stuck in a difficult position. Many individuals and businesses are not working and cannot pay rent. How can you change your lease provisions to accommodate our current economic situation?

Recapture Rights

If your tenant does not pay rent and “goes dark,” you can recapture your property. Recapture does not mean you have to evict the tenant.

As an alternative, you can break the existing lease and create a new one. If the tenant does not comply, they have the option to leave.

Rent, Default Interest, and Late Charges

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office states that rental contracts are still valid and rent payments are still due. You can still report late or missed payments to credit agencies, charge late fees, and rent raises.

While you cannot evict your tenants, you can post a notice that they will be evicted if they do not pay the rent money they owe.

During this unpredictable economic crisis, all landlords should have experienced some rent payment issues. Whether you are allowing no rent payments or late rent payments without a late penalty is up to you and the lease your tenants already signed.

This situation is why it is important to update your lease to give tenants an option. For example, you can add a “go dark” option to where tenants have the right to break their lease and leave if they cannot pay.

Co-Tenancy Rights and Remedies

If you own commercial property, you may grant tenants the right to reduce or terminate their commercial lease obligations if the store or building falls below a certain occupancy threshold. This option also depends on the way you define occupancy thresholds and other Force Majeure events.

Operating Covenants and Failure to Open

This lease provision change is one that commercial property owners need to consider. Your lease requires the tenant to “continuously operate” its business on the property during the duration of the lease.

Your lease may also require other provisions associated with the “continuously operate” rule. This rule includes being fully stocked, having a staff, and to maximize gross sales.

COVID-19 forced many businesses to close or operate at reduced capacity. As of now, Pennsylvania is in the “green phase” of reopening, which still reduces some business closure orders. This phase makes it difficult to manage this provision.

Landlords still have the “go dark” option and let businesses terminate their lease, especially if they face business closure.

Force Majeure

Force Majeure is excusable rent payment delay provisions for the following reasons:

  • Casualty
  • Extreme weather
  • Strike
  • War
  • Government regulations
  • Acts of God(s)

If you included this provision in your lease, your tenants may be able to delay their rent payments. All leases explain Force Majeure differently. In case your terms are broad, a tenant can argue the pandemic is an “act of God.”

Is it too late to make your Force Majeure requirements more specific? Not at all — simply rewrite these provisions and give your tenants the option to renew their lease or “go dark.”

Access to Premises and Availability of Services

Your lease should explain if your tenants have continuous access to the premises and if there are any exceptions.

For example, maybe you will have to suspend services as a result of government actions. If you need leasing guidance, you should change your lease to state that tenants may have their access closed off to these situations.

Need Help With Real Estate Law Philadelphia? Hire a Lawyer Today

The COVID-19 pandemic is altering many provisions to the real estate law Philadelphia. Due to these changes, you should alter your lease to meet these obligations.

A real estate lawyer will ensure you comply during these unpredictable times. Click here to request a free consultation.

Real Estate Law in Philadelphia: What Rights Do Homeowners Have When Foreclosure Protection Ends?

Posted on: July 24th, 2020 by dintinolaw

real estate law Philadelphia
You might not have noticed when it happened, but it may well be something you want to find out what the relevant details are so you can make an informed decision. Real estate evictions and foreclosure in Philadelphia changed on July 9, 2020. It was on July 9, 2020, that Governor Wolf extended the protection from foreclosures and evictions to August 31, 2020.

In Philadelphia, the COVID-19 Pandemic put evictions and foreclosures on hold through July 10, 2020, but has since been extended through August 31, 2020 to help ease the burden that the coronavirus pandemic has bestowed upon Philadelphia. This hold was the result of an executive order signed by Governor Tom Wolf and the state Supreme Court moratorium on proceeding with these types of legal proceedings. When real estate laws go back to normal, and the moratorium ends, you may need one of the best real estate attorneys to help you deal with a resulting complex real estate situation.

There is no substitute for having a skilled real estate attorney when dealing with unexpected legal conditions, such as tenants who are now facing evictions or foreclosures. As a landlord, you are getting ready to take the next step in collecting rent owed, read on if you want to know what protections people have in real estate legal issues that will begin to occur in Philadelphia courtrooms, once the moratorium is lifted.

Real Estate Law in Philadelphia

An excellent real estate attorney can be worth their weight in gold if you are dealing with a complex real estate issue. There is no other legal professional that offers real estate expertise in the legal mandates and laws they know and understand inside and out. There are many real estate roles and services a real estate attorney provides.

