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Ladies, talk me down... eviction.


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03/26/2015 Update!

 

Went to court and was issued a continuance. I still think the LL will evict. He agreed with the continuance only after the judge asked twice. We can't pay him the amount he wants. We shall see what happens!

 

 

 

Yes, I am being evicted.

 

Partly... maybe mostly my fault but I lay some of the blame at the landlords feet.

 

One, I missed rent in January. No, don't ask how. I have no clue how I missed it and completely forgot about it. The landlord never called to ask why I didn't pay.

 

Two, in January of 2014 I sent him a letter (certified mail) asking to renegotiate the rent. There were several repairs that needed to be done that he wasn't doing. We had been here 5 months already. So I sent it and didn't hear back. Sent the rent for the negotiated amount and he cashed the check for February. Same for March and so on. We never heard from him. Not for anything. IF he has conteacted us and said thanks but no thanks I would have taken him to court at that point. I should have, yes I know that now, but I was trying to be nice and keep it out of court. Silly me.

 

Fast forward to last week. He comes by, unannounced (we had asked for 24 hours notice). I didn't answer the door. Bad form. Yes, I realize that but he totally surprised me and I was still in my jammies. We assumed it was because rent was late.... my pay period changed so rent was late... to we text him soon after he left and let him know it was sent and should be there. I had the bank proof if needed. I pay through bill pay.

 

We heard nothing else from him. Fast forward two days later. at NINE at night. Not happy about that but what can I do. We get a summary ejectment. He is evicting us saying we owe him back rent of $4300 dollars. That is including rent for the month I missed (that I didn't even realize until after he had us served), the rent that was late and the difference of what I was paying from the original amount that I thought had been fine... since he was cashing the checks and all.

 

So DH calls to talk to him the day after we are served to talk. He says he doesn't want to kick us out, he needs the money and owes a bunch of money in taxes yadda, yadda. He says he wants to meet with us to discuss (this is Friday). Says he has a doctor appt and will come by later or possibly Monday.

 

Later comes and goes with nothing. We call, we text. Nada. The girlfriend calls and says he will come by Saturday. We tell her OK but after 6pm because I won't be home or Sunday is good too. She says she'll tell him. Sat and Sun pass with nary a peep. Monday passes. Nothing again.

 

So here we are two days from court and he hasn't contacted us once. We even text him again (I like having the paper trail) asking to meet today. That was at 9:30am and still nothing from him.

 

I don't know what to do at this point. I called legal aid and they are supposed to be contacting me but it is really getting down to the wire. I don't know what I need to bring, other than everything I have. I don't know if I should or how to bring up the repairs and that is why I sent the letter. Do I bring the numerous images I took? Do I need to print them or can I bring my laptop or just on my phone? Since he cashed the checks I was sending is that considered a non-verbal agreement? I just don't know. I am at a complete loss on how to present myself.

 

I know we screwed up in paying. We are ONE month behind. Why wait FIFTEEN months to bring this on? Why didn't he say something right away? Does he REALLY think he is going to get $4300 out of us? He knows how much money we make. He knows we can't pay that. I don't understand what the end game is. Was this his idea of a savings plan? Wasn't a very good one.

 

Anyway.. I don't know what I need other than prayers and whiskey. Or tequila. Margaritas sound good.

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What does your lease say?  if there is a signed lease, the amount of rent on that lease is what will prevail, not the amount you wanted to negotiate him down to. Negotiation requires two parties to co

Actually, I'm a landlord and I would rather evict somebody and not deal with people forgetting to pay rent. Yes, I may take a hit on it being vacant. But longterm I would prefer to not have to deal wi

Myrnel, I don't see anyone saying the blame lays SOLELY at your feet. However, you do have a responsibility here, which you admitted in your very first line...you said it was partly or maybe mostly yo

Take everything - EVERYTHING - you got into court with you. A fair judge will act as a mediator between the two of you, and a fair settlement will come out of it, fair to both you and the landlord. Take a detailed timeline with you (with documentation to back it up, as much as possible).

 

Trust me, a landlord would rather not evict you, because then he risks the property sitting vacant for a while, which is much harder on the pocketbook than late rent. Most likely he just wants to work with you to get the matter settled. Too bad he didn't just hire a mediator/arbitrator instead of going before a judge... Or did he? (Not sure I read you right.)

 

We contacted him asking him NOT to evict us. DH talked to him about it. We were supposed to meet him to talk it all over to see waht could be done. But... He won't call us back or text us. So we have no choice but to go to court.

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I agree with Kinsa in that you need to look at your state department website to see what your rights as a tenant are. And do bring whatever documentation you have as to what you sent, cancelled check payments, etc.

 

Having said that, when tenants fail to pay rent, they are in immediate danger of having eviction proceedings started against them, at least in my state. There is a process the LL follows to have a tenant ousted, but renegotiating or having a talk is not necessary (though helpful to keep everyone on good terms). It is possible LL did not follow his correct procedure and you might win a stay on that basis, but if the LL has followed necessary proceedings, you will be evicted.

 

In my state, LL cannot force you out without proceedings; i.e., cannot change your locks, toss your goods out, or cut off utility services. So you do have rights. Just be aware that if the LL has any notion what he's doing, he has documentation to support his claim.

 

Sorry. I hope you can work something out.

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What does your lease say?  if there is a signed lease, the amount of rent on that lease is what will prevail, not the amount you wanted to negotiate him down to. Negotiation requires two parties to come to an agreement. Because you never heard from him, the lower amount was not agreed upon. Because of this, you are much more than one month behind in rent. You may also owe late payment penalties if those are outlined in your lease. 

 

Him accepting what amounts to a partial payment of rent does not mean he agreed to the lower amount nor does it relieve you of your obligation to pay the full amount. Any reduced payment in exchange for work on the property needs to be agreed upon before the work takes place and should also be in writing. 

