By On Oct 11, 2019 Templates
First and foremost, LLCs limit personal vulnerability to potential lawsuits related to the property. Consider the situation in which the owner of an investment property leases it to a tenant who decides to throw a big party, during which one of the tenants guests falls over a balcony. In todays legal climate, it is quite possible that the injured guest would pursue a claim based on the unsafe condition of the rental dwelling. More often than not, the owner would be named in any lawsuit resulting from the incident. If that rental property were owned by a real estate investor individually, he or she would be named in the lawsuit and would have to defend his or her personal assets from the plaintiffs claims. In contrast, if that property were owned by an LLC, the owners risk exposure would be insulated by the protection of the company, leaving only the assets owned by the LLC (as opposed to all of the owners personal assets) exposed to potential lawsuits.
Although there are many benefits to holding real property assets through an LLC, a limited liability company may not be the best holding vehicle for every property owner. For many real estate investors, the trouble of forming and maintaining a company is not worth protection from the theoretical threat of a lawsuit, particularly when affordable liability insurance is available. That said, real estate investors that rely solely on insurance as a means of protection from personal liability take a significant risk. Liability policies typically have limits, exceptions and carve-outs. While the chance of a loss that exceeds policy limits may be remote, if it happens, the consequences can be devastating. Under current laws and market trends, the popularity of real estate holding LLCs is very likely to continue to increase as more and more property owners seek to take advantage of the benefits offered by this form of entity.
Over the last decade, limited liability companies (LLCs) have become one of the most preferred forms of business entities through which to hold title to investment real estate properties. LLCs did not come into existence in the United States until 1977 when the State of Wyoming enacted special legislation to accommodate the needs of oil companies. Prior to LLCs, real estate investors seeking limited liability protection were largely limited to using corporations to acquire title—a form of entity that has potential drawbacks. Florida followed Wyomings lead a few years later by enacting its own LLC statute in 1982 and now all 50 states have enacted legislation creating some form of the LLC business structure. The insulation from personal risk exposure for real estate investors provided by LLCs, coupled with the relative ease of administration and potential tax benefits, make ownership of investment property through an LLC a very desirable option in most instances.
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