Case Dismissed! (by DJ [VA]) Apr 25, 2018 7:53 AM|
Case Dismissed! (by JB [OR]) Apr 25, 2018 8:13 AM
Case Dismissed! (by Jason [VA]) Apr 25, 2018 8:20 AM
Case Dismissed! (by S i d [MO]) Apr 25, 2018 8:22 AM
Case Dismissed! (by plenty [MO]) Apr 25, 2018 8:24 AM
Case Dismissed! (by Moshe [CA]) Apr 25, 2018 8:30 AM
Case Dismissed! (by S i d [MO]) Apr 25, 2018 8:45 AM
Case Dismissed! (by DJ [VA]) Apr 25, 2018 8:49 AM
Case Dismissed! (by DJ [VA]) Apr 25, 2018 8:51 AM
Case Dismissed! (by David [NC]) Apr 25, 2018 9:02 AM
Case Dismissed! (by James [TX]) Apr 25, 2018 9:19 AM
Case Dismissed! (by razorback_tim [AR]) Apr 25, 2018 9:22 AM
Case Dismissed! (by NE [PA]) Apr 25, 2018 9:28 AM
Case Dismissed! (by Moshe [CA]) Apr 25, 2018 9:36 AM
Case Dismissed! (by S i d [MO]) Apr 25, 2018 10:02 AM
Case Dismissed! (by AllyM [NJ]) Apr 25, 2018 10:12 AM
Case Dismissed! (by Doogie [KS]) Apr 25, 2018 10:16 AM
Case Dismissed! (by Moshe [CA]) Apr 25, 2018 10:32 AM
Case Dismissed! (by CJ [MO]) Apr 25, 2018 10:33 AM
Case Dismissed! (by Robert J [CA]) Apr 25, 2018 10:40 AM
Case Dismissed! (by CJ [MO]) Apr 25, 2018 10:53 AM
Case Dismissed! (by DJ [VA]) Apr 25, 2018 2:44 PM
Case Dismissed! (by don [PA]) Apr 25, 2018 3:04 PM
Case Dismissed! (by NE [PA]) Apr 25, 2018 3:15 PM
Case Dismissed! (by fred [CA]) Apr 25, 2018 5:08 PM
Case Dismissed! (by Sparky [PA]) Apr 25, 2018 5:12 PM
Case Dismissed! (by DJ [PA]) Apr 25, 2018 5:16 PM
Case Dismissed! (by GKARL [PA]) Apr 25, 2018 5:17 PM
Case Dismissed! (by myob [GA]) Apr 25, 2018 5:40 PM
Case Dismissed! (by Scott [IN]) Apr 25, 2018 6:34 PM
Case Dismissed! (by AllyM [NJ]) Apr 25, 2018 7:27 PM
Case Dismissed! (by Nicole [PA]) Apr 26, 2018 5:20 AM
Case Dismissed! (by RB [MI]) Apr 26, 2018 6:28 AM
Case Dismissed! (by Busy [WI]) Apr 26, 2018 7:25 AM
Case Dismissed! (by Busy [WI]) Apr 26, 2018 7:28 AM
Case Dismissed! (by Moshe [CA]) Apr 26, 2018 11:08 AM
Case Dismissed! (by NE [PA]) Apr 26, 2018 11:16 AM
Case Dismissed! (by Jeffrey [VA]) Apr 26, 2018 1:00 PM
Case Dismissed! (by NE [PA]) Apr 26, 2018 1:18 PM
Case Dismissed! (by WMH [NC]) Apr 26, 2018 1:24 PM
Case Dismissed! (by RB [MI]) Apr 26, 2018 2:50 PM
Case Dismissed! (by Vee [OH]) Apr 26, 2018 4:41 PM
Case Dismissed! (by beelocks [NH]) Apr 26, 2018 9:05 PM
Case Dismissed! (by myob [GA]) Apr 27, 2018 12:24 PM
Case Dismissed! (by CGB [MI]) Apr 27, 2018 8:42 PM
Case Dismissed! (by Moshe [CA]) Apr 27, 2018 9:40 PM
Case Dismissed! (by Pat [VA]) Apr 28, 2018 5:26 AM
Case Dismissed! (by CGB [MI]) Apr 28, 2018 11:52 AM
Case Dismissed! (by JB [OR]) Apr 28, 2018 8:52 PM
Case Dismissed! (by DJ [VA]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 7:53 AM
WOW!! I feel like i've been slapped in the face, left speechless, and punched in the gut so I can't breathe - all at once! Totally flabbergasted!