 

I agree with the others on making sure you know your rights as a tenant. 

 

So sorry this is happening, I hope you can come to an agreement with him.

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One more thing: you have rights. Make sure you are aware of your rights with regard to eviction notices in your state.

 

This. You can find  your state's tenant laws online and have the applicable parts with you when you go in in. Good luck!

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Trust me, a landlord would rather not evict you, because then he risks the property sitting vacant for a while, which is much harder on the pocketbook than late rent. Most likely he just wants to work with you to get the matter settled. Too bad he didn't just hire a mediator/arbitrator instead of going before a judge... Or did he? (Not sure I read you right.)

Actually, I'm a landlord and I would rather evict somebody and not deal with people forgetting to pay rent. Yes, I may take a hit on it being vacant. But longterm I would prefer to not have to deal with tracking down rent, dealing with people wanting to renegotiate a lease, etc.

 

To the op, I don't know you or your landlord and who is or isn't right, but if one of my tenants told me they forgot to pay their rent since January, I would not believe it. How do you not notice the extra money in your account? Unless your rent is a very small amount, it seems very difficult to see how you could overlook paying it. In your defense, as a landlord, I would have sent a reminder on the last day of the grace period reminding you. I also would not just show up, etc. Sounds like strange happenings from both sides of this rental agreement.

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I had to take a tenant to court once.  In our state at the time accepting payment by cashing the check would bar him from removing you.  You might have more rights than you think you do.

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I had to take a tenant to court once.  In our state at the time accepting payment by cashing the check would bar him from removing you.  You might have more rights than you think you do.

 

But would it mean that  you didn't owe the difference between the lower amount paid and the previously agreed upon amount? 

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You took it upon yourself to pay a rent amount less than agreed upon without approval from the landlord? huh?

 

Did you ever make the missed January payment or are you behind a month? From your post, it sounds like you didn't make the payment because, again, he didn't contact you about it. 

 

Um...

 

 

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Yes, I am being evicted.

 

Partly... maybe mostly my fault but I lay some of the blame at the landlords feet.

 

One, I missed rent in January. No, don't ask how. I have no clue how I missed it and completely forgot about it. The landlord never called to ask why I didn't pay.

 

Two, in January of 2014 I sent him a letter (certified mail) asking to renegotiate the rent. There were several repairs that needed to be done that he wasn't doing. We had been here 5 months already. So I sent it and didn't hear back. Sent the rent for the negotiated amount and he cashed the check for February. Same for March and so on. We never heard from him. Not for anything. IF he has conteacted us and said thanks but no thanks I would have taken him to court at that point. I should have, yes I know that now, but I was trying to be nice and keep it out of court. Silly me.

 

Fast forward to last week. He comes by, unannounced (we had asked for 24 hours notice). I didn't answer the door. Bad form. Yes, I realize that but he totally surprised me and I was still in my jammies. We assumed it was because rent was late.... my pay period changed so rent was late... to we text him soon after he left and let him know it was sent and should be there. I had the bank proof if needed. I pay through bill pay.

 

We heard nothing else from him. Fast forward two days later. at NINE at night. Not happy about that but what can I do. We get a summary ejectment. He is evicting us saying we owe him back rent of $4300 dollars. That is including rent for the month I missed (that I didn't even realize until after he had us served), the rent that was late and the difference of what I was paying from the original amount that I thought had been fine... since he was cashing the checks and all.

 

So DH calls to talk to him the day after we are served to talk. He says he doesn't want to kick us out, he needs the money and owes a bunch of money in taxes yadda, yadda. He says he wants to meet with us to discuss (this is Friday). Says he has a doctor appt and will come by later or possibly Monday.

 

Later comes and goes with nothing. We call, we text. Nada. The girlfriend calls and says he will come by Saturday. We tell her OK but after 6pm because I won't be home or Sunday is good too. She says she'll tell him. Sat and Sun pass with nary a peep. Monday passes. Nothing again.

 

So here we are two days from court and he hasn't contacted us once. We even text him again (I like having the paper trail) asking to meet today. That was at 9:30am and still nothing from him.

 

I don't know what to do at this point. I called legal aid and they are supposed to be contacting me but it is really getting down to the wire. I don't know what I need to bring, other than everything I have. I don't know if I should or how to bring up the repairs and that is why I sent the letter. Do I bring the numerous images I took? Do I need to print them or can I bring my laptop or just on my phone? Since he cashed the checks I was sending is that considered a non-verbal agreement? I just don't know. I am at a complete loss on how to present myself.

 

I know we screwed up in paying. We are ONE month behind. Why wait FIFTEEN months to bring this on? Why didn't he say something right away? Does he REALLY think he is going to get $4300 out of us? He knows how much money we make. He knows we can't pay that. I don't understand what the end game is. Was this his idea of a savings plan? Wasn't a very good one.

 

Anyway.. I don't know what I need other than prayers and whiskey. Or tequila. Margaritas sound good.

 

You should contact your landlord and make arrangements for a late payment.  I can't imagine just deciding to pay rent late even out of necessity without communicating beforehand. 

 

ETA But I am super careful about having a good rental history. We have great recommendations and have never been denied by a rental agency. 

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But would it mean that  you didn't owe the difference between the lower amount paid and the previously agreed upon amount? 

 

In that state, if there were repairs that hadn't been made, yes, that's exactly what it meant.  Tenants had a right to deduct from rent the cost of repairs, but they had to prove they had made the repairs.

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:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

OP, I agree, you need to look up the laws in your state, you need to write everything down, including dates, so you can keep it straight in your head, you need to take absolutely everything you can think of with you, and hopefully you can all work out some sort of equitable arrangement.