If you live in Philadelphia and you are dealing with any real estate dispute, you might want to know where you can go and what legal services will they provide you? There are law firms that specialize in real estate that can offer you excellent guidance regarding legal issues arising as a tenant, landlord or commercial building owner in Philadelphia. There is nothing as beneficial to a real estate transaction than having a real estate expert who also provides stellar and practical litigation skills.

Real estate law in Philadelphia is complicated even without COVID-19; the pandemic has caused court proceedings to come to a halt due to the shutdown. During this unprecedented time, it also impacted Philadelphia real estate foreclosures and the eviction laws many homeowners rely on to ensure that their investments are protected. Homeowners were told that if they had renters in their homes who have not been paying rent, as soon as the moratorium is lifted they will be able proceed with eviction if they cannot collect their rent and past due fees, and now with another extension many homeowners are faced with a new set of challenges in protecting their homes and finances.

Renter and Homeowner Financial Assistance in Philadelphia

In a unique twist, both landlords and tenants are looking for real estate law assistance to help deal with the looming eviction and foreclosures that inevitably will become reality at the end of August. Both landlords and tenants have asked for assistance to deal with this upcoming issue, and both Governor Wolf and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency has been proactive by setting aside about $150 million worth of financial assistance funds from the CARES Act to qualified homeowners and tenants to help provide financial assistance to pay their mortgage or rents.

Homeowners and tenants can apply for the funds until September 30, 2020. There are some eligibility requirements like, layoff dates, income medians and the number of people in your household. Taking advantage of this assistance is key to avoiding foreclosure or eviction.

Real Estate Law That Applies to Tenants and Landlords

It is then that both tenants and landlords understand they need to know what their rights are and when to utilize the services of a real estate law firm in Philadelphia. When dealing with disputes on real estate contractual issues having a dependable real estate attorney is imperative. Your real estate attorney should provide you with two primary functions.

  1. They can litigate your case in court if and when needed.
  2. The real estate attorney can decipher and consider the legal aspects of any real estate transactions and offer you viable legal options to consider.

The job duties and responsibilities of a real estate attorney are extensive and detailed. They also have to be ready for any real estate eventuality that may occur.

Philadelphia Real Estate Law Firm Responsibilities

There is no easy way to practice Philadelphia real estate with its myriad of duties and responsibilities. The guide to real estate law in Philadelphia grows every year, but some typical responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Assess legal risk based on real estate documentation or court filing records
  • Be prepared to litigate any real property transaction
  • Contract expertise for both tenant and homeowner or commercial property owners
  • Interpret rules and regulations regarding real estate law changes

Most Philadelphia real estate attorneys also have to handle large scale real estate portfolios. These types of portfolios come with many legal nuances that have to be carefully considered during legal deliberation.

Your Next Step May Be Your Most Important Legal Step

The value of an excellent real estate attorney cannot be overstated because they can capture or litigate complex real estate transactions based on old and new legal rulings. Those abilities have infinite value, and it’s why you need to seek out one of the best real estate law firms in Philadelphia. Reach out to D’Intino Law Firm, LLC, when you are ready to move forward with your real estate legal needs.

When you are ready to learn about your legal options regarding real estate law in Philadelphia, D’Intino Law Firm will provide you with the best legal options available to you. D’Intino Law Firm has the extensive real estate law knowledge you want with the litigation expertise you need.

Criminal Defense Philadelphia: Questions to Ask Your Lawyer About Civil Rights and How They Apply to Your Case

Posted on: June 30th, 2020 by dintinolaw

criminal defense Philadelphia

If you are charged with a crime and feel your civil rights have been infringed upon in any way by the government or any organization, you might need a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to represent you.

It is essential that no matter the circumstance your rights to be treated fairly and justly, and innocent until proven guilty are at the forefront of your case. Knowing all of the options available to you in terms of liberty, equal protection, and the rule of law are key to proper defense.

If you need a criminal defense lawyer in Philadelphia, it can be confusing not knowing pertinent questions to ask your lawyer about your civil rights and key factors in your case.

The legal system can be confusing and overwhelming, so you must be prepared. Read on to find out precisely the right questions to ask your lawyer.

What is the Definition of Civil Rights?

Our civil rights are an expansive set of rules and laws that protect individuals from experiencing unfair treatment or discrimination from an institution or governmental facet in the United States (and, in a more limited capacity, abroad).

