Tenant skipped town...need some advice - Posted by Dan (MD)

Posted by Steve-WA on October 25, 2003 at 10:12:16:

I did not, and do not, advocate not going to court - did I say that? Musta been after a beer or two. If I did imply that, I rescind. My only hitch is that I would keep 14K liquid for worst case.

YES to legal evict/repo
YES to negotiating

Maybe I’m making this guy out to be a bigger bad guy than he really is. Maybe I’m being too cautious.


Tenant skipped town…need some advice - Posted by Dan (MD)

Posted by Dan (MD) on October 24, 2003 at 11:32:27:

Last month I got a call from a very desparate lady about 2 1/2 hours from where I live asking if I buy mobile homes…you gotta love this…she CALLED ME and basically said she was desparate. Anyway, she had a clear title, no real need for the cash (she bought it for her son who got evicted) and she just wanted to get rid of it. She initially wanted 18k cash, we ended up with 2k down, 5k in 1 year and another 5k in 2 years. My intent was to sell it like my other Lonnie’s and just use their payments to pay off the terms of the note.

The only draw back was that I had to move it (the park it was in was adament about it :frowning: which cost me $4300) but I figured I could still make it work. Then I found a cash buyer about a week later and we signed the paperwork before the house was even here, the terms of the deal were 14k down and 14k when I get the lien released title from Oakwood. Well he gave me the first 14k three weeks ago, and of course Oakwood dragged it’s feet on the lien release (the lien was paid off three years ago, but the owners never got the release), I got the title today but this morning I got a call from one of the neighbors saying the tenant brought in a Uhaul last night and packed everything up and left…the rumor is he was involved in a local shooting at a bar and that he skipped town.

I haven’t been able to get ahold of him (not surprisingly) but I now have a title and nobody to pay the other half of the deal.

So if indeed he has skipped town, what do I have to do to reclaim the home? The way I look at it is that he has failed to keep his end of the deal so it’s null and void and I should be able to just take it back without any legal hassles? Is that true? or do I need to go in front of a judge…I have the title in my name still and now I have an empty home (btw the neighbor wants to buy it)

In an ideal world, I get to keep the 14k cash and I can resell it for another 5k down and get a very nice monthly stream out of it. Any legal problems with this? Obviously if the tenant comes back next month he’ll want his money back…how would I handle that? if he really was involved in the shooting then I don’t really want him pi**ed off at me.

How long do I have to wait before I can do anything?



Shoot, not all shooters - Posted by Philip

Posted by Philip on October 25, 2003 at 24:11:26:

are really that dangerous most of the time.

Is there anyone that can tell you more about this lovely tenant? To help you reassure yourself, or protect yourself as need be?

These experienced posters have told you what to do legally and financially. Now all you have to do is address the feeling of security for you and your family. He may not really be a danger.

Re: Tenant skipped town…need some advice - Posted by Dan (MD)

Posted by Dan (MD) on October 24, 2003 at 18:31:42:

First off, I need to clarify one thing…the deal about the shooting at the local bar is only a RUMOR that is going around the park, so take that at face value.

He does not have my address and he doesn’t have my home number (just my cell) but my name and address are in the white pages that just came out this week so it won’t be too hard for him to find out where I live.

I’m going to sit on this for a week or two first off to see if he returns my call or to see if he comes back. Then I’m going to my attorney to see what they say about keeping the money legally.

I’ll keep you posted on what happens


Read Your Contract - Posted by Tony-VA/NC

Posted by Tony-VA/NC on October 24, 2003 at 16:47:19:

This is simply a matter of contract law. It will vary by state and even by judge but your answer lies in the details of the contract.

Let the contract dictate what you do. Somewhere in that contract, he has likely breeched. Use that point and begin the legal process to formally repossess the home. You have a large amount of cash so this will be quite affordable. If it were me, I would meet with a local attorney to discuss the procedure you should follow. You may well be able to do the work yourself but have the attorney point you in the right direction. That way you have the best claim on the cash.

Get started now.


Yikes! - Posted by Steve-WA

Posted by Steve-WA on October 24, 2003 at 12:01:11:

As I sit here and ponder (Wow! What the heck would I do?) I want to say - keep it, but make sure that you keep 14K someplace where it stays liquid, but you get some kind of a return on it, even if it’s just a savings account.

And call a lawyer. Now, following legal advice may make you right, but not bulletproof. So - there ya go!


Re: Tenant skipped town…need some advice - Posted by Gavin Wilkinson

Posted by Gavin Wilkinson on October 24, 2003 at 11:53:20:

Be fair. Do onto others as you would have them do to you.

Sell the home again. Deduct the selling expenses from the 14k he gave you. I expect you may incur advertising, some time, some lot rent totalling maybe 2-3k. Refund the rest of the money.