I just had my first court experience this morning. I've only had a former tenant owe me money twice, and they both paid. I followed your advice and had all my documents from application on. Personal notes, written notices, deposit accounting, receipts. I was very confident that I would prevail, and already thinking ahead to how to do a garnishment.
(This was a case of a former tenant who left damages and refused to pay for them)
Stood before the judge and started to list damages. Tenant interrupts to say WHY she had to leave. There was sewer leaking under the house. I agreed - that is true, and prepared to explain the circumstances around it (and what does that have to do with broken doors & windows & other things anyway?!). He says, "Case dismissed. Sewer under the house. CASE DISMISSED!".
I just stood there in disbelief for a couple seconds before leaving quietly (fuming). I'm sure my mouth was open - LOL.
I didn't get to explain how the broken pipe was at least partly due to the unreported clog down the line that caused the waste to lay in the pipe and weigh/pull it down. Or how the sewer smell was unreported for weeks. Didn't get to show the photos of broken window and door, dirt, trash, etc. Didn't get to say....ANYTHING!
So I paid tuition to the Landlording school of hard knocks of $613.06, $65 filing fee, and a day off work. Now I need to figure out the lesson(s) I need to take away from it. My #1 as I was leaving the courthouse is "Life just isn't always fair, sometimes it really stinks" (not a new lesson - just a reminder)
Pretty sure I need to learn something about maybe talking faster in court, using a lawyer - would he have been permitted to speak more?, perhaps my demeanor didn't seem confident (I'm reaching here). Are you allowed to speak more after a judge makes his judgement? I'm sure he didn't want to hear anything - but maybe if I protested quickly with confidence? Maybe the judge is just tenant friendly or something. I don't know!
(Insert primal scream here)
Has someone here experienced a similar experience? If so, what did you take away from it?
I'll post more later after further contemplation.
Case Dismissed! (by JB [OR]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 8:13 AM
So many of the judges are just looking for a reason to rule against you. Any reason will do. Typical. Sorry for that.
You could try being more assertive with a judge like that but I'm sure they would just take that as more piousness and tyranny and make them hate you even more than they do already. I think we just have to realize the deck is stacked against us in many courtrooms. --50.45.xxx.xxx
Case Dismissed! (by Jason [VA]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 8:20 AM
Man, I'm sorry to hear that. I'm surprised she even showed up. Were you suing for lost rents AND damages or just damages? --170.224.xx.x
Case Dismissed! (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 8:22 AM
Rats... That certainly wasn't a fair trial to you, and while it's tempting to beat yourself up over "coulda, woulda, shoulda" I don't think that's helpful. Sounds like judge was in the tenant's corner from the start.
Ironically, the plaintiff is usually allowed to go first in court...so not sure how she got to speak and you didn't. Perhaps a pit bull attorney would have helped...perhaps not. The judge in his/her court is the king/queen...what they say is how it works.
You could appeal, I suppose, but to what end? Sounds like you're "in" for about $1000 with damages, fees, and time off work. Collectible tenant? Worth it? Only you know.
If it were me, I'd have a beer and chalk it up to life isn't always fair. --173.17.xx.xx
Case Dismissed! (by plenty [MO]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 8:24 AM
Wow that seems a bit unjust. Appeal for sure. I'd feel just like you do. What?! I'd start questioning my originally filed paperwork. Perhaps the tenant is somehow related to the judge? Your state not Landlord friendly? What's up!? Sorry
Case Dismissed! (by Moshe [CA]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 8:30 AM
Your problem has nothing to do with talking faster or lack of documentation. It has to do with your basic misunderstanding of your responsibilities vs the tenant's responsibilities and how courts work.
Your problem is in not understanding that landlord MUST keep the premises inhabitable. If you don't then YOU have broken your contract and thus the tenant is not obligated to keep theirs.
