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Old 04-21-2011, 09:27 AM
 
21 posts, read 39,994 times
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Tenant is 2 months behind on rent, she is a single mom w/3 kids, so was trying to work with her. Finally told her I was done, she needed to take the two 3 day notices I had already given her seriously, and vacate. At this time she complained that the property wasn't livable, there were animals in the walls!

Here's the back story: in Nov. of 2010, this tenant and her then fiancé were late on the rent and when we served them a notice to pay or quit, they said there was something in the walls. We found evidence of possible a mouse, and baited, foamed over the tiny hole w/insulation, used those sonic devices. No more complaints. Until they got served a notice again, a few days ago. Now they say the problem has never went away, has gotten worse, and house is unlivable. And it's our fault, because we didn't fix it. No notice was in writing, just email and I am told that is not legal.

If I had any doubts these people were scammers, it was resolved the other evening. All our communication has been via email or text messaging, so I have written proof of all that has transpired. We said we were coming by to check on property and animal situation, but my husband didn't get home from work til late. She said did we come by, she thought she saw our vehicle. Told her no, we would do it next day. She accused us of BREAKING INTO our house. This was via text. Then she called me and was hysterical, saying "I know you were here, you thought you covered your tracks, but you left evidence! You broke a window, there is an animal running thru this house! I am calling the police right now!"

Well we freaked out, drove 30 minutes in a violent rain storm, and called the police ourselves (because she never did). Guess what? no broken window, no signs of entry, no signs of animal rampaging thru house. Officer did take note of filth living conditions, told us we had done nothing wrong, and advised us to get new tenants.

She says she will be out by end of month. We said we wanted to come down this weekend to fumigate the attic, where there is probably a squirrel. She says we can wait until she leaves. Says the house is unlivable but refuses to leave, refuses to let us repair problem, and says she has proof to get us into trouble (re: the mouse, chipmonk, squirrel, whatever it is) if we take her to small claims court for the balance owed. Where do we stand? Thanks for any advice!
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Old 04-21-2011, 09:43 AM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
24,669 posts, read 65,547,899 times
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Who's running the show here? Go down to your local court house right now and file eviction against her. The clerks will help you through the process. Keep all your documentation, whatever form it's in and get a police report from the incident the other night. As a LL you have every right to go into the house with reasonable notice so send her an email giving her notice, get into the house and take photographs. I don't mean to be crass but you really need to put on the big people pants if you're going to be landlords, and learn the rights and responsibilities that you have! Google "(your state) landlord tenant laws" and you'll find all the information you need. Good luck!
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Old 04-21-2011, 09:45 AM
 
447 posts, read 1,535,040 times
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Do all you can to get her out by end of month, better to get her out and then start garnishment of her wages for monies owed. Not sure what the "balance owed" is in relation too - the unpaid rent? Tell her you'll settle up the security deposit within 30 days after she vacates. Communicate only by written letters, not email/texts. As for her suing you, if you have a written lease where she agreed to pay rent and she didn't, and you've kept records of your repairs in the house, she won't have any backing in the court. She's just trying to threaten you with this supposed "proof" so that you won't garnish her wages or put an eviction on her record. It sounds like you're the one with all the proof - p/q notices, written lease (hopefully), and proof that you made repairs. She knows that and is trying to intimidate you.
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Old 04-21-2011, 09:52 AM
 
21 posts, read 39,994 times
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Thanks for your response, don't worry I have already told myself this a thousand times. I just need to do it. If I file for eviction, and then she leaves before I have her evicted, does the eviction attempt stay on her record?

My only defense for my stupidity is that I was trying to help her, she is a young single mom (26) with three small children. The fiancé left in January, and she was struggling to pay the rent on her waitress income. I was being put off by tales of rental help from Jobs and Family Services, child support from fiancé, and that she had taken in a roommate (unapproved). Turns out J&FS is not helping her, and I doubt if fiancé is paying child support because just found out he is the "roommate".
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Old 04-21-2011, 09:55 AM
 
447 posts, read 1,535,040 times
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Unless you go down to the courthouse and stop the eviction, then it will stay on there. And you may not be able to stop it once it starts (ask your courthouse clerks about that). I say do the eviction - at least future LLs will see it!
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Old 04-21-2011, 10:03 AM
 
21 posts, read 39,994 times
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Thanks so much! Don't mind filing the eviction, as long as it is gonna stay with her! Actually it is the only little piece of satisfaction I have. I guess my big question was how unlivable can the house be if you won't leave? How bad can the situation be if you don't complain for months, then use it as a reason why you shouldn't pay the rent. (shakes head/sighs)
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Old 04-21-2011, 10:10 AM
 
232 posts, read 1,570,109 times
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In many states, rent can be withheld to pay for repairs or non-compliance on the part of the landlord, BUT to do this you must follow the rules (typically paying the rent into an escrow account) and it does not sound like she's done that.

Evict her. Once she's out, then you can investigate the supposed animal problem better.

And take her to small claims court for any unpaid rent and any cost of damages (including if the animal problem was caused by her).

Good luck!
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Old 04-21-2011, 10:18 AM
 
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Yes, her biggest complaint about the animal problem now is that I am going to try to blame her for it, for not communicating any further about it. Says she is going to pay for a pest inspection to prove it isn't her fault (huh?). And I have not accused her of causing it, though I am sure the filthy conditions of the house and the 12 huge black bags of garbage that sat around for weeks, and the fact she ad her children fed the raccoons and squirrels off the back porch played no part.
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Old 04-21-2011, 10:28 AM
 
5,044 posts, read 5,065,150 times
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I say file an eviction case with the court system. Bring printed records of everything ; print out the texts etc.
We got someone out in Feb and I have posted pics of her filth. Its amazing how people can live in such conditions and then blame the landlord. The landlord isnt living there ; she is and it is up to her to keep the house clean.

Dont listen to anymore stories ; thats all they are. And this landlord stuff will harden your heart ; been there, done that. One the way out of this business and cant get there fast enough
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Old 04-21-2011, 10:38 AM
 
232 posts, read 1,570,109 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by susieh View Post
Yes, her biggest complaint about the animal problem now is that I am going to try to blame her for it, for not communicating any further about it. Says she is going to pay for a pest inspection to prove it isn't her fault (huh?). And I have not accused her of causing it, though I am sure the filthy conditions of the house and the 12 huge black bags of garbage that sat around for weeks, and the fact she ad her children fed the raccoons and squirrels off the back porch played no part.
Eeeew, take pictures!

I don't see how anyone can raise their kids around that sort of mess.
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