Civil rights have been legislated for decades to ensure equality and fairness for all citizens. But just because they’ve been around for a long time doesn’t mean they are perfect. Even though legislation and laws have been around for years and years in one form or another, civil rights are still infringed upon to this day.

The reality of civil rights is that they continue to expand as with other aspects of the law. For instance, your civil rights as a BAME citizen or an LGBTQ+ citizen are much stronger today than in the past. But many would argue these rights still need updating and improving for the fairness of all American citizens.

Issues such as employment, housing, public accommodations, and education are associated with examples of unjust treatment and a denial of fundamental civil rights.

Is There a Difference Between Civil Rights and Civil Liberties?

Yes. Generally speaking, civil rights speak to the fundamental basic human rights that a person should have.

People should be free from discrimination of any kind, regardless of their gender, race, and disability. These traits are known as protected. They must not be taken into consideration or against a person negatively to allow unequal treatment.

Civil liberties are the freedoms guaranteed to citizens on a federal level by the Constitution. For example, the right to vote, the right to privacy, or the right to free speech.

What Are Some Typical Examples of Civil Right Violations?

There are many kinds of civil rights violations in America that need to be addressed and held accountable.

Some common ones include police brutality, unlawful searches, and housing discrimination, being fired, or overlooked for promotion due to gender discrimination and cruel and unusual punishment.

If you feel that the violation of your civil rights falls under these categories or any others that you aren’t sure about, then you must consult with a lawyer or criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

What is the Current Legislation in Philadelphia on Civil Rights?

States can also pass specific laws concerning civil rights that are often more protective than some federal ones. Speak with your lawyer about the current legislation in your area as it may differ from different cities and countries.

Your lawyer will be knowledgeable and up to date with the latest laws and legislation to help support and add to the strength of your case. They can advise you on all the options available and which best route to go down.

Have You Dealt With a Case Like Mine Before?

This is an important question to ask your lawyer when thinking about representation and the strength of your defense.

An experienced lawyer will have dealt with plenty of cases like yours in their time practicing law. They will be able to use that experience to navigate the court case in the most favorable option for you and your case.

What is Your Success Rate with Civil Rights Cases?

This is also a very important question. Just because a lawyer has practiced cases like these multiple times doesn’t mean that the outcome has been successful.

Asking your lawyer their success rate will certainly give you an indication of what your case might result in.

A lawyer with a fantastic track record isn’t a guarantee. But it will give you confidence that you are in safe hands and that they are knowledgeable and successful in the overall process.

Are There Other Options Than Going to Trial?

Trials can be exhausting and a draining process for all the parties concerned. This is especially prominent in the case of civil rights violations. You might not want to be anywhere near the people who have violated your rights.

In a courtroom setting that could take weeks or even months, this might be too emotionally detrimental to yourself and your recovery.

This is why it is worth asking your lawyer if there are any other options available to save the expense and time of going through the courts.

Perhaps mediation or a settlement might be the best option for everyone involved in the case. Not all civil rights cases need to result in a trial, explore the possibilities and outcomes with your lawyer, and work out the best route for you.

How is it Best For Us to Communicate?

In civil rights cases, you may need to gather evidence such as witness statements, medical documents, and expert witnesses. This will all need to be looked over and talked through with your criminal defense lawyer.

Work out how best it is for you both to communicate, whether it is over the phone, email, or in person. This way, everyone is on the same page and has the same expectations from the get-go.

Criminal Defense in Philadelphia: Where Can I Find Out More?

We hope you have found this article on civil rights and criminal defense in Philadelphia helpful and informative.

It is important to know your rights where possible and in certain situations, but this is a complex thing to manage. You should try to understand the key rights that relate to you and safeguard them wherever possible.

It is unbelievable that these incidents continue to happen. We know many people have trouble understanding their rights and we are here to help you with getting the best representation and support you need.

If you have any further questions or feel like you might be in need of legal representation, why not contact our office directly to get the ball rolling?

CARES Act: What Real Estate Legal Proceedings Are Stopped During This Time (And Which Ones Are Not Covered?)

Posted on: May 28th, 2020 by dintinolaw

Real Estate Law Philadelphia

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has hit everyone hard. It has caused businesses to lose, workers to get laid off, and the entire United States economy to come to a halt.

Many families have lost their livelihoods due to government restrictions, loss of customers, or even their own illnesses or death.

Yet bills continue to roll in. As people worry about how to feed their kids, they also are faced with looming rent or mortgage payments. How can you keep a roof over your head in these perilous times?