The tenant pointed out that there was sewer leaking under the house, and in the very next sentence: YOU AGREED! Case was over, deserved to be dismissed, and was.
Your contract includes the clause that landlord guarantees that premises are and will be kept habitable, even if you can't find it in the written document. It is implied and will be read into EVERY residential lease.
Sorry from your disappointment, but I suggest that you turn your attention away from papers and documents and self-centered matters like broken doors and windows, and focus on the basic relationships between landlord and tenant. They each have reciprocal rights and responsibilities and you neglected yours.
Case Dismissed! (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 8:45 AM
Moshe has a point, if not the kindest mode of delivery.
I agree that the issue had to do with habitability issue. My goal in court is to be above reproach, meaning no hint of wrong doing. Here's how it COULD have played out...
Tenant: "Your honor, there was a sewer leak under the house and we couldn't live there."
DJ: "Your honor, we repaired that leak within 24 hours of being notified, which is well within the time specified by state law governing LL/tenant duties, and furthermore we found the damage was caused due to tenant's misuse and abuse of the drain, which we billed her for but haven't received the damage payment yet due under the lease."
Maybe would've helped. Maybe not.
One lesson we may take from this is what politicians call "redirection". If tenant brings up an issue that even hints at habitability, the very next words out of our mouths should immediately "redirect" the judge to how WE solved the problem quickly, even when the tenant was the cause and failed to comply with the lease.
In short, never AGREE that there was a problem; rather, show how you fixed the problem the tenant caused. --173.17.xx.xx
Case Dismissed! (by DJ [VA]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 8:49 AM
Yes, Moshe - you are right. Properties do need to be maintained properly, and I take great pride in doing that routinely. However, I do not have psychic powers. So when the Tenant didn't notify me of the sewer smell for 2-3 weeks, I had no opportunity to make a repair in order to avoid the disaster. I'm sure she knew she would be charged again for another sewer clean out if she called me. I went over that day (Christmas eve) due to kitchen ceiling fell in from a low leak above. (also unreported, claims there was no indication)She only said something about the sewer smell, and how long, after I was there sniffing it.
I can see where you would get that opinion, not knowing all the back story. However, I did not neglect maintenance responsibility in this case.
I did, however fail to inspect the property frequently and thoroughly, and do / bill for repairs as they happened - as far as broken door / window goes. That is one good lesson.
The judge asked "is that true?" (sewer leak) "just yes or no!" I might have started with the reasons first before agreeing, but he said "yes or no?" and really expected to be able to follow up.
Case Dismissed! (by DJ [VA]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 8:51 AM
Thanks, Sid - I can see that, it makes sense. That's where I am thinking a lawyer may have been better. --68.10.xxx.xxx
Case Dismissed! (by David [NC]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 9:02 AM
Judges are elected. Make it your personal mission that he does not get re-elected.
Case Dismissed! (by James [TX]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 9:19 AM
Hey, it happens. I had a deposit dispute with a tenant once that I thought was a slam-dunk. I even had 27 color glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what it was. The Judge didn't even look at them. It was a case of American blind justice and there was nothing I could do about it. I concluded since they had bought a house in his district they were now his constituents and the J.P.'s are elected. But who knows? Court is always a crap shoot. --97.99.xxx.xxx
Case Dismissed! (by razorback_tim [AR]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 9:22 AM
Can you appeal?
Here you can appeal a small claims ruling within 30 days and you automatically receive a new trial with a different judge. --166.137.xxx.xx
Case Dismissed! (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 9:28 AM
In my opinion, that judge is completely wrong. Those are two different issues.
I'm guessing if you had a lawyer present, the outcome would've been different. --174.201.xx.xxx
Case Dismissed! (by Moshe [CA]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 9:36 AM
A [good] lawyer would have told you about your inability to win because of the habitability issue. I don't know if he would have had anything to offer to improve your situation.
