A bit discouraged... - Posted by Lisa

Posted by chris on May 19, 2000 at 09:43:19:


A bit discouraged… - Posted by Lisa

Posted by Lisa on May 16, 2000 at 16:32:39:

I just got back from the records building and asked them how I would go about getting access to the eviction files. Well, they looked at me like I was crazy and then a whole bunch of people came out and wanted to know why I wanted to see them. I told them the truth like Joe says. Then they said NO unless I had a court order. They can’t let me see them for business purposes. So I guess forget about Joe’s idea on “Targeting the tired landlord”…:frowning: Do any of you have any suggestions??


Maybe . . . - Posted by Brad Crouch

Posted by Brad Crouch on May 20, 2000 at 04:16:45:


I ran into similar difficulties here in the Los Angeles Area. I finally had to write a letter on company letterhead to the Civil Clerk outlining my reasons for wanting access to “behind the counter” documents. Specifically Unlawful Detainer Notices.

Here in California, these notices have to “age” for 60 days before they can be seen by anybody not connected to the “specific” case. But that’s another post.

I finally got “approved” and was allowed to access the files I wanted . . . but ONLY the Unlawful Detainer Notices, nothing else.

I started out by giving them a story about doing “research” for a local college economics class, but it was totally unnecessary.

It turns out that the Federal Building was located in the same complex, and that about once a month they had to evacuate the entire complex because of bomb threats.

So what the clerks were really concerned about was that I might leave a bomb behind their counter. Now they all know me by sight and there is NEVER a problem. Of course it helps to bring in some donuts for everybody, once in a while.

Try again in “attorney attire” and find out the bosses name and bring her/him a letter of request on company letterhead.

Good luck,


Re: A bit discouraged… - Posted by chris

Posted by chris on May 17, 2000 at 05:06:28:

Lisa-You’re not alone in running into these self-appointed gate keepers of PUBLIC records who come up with their own rules for access. This link may be an eye opener at how widespread this practice is.


Each state has laws on the books grating public access to records. Check your state at this link:


Findlaw.com is also a good tool to find out laws in your area. As the other posts state a meeting with the appropriate supervisor may be in order. Printing the access laws that are in your favor and taking them with you is another step.

-Good Luck,Chris

Re: A bit discouraged… - Posted by MilNC

Posted by MilNC on May 16, 2000 at 21:00:18:

Excellent advice from Brian and Eric. In addition,
or meanwhile, hang out in small claims court sometime,
The landlords or their managers will have several cases
at one time. I think they save them up. It’s a long
boring ordeal, but perhaps once or twice, to find
out who the people are.
Not that you shouldn’t have acces to records, and I
suppose it varies from place to place, But they can
make it tedious.

Brian and Eric have better advice on that.

Our local paper (small town) did a report on various offices in the county on that sort
of thing–how when you are trying to acess public
records, they wanted your name and phone, and reason, and for you to speak to a supervisor.

I’m glad you posted, and got these replies.


Re: A bit discouraged… - Posted by Brian_CA

Posted by Brian_CA on May 16, 2000 at 17:18:38:


I am curious. Did you ask them why you needed a court order? Most title companies and debt consolidation companies in my area are allowed to veiw unlawful detainer files so why can’t you? Perhaps the employees also bought Joe Kaisers course and don’t want any compitition!! Those files should be a matter of public records, perhaps you should make an appointment with the supervisor and bypass the employees completely. The same thing happened to me, and all it took was talking to the boss and assurring her in writing that I would stay out of the way and follow thier rules. If neither of those tactics work for you, call an attorney and ask him what the deal is.
Happy hunting!!


Re: A bit discouraged… - Posted by eric

Posted by eric on May 16, 2000 at 16:59:03:

I would check into the laws on this. I thought all court cases, including evictions, were public records, i.e., PUBLIC. Perhaps a better answer as to “why” would be “research”, though technically, it’s none of their business. It might be worth it to spend a few minutes consulting an attorney in your area about this. If he/she tells this is correct, then perhaps a court order would be just the thing! If you can verify these records are indeed freely available for public use, you could then maybe find out where that’s specified, i.e. statute, federal code or whatever and take a copy of it with you. If you get any flack, you could then show this to them, and tell them you got it from your attorney. Were it me, further blockage after that would prompt an immediate meeting with a supervisor, and asking him what his name was so my attorney could contact him to “talk more about it”.

Re: nice post!! - Posted by eric

Posted by eric on May 17, 2000 at 11:02:33:

Out of curiousity, I went to the ‘tapping’ link, and checked out Florida, my state. Check this:

Fla. Stat. § 119.01(a) (1995), provides that “it is the policy of this state that all state, county, and municipal records shall at all times be open for a personal inspection by any person.” Person includes “individuals, children, firms, associations, joint ventures, partnerships, estates, trusts, business trusts, syndicates, fiduciaries, corporations, and all other groups or combinations.”

That’s pretty blanket. Though I’ve never personally had a problem gaining access (it may have to do with approach - I’m more often than not mistaken for an attorney in the court house, and that’s not by accident), now I’m sure I DEFINITELY won’t have an issue. “Chapter and verse” reference to statutes always makes people get real quiet.