 

But honestly?  I would look into getting financial software to help you track your finances and maybe work on possible Executive Function issues.  The rent that was never removed from the account should have been noticed, but many people with EF issues find this sort of thing hard to track on their own.  And I definitely would never start paying a lower rent without any confirmation from the landlord IN WRITING that he had approved of my proposal.  

 

I know you are in a difficult position.  I am not saying these things to make you feel worse.  I just want you to look at this from a long term perspective.  Maybe to prevent this sort of thing from happening in the future, you might look at resources to help scaffold you and your spouse in better financial management and communication skills with landlords.  I have been both.  Communication is everything.  Yes, the landlord doesn't seem on top of things at all.  That is an issue and certainly cause for concern.  However, the bulk of the problems seem to be from your side.  I hope you can get help.

 

Best wishes.

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Thanks ladies. I have looked at them in and out. I am with TechWife, I'm screwed. I will loose the case. I did things the wrong way to begin with so I have to love with my lumps but it's sad that a slum lord (you should see the house we rent) can get away with this when he wasn't fixing what needed to be. It sucks that he can wait 15 months and let us rack up an insurmountable amount of money (that we can't pay) and then plop an eviction on us. It sucks that he can put a family of 5 out on the street (so to speak) with nary a twinge. The laws in NC protect the LL not the tenant.

 

For instance. The LL needs to give a demand for rent due 10 days before he files for eviction. He never did. Like I said, we hadn't heard from him since last January. Oh good! I'll win the case you say. Uh-uh... nope, wrong answer. I still lose because he doesn't have to prove I got said notice. He just has to say he mailed it. Not his fault if the post office looses it. Doesn't matter that he lives 5 minutes away. If he isn't fixing things.. to bad... keep paying rent and you have to take him to court and spend money taking him to court to get a dead beat LL to do anything.

 

I guess this is a high priced lesson learned. Never again will I do anything without the court involved. I will not do anything without having it in writing either. Again it sucks. Things like this totally screw  things up for the good guys.

 

Do you know my husband and I have been renting since 1996? Almost 20 years we have been renting. Do you know I have only been late (that I can recall mind you) 4 times in 20 years? The rental we had before this we were in for 9 years. I was late once. The LL didn't even charge me a late fee because he knew I wasn't usually late.

 

Now we are going to have an eviction on out record with makes us look bad and it was all over ONE wrong choice and ONE mistake in 20 years. I makes me mad and makes me want to cry at the same time that someone like our landlord, who is a three time felon to boot, can totally screw us like this. How's that for justice? I KNOW I made a mistake but the consequences just seem to outweigh the "crime" here.

 

Sorry, just in the throes of despair.

 

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In that state, if there were repairs that hadn't been made, yes, that's exactly what it meant. Tenants had a right to deduct from rent the cost of repairs, but they had to prove they had made the repairs.

That is allowed in my state as well, but the situation the OP describes is different. In a nutshell, she decided she wanted to pay a lower rent, so she did. She says repairs are needed, but not that they made them. Maybe she just left that detail out?
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You missed an entire month.  You unilaterally paid partial rent for an entire year.  Apparently the repairs weren't enough to make the place uninhabitable--you have stayed an entire year, so I question how much that is going to help your case.  You are late this month.  You refused to answer the door when he came by.  This is not "one month" late.  This is a year's worth of partial, late and missed rent.  I would evict you, too.  But that wasn't the question.  

 

Are you on a month-to-month on your lease now that it has been over a year?  If so, that may affect your (or his) rights, so be sure to read that portion of the lease.  But I would go to court prepared to (1) make as big a downpayment as you can on the balance due; (2) set up a payment plan for the remainder; and (3) start being a responsible tenant, and hope the landlord will settle for that.  He does not have to, but perhaps inertia will act in your favor.  I'm going to guess that he has another tenant lined up, though, or thinks he can get a higher rent than you are paying, and would not expect any mercy.  If he were inclined to be merciful, I think he would have contacted you before now.

 

I hope you are able to come to something that works for all of you.

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I would agree, expect this is the exception not the rule for us. I don't do this kind of thing. Ever.  There was a period when we had more money than I thought we should. since I thought I already paid the bills I thought we had just bought less. We have been trying to save money and buying less.
 It is a flimsy excuse at best but I just wasn't paying attention. December into January is very busy for us and I just over looked it.

If I had just heard one peep from the LL about it I would have cut a check immediately. We didn't so I didn't think anything was amiss.

I know it isn't his responsibility to tell me to pay rent.. I am NOT laying THAT at his feet. What ticks me off was the waiting for 15 months before deciding to tell us he didn't agree with a lesser rent AND suing us for rent that we told him was coming and we had proof. THAT makes me mad.

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

OP, I agree, you need to look up the laws in your state, you need to write everything down, including dates, so you can keep it straight in your head, you need to take absolutely everything you can think of with you, and hopefully you can all work out some sort of equitable arrangement.

 

But honestly?  I would look into getting financial software to help you track your finances and maybe work on possible Executive Function issues.  The rent that was never removed from the account should have been noticed, but many people with EF issues find this sort of thing hard to track on their own.  And I definitely would never start paying a lower rent without any confirmation from the landlord IN WRITING that he had approved of my proposal.  

 

I know you are in a difficult position.  I am not saying these things to make you feel worse.  I just want you to look at this from a long term perspective.  Maybe to prevent this sort of thing from happening in the future, you might look at resources to help scaffold you and your spouse in better financial management and communication skills with landlords.  I have been both.  Communication is everything.  Yes, the landlord doesn't seem on top of things at all.  That is an issue and certainly cause for concern.  However, the bulk of the problems seem to be from your side.  I hope you can get help.

 

Best wishes.

