Latest Articles from Our Blog

What You Need to Know If You Run a Horse Boarding Facility

What You Need to Know If You Run a Horse Boarding FacilityMaryland has many protections, regulations, and guidelines regarding the care of horses. Several of these directly impact owners of horse boarding facilities. As a boarding facility owner, it is crucial that you understand your obligations under the law. Whether you are running a large-scale horse operation, are just only one boarder to help defray your horse expenses, giving lessons, have a horse rental service, or are a rescue or stable sanctuary in the state of Maryland, you are required by law to be licensed through the Maryland Horse Industry Board. (Additionally, a few counties have further licensing requirements for boarding facilities.) Regulations Affecting Horse Boarding Facilities The MHIB requires that each horse be provided with shelter that is clean, dry, well-ventilated (but not drafty), and protects the horse from inclement weather. The stables and surrounding areas must also be kept neat and orderly and in good repair. This includes making sure…

Why Many Women Prefer Hiring a Female Attorney

Why Many Women Prefer Hiring a Female AttorneyWhen people seek legal representation, they want someone who understands their experience. Clients often feel more comfortable with an attorney they can relate to, which is one of the many reasons women seek female attorneys to represent them. Rebekah Lusk is a fierce advocate for female clients and a successful entrepreneur in her legal practice. She realized early in her career that to gain respect from others in the legal field, she would need to have her name on the door. Naturally independent, outspoken and authentic, Rebekah found that playing to those strengths were essential to establishing herself in her field. We asked Rebekah Lusk about the work she’s done for her clients, to learn more about her experience as an attorney and businesswoman. Question: You have heard from several female clients that they were specifically seeking a female attorney. Why do you think that is? Rebekah Lusk:  I think women…

Client Spotlight: Media to Memories

We regularly highlight one of the community’s promising businesses in our Client Spotlight. This month, we’re shining the spotlight on Media to Memories, LLC.Lusk Law, LLC, serves a wide array of business clients. We regularly highlight one of the community’s promising businesses in our Client Spotlight. This month, we’re shining the spotlight on Media to Memories, LLC. Media to Memories is a photo-organizing business based in Severna Park, Maryland, that helps people organize, archive, and display their photos in such a way as to make them more enjoyable to view. Owner and lead memory organizer Kristy Stephens came up with the idea to start her business when she sat down to work with her family photos to create her family’s annual yearbook. “I was amazed by how many photos my family of three took in one year,” said Stephens. “We had taken well over 3,000 photos and videos in just one year.” This was when she realized that she had so many photos and videos that it was unrealistic that her family would be…

Know Your Rights with the Right of First Refusal

Know Your Rights with the Right of First Refusal“Daunting,” “baffling,” and “headache-inducing” are just a few of the words used to describe the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) (also called Tenant’s Right of First Refusal), which covers the buying or selling of a single-family residential rental property in the City of Baltimore. Our clients can be concerned because they knew that the procedures required of landlords and tenants by TOPA can be daunting, especially considering that failure to follow the code can result in criminal charges (and invalidate sales). If a landlord decides to sell or transfer a property, TOPA gives tenants the right of first refusal at buying the home they live in. For landlords, any sale of a single-family residential rental property depends on compliance with procedures set out in TOPA. Tenant’s Right of First Refusal Procedures The steps a landlord and tenant must follow are laid out by the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act…

How Small Businesses Find Footing in Cozy Communities

How Small Businesses Find Footing in Cozy CommunitiesIn 2015, CNN named Frederick, Maryland, one of the best “comeback towns” in the United States. The article called the city center “nearly chain-proof,” with its array of small and independent businesses. The same thing is happening around the country: Entrepreneurs are breathing new life into forgotten or neglected properties and building a new commercial infrastructure. Residents of small towns are welcoming business owners, and some governments have even created incentives to encourage businesses to set-up shop. Small Business Incentives The City of Frederick offers several incentives for small businesses, such as: Vacant Commercial Property Tax Credit – This tax credit is for entrepreneurs who rehabilitate a property that’s been vacant for at least 18 of the past 24 months. Arts & Entertainment District Tax Credit – This incentive includes an artist income tax credit, a property tax credit, and the abatement of arts & entertainment tax for qualifying arts…

