Disabled T/B'ers - Posted by Dee-Texas

Posted by JPiper on January 11, 2001 at 09:29:24:


I think this question is a great question. And it’s one that should undoubtedly be addressed to an attorney. Further, it may be possible that this type of thing would vary from state to state.

But here’s a few thoughts. I would think that one standard for legal competence would be the court. In other words, most people who reach a certain stage of mental incompetence ultimately will have a relative or perhaps nursing home, etc who will go to court for a ruling on mental competence. If the court decides that the person is in fact mentally incompetent then there will be a court ruling and probably a guardian appointed to handle their affairs. If this is the case then there should be a recorded document that would indicate this.

However, an interesting factor here is that they are evidently receiving payment for mental disability. Would someone say that this on the surface is an indication of “mental incompetence” and that therefore you should have known? Better yet, if they are otherwise qualified would NOT renting/selling to them be a violation under the Fair Housing laws?

On the other hand, evidently these people have illustrated their ability to handle their rental affairs evidently over the prior 12 years or so, a factor that I’m sure would be important in any ultimate determination of their competence.

As a practical matter my first step would be to contact my attorney to find out the facts for Texas. I would probably also check the court records to see if there has been any court determination regarding competence. I would further get a written reference if possible from the prior landlord about how well they handled his rental over the prior years…and then keep that in my file.

I might also contact the relatives (with the tenant’s permission) to have them attend the closing and perhaps sign a document stating that everything is fully understood and agreed to, and that the tenant’s are “fully capable of understanding the action” that they are about to take.

Again, I think the court would have to rule as to competence. But in the absence of that, evidently no relative has seen fit to be particularly disturbed over their status, they evidently have been capable of handling a rental up to this point, and if you can document some of this then it would be my “guess” that you shouldn’t have a problem.

What a great question. I’d be interested in any update after you have spoken with an attorney.


Disabled T/B’ers - Posted by Dee-Texas

Posted by Dee-Texas on January 11, 2001 at 07:46:18:

Hello Everyone,
I haven’t ever run into this before.
I met with two brothers that live together and rent a mobile home. They have been renting since 1989 and paying on time. They both get SSI checks, their disablities are…well, I don’t know how to say this without someone flaming me…anyway. they are mentally challanged but can do yard work, that sort of thing. Really nice guys, they have a brother and sister that checks on them but doesn’t live with them or in the city.
How do you know if they are competent to sign a L/O? They have a very good grasp of what they want and are so excited about the house and finally owning a house of their own…frankly they are much more what I want in my house than…the behind in payments, rent jumpers that have been calling to look at the house…(I’m in a small town and know most of the bad guys and girls)
Anyone know the answer?

Re: Disabled T/B’ers - Posted by Jim Locker

Posted by Jim Locker on January 11, 2001 at 10:49:04:

I have nothing to add to the previous two posts, except to say that the fact that they have made their payments reliably for more than a decade should best be taken by you as evidence that they are competent - to that extent anyway.

My experience with people like that is that generally they do their best to meet their committments, so long as they understand what those committments are.

They are also extremely easy to exploit. This is where YOU protect yourself by ensuring that THEY have competent representation at closing.

Re: Disabled T/B’ers - Posted by phil fernandez

Posted by phil fernandez on January 11, 2001 at 10:03:49:

Hi Dee,

I think Jim gave you a great response below.

I had a somewhat similar experience with a woman whose house was in the redemption period of foreclosure. I found the file while doing my regular courthouse research. The woman had been living alone for years and was quite capable of day to day living, just mentally challenged.

Here’s what I did. I contacted the woman’s sister who was well aware that the house was going to be lost in about two months. I dealt with the sister and made it clear to the sister that I would only do the deal if there was legal representation on their side.

The two sisters got their own attorney, we closed and everyone was happy. Especially the woman who now could stay in the house and pay rent to me.

Bottom line is to make sure the other side has their own legal representation.

Good luck Dee.