Posts Tagged ‘Debt’

Evictions and Unauthorized Practice of Law

October 22nd, 2022

A. Right to Proceed Pro Se

In Ohio,Guest Posting a person can always represent himself in court. This is called appearing “pro se” and is a common (though unwise) practice where very little is at stake, such as in small claims courts around the state. Why is it unwise? The two main reasons are that attorneys who regularly perform evictions will be a great deal more familiar with the ins and outs of the law than the lay person. Secondly, an attorney will see the case objectively, and a dispassionate eye is a more effective observer of events than the landlord who may see things subjectively, having his vision clouded by emotions.

B. Representing Other Persons or Entities

But to represent another person or another entity (such as a company, a trust, or an LLC), you must be certified by the Ohio Supreme Court to practice law or you are engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. This rule affects landlords whose property is owned by a corporation or managed by a rental company. Owning a property in a corporate form has become very popular lately as a way of limiting the landlord’s personal liability. This way, if the landlord is sued because of an injury at the property, the most he can lose is the value of the property (assuming his insurance isn’t enough to cover it). His personal assets cannot be touched.

In the past, some landlords tried to file evictions via their employees, or tried to file the actions themselves on behalf of the corporation owning the property. They reasoned that since they were the 100 percent owners of all the shares of the corporation, they should be able to represent it in court. The problem was that these employees and corporate shareholders were not attorneys.