The government has taken some measures to protect people from losing their homes. How can people go to work when they are told they cannot leave the house? State and federal laws have implemented some protections.

Also, many proceedings have been halted due to social distancing requirements.

Here is what you need to know if you are concerned about legal proceedings affecting your housing situation in the wake of this crisis.

Current Eviction Moratorium

Once the gravity of COVID-19 became apparent, state and federal governments put a pause on legal proceedings which could oust families from their homes.

The federal government passed The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) to ease financial pressures.

It placed a 120-day moratorium on evictions on properties covered by government programs or backed by federal funding.

However, it is unclear what will happen once that moratorium is up.

HUD or public assistance housing has special protections. Foreclosure and eviction proceedings in respect of HUD housing were temporarily suspended.

State Law Protections

In Pennsylvania, both owners and renters were protected from eviction or foreclosure immediately after the pandemic hit. The state Supreme Court passed an order protecting people and extended it when conditions continued. Police and landlords were prohibited from carrying out any eviction orders.

Thus, if you were behind on payments prior to the pandemic, your proceedings were temporarily suspended.

However, now there may be an avalanche of evictions notices and foreclosures in places like Philadelphia. People who were in arrears prior to COVID will now face proceedings. Newly unemployed people may now also be at risk.

The courts will be inundated with legal proceedings forcing people from their homes because of their inability to pay.

Landlord-Tenant Court

Although certain laws may expire, it is still unclear how certain legal proceedings will go forward.

The landlord-tenant court, like many other judicial forums, is closed due to fear of infection. Some proceedings are being held virtually. However, this may pose issues for people without internet access and other barriers.

The large number of cases will also surely cause massive backlog and delays.

What Are Your Options if You Can’t Pay the Rent?

If you run a commercial business and you cannot pay the rent, you have different challenges than a homeowner. Residential tenants usually get more protection under the law.

If you are a small, women- or minority-owned business or a nonprofit, you may be eligible for government relief. The Small Business Association has a loan program for which you may apply. You may even get money which you do not have to pay back.

Even if you are behind on rent, you have rights. For example, it is a crime for your landlord to lock you out. If your landlord locks you out, call the local police right away.

If you fall behind on your rent payments, you can try speaking with your landlord. You may be able to work out a payment plan to avoid getting evicted.

You can also ask your landlord to apply your security deposit to the rent.

Under the CARES Act, if the landlord has a federally backed mortgage, the landlord may not file an eviction action against you for nonpayment of rent until July 25, 2020. The landlord must give you 30 days’ notice before he files an eviction action.

You always have a right to safe and decent housing. If you are late with the rent, your landlord may not withhold services or fail to fix problems like inadequate heat, exposure to lead, infestations, leaks, crumbling walls and ceilings, or other hazardous conditions.

It is always best to work with a real estate lawyer when you are negotiating with your landlord. He or she will be able to protect your rights and possibly negotiate a way for you to get back on your feet without getting kicked out of your home.

What if You Cannot Pay Your Mortgage?

You cannot be removed from your house if you miss one mortgage payment. Foreclosure actually takes a while.

You will not be forced out until a judgment of foreclosure is entered and a sheriff’s sale of your property has taken place.

If you have a federally backed mortgage, you have the right to ask your mortgage servicer for forbearance to relieve financial hardship arising from the pandemic. The CARES Act requires servicers of federally backed mortgages to give struggling borrowers a 180-day grace period on payments.

A real estate lawyer should also speak on your behalf to a bank which holds your mortgage. He or she may be an effective negotiator to help you get some concessions in order to avoid foreclosure.

Eviction or Foreclosure Legal Proceedings: It Is Not Business as Usual

Even in the best of times, it is very stressful to be unable to pay your rent or mortgage. At least you may have an understanding of the legal proceedings.

Now we are in what is being called “the new normal,” but there is little “normal” about it! Laws are changing rapidly. Courts are closed or functioning at limited capacity.

Whether you are familiar with financial trouble, or all of this is new for you, you need assistance in negotiating this new world.

If you are worried about losing your home, talk to a lawyer who understands real estate law Philadelphia and proceedings like evictions and foreclosures. They will be able to explain to you your options. They can tell you what the government is offering in terms of protection in these uncertain times.

With so much in flux, you need someone you can trust.

For more information on the changing real estate environment and the latest status of legal proceedings affecting you, check out our blog.