 

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I would agree, expect this is the exception not the rule for us. I don't do this kind of thing. Ever. There was a period when we had more money than I thought we should. since I thought I already paid the bills I thought we had just bought less. We have been trying to save money and buying less.

It is a flimsy excuse at best but I just wasn't paying attention. December into January is very busy for us and I just over looked it.

If I had just heard one peep from the LL about it I would have cut a check immediately. We didn't so I didn't think anything was amiss.

I know it isn't his responsibility to tell me to pay rent.. I am NOT laying THAT at his feet. What ticks me off was the waiting for 15 months before deciding to tell us he didn't agree with a lesser rent AND suing us for rent that we told him was coming and we had proof. THAT makes me mad.

Please don't think I'm being critical; I am just trying to understand one thing -- what made you think it would be OK to start paying less rent than was specified on your lease without written authorization from your landlord?

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If you make contact with your local Legal Aid society, even if they cannot help you with legal representation they can direct you to resources, attorneys who might cut you a deal, etc.  Otherwise, go in to court prepared with information and as much proof as possible, be respectful to the judge and leave emotions at the door. Bring everything you have, with duplicate copies if possible.  Clearly label items and have them organized when you arrive.  Call the court clerk, ask them if you can prepare a responsive pleading and if they have any guides for doing so- some offices now offer consumer information style materials for this purpose. 

 

If there's no form- take each allegation/claim in the initial pleading write out your answer and reference any documents that prove your side.  (i.e. See Exhibit A, Copy of Certified Letter) Then attach your exhibits to the back of your response (ask the clerk if this is the form they prefer).  Again, make a copy you need one and you need to file one with the judge and give one to the other side. 

 

Here are some resources, maybe your state offers materials?

https://www.google.com/search?q=consent+to+contract+via+acceptance&oq=consent+to+contract+via+acceptance&aqs=chrome..69i57.4584j0j7&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8#q=how+to+respond+to+a+legal+notice+of+eviction+complaint  (Search: How to respond to a legal notice of eviction complaint)

 

Your goal is to make the other guy look as unreasonable as possible but also understand that each of you is responsible for following the law.  You can make excuses based on fairness (called equity in law-speak) but do so with the acknowledgment that the law wasn't follow.   KWIM?  If you have the resources available, research implied consent and constructive eviction as they relate to landlord tenant law in your state.  Be aware of the terms of your specific contract.  Any breaches of that contract by the LL should be listed as a Counter Complaint.  Are there amounts you can sue for because of costs you incurred due to LL's breach?   Does his contract comply with state laws regarding landlord tenants?  If not, damages could be available simply because he didn't put in the required language.  Good luck.

 

ETA:  You are in NC?  Here's a more specific link:

https://www.google.com/search?q=consent+to+contract+via+acceptance&oq=consent+to+contract+via+acceptance&aqs=chrome..69i57.4584j0j7&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8#q=how+to+respond+to+a+legal+notice+of+eviction+complaint+north+carolina

 

Have you visited this site yet?

http://www.lawhelpnc.org/issues/housing/renting

 

Can you get a loan?  It looks like cash in hand at the hearing will end the process. If you are able to save some $, maybe you could offer a lesser negotiated amount and get the court to sign off on a settlement. 

 

 

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When is the court date? Can you start looking for a new place now, before you have an eviction on your rental record? Basically at this point I think you need to make Plan A, Plan B and Plan C to avoid homelessness.

This. Preserve your cash so you can pay first, last and deposit on a new place. You're already in a huge hole with your LL and I don't think you can avoid eviction. You need to get a new place asap.

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Thanks ladies. I have looked at them in and out. I am with TechWife, I'm screwed. I will loose the case. I did things the wrong way to begin with so I have to love with my lumps but it's sad that a slum lord (you should see the house we rent) can get away with this when he wasn't fixing what needed to be. It sucks that he can wait 15 months and let us rack up an insurmountable amount of money (that we can't pay) and then plop an eviction on us. It sucks that he can put a family of 5 out on the street (so to speak) with nary a twinge. The laws in NC protect the LL not the tenant.

 

For instance. The LL needs to give a demand for rent due 10 days before he files for eviction. He never did. Like I said, we hadn't heard from him since last January. Oh good! I'll win the case you say. Uh-uh... nope, wrong answer. I still lose because he doesn't have to prove I got said notice. He just has to say he mailed it. Not his fault if the post office looses it. Doesn't matter that he lives 5 minutes away. If he isn't fixing things.. to bad... keep paying rent and you have to take him to court and spend money taking him to court to get a dead beat LL to do anything.

 

I guess this is a high priced lesson learned. Never again will I do anything without the court involved. I will not do anything without having it in writing either. Again it sucks. Things like this totally screw things up for the good guys.

 

Do you know my husband and I have been renting since 1996? Almost 20 years we have been renting. Do you know I have only been late (that I can recall mind you) 4 times in 20 years? The rental we had before this we were in for 9 years. I was late once. The LL didn't even charge me a late fee because he knew I wasn't usually late.

 

Now we are going to have an eviction on out record with makes us look bad and it was all over ONE wrong choice and ONE mistake in 20 years. I makes me mad and makes me want to cry at the same time that someone like our landlord, who is a three time felon to boot, can totally screw us like this. How's that for justice? I KNOW I made a mistake but the consequences just seem to outweigh the "crime" here.

 

Sorry, just in the throes of despair.

I'm sorry this is falling down on you. Your LL does sound as if he doesn't communicate with you well.

 

However, I do not agree with your assessment of him "waiting for 15 months" while you rack up large fees. Assuming you are an adult, paying your rent every month is a task YOU must perform. It's nice if the LL notifies you of non-receipt, and this is what I do with my tenants, but it is not the job of the LL to be your financial assistant.

