First eviction - need advice (kinda long) - Posted by Erin (detroit)

Posted by Brent_IL on September 12, 2003 at 02:08:09:

I don?t know anything about Michigan law, but I suggest that you hire an attorney that specializes in forcible detainer actions immediately. Maybe an apartment owner?s organization could give you a referral.

Your goal is to get the non-paying tenant out and a paying tenant in.

The goal of your tenant is to stay there without paying rent for as long as possible. Without a job, she can?t pay rent if she wanted to, and she doesn?t.

Are all of the kids on the lease?

You cleaned things up so the place is habitable now. She has a possible counter-claim. What if she makes a claim that her health and the health of her children were adversely affected by your negligent actions, and she files for damages under the law? Being unemployed with 3 or 4 children she will very likely file a claim for food stamps and/or Public Aid benefits. It is here that she will be exposed to the free legal resources that are available to those who are impoverished and fighting against the evil tyranny of greedy landlords. If she gets a good attorney, I can see this escalating into an action that will take a year or more to resolve. In then end, you might get a judgment, i.e., a worthless piece of paper that is not collectable against one who doesn?t have a job or assets.

IMO, you have the right idea to buy her out, but you have to consider her viewpoint. Without a job, $200 will last three nights in a motel. Then what?

At a minimum, you need to help her get a job or into subsidized housing. You might have to pay the security deposit and first months rent at the new place and for movers. This may sound harsh and it is decidedly unfair, but just last week, Ben (NJ), who is a lawyer, mentioned a case he reviewed where the tenant was living rent-free for a decade. Your state may be very pro-landlord and she may be out in two months, but I would advise you not to count on it and to look for an eviction lawyer tomorrow.

This is one of those things that you can’t really believe can happen until you have seen it happen. I have an acquaintance that’s tied up in court who is into her sixth year of a tenant’s non-payment of rent that?s due. The health department recently cited her for not making adequate repairs to the property.

I hope this situation turns out better for you than her’s did for her.

I don’t mean to over dramatize this, but remember that your tenant has a reason to justify her acts. She doesn’t need a good reason, any reason can be a cause of action.

First eviction - need advice (kinda long) - Posted by Erin (detroit)

Posted by Erin (detroit) on September 11, 2003 at 10:23:10:

Here is the situation. I have a tenant who has only been in the house less than 3 months. She called me up and said the plumbing (waste line) backed up in the basement but had already gone back down. She cleaned it up and said it was no big deal. I asked her to let me know her schedule to get a plumber over to snake the line (of which she never called and never returned a page). 2 weeks go by and I receive a call saying the house is not liveable and the waste has backed up and is 5 inches deep and covers most of the basement. I cleaned it up, plumber snaked the line (found lady items, condoms, and clothing) and gave her a 7 day notice for non-payment of rent (hand delivered as stated ok by prepaid legal in Michigan). I also have a painter going over to give me a quote to have the basement “kilzed” (walls and floor) to help seal it up. She stated she is “escrowing” rent in her mothers account (I mentioned to her that was not the same as escrowing the rent) until the basement was cleaned and “did not smell”.

I plan on filing the summons and complaint after the 7 days to set a court date to evict for non-payment of rent, but want any view points as to what I may expect (I don’t want surprises) and whether I should hire an attorney ($300-600) to appear in court with me. I also already told her the company (me) would give her $200 to get out by the weekend, but no go. As additional info, she recently lost her job and has 3 or 4 kids staying with her.

All responses appreciated as this is my first eviction.