Jump to content

I am a renter and there coming after me!


MadMonkey
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hopefully this will become a sticky for all you renters.

Yes, I am a long term landlord, No please don’t hold it against me. I am here to help.

I’ve read a lot of posts that deal with old leases, rentals coming back to haunt people, so here are a few pointers that will get you out of the hot seat in the future.

1. Before you sign any lease or rental agreement, take the fifteen or twenty minutes to read it. This goes to include furniture and appliance rentals.

Case in point: My rental agreements had a clause in them that when initialed by the tenant assigned proof of service to a third party company, as long as I, the owner paid a documentation fee of $25.00.

Looks good for the tenant, I am paying the $25.00, so they all initialed it.

Ok. This is really what was taking place.

California is one of those states where it is very hard to remove a tenant who understands that the law protects them. My lease agreement protected me, however!

How it works.

Let’s say my tenant fails to pay me rent. I follow up with a legal and mandatory three day pay or quite form on the door and by certified mail. If the tenant failed to respond to this form, I would then have my lawyer file an eviction notice, or unlawful detainer. Under normal circumstances I would have to serve the tenant. That is a requirement in California which a savvy tenant knows if they don’t answer the door becomes very hard to do. With my contract I don’t have to serve the tenant, I only have to serve the third party agent of service. That Company sends a certified return receipt to letter with all the documentation of the pending eviction to the tenant. The tenant thinking there on top of things refuses to get the certified letter. A few weeks pass, my lawyer goes to court, produces the lease agreement to the court that the tenant signed authorizing a third party agent of service. Bid-A-Bang-Bid-A-Boo, judgement in my favor and you’re gone. I show up at your door step with Sheriff and you end up on the street.

In all my years of land lording I never once had to do this. However I know a few people that did and it saved them thousands of dollars.

So how do you as a tenant protect yourself.

Actually it’s very simple.

1. As I noted earlier, read and understand your contract before signing it. Remember it’s a legal binding agreement, just like a credit card or car loan.

2. Before you move into any property, Video tape it. Have the landlord, manager, owners’ rep, whoever in the video. Point out every conceivable problem. Wine stain in the corner, ash marks near the fireplace, cutting board in the kitchen has excessive cuts, dish washer knob worn and faded. As insignificant as it looks document it. Why?, Because landlords like me might come back and use that against you.

Case in point:

One of my rental houses:

We had a previous tenant that had done some substantial damage. Prior to that point we never documented the move in or the move out. We sued the tenant in court for some $9000,00 in damage. When the case was over we were awarded $147.00. ouch!!!

That is when a buddy of mine turned me on to videoing the move in and move out of the tenant. This particular property got a complete make-over. New everything, and I mean everything.

We did a walk through with the new tenant and we video taped them in every room, front and backyard, describing everything from newly painted walls, carpet, to new screens on the window. Nothing was left out, even the garage was shot in the video.

A year later and the tenant gave notice. No problem. We showed up at the move out and started video taping. We found furniture oil stains on the carpet. Crayon drawings in the kid’s closets. Wine stains in the living room and master bedroom. We even videoed our carpet cleaning company describing the stains and what would need to be done to remove them along with the estimated costs.

We documented everything. In the end we ate up the tenants security deposit on damages. We sent out the required itemized list by law and figured that was the end of it.

Eleven months later, just prior to the statue of limitations running out we were served papers on a lawsuit for damages for unlawfully withholding security deposits.

I sent the lawsuit over to my attorney with a copy of the Move-in and Move-out video tape. My attorney called the plaintiff’s attorney and asked him if he had watched the videos. Obviously he had no idea what my attorney was talking about, so my attorney had copies made and had them sent over.

Two days later the suit was dropped.

3. Know your state’s laws with regards to tenant rights. Every state has them, learn them.

California has guidelines in state law for things like normal wear and tear or mischief distruction of property.

For example after one year a tenant cannot be held liable for normal wear and tear on carpets. That means walking in and out and some dirt trails developing. A big wine stain in the middle of the living room is another story, however if the wine stain was five years later when the tenant moved out the court would see that as normal wear and tear. The Carpet has lived a normal life under a tenant occupancy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ok....What do you know about signing a lease and not officially moved in and inform them of this, they keep your 1st month rent and deposit which is understanable but now they want me to pay $1600 more (of course it is on my credit as a collection acct.) and I never moved in and they had a waiting list for the apartments so it's not like they lost any money. There wasn't a clause for this in the lease and I was told by an attorney that I may have to take them to small claims court. What is your take on this. Any help would be appreciated

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ok....What do you know about signing a lease and not officially moved in and inform them of this, they keep your 1st month rent and deposit which is understanable but now they want me to pay $1600 more (of course it is on my credit as a collection acct.) and I never moved in and they had a waiting list for the apartments so it's not like they lost any money. There wasn't a clause for this in the lease and I was told by an attorney that I may have to take them to small claims court. What is your take on this. Any help would be appreciated

Have you contacted them to ask what the charge is for?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ok....What do you know about signing a lease and not officially moved in....What is your take on this. Any help would be appreciated

You'll have to look up the landlord-tenant laws in your state. Generally, you are responsible for the full term of your lease. However, the landlord must make a reasonable effort to rent the property. If rented,your lease would be prorated and you would generally have to pay a fee as well. Your mileage may very.

-r

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.