City Council Bill Enhances Requirements for Baltimore Landlords

City Council Bill Enhances Requirements for Baltimore LandlordsBaltimore City Councilman Bill Henry introduced a bill this year that would require licensing and inspection of all private rental properties. Currently, landlords with one- and two-unit rental properties are exempt from those requirements, but those are the properties that most often are the subject of tenant complaints. Mayor Catherine Pugh signed the legislation on May 7, so the new law becomes effective in 2019. Provisions of the Law The new law establishes a three-tier licensing structure: Landlords whose properties pass initial inspections or who promptly repair violations may be licensed for three years and subject to inspection every three years. Landlords whose properties have lingering violations may be required to submit to inspection every year or every two years (depending on the severity and nature of the violations) in order to renew their licenses. Pros and Cons of the New Law Supporters of the legislation say it’s a long-overdue…

Why Landlords Should Be Proactive on Lead Paint in Properties

Why Landlords Should Be Proactive on Lead Paint in PropertiesIn March, the Maryland Senate was considering a bill that would require judges to dismiss eviction suits if landlords can’t prove their compliance with lead paint rules. Landlords with properties built prior to 1978 must provide tenants with information about the health risks of lead and take steps to minimize lead hazards. More than 4,900 children in the past decade have been diagnosed with lead poisoning, raising concerns that landlords are not adequately addressing lead hazards. Advocates for Reform By law, landlords who own properties built before 1978 must have a valid lead-paint inspection certificate before renting a home to tenants; but, according to the Public Justice Center, judges are not permitted to consider whether a landlord has such a certificate when presiding over an eviction case. Advocates for rental reform say that’s unfair to tenants. This year is not the first for a bill about lead-hazard reduction. In 2016, a bill was introduced that would…

Should You Hire an Employee or a Contractor? 

Should You Hire an Employee or a Contractor? Many small business owners will need to hire someone at some point. There’s no formula for determining when you’ll reach that point, but if you feel you’ve been working around the clock, or you can’t keep up with your current volume of business, now may be the time to bring someone on board. First, you’ll need to figure out whether you need an employee or an independent contractor. The following is an overview of the pros and cons of hiring employees or contractors. Hiring Employees: Factors to Consider If you hire an employee, you control how, when, and in what capacity they work. So if you need someone to work specific times, or at a specific location, you’ll need an employee. And if you need someone to fulfill an essential role – like management – you’ll definitely want an employee instead of a contractor. Before hiring an employee, you’ll have…

Are You Owed Money? When You Should Consider Hiring an Attorney to Help

Are You Owed Money? When You Should Consider Hiring an Attorney to HelpIn a perfect world, every client, tenant, member of the supply chain, or debtor would pay their bills on time. When they don’t, businesses often expend a lot of effort trying to collect on unpaid debts, and the longer a debt is unpaid, the harder it becomes to collect. You may not need an outside assistance with collection if you run a large company with the resources to pursue delinquent debtors. Most small businesses, however, can’t afford for their bookkeeper or small accounting staff to devote time to collections. If you’re struggling to collect unpaid debts, it may be time to hire an outside help. Debt Collection Agency or Attorney? Hiring a debt collector costs money, of course, but that’s a preferable alternative to collecting nothing on the outstanding debt. Collection agencies usually charge a flat fee on any debt they collect. So, if your debtor owes you $10,000, and…

Remember These Four Points When Buying a Home

Remember These Four Points When Buying a HomeBuying a home can be a long process. You may look at several houses before finding the right one, and even then there's no guarantee that the seller will accept your offer. In your home-buying journey, you may be able to avoid some of the common pitfalls for buyers by keeping the following four points in mind. 1. Hire your own inspector. If sellers know their home has a latent defect - one the buyer would not be able to detect just by looking – they must disclose this. In Maryland, sellers have the option to complete a disclosure or a disclaimer form. A disclosure form lists everything the seller knows about the property. A disclaimer form, says the seller has no knowledge of the property and is not disclosing any information, however, even with a disclaimer form, a seller must disclose latent defects. Regardless of whether the seller has…