Tenant won't move out and requesting a Jury trial...

127 Replies

I have a tenant who is month to month and is a lawyer who has a checkered past to put it nicely, he is a felon, but has been given his law license back. He has stopped paying rent, and told me he will not pay, or move until a judge tells him to. He will not communicate with me, and will not give me his lawyers contact information. I have given him a 30 day notice to leave (per month to month tenancy in ohio) and plan to give him a 3 day notice, then start the eviction process. I've spoken to multiple layers who know him and they said he will request it being moved from a suburban court to downtown and will request a jury trial which with the backlog of cases will buy him at least 6 to 12 months rent free. I have a great lease, and it is clear I have done everything right, the tenant knows he will loose, but he also knows it will cost me (estimates so far) over $5,000-$10,000 to fight this as a jury trial plus the lost revenue in rental income. I have no idea what to do, as I can't believe you can have a jury trial for an eviction when you refuse to pay or leave. I can not afford the loss in rental income along with the associated legal fees, and am looking into selling the house. 

Does anyone have any advice on this , or has anyone gone through this in the past and has ANY insight at all of what to do? I will be trying to sell the house, while also starting the eviction process with the tenant, and hiring a lawyer to try and stop his change of venue, and request for a jury trial but my lawyer said he will most likely get both of those requests.

I will loose the house if he doesn't pay, and I have to take on legal fees. I tried telling him he doesn't owe any back rent and I will return his security deposit in full even though there is damage to the property and he won't accept that either. 

Finally, when I tell him I will be entering the property with 24 hours notice he purposely is not there, and has two very large German Shepard dogs which he claims are mean so I can not even access my own property.

I have this clause in my lease which might protect from this scenario:

WAIVER OF RIGHT TO TRIAL BY JURY. Both Landlord and Tenant hereby waive the right to trial by jury in any action, proceeding or counterclaim brought by either party against the other arising out of or in any way related to this Lease.

I think if you pursue an eviction and explain to the judge what is going on then it might not take as long as you think

Thats crazy.  What did his background check look like when you screened him before renting your place?  Sorry to hear about that.

Yooch

Can't you report him to the state bar?  Would this be grounds for disbarment? 

There's a law firm near me that specializes in this 'jury trial' tactic, everybody has a right to a jury trial.  It's a shakedown.  It's the cost of doing business.  It will cost you way less just to pay him off, if he will accept it.  Unless the principal is more important to you than money, try offering him a few thousand to move.

Yoochul,

He was upfront and honest about being a felon for a non violent white collar crime and he his law license had been reinstated, he was looking to move since he had just gotten a divorce, and the ex had taken the house. This house is in a very nice area with a great school system and that's why he wanted to move there. He is a great actor and seemed like a nice guy (don't they all) at the time.I figured if he had his license reinstated and was honest and upfront plus had cash and a good job why not give him a chance....

I tried offering him money to move. It seems to be a power thing for him, and reasonable sense has been thrown out the window. I explained to him I will loose the house if he does this, and I am willing to let him walk away (owes over $3,500) and give him his security deposit back in full when he is out. I even told him I would sign legal documents that I wouldn't sue for back rent. 

I am going to be reporting him to the Bar association, but even if they pull his license I get to screw him, but that doesn't stop him from screwing me... 

Pursue him as you would any other dead beat tenant without delay and don't worry about what he threatens to do.  Let the judge decide how to proceed. In our jurisdiction jury trial is not an option for civil cases like this.

If you gave legal notice to enter, enter!  If the dogs run away because he didn't properly kennel them knowing you were coming, call animal services.  (Are pets allowed in your contract?)

I have rented to attorneys and they generally try to do things right knowing their reputation is on the line and they don't want to be on that side of the table befor a judge (he will be held to a higher standard).  I would agree with @Yoochul, file a formal complaint with the Bar asap! 

He may be looking for a cash for keys offer, which I would consider if I were you.

I am sorry that you are looking down this long difficult road.  Just thinking doesn' t he have to tell the court his lawyers name?  That does not solve your problem but just a thought.

As far as access you can let him just keep piling up lease violations on that front. If he leaves the dogs in the house when you say you will access and your really need to get in consider giving the dogs some goodies every time you are around.  They may grow to like you.  Also consider being more general with the request to enter (date but no time or  pick times he may have to be home anyway).  Of course there are obvious difficulties in showing such a property but making nice with the dogs can only help you in the long run. I don't think you will be able to show though.   The only viable option with this guy to get him out besides the courts could be cash for keys but somehow I doubt that will work.  The key really is to find out what is motivating him to do this and if you can address that but I sense getting into court is his motivation...not money or housing.

Originally posted by @Chris Reynolds :

I have a tenant who is month to month and is a lawyer who has a checkered past to put it nicely, he is a felon, but has been given his law license back. He has stopped paying rent, and told me he will not pay, or move until a judge tells him to. He will not communicate with me, and will not give me his lawyers contact information. I have given him a 30 day notice to leave (per month to month tenancy in ohio) and plan to give him a 3 day notice, then start the eviction process. I've spoken to multiple layers who know him and they said he will request it being moved from a suburban court to downtown and will request a jury trial which with the backlog of cases will buy him at least 6 to 12 months rent free. I have a great lease, and it is clear I have done everything right, the tenant knows he will loose, but he also knows it will cost me (estimates so far) over $5,000-$10,000 to fight this as a jury trial plus the lost revenue in rental income. I have no idea what to do, as I can't believe you can have a jury trial for an eviction when you refuse to pay or leave. I can not afford the loss in rental income along with the associated legal fees, and am looking into selling the house. 

