The Tenant Who Has No Evidence and a Judge Who Seemed Not To Care

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One of the biggest fears of a property manager is being sued. If you like being sued, I’d like to know who you are. In my experience, law suits are few and far between, but when they happen, it is usually over a frivolous claim over deposit disbursement. Only once in a while is it about something else.

This particular situation is still developing, and it began nearly 2 years ago. We began managing a house for an owner who had a tenant that owed more than $6000 in back rent on a $650 per month rental. We agreed to take the property and see what we could do about either collecting the back rent or evicting the tenant. I’d like to say it was a mistake on our part to take on this property, but I don’t believe in mistakes. I believe in living and learning and learning from experience.

We did collect $2000 of the owner’s rent monies, but we ultimately had to file an eviction. On the day of the eviction, our crew and a constable arrived at the property. The constable knocked on the door, met the tenant, and we entered the property to begin bagging up and removing the contents of the house.

Within 5 minutes, the tide had turned on what started as a peaceable eviction. The tenant and the people she had to help her move began to get agitated. They began screaming; they began to tear down the light sconces from the walls, cutting phone lines, breaking out light bulbs, and pulling down ceiling fans. They broke off the doors of the refrigerator, pulled the door facing off the gas stove, and threw glass and clay objects and broke them onto the ceramic tile flooring in the kitchen. They backed in their rented U-Haul truck, broke a huge limb from a tree, and rammed the truck into the roof of the house. The constable had given up control of the situation.

This is beyond comprehension. The tenant is now suing me for damages to the refrigerator and stove. I have been to court twice already over this and was able to get a continuance with a chance to bring in an eye-witness. In the second appearance, I was able to make a case with my eye-witness. The tenant who said that the refrigerator and stove belonged to her did not have any evidence to prove her claim. Still the judge is giving the tenant yet another opportunity to prove her case.

I’ll keep you posted. It may be a week or two before I know.

Until then,

Cary

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