You might want to check your state statute about habitability to see what it ACTUALLY says about time to repair. Most statutes say "reasonable" time to repair rather than specifying a fixed time in defining LL/tenant duties. That leaves it up to the judge. Besides, it is still incumbent on LL to keep the property inhabitable regardless of whether tenant reported it or not. Sewage leaking is not simply a tenant request for service, it is a health-endangering dilapidation which is related to the overall condition of the dwelling. A landlord who operates old housing has to concern himself with overall health & status of the construction in order to fulfill his responsibilities. Thats why the implied warranty of habitability is more than just an obligation to fix when the property fails. Its also an example of the necessity of inspections, not just to protect landlords property but to be proactive regarding his obligations.
As you can see, it is not just Robert J who finds Los Angeles courts strict about not permitting a landlord to collect for an uninhabitable dwelling. Its universal. The basic premise is that tenants are not required to live in an uninhabitable dwelling and are not required to pay for the privilege. The goal is to prevent uninhabitable housing, not just to get landlords to react to complaints.
Case Dismissed! (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 10:02 AM
Moshe's claim on universality of how stuff works is overstated.
This phrase, "courts strict about not permitting a landlord to collect for an uninhabitable dwelling. Its universal. The basic premise is that tenants are not required to live in an uninhabitable dwelling and are not required to pay for the privilege" is not reflective of how things work in my state. Yes, Missouri does have a legal process by which tenants can withhold rent, and we also have a legal process by which a land lord can challenge that.
I sat thru court cases one day waiting for our turn. The case before us was a trial where the tenants produced pictures of a toilet that was about to fall thru the floor into the crawl space below it. Tenant claimed that gave them an excuse not to pay the rent. Land lord via their attorney argued that to withhold rent without following the procedures outlined in Missouri LL/Tenant statutes was illegal. Judge agreed. LL won.
Some states have laws written differently than Cali, and one reason we live here vs there is that we like them to be that way and we appreciate the fact that our judges know and follow those laws.
Case Dismissed! (by AllyM [NJ]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 10:12 AM
Something sort of similar happened to me. Had a tenant in a basement apartment. She reported brown color in the water. I went in with the plumber who just happened to be in the neighborhood that day. She got mad and would not let us back in to look further for the problem. Stopped paying rent. I took her to court. In court she was told to pay rent to the court. Went back to court after fixing the issue which was a broken water line. She still was not paying and she told the judge the ceiling was too low. It was but I had no idea. Judge told her she just lost her apartment. I said thank you judge. She had to move and I never rented that again though I did let a homeless vet stay there who was the brother of one of the contractors. Then an inspect made him leave due to the ceiling issue. --69.141.xxx.xxx
Case Dismissed! (by Doogie [KS]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 10:16 AM
Agree with Sid. CA seems to be very strict and tenant friendly. Our state works pretty much the same as Sid has described. The #1 excuse/attempted defense for an eviction for non-payment is "Well the LL didn't fix X, Y, and Z, so I withheld rent." The judge will then ask, "Ok, let me see a copy of your 14/30 form please." They don't have it and immediately lose the eviction case. --98.175.xxx.xxx
Case Dismissed! (by Moshe [CA]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 10:32 AM
In this case, tenant did not withhold rent. It is the court that did not consider tenant payment for damage in the face of landlord having failed to provide inhabitable dwelling. They are two different processes.
I bet that your state is not really so different than other states (CA and VA included), but rather that you don't understand what the court is doing and why.
If the tenant wants to withhold rent, then he must follow the rent withholding procedure exactly. Thats a matter of procedure and has nothing to do with the type or severity of dilapidation so long as it is deemed to be within the meaning of the law authorizing withholding. This case is a type of punishment (sanction) by the court to a landlord who didn't take his habitability obligation seriously enough. In this case, the tenant complained to the court that the sewerage leak was the reason for his LEAVING. So, he convinced the court that he HAD TO LEAVE based on sewage leak, which probably didn't take much convincing. The mere existence of the sewage leak was probably enough.
I don't expect that Mo is as sophisticated as CA or VA, but I bet that (unless they are really isolated) they are aware of what goes on in the rest of the country, and exercise good judgement when it is appropriate. The dismissal of this case was good judgment on the part of the judge, sending the message that uninhabitable dwellings will not be welcome in court. If MO judges don't do the same, then they are allowing violations of basic housing standards, and are are not entitled to a lot of respect for their failure.