Does anyone have any advice on this , or has anyone gone through this in the past and has ANY insight at all of what to do? I will be trying to sell the house, while also starting the eviction process with the tenant, and hiring a lawyer to try and stop his change of venue, and request for a jury trial but my lawyer said he will most likely get both of those requests.

I will loose the house if he doesn't pay, and I have to take on legal fees. I tried telling him he doesn't owe any back rent and I will return his security deposit in full even though there is damage to the property and he won't accept that either. 

Finally, when I tell him I will be entering the property with 24 hours notice he purposely is not there, and has two very large German Shepard dogs which he claims are mean so I can not even access my own property.

Truly sorry to hear about this madness you're going through. This has to be the ultimate nightmare tenant, particularly one that knows exactly how to work the judicial system by trade. Yet what is his problem with you? Why is he doing this as he must want something? Try to find out what he wants (sensible demand only)? It can't just be that he wants to be a professional squatter....this is really terrible...

Kudos,

Mary 

what a moron.

Take the dogs home and say they ran away

Originally posted by @Chris Reynolds :

Yoochul,

He was upfront and honest about being a felon for a non violent white collar crime and he his law license had been reinstated, he was looking to move since he had just gotten a divorce, and the ex had taken the house. This house is in a very nice area with a great school system and that's why he wanted to move there. He is a great actor and seemed like a nice guy (don't they all) at the time.I figured if he had his license reinstated and was honest and upfront plus had cash and a good job why not give him a chance....

 White collar felon or not, he is still a felon. I refuse to rent to them. I could care less if it is Martha Stewart. Find somewhere else to live. 

Thankfully he owes back rent.  That's what has teeth. Try evicting someone only on conducting illegal activity or nuisance/destruction.  Much harder to prove!

 Like @Curtis Bidwell suggests, just get him served with a proper 3-day (here) or 5-day or whichever it is in your state to Pay or Vacate and go through the legal process.  Sure he may contest this and that and it will take longer, but it's the best option, IMO.    

On this guy, I would lawyer up from minute one.  Improper service will set you back to square one.  Sorry you are facing this @Chris Reynolds .  More so because so much is at stake.  

I had a tenant with a big dog. They would not meet me at the property when requested. I told them it would get ugly if the dog came at me and I had to defend myself. I would be ready. They showed up. With 2 dogs I would suggest something large caliber.

Then leave him a picture a week later

I don't think Ohio investors factored in the difficult rent laws It can quickly erode years of profit any suggestions People complain about california  but at least you dont work on such thin marigns  @James Wise

 or @Engelo Rumora

So sorry to hear that Chris.  Thanks for sharing.  It's a good reminder to us all that our vacancy budgets need to also reflect the potential for dead beat tenants and not just vacancy.  Offering cash for keys or pursuing the eviction as quickly as possible is really the only options. 

As far as entering the property, is there a really good reason you need in there?  I understand the need to do inspections, but if I'm having trouble with someone, especially if it is heading in a legal direction, I tend to stay far way from the property.  I don't want any accusations that I did anything illegal.

As far as selling it, that will not force him to move either.  You would just be passing on a bad tenant to another landlord.  I inherited a bad tenant once.  Then I quickly realized that the property went up for sale about a month after the tenant moved in.  I suspect they realized they made a mistake , jumped ship, and made the next guy (me) fix their problem.  I ended up getting them out without too much pain and I love the property, so all is well.      

I see your doing this full time, so I'm assuming you have other properties.  Is there enough cash flow from other properties to allow you to keep the house?  That would be terrible to lose your house over this guy.     

Just a thought... Do you have the utilities in your name? If not, can you switch into your name putting a lock on who has access and sit them off? Sorry to hear about your troubles.

Remind him that Adverse Possession in OH requires a 21yr continuous stay...so keep it moving, Literally!

Kudos,

Mary

I wish some of the laws in Arkansas would be in place in all 50 states.  This is plain stealing in my opinion.

Yooch

Originally posted by @Chris Reynolds :

I tried offering him money to move. It seems to be a power thing for him, and reasonable sense has been thrown out the window. I explained to him I will loose the house if he does this, ...

Big mistake telling your adversary of your weakness. 

I don't have any advice but I just wanted to say how sorry I am you are dealing with this, and thanks for sharing it with us.  It will serve as a reminder to never rent to an attorney, especially not one already convicted of a felony.

I hope your attorney is wrong that he will win his requests for relocating the trial and being granted a trial by jury.  Those requests seem ridiculous, but I wouldn't be surprised if it worked for him.

Please do follow up on this for us, and best of luck.  I am so disgusted by people like this, I hope you find a way out of this situation without losing your shirt or your sanity.

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