 

When I send mail to my tenants that is legal in nature, I send it Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested. I do this so I can legally support my stance that I sent it. But, frankly,

i've had tenants that try to play the mail. Once, a tenant would not go to the post office to collect the certified mail. Why, I wonder? Because she knew she was in deep poo and the letter could not be good. So she refused to pick up the notice - her way of saying she "didn't get it." I have also had a tenant who gave a hard-to-access address, like her MIL's house. This way, she could claim to not receive mail because it sat at her MIL's house for two weeks.

 

It's definitely a hard lesson to learn and I am sorry you're going thru it. But I don't think you can justifiably villify the LL; he just wants what was agreed to amd he does deserve to get that. I cannot know all that went down with attempts to contact you or your communications with him, but I can say that it is never a ball of fun for me to pester a tenant for rent or late fees. I hate it. I would be loathe to evict anyone, but I have a breaking point, too.

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That is allowed in my state as well, but the situation the OP describes is different. In a nutshell, she decided she wanted to pay a lower rent, so she did. She says repairs are needed, but not that they made them. Maybe she just left that detail out?

 

 

Please don't think I'm being critical; I am just trying to understand one thing -- what made you think it would be OK to start paying less rent than was specified on your lease without written authorization from your landlord?

 

It sounds as though Mynyel and her landlord may have a less formal, less "businesslike" arrangement than some folks here are assuming. I've been a renter my entire adult life, 30-ish years, and for a good number of those years I didn't live in the kinds of places that had actual leases or that were owned by landlords who conducted business in anything like a "professional" way. I had landlords who dropped by and asked if I could pay part of the rent a couple of days early because they needed to buy groceries, landlords who told me -- verbally -- to call a plumber and take the repairs off next month's rent, etc. I can totally imagine the chain of events that Mynyel describes happening in one of those rentals.

 

So, sure, Mynyel shouldn't have missed a rent payment. And she should have followed appropriate legal procedures to get the repairs done or have the rent adjusted. But I think a lot of you-all live in very different situations and just don't get that not every landlord-tenant relationship is quite as structured as the ones you may be used to.

 

Mynyel -- I'm sorry. I can hear the stress in your posts. I'm sure it must be terrifying. At this point, all I can suggest is that you do go into court with EVERY piece of documentation you have to back up your version of the story. Be prepared to be calm and reasonable and apologetic. And it wouldn't hurt to take some time to type up and take with you a timeline with dates and a very clear, emotion-free explanation of what you remember happening that you could refer to and, if requested, hand over.

 

Best of luck!

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It sounds as though Mynyel and her landlord may have a less formal, less "businesslike" arrangement than some folks here are assuming. I've been a renter my entire adult life, 30-ish years, and for a good number of those years I didn't live in the kinds of places that had actual leases or that were owned by landlords who conducted business in anything like a "professional" way. I had landlords who dropped by and asked if I could pay part of the rent a couple of days early because they needed to buy groceries, landlords who told me -- verbally -- to call a plumber and take the repairs off next month's rent, etc. I can totally imagine the chain of events that Mynyel describes happening in one of those rentals.

 

So, sure, Mynyel shouldn't have missed a rent payment. And she should have followed appropriate legal procedures to get the repairs done or have the rent adjusted. But I think a lot of you-all live in very different situations and just don't get that not every landlord-tenant relationship is quite as structured as the ones you may be used to.

 

Mynyel -- I'm sorry. I can hear the stress in your posts. I'm sure it must be terrifying. At this point, all I can suggest is that you do go into court with EVERY piece of documentation you have to back up your version of the story. Be prepared to be calm and reasonable and apologetic. And it wouldn't hurt to take some time to type up and take with you a timeline with dates and a very clear, emotion-free explanation of what you remember happening that you could refer to and, if requested, hand over.

 

Best of luck!

I think Jenny is spot on here.

 

I'd still be making other housing plans though because the LL tenant laws are not favorable to her in this situation from the sound of it.

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It sounds as though Mynyel and her landlord may have a less formal, less "businesslike" arrangement than some folks here are assuming. I've been a renter my entire adult life, 30-ish years, and for a good number of those years I didn't live in the kinds of places that had actual leases or that were owned by landlords who conducted business in anything like a "professional" way. I had landlords who dropped by and asked if I could pay part of the rent a couple of days early because they needed to buy groceries, landlords who told me -- verbally -- to call a plumber and take the repairs off next month's rent, etc. I can totally imagine the chain of events that Mynyel describes happening in one of those rentals.

Wow. I have never heard of such a thing, except maybe where your nephew, Bobby, is living in the room over the garage and promises to pay you when he can. Honestly, I wouldn't want to be *either* the renter, nor the landlord in an arrangement such as you describe. Besides which, if that's the case with the OP, then I don't see how the LL could even get eviction filing.

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What could happen at court? They aren't going to forgive the rent owned and they aren't going to tell the landlord to let them stay, right? I think your main focus now needs to be getting a new place to rent before you have been officially evicted? IDK.

 

I think I remember when you moved in because you had a long, messy trip, right? I don't remember the list of repairs but I do remember that the house had a ton of issues.

 

I'm sorry you are in this terrible spot.

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Wow. I have never heard of such a thing, except maybe where your nephew, Bobby, is living in the room over the garage and promises to pay you when he can. Honestly, I wouldn't want to be *either* the renter, nor the landlord in an arrangement such as you describe. Besides which, if that's the case with the OP, then I don't see how the LL could even get eviction filing.

Because he owns the property she is living in and wants her gone. He doesn't need a lease in place, or an especially formal or airtight lease at that, to seek to require someone who is there to leave. If he did, there'd be no recourse for property owners when someone is squatting.