What is the basic dispute in this posting is that LL did not get to use the court to collect what he thought was due to him because he did not realize that there is a linkage between his claim for money and his failure in his responsibilities. That linkage is discussed everywhere, in law journals and no doubt among judges everywhere (universally), and if MO judges aren't in on the conversation, then they have chosen to be isolated. I doubt if they are. I think that the claim that they CHOOSE to do things Sid's way because they like that way better is not accurate.
Sid thinks that you didn't get a fair trial. I disagree. Landlord got a fair trial and was found lacking.
Case Dismissed! (by CJ [MO]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 10:33 AM
it is never be fair. Good thing is that the tenant moved out by himself. It will be more expensive if doing eviction and waiting for a couple of month. --97.91.xxx.xxx
Case Dismissed! (by Robert J [CA]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 10:40 AM
In Los Angeles a Landlord can NOT evict a tenant unless the unit is in perfect condition with no deferred maintenance. So in court tenants make crazy claims. Like, I have no hot water. The windows don't close an cold air leaks in. The furnace doesn't work.
Case Dismissed! (by CJ [MO]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 10:53 AM
in CA, what if tenant does not cooperate on repair, the landlord can never evict them?
Here, tenant just need to move out if they do not pay rent or the house is not livable. --97.91.xxx.xxx
Case Dismissed! (by DJ [VA]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 2:44 PM
Lots of interesting discussion here. Still a little misunderstanding. I'll offer just a little more clarification.
>The tenant (and unauthorized pot-smoking residents & dog) were apparently OK living with the leaking sewer pipe, since they had not reported it to me for 3 weeks after first smelling it. It was I who took action to correct it right after discovering it, while I was there for something else.
>I did not expect the tenant to continue to pay rent to live in an uninhabitable house. In fact, I OFFERED (and did) to refund the last month's rent as soon as she (& all others) could get out.
>I spoke to my attorney. We will file for the case to be re-heard. (not appealed to a higher court) and he will go with me next time. He thinks I have a good case and can't imagine why the judge did what he did this morning.
1) Use a lawyer
2) Make regular, DETAILED inspections and repair/bill/notice to cure immediately.
3) Keep detailed written notes about EVERYTHING that is said / that happens, in addition to receipts for everything.
4) Quadruple-check the math when sending out accounting statement. My statement is off by $9.12 compared to the receipts for items I bought that needed replacing - and I have no idea why! I do use a calculator, and I'm sure I added it up more than once (3 months ago). It's an odd amount, and I just can't figure it - strange! Just don't need any reason for professionalism to be questioned.
5) Sometimes (pretty often, really) bad things happen that you don't deserve - it's just a fact of living in this world. Ultimately, in the end, it will all work out as long as I keep my motivation pure & stay honest.
6) Don't become jaded, or more negative to people & things around me because of anything that seems to work out against me. Stay motivated to do good and continue to strive to always deal fairly with people.
7) Count my blessings and focus on the positive. I'll sleep well tonight.
Thank you all, and best wishes in all your endeavors.
Case Dismissed! (by don [PA]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 3:04 PM
Uninhabitability is a valid reason to break the lease and move out, and not pay rent. It does not justify damage to the leasehold such as busted windows and doors. --70.90.xx.xxx
Case Dismissed! (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 3:15 PM
I would not say that uninhabitable conditions are a valid reason to simply break lease and move without following the proper timelines and notices.
A landlord has a responsibility to remedy a situation and he also deserves a notice of the condition.
If I had a tenant move out and tell me there was a busted sewer line and that is the reason he left, I guarantee you I would not return his deposit.
He failed his part of the lease to properly notify me. In this day and age of instant communication there is no excuse to let a busted sewer line pump raw sewage into a basement other than sheer laziness.
The judge and the tenant in the OP are both in the wrong. --50.107.xxx.xxx
Case Dismissed! (by fred [CA]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 5:08 PM
DJ, you have a fighting chance, because:
1. The tenant never reported the broken sewer.
2. The tenant never reported the broken sewer.
3. The tenant never reported the broken sewer.
Doing regular inspections will lead to tenant's suspicion that the LL is snooping around, leading to allegations of harassment. So, a judge can't say: It was duty to find out about the leak on your own, because the average LL relies on the tenant living in the premises, to report any deficiency he/she notices.