Supreme Court Halts Evictions and Foreclosures for Two Weeks During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted on: April 21st, 2020 by dintinolaw

evictions Real estate law Philadelphia

Statistics show that around 16 million Americans have now lost their jobs due to the knock-on effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Naturally, this economic reality will lead to many people being unable to pay their rent or mortgage.

If you live in Philadelphia and find yourself in this position, you will be glad to learn that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that no foreclosure or eviction will be enforced in the state before the end of April.

Read on as we look at the effects that this pandemic will have on evictions and foreclosures going forward.

Are You Safe from Eviction or Foreclosure?

Until April 30, owners and renters should be safe from eviction or foreclosure.

However, for those that have lost jobs or are operating with limited income, difficulties in keeping up with rental or mortgage payments may persist for a long time after that.

It is not yet clear if the Pennsylvanian courts or legislative bodies will impose further restrictions on evictions or foreclosures. If they do not, there will likely be many instances of both in May and June.

Federal Provisions

The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act was put in place by the federal government.

The Act sets out a number of measures, which aims to ease pressures on those affected by the lockdown.

Firstly, it sets aside a total of $2 trillion for various economic aid projects.

One of its main aims is to provide a steady flow of liquidity to businesses and individuals so that they can support themselves and continue to contribute to the circular flow of the economy.

The CARES Act also put a 120-day moratorium on evictions on properties that are involved in government programs or are backed by federal funding. A moratorium is a temporary delay, suspension, or prohibition of a given action.

What Is the Current Situation in Pennsylvania?

As mentioned, the Supreme Court of the state of Pennsylvania has ruled that no eviction will be enforced before April 30.

This ruling means that courts will not process eviction orders until then, and police will not act on existing orders. Landlords have also been ordered to close existing proceedings.

This order is an extension of a previous order, which ran until April 3.

Statistics show that around 10% of Pennsylvanians are now signed up for some form of income assistance. This increase suggests that these restrictions on evictions and foreclosures are indeed badly needed.

Provisions in the Other States

The protections offered by state governments concerning evictions and foreclosures vary considerably from state to state.

Some states have put a moratorium in place in relation to evictions and foreclosures. Others have not put a formal moratorium in place but have issued declarations or statements of intent that have the effect of safeguarding tenants from eviction.

In Alaska, for example, no formal moratorium has been put in place. However, Governor Mike Dunleavy did release a plan, which provides that no Alaskan receiving rental assistance will face eviction.

A focus on those receiving rental assistance is common to many states. There is less direct protection afforded to those who are not in this situation.

The Rules for HUD Housing

The Department for Housing and Urban Development’s housing program is the public housing system in place in the United States.

The program was established to provide housing for low-income families. As these families will be most at risk during the pandemic, there has been a particular concern as to what will happen with HUD housing.

Fortunately, tenants and homeowners under the HUD scheme have been afforded special protections.

President Trump has announced that all foreclosure and eviction proceedings in respect of HUD housing will be suspended until at least May 1.

2016 statistics show us that around 6.7 million people live in HUD housing nationwide. Many thousands of these are in Pennsylvania.

Will Further Measures in Relation to Evictions & Foreclosures Be Necessary?

There have already been many appeals made to federal and state bodies to provide comprehensive protection to home occupiers for the coming months.

Unfortunately, whether or not this will come about is unclear. A big part of the problem here is the uncertainty about the virus itself.

So far, China is the only country to record a positive recovery from the pandemic. Until other countries (particularly those in Europe) start to note improvements, it will be very difficult to forecast a likely end date to movement restrictions and consequent economic difficulties.

Is There a Difference Between Residential & Commercial Property?

When it comes to evictions and foreclosures, there are indeed several important differences between commercial and residential property.

These center around the stricter approach adopted by courts concerning commercial tenants. As business owners, commercial tenants are presumed to have a certain amount of knowledge and expertise when it comes to contracts, leases, and other such arrangements.

The difference in the approach of the courts also stems from the fact that residential properties are often family homes. If courts were to take a strict line with residential property, many families would be made homeless.

This reality means that commercial tenants are more likely to be evicted than residential ones, all other factors being equal. If you own or rent a commercial property, you should be especially careful at this time.

Getting the Protection You Need

Evictions and foreclosures should not be a cause for concern for Philadelphia citizens for the next few weeks. However, over the following months, it is difficult to say whether adequate protection for tenants will remain in place.

If you fear that you may be evicted from your property, it is a good idea to get a lawyer on your side. If you want to inquire about our services, contact us today.