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I dont understand why not ONCE in the 15 months that the OP paid a reduced rent because repairs werent done, that the lanlord couldnt text or call and say he didnt agree to those terms.  Even if he didn't have to legally say anything, i would have thought common sense would have prompted something from the landlord.

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It sounds as though Mynyel and her landlord may have a less formal, less "businesslike" arrangement than some folks here are assuming. I've been a renter my entire adult life, 30-ish years, and for a good number of those years I didn't live in the kinds of places that had actual leases or that were owned by landlords who conducted business in anything like a "professional" way. I had landlords who dropped by and asked if I could pay part of the rent a couple of days early because they needed to buy groceries, landlords who told me -- verbally -- to call a plumber and take the repairs off next month's rent, etc. I can totally imagine the chain of events that Mynyel describes happening in one of those rentals.

 

So, sure, Mynyel shouldn't have missed a rent payment. And she should have followed appropriate legal procedures to get the repairs done or have the rent adjusted. But I think a lot of you-all live in very different situations and just don't get that not every landlord-tenant relationship is quite as structured as the ones you may be used to.

 

Mynyel -- I'm sorry. I can hear the stress in your posts. I'm sure it must be terrifying. At this point, all I can suggest is that you do go into court with EVERY piece of documentation you have to back up your version of the story. Be prepared to be calm and reasonable and apologetic. And it wouldn't hurt to take some time to type up and take with you a timeline with dates and a very clear, emotion-free explanation of what you remember happening that you could refer to and, if requested, hand over.

 

Best of luck!

I wasn't getting the feeling that it was an informal arrangement, mainly because Mynyel specified that she had sent the landlord a certified letter asking to renegotiate the rent. If it was the kind of landlord-tenant relationship you're describing, I would think they would have simply chatted about it and come to an agreement.

 

As it is, I think she made a terrible error in starting to send a lower rent payment every month without authorization from the landlord. (I'm sure she had good reason for wanting to pay less, but if she agreed to pay a specific amount, it wasn't up to her to make the decision to lower her own rent payments without approval from the landlord, which she never received.)

 

I hope she is able to work things out with the landlord, though -- at least to the point where she has time to find a new place to live.

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I dont understand why not ONCE in the 15 months that the OP paid a reduced rent because repairs werent done, that the lanlord couldnt text or call and say he didnt agree to those terms. Even if he didn't have to legally say anything, i would have thought common sense would have prompted something from the landlord.

I think the guy sounds like a real pain, but unfortunately, if Mynyel wanted to have her rent lowered, it was up to her to keep pursuing the issue.

 

I absolutely agree that the landlord should have responded to her request, as well as sent her bills for the outstanding rent balance once he saw that she wasn't paying in full every month, and I find it incredibly odd that according to Mynyel he never even tried to collect his money, particularly because she also mentioned that he told her dh he needs to keep the place rented because he needs the money and owes a lot of money in taxes. Mynyel's problem is that from a legal standpoint, she is probably the one who will be viewed as being in the wrong here, because she was in violation of her lease.

 

She might have a bit of hope, though, if the landlord can't prove he tried to collect his money before trying to evict her. I am surprised he hasn't sent her several certified letters requesting payment.

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It sounds as though Mynyel and her landlord may have a less formal, less "businesslike" arrangement than some folks here are assuming. I've been a renter my entire adult life, 30-ish years, and for a good number of those years I didn't live in the kinds of places that had actual leases or that were owned by landlords who conducted business in anything like a "professional" way. I had landlords who dropped by and asked if I could pay part of the rent a couple of days early because they needed to buy groceries, landlords who told me -- verbally -- to call a plumber and take the repairs off next month's rent, etc. I can totally imagine the chain of events that Mynyel describes happening in one of those rentals.

 

So, sure, Mynyel shouldn't have missed a rent payment. And she should have followed appropriate legal procedures to get the repairs done or have the rent adjusted. But I think a lot of you-all live in very different situations and just don't get that not every landlord-tenant relationship is quite as structured as the ones you may be used to.

 

Mynyel -- I'm sorry. I can hear the stress in your posts. I'm sure it must be terrifying. At this point, all I can suggest is that you do go into court with EVERY piece of documentation you have to back up your version of the story. Be prepared to be calm and reasonable and apologetic. And it wouldn't hurt to take some time to type up and take with you a timeline with dates and a very clear, emotion-free explanation of what you remember happening that you could refer to and, if requested, hand over.

 

Best of luck!

In our experience, this seems more common in the South. All three places we rented did not have a lease of any kind, though all but 2 places here in Michigan had leases (including dh's grandpa).
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It sounds as though Mynyel and her landlord may have a less formal, less "businesslike" arrangement than some folks here are assuming. I've been a renter my entire adult life, 30-ish years, and for a good number of those years I didn't live in the kinds of places that had actual leases or that were owned by landlords who conducted business in anything like a "professional" way. I had landlords who dropped by and asked if I could pay part of the rent a couple of days early because they needed to buy groceries, landlords who told me -- verbally -- to call a plumber and take the repairs off next month's rent, etc. I can totally imagine the chain of events that Mynyel describes happening in one of those rentals.

 

But the thing is there was an actual agreement between the LL and renter in your examples.

 

She's got nuthin'

 

She did have a written lease and then decided she didn't want to pay the rate anymore. So she sent him something saying she wasn't going to bc he didn't make some repairs. She got no response. Did he get it? Who knows. Did she make those repairs? Nope. Just kept not paying her full rent.

 

So for 15 months she didn't pay her full rent and he didn't pitch a fit. Then she didn't pay any rent and he decided he'd had enough of that. He likely came by to see if she was even still living there and she won't answer the door. So he thinks to himself, alrighty then. Way past time to get a new renter. At this point anything he said was likely just to get off the phone. He is no longer interested in renting to them.

 

If she had an informal arrangement, it would still be an arrangement. But she didn't have anything. She just didn't pay.