Yee gads, Dan, You say he has your… - Posted by Dr. Craig whisler CA NV

Posted by Dr. Craig whisler CA NV on October 25, 2003 at 13:13:27:

…cell number? He could end up in the cell next to yours. Take care bud.

bang bang - Posted by Steve-WA

Posted by Steve-WA on October 24, 2003 at 16:59:21:

but there is already STRONG indications that this guy - this buyer - operates outside of the law. Don’t you, Tony (and others), think that Dan’s personal safety needs to be considered?

refund . . . how? - Posted by Steve-WA

Posted by Steve-WA on October 24, 2003 at 14:53:48:

Gavin, the guy is gone! Who knows if or when he’ll return? Where does the money go? What if it’s a year? What if it’s 5 years? Dude, he’s gonna come back for 14K, but in the meantime, what would you suggest?

I wouldn’t even take out expenses - “involved in a shooting”, remember?

Re: bang bang - Posted by Tony-VA/NC

Posted by Tony-VA/NC on October 24, 2003 at 17:26:07:

What are you talking about? You lost me here. Did you offer Dan some personal safety tips that I contradicted?

Dan asked how to go about repossession of the home. I suggest that the LEGAL route should be considered.

As for personal safety, we could start another string. P.O. boxes, cell phone numbers etc.

The reality of the deal is this in my opinion. If Dan goes to court and gets the home back legally, he has less to worry about. The buyer will have ample opportunity to defend his contract rights.

Which is more likely to upset the shooter in this case? Dan going to court and have the legal system give him possession, or Dan doing it his own way and appearing to the shooter that he stole is $14,000?

Chances are the suspected shooter will run and get caught out of state or hiding at a friends house (although since he hired a moving van, I am thinking out of state). He will get picked up for speeding and be detained for quite some time until trial. His lack of permanent address will make him a poor candidate for bail. The higher his flight risk (which he has already demonstrated, the higher his bail…if any is allowed).

Again, if Dan plays fair and legal, I suggest he is the safest he can be.


No guys, here is how to do it right. - Posted by Dr. Craig Whisler CA NV

Posted by Dr. Craig Whisler CA NV on October 25, 2003 at 13:08:12:

This is a perfect loonie Lonnie situation. Don’t ya see?

You just invest the $14k in Lonnie deals and when he comes back 5 years later from prison and you have parlayed the original stake into 14 gazillion dollars just give him the $14k back and smile at him. He’ll think he got the best of you because you are loonie.

Where there is a will, there is a way.

Regards, doc

News Flash: Tony negotiates with 357 mag… - Posted by Dr. Craig Whisler CA NV

Posted by Dr. Craig Whisler CA NV on October 25, 2003 at 12:59:11:

…and WINS.

A few minutes later, he wakes up.

Y’all are getting the wrong answers because you’re asking the wrong questions to start with.

  1. Was he the shooter or the shootee?

  2. If the former, did he hit or miss?

Tony is right. You have to do it all nice 'n legal. You need to go by your contract. Especially the clause that says: The buyer shall not discharge firearms inside the mobile home or at the seller/lender, as named in paragraph 3, subsection c, line 4.

Good clauses make good neighbors.


Regards, doc

Re: bang bang - Posted by Steve-WA

Posted by Steve-WA on October 24, 2003 at 21:19:58:

I guess I am just reading: go to court, buyer will lose in absentia (on the lam), and then the 14K is yours, legally!

Or even if the law catches him, and court says he loses, he knows you have his money.

But one day . . .

I dunno, guess I’m just being a fatalist in this one. I’d rather be alive than right. Worst case, of course.

Come to think about it, I guess I am alive, and I’m often not right . . . I’m living my dream!


Re: bang bang - Posted by Tony-VA/NC

Posted by Tony-VA/NC on October 24, 2003 at 22:05:09:

What alternative do you suggest that he follow if not going to court?

Let’s return to the basic realities of Lonnie deals in parks.The buyer has absconded. It won’t be long before the rent is due and no one to pay it. Who will the go to next? The lienholder of course. What alternative will he have but to repossess? This is simply a forgone conclusion.

Even if the rent is not due, most state laws allow for landlords (the PM) to evict immediately for criminal activity. When the park manager begins eviction, this breeches the contract and we are back to repossesion.

There is too much money involved here to simply do a self-help type repossesion. Use the court system.

Should the shooter return to him later and ask for his money back, he will want something to stand on. I would rather say, “well Mr. Shooter, you put me in a pickle when you fled. The park lot rent had to be paid and you left owning me the balance of your note. In fact, the court gave me judgement against you for that amount but perhaps we can work something out on what you owe me.” (See where the negotiation begins).