The judge was wrong at least three times:
- not allowing you to explain your position.
- not awarding you for damages, unrelated to the drain.
- not accepting your photos.
I hope you win next time around. I'm rooting for you. --99.59.x.xxx
Case Dismissed! (by Sparky [PA]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 5:12 PM
Case Dismissed! (by DJ [PA]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 5:16 PM
I'm going to co-sign with Fred and wish you the best on your appeal. This is a gross injustice. You can only make things habitable if you actually know about a problem. Even periodic inspections would not prevent a sewer leakage. You're reliant on the tenant to tell you and if the tenant contributed to the leakage stuffing a bunch of crap down the sewer, they should be made to pay for that.
Whenever this sort of thing happens, I go back to my screening to figure out what I may have missed. What do you think you missed? --207.172.xx.xxx
Case Dismissed! (by GKARL [PA]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 5:17 PM
The last message is from me not DJ. --207.172.xx.xxx
Case Dismissed! (by myob [GA]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 5:40 PM
So big deal-- local yokal didn't let you get your STORY in. That's why you started in LOWER court. Your lease should have that the prevailing shall be reembursed legal fees. Now bring it to a R/E atty who does this for a living and sue for not only damamges but now attorney fees.
Did you know the defendant was going to be there? did they answer the court indicating so? On these type filings we have a mouth piece there. Doesn't happen to often.
Lick your boots- swallow your indignation and get back in there.
Now you have a heads up of what their defense is you can head it off. Ionce had to go all the way to superior court. From Magistrate to State then Superior. Why because the guy worked at the local college in law enforcement and was known by all the judges. --99.103.xxx.xxx
Case Dismissed! (by Scott [IN]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 6:34 PM
One of your questions was "Are you allowed to speak more after a judge makes his judgement?". I have tried that twice, and was rebuffed both times. The last time, I tried to ask a question. The Judge's answer was "I am done here. Next case". --108.219.xx.xxx
Case Dismissed! (by AllyM [NJ]) Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 7:27 PM
Seems like the tenant clogged the sewer and the cleaner broke the sewer pipe. Sue the cleanout guy while you are at it. What did she throw in there? Did he tell you? One Roto Rooter guy busted the pipe from the tub where it goes into the sewer pipe joined by the lavvy sink. Leaking slightly unnoticed for a long time until a crack appeared in the plaster and water dripped a patch off the ceiling. --69.141.xxx.xxx
Case Dismissed! (by Nicole [PA]) Posted on: Apr 26, 2018 5:20 AM
I didn't read all the details but why does a temporarily broken/leaking and consequently fixed sewer line make a place uninhabitable?
$hit happens ... landlord gets to fix it in a reasonable amount of time ... reasonable being determinant on what the issue is. --72.70.xxx.xx
Case Dismissed! (by RB [MI]) Posted on: Apr 26, 2018 6:28 AM
The Weather is More Predictable,
than a Landlord Versus Tenant Decision. --47.35.xx.xx
Case Dismissed! (by Busy [WI]) Posted on: Apr 26, 2018 7:25 AM
Sounds like what works in one state, or even in one county doesn't work in another. Find a local landlord group, REIA(real estate investor association), apartment association. Attend their meetings, go to the local city training classes.
Some of the stories I have heard on this forum, and locally, have taught me that, for me, the best advice often comes from kids movies. Let it go!, let it go! *grin*
For those who know their local courts, know how to work with their local legal system, absolutely go to the courts. For me, personally, that's not my brand. For MY BRAND, the answer for me, when tenant leaves me a lesson, is to figure out how to head this off, not rent to that type of tenant again, or, how to cut them loose with the least damages when a tenant chooses to take a downward dive.