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As it is, I think she made a terrible error in starting to send a lower rent payment every month without authorization from the landlord. 

 

 

She's got nuthin'

 

She did have a written lease and then decided she didn't want to pay the rate anymore. So she sent him something saying she wasn't going to bc he didn't make some repairs. She got no response. Did he get it? Who knows. Did she make those repairs? Nope. Just kept not paying her full rent.

 

So for 15 months she didn't pay her full rent and he didn't pitch a fit. Then she didn't pay any rent and he decided he'd had enough of that. He likely came by to see if she was even still living there and she won't answer the door. So he thinks to himself, alrighty then. Way past time to get a new renter. At this point anything he said was likely just to get off the phone. He is no longer interested in renting to them.

 

If she had an informal arrangement, it would still be an arrangement. But she didn't have anything. She just didn't pay.

 

I'm sure there's something in here that is supposed to be helpful to our fellow boardie. It must just be me that can't see it?

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I'm sure there's something in here that is supposed to be helpful to our fellow boardie. It must just be me that can't see it?

Well, I can't speak for Martha's post, but mine wasn't intended to be nasty. The fact is that Mynyel made mistakes and unfortunately they are coming back to bite her.

 

I feel sorry for her and I have already posted that I hope she is able to work things out with the landlord so she will at least have time to find a new place to live, but I can't say she did nothing wrong in this situation.

 

Based on the part of my post you quoted, I have to ask you -- do you think it was OK for her to take it upon herself to decide to lower her own rent without permission from the landlord and continue to pay a lower amount than she agreed to pay when she moved in, despite receiving absolutely no authorization from the landlord to do so?

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It seems kind of mean to let you pay reduced rent for a year and then demand it all back at once.  The January rent, yes, you should make arrangements to pay that. 

But you never know what the judge will say. We've evicted people who came to court with enough cash to catch up, or at least a plan to catch up and the judge asked us if we were willing to let them stay. We were not, but at least the judge tried.  So in your case, if you walk in with a plan- say, a solid plan to pay the missed January rent and an agreement to pay the original rent price from here on out, the judge might ask the landlord if he'll accept that. And he might!  Honestly, the judge may not look favorably on the landlord about accepting the reduced rent all these months and then suddenly asking for it. At least in our county I'm betting that would bring a lecture from the judge. 

 

 

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Well, I can't speak for Martha's post, but mine wasn't intended to be nasty. The fact is that Mynyel made mistakes and unfortunately they are coming back to bite her.

 

I feel sorry for her and I have already posted that I hope she is able to work things out with the landlord so she will at least have time to find a new place to live, but I can't say she did nothing wrong in this situation.

 

Based on the part of my post you quoted, I have to ask you -- do you think it was OK for her to take it upon herself to decide to lower her own rent without permission from the landlord and continue to pay a lower amount than she agreed to pay when she moved in, despite receiving absolutely no authorization from the landlord to do so?

 

I guess I'm just not sure why, when it is clear she is already in an extremely difficult and stressful situation, it is necessary to lecture her about what she should have done 15 months ago. Why isn't this a case of, if you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all? 

 

I honestly don't know whether I think it was okay for her to handle the situation the way she did. I'm not there. I don't have all the information. I don't know for sure what her relationship with her landlord was like prior to the time she sent the letter. 

 

I do know that I have been in desperate and unpleasant enough circumstances to do things in a way that others who are either more perfect or more lucky human beings apparently have never had to resort to doing. And I have a lot of compassion for others who are muddling through as best they can.

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Well, I can't speak for Martha's post, but mine wasn't intended to be nasty. The fact is that Mynyel made mistakes and unfortunately they are coming back to bite her.

 

I feel sorry for her and I have already posted that I hope she is able to work things out with the landlord so she will at least have time to find a new place to live, but I can't say she did nothing wrong in this situation.

 

I wasnt nasty either. I agree with you. I hope things work out for her, but I have quite a bit of concern that somehow this is the landlords fault.

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I'm not sure what I'm supposed to talk anyone down from. OP, I am sorry this is happening to you. Truly. We've been in hard spots at times and I have lived as a child with a family friend in the basement while my mom saved up to go to community college. I have lived myself, as a parent, with family paying rent for the room so we didn't spend 80% of our income on rent. I know it is very hard to be poor. But at this point you need to take some responsibility and realize this really is totally your fault.

 

Didn't pay a month's rent--okay, I admit I am absentminded and miss bills, but then I take responsibility. 100%, not "why didn't you call me".

 

Decided to ask forgiveness instead of permission on paying lower rent, and now, I assume, property owner realizes his failure to be mean earlier will cost him a ton. He didn't want to argue at the beginning and your behavior is the reason that landlords are strict and ask for 3 references and do credit checks. Basically, he didn't bug you, felt sorry for you but didn't want to legally agree to lower rent, and you just kept on thinking what you wanted to think. Well, here you are--he has taxes to pay, so you have rent to pay.

 

Go to court, be contrite, and Katie is right: you better sign a six month lease somewhere else TOMORROW because once this gets on your record, you have a lot to make up.

 

Or get ready to move in with family and save up a lot.

 

I am sorry. Good luck.

 

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OP, I have been in terrifying financial situations. Not so long ago, and while living in a house in which the kitchen sink back-washed into the 2nd bathroom (we didn't have use of that bathroom for a YEAR.) Where the LL's Admin told me that tenants who complain have their rent raised, and get evicted at the first legal moment. The back deck was literally disintegrating. The very large, old, oak tree out front had root protruding 6 or more inches, and its foliage covered the entire lawn, but the LL wanted me to sod. Not just arrange it, but pay for it. The property didn't have a lawn when I moved in! There's more, but that gives you a picture.