How Commercial Property Law Is Different Than Residential Property Law

Posted on: March 24th, 2020 by dintinolaw

Philadelphia property law
The rate of homeownership in Philadelphia has been steadily decreasing in recent years. However, property law is relevant for more than just buying a home.

Whether you are looking for a penthouse apartment or a new business office, you are going to need the help of a good property law practitioner. However, not all property lawyers are the same. Different lawyers specialize in different kinds of transactions.

Read on as we explore the differences between commercial property law and residential property law.

Commercial & Residential Property Law: The Basic Differences

The primary difference between residential and commercial property is that the former is for living in, while the latter is for doing business.

However, it is not quite as straightforward as that. Many differences are caused by this in terms of the legal requirements of transactions.

Costs

Naturally, one of the foremost considerations in terms of any transaction is its financial implications.

Generally speaking, costs will be lower for residential property transactions than for commercial ones. This fact tends to be true whether you are renting or buying.

Mortgage applications for business properties will present far greater costs than those for residential properties. This fact is especially true if your building will have owner-occupier status, i.e. if you can prove you will be living there yourself.

Your lawyer will be able to walk you through the best cost-reduction approaches in respect of every type of property transaction.

Legal Protection

There are significant differences in the law’s treatment of commercial and residential tenants.

Generally speaking, the law offers far greater protection to residential tenants than commercial ones. This protection is because where the basis for a lease relates to business, the courts presume that both parties to it have entered into it intending to make a profit and that the tenant is therefore reasonably competent.

Courts also appreciate that residential tenants may be families. This fact means that the repercussions of a failure in a lease can be far more difficult, especially where younger children are affected.

For commercial properties, there are fewer restrictions on rent increases and maximum lease terms. There are also usually stricter rules on security deposit repayments for commercial leases.

Foreclosure

If you fall behind on mortgage repayments on a property you have purchased, the lending bank may be entitled to foreclose on the property.

This option means that they will claim the property and use it to regain the money they are owed on it. This process may be done by a simple sale, or by other means.

For business property, courts will often appoint a figure known as a receiver. This receiver is someone who will take over the running of your business for a time to secure as much repayment as possible for the lending bank.

Receivership is only possible in respect of commercial properties.

Families facing financial difficulty may experience emotional trauma with it as well. It is important to remember that anything you share with your lawyer is held in the strictest confidence and that they will be able to offer support and guidance, as well as practical tips, to help you through the challenges you face.

Property Requirements

There are different requirements in terms of the contents and facilities a property must-have, depending on whether it is a commercial or residential building.

Generally, these are more demanding when dealing with residential property. It is required that all residential properties have a kitchen and at least one bathroom, for instance.

There are fewer requirements in terms of what a commercial property must contain. However, these rules have gotten somewhat stricter in more recent times.

Many commercial leases will contain provisions forbidding tenants to live in the property. Similarly, many residential leases do not allow for the carrying on of business in the property.

Disclosure Requirements

Because of the assumptions made about the competence of parties to a commercial arrangement, disclosure requirements are less severe in commercial property law.

Generally, those buying or leasing residential property have the right to be informed of defects in the property.

Those acquiring commercial property are not so well protected. A greater duty falls on them to assess any shortcomings in the property. However, buyers and renters should always have the opportunity to thoroughly inspect the property.

The Differences Between Mortgages & Leases

Whether you are dealing with residential or commercial property, you will need to know about the features of mortgages and leases.

A mortgage is the loan instrument given to someone by a bank to be used for the purchase of a property. A lease is an agreement between a landlord and a tenant when the property is to be rented rather than purchased outright.

As noted above, mortgages carry the possibility of foreclosure. In the case of commercial mortgages, this process may also imply receivership.

As leases do not involve debts, their termination is more straightforward. A landlord can just end the renting relationship and re-purpose the property if he or she chooses.

However, there are legal rules against terminating a tenancy arrangement unfairly or without good reason. Again, the standards here are higher in respect of residential tenancies.

Finding the Philadelphia Property Lawyer that Best Suits Your Needs

By now, you should have an appreciation of the factors to consider when hiring a Philadelphia property law professional.

The differences in practice between residential property law and commercial property law can be significant. Not only that, but there can be variations within each type, depending on the nature of the transaction you’re entering.

Therefore, it is important to have the right lawyer alongside you every step of the way. If you are ready to take the first steps towards owning the new property of your dreams, contact us today to arrange a free consultation.