For me, if I were to seek remedy through courts, (not likely) I would call that attorney that teaches the local landlord class, get a name of an attorney from him/her. That's just me. I know I talk too Qatar much, over-explain too much. Me and courts wouldn't work without an attorney. --172.58.xxx.xxx
Case Dismissed! (by Busy [WI]) Posted on: Apr 26, 2018 7:28 AM
Now how the check did Qatar get in there? Ok! --172.58.xxx.xxx
Case Dismissed! (by Moshe [CA]) Posted on: Apr 26, 2018 11:08 AM
" why does a temporarily broken/leaking and consequently fixed sewer line make a place uninhabitable? "
From the CA Civil Code:
"A dwelling shall be deemed untenantable (uninhabitable) ... if it lacks any of the following affirmative standard characteristics:
(3) A water supply approved under applicable law that is under the control of the tenant, capable of producing hot and cold running water, or a system that is under the control of the landlord, that produces hot and cold running water, furnished to appropriate fixtures, and connected to a sewage disposal system approved under applicable law and maintained in good working order.
" $hit happens ... landlord gets to fix it in a reasonable amount of time ... reasonable being determinant on what the issue is. "
In most statutes, that definition applies to failure to perform REPAIRS, and is in a different category than uninhabitable. Rent withholding applies to REPAIRS and is usually defined by a specific procedure involving notice, time limits, amount restrictions and other procedural matters.
Uninhabitability is a summary condition which by its existence constitutes a breach of contract on the part of the landlord. Landlord is responsible to provide premises in habitable condition, and needs to inspect and maintain the property without complaint. Regular inspections of the sewage line, including camera inspections could have warned landlord than his property needed maintenance.
$hit doesn't just "happen". A professional landlord who keeps his property well-maintained plans ahead for regular maintenance activities with a schedule of expected lifetimes and replacements, with corresponding inspections.
Case Dismissed! (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Apr 26, 2018 11:16 AM
I've had $hit just happen many times.
Busted water line flooding out a house and not supplying a unit with water. 1,000,000 gallons consumed. $7,800 water bill. Tenant give for a month, she didn't know, I didn't know. I don't live in the basement.
2nd floor toilet overflows and rains down sewage and soaked ceiling tiles on a tenant in an adjoining unit while he laid in bed watching tv.
Car crashes into house.
House burns down.
So you're saying we should have a planned schedule of inspecting sewage lines and their lifetimes Moshe? Not practical and quite honestly a waste of money to routinely scope out a septic line that isn't causing problems.
Rarely when they are operating properly do they just "go bad".
It's not like a breaker or a faucet gasket or a light bulb.
Case Dismissed! (by Jeffrey [VA]) Posted on: Apr 26, 2018 1:00 PM
NE, (and others) my name is Jeffrey and I'm your friend. However, while you may not agree with what Moshe is saying, he is completely correct in what he is sharing above. While the vast majority of the landlords do not operate their rental business to the degree he suggests (myself included), that nonetheless does not take away from his statements and the need to do so in an ideal world. Though you may find some of his comments hard to accept, you would do far better striving to come as close as you can to take heed of his suggestions rather than challenging them.
The reverse side of this coin is that I'm sure renters think it not fair when they come to court ready to say all the repairs that have not been taken care of and the judge simply asks: "Do you agree that you owe the money?" And once they say yes, the judge simply rules in the landlord's favor despite everything else the renter is prepared to say in their defense. In this scenario, where judge rules in landlord's favor (without hearing all the comments the renter is prepared to say), I am thankful for how it is handled.
The situation stated above by DJ is the same thing in reverse as far as the judge was concerned. Once DJ agreed the sewer line was leaking, the judge ruled in the tenant's favor, and from the judge's perspective it was not necessary to hear anything beyond that.
Again, I would encourage you to seek to learn from Moshe's comments and the scenario shared, instead of continuing to argue or question it's validity or practicality so that you will possibly not find yourself in the same situation in the future. And for the many times we as landlords have been guilty of similar scenarios but fortunately not brought before a judge, consider yourself lucky.
By the way, for my friend SID who may read this, I am a firm believer in showing small signs of generosity to my residents, because I believe the more I do so, the chances decrease or drop dramatically of being brought before a judge by a renter in a negative light (for various reasons). And that renters will sometimes return the generosity in little ways which will benefit by bottom line and peace of mind. --72.214.xx.x
Case Dismissed! (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Apr 26, 2018 1:18 PM
All i can really say, is that it all depends. Different buildings get held to different standards. Different grades of tenants gets different treatment. Good tenants vs bad tenants, class A vs Class D.