 

I did EVERYTHING I could to pay rent on time. Everything. I can't begin to list the twists, turns, and sacrifices I made to make sure rent was paid. The "first of the month" was constantly on my mind.

 

It was a dump. And I was overpaying. I was under-responded to. He was a slumlord and an ass.

 

But he still deserved rent on time, the agreed to amount, and communication on not only my terms, but his.

 

I don't understand your perspective on renting at all.

 

But I know that financial messes - even those we get ourselves into - are there own kind of evil. And when kids are involved, it is worse. It's common to have a bunch of stressful crap going on when this issues emerge, and to have something such as an eviction on top of that creates an unfathomable amount of stress. Gather all the resources you can (money, time, people) to find a better plan to move, and when you get there, consider "cleaning up your side of the road" in terms of financial behavior and orientation.

 

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:grouphug: What's done is done. Ignore the lectures you are getting (so not helpful.) I can't believe someone upthread suggested executive function disorder for not immediately realizing there was extra money on the account. <_<

 

Don't beat yourself down and adopt a defeatist attitude ( I noticed you started doing it after a couple of lovely lectures from those who never make mistakes) You made some mistakes, but hey, we all make mistakes (well, except from some posters here, obviously). Your LL made mistakes too. Contact a legal clinic and / or study your rights. In some places a LL accepting a payment means he's implicitly agreeing to it.

 

Get yourself together. One step at a time. Your situation is unlikely to be as bleak as you think. It will all work out.

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There's time for self-examination next week. It's very important for you to sit down and honestly figure out how you got here so that you don't wind up here again, but there is no point in doing that right this minute. The stress, adrenaline, etc. are going to overwhelm that process and you'll just end up wasting valuable time wringing your hands. Just stow it until you've dealt with tomorrow's business.

 

Tomorrow's business, literally tomorrow and no later, is to get a new place to live, whatever you have to sell or whomever you have to ask for help to get the $ for first, last, and deposit. Whether by word of mouth or by public record, your community is going to find out about this eviction and why. Get into a new place first. Count on losing this place. It's lost. Take it as read that you will indeed be evicted, and make sure you're already gone.

 

I'm sorry this is happening to your family.

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I guess I'm just not sure why, when it is clear she is already in an extremely difficult and stressful situation, it is necessary to lecture her about what she should have done 15 months ago. Why isn't this a case of, if you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all?

 

I honestly don't know whether I think it was okay for her to handle the situation the way she did. I'm not there. I don't have all the information. I don't know for sure what her relationship with her landlord was like prior to the time she sent the letter.

 

I do know that I have been in desperate and unpleasant enough circumstances to do things in a way that others who are either more perfect or more lucky human beings apparently have never had to resort to doing. And I have a lot of compassion for others who are muddling through as best they can.

But Jenny, we are being helpful. If everyone gives her hugs and sympathy and acts like she was within her rights to have done the things she did, and no one tells her what she has done wrong, she may very well repeat the same behavior with her next landlord and end up in a similar position.

 

Additionally, I don't know why you are only upset with Martha and me. We are not the only ones who believed Mynyel made mistakes.

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OP, I agree that it's time to house hunt. I'm sorry this has happened the way it has, and how upset and stressed you must feel. The worry and anxiety is palpable. Please, go find a new place to live before the court date.

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But Jenny, we are being helpful. If everyone gives her hugs and sympathy and acts like she was within her rights to have done the things she did, and no one tells her what she has done wrong, she may very well repeat the same behavior with her next landlord and end up in a similar position.

 

Additionally, I don't know why you are only upset with Martha and me. We are not the only ones who believed Mynyel made mistakes.

 

Taking this to PM, since I also don't think this kind of back and forth will be helpful to Mynyel.

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I am sorry if what I wrote sounded judgmental.

 

But I think being contrite in court is important. It's important to be sincere in front of the judge and to recognize one's own wrongdoing. They see case after case after case. They are not going to be at all moved by someone who is convinced they are in the right in this situation.

 

There is very little chance of the court seeing her point of view on this. It's critical that she not be at all counting on the court saying, 'Oh, I see you asked to lower rent and then didn't pay the full rent--he should have been knocking at your door--well, rather, he should have knocked on your door repeatedly and met all your requests. Let me reduce the amount you owe." While that could happen, it's really unlikely. Best case scenario is that they will owe and get a payment plan and no credit ding and no new lease with this landlord, and as long as they pay on the payment plan, say to a bank loan consolidator, they can find a new, much cheaper place to rent.

 

Hence, the lecture.

 

I am sure Mynyel feels terrible as it is. I would, and I say this as someone in debt, right now! And it sucks! I'm not in arrears, though.

 

But convincing yourself you have a case is a bad idea at this point. Rather than trying to prove that you are somehow right, I'd focus on being apologetic, showing that you did the best you thought you could and now you can see what you should have done, and moving forward.

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I'd look into implied consent laws in your state.  "Consent when surrounding circumstances exist that would lead a reasonable person to believe that this consent had been given, although no direct, express, or explicit words of agreement had been uttered. For example, implied consent to a contract can be inferred when one person has been performing on the contract, and the other person has accepted the first person's performance without objecting or complaining."  With the certified letter and the cashed checks for the lower amount without written protest, it is possible the court will see the landlord as accepting the lower rent amount.  If the landlord was not consenting they would have 1) returned the check to the OP and 2) refused in writing to accept the terms of the certified letter and requested the original lease amount.  OP may have a legal basis to assume the landlord was consenting.

 

The missed month should have been paid immediately upon discovery of the error.  At this point, though, I'd wait until court to see what the judge says.  I have friends who are landlords who have been unable to evict tenants with worse problems than this - the judge always makes a payment arrangement, and another, and another before friends can evict for nonpayment.

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