Case Dismissed! (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Apr 26, 2018 1:24 PM
I'm confused, Jeffrey. I thought Moshe was a woman? --50.82.xxx.xx
Case Dismissed! (by RB [MI]) Posted on: Apr 26, 2018 2:50 PM
And I'm Invisible. --47.35.xx.xx
Case Dismissed! (by Vee [OH]) Posted on: Apr 26, 2018 4:41 PM
I suggest an appeal opening with the sewer was reported and repaired promptly, then you are only here seeking repairs to the unit which was not apparent when the sewer repairs were underway, everything has been fine since. --76.188.xxx.xx
Case Dismissed! (by beelocks [NH]) Posted on: Apr 26, 2018 9:05 PM
**Stood before the judge and started to list damages. Tenant interrupts to say WHY she had to leave.**
How and why was the tenant allowed to interrupt?
Sounds like you had no chance before you even started. --98.229.xxx.xx
Case Dismissed! (by myob [GA]) Posted on: Apr 27, 2018 12:24 PM
Jeffery VA well thank goodness we are in GA. Here there is no legal reason "NONE" for a tenant to just not pay rent.
Here's a classic example: tenant calls gas company - I smell gas she said. No gas leak found but tenant has gas turned off because no HARD pipe inside furnace. So we set up for furnace man to repair-- she refused to let him in and then calls code enforcement who gives us 10 days to fix. Meanwhile she calls code again and we have to go to local court (magistrate) told court judge she won't let us in to fix it-- judge says that's your problem that will be 200.00. If you don't fix it within 10 days next fine 500.00. We took her to State court and she was evicted and fined her rent outstanding. State court wouldn't entertain her argument for not paying rent.
Here just as the LL must give a reasonable amount of time to cure-- same goes for the tenant. --99.103.xxx.xxx
Case Dismissed! (by CGB [MI]) Posted on: Apr 27, 2018 8:42 PM
Just because a property has a broken sewer line and is considered uninhabitable, that should not free the tenant from responsibility from unrelated damages. --76.220.xxx.xx
Case Dismissed! (by Moshe [CA]) Posted on: Apr 27, 2018 9:40 PM
Have you forgotten the linkage?
Case Dismissed! (by Pat [VA]) Posted on: Apr 28, 2018 5:26 AM
Judges are not elected in Virginia. --71.51.xxx.xxx
Case Dismissed! (by CGB [MI]) Posted on: Apr 28, 2018 11:52 AM
Moeshe, does the "linkage" relieve the tenant of all responsinilities of rent and damages which occurred before the property became uninhabitable? Does the "linkage" relieve the tenant of all damages, not rent, after the property becomes uninhabitable should they choose to stay? Does the "linkage" apply if the tenant is responsible for the place becoming uninhabitable? Say a tenant is two months behind on rent and to spite the landlord pours cement in the septic system making it uninhabitable. They choose to stay, without notifying the landlord, and a week later, leave the stove unattended and cause a grease fire in the kitchen? Are you saying the Tenant isn't responsible for anything because of "linkage?" --98.250.xxx.xxx
Case Dismissed! (by JB [OR]) Posted on: Apr 28, 2018 8:52 PM
I don't know why it didn't hit me until now, but I think that your ex-tenant had some unsavory help here (besides the obvious, judge).
I would not be a bit surprised if your deadbeat wasn't approached by one of those slimy, ambulance chasing attorneys who slink around the courthouses (I know we have 'em out here) to help the low-lifes beat evictions and judgements and try to thrash the landlords on any technicality they can find.
I would wager a bet that one of these slimeballs told your ex-ten to interrupt you before you had a chance to show pictures or list all of the damages they caused. Slimebag could have easily informed deadbeat when and what to say (especially if he/she knew the propensity of the judge).
I suppose the deadbeat could have approached a tenant attorney on their own, but that tenant knew exactly which buttons to push and when. --50.45.xxx.xxx