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

127 Replies

Originally posted by @Brett Pedigo :

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.

 That is a "self help" eviction, and is illegal in all 50 states. You would actually end up opening yourself up to penalties for doing so. 

Hire an off duty police officer to go with you to inspect the property. If the officer decides the dogs are a threat, he will deal with them. Make sure everything is perfect. If not, you might need to start rehabbing the house. Entirely. To protect your asset and for the benefit of any tenants of course.

Thank you everyone for the replies and input. I understand I cannot, and would not open myself up to anything illegal, as that is what he is banking on. As far as going into the house, it is because he has let a water issue in a bathroom that needs to be addressed and that's what he is stopping me from doing. As far as the dogs are concerned luckily it is a nice town with cops sitting around all day, so I hope to have the cops/animal control come when I am locked out and if the dogs become vicious then the police/animal control would be the one to react, not me (again lawyers...)

@Steve Babiak

 I told him that so I could humanize with him to find out exactly what he is after whether it be cash for keys, or a pride thing and I would make him feel like I was throwing myself at his mercy (he already knows the laws and how bad he can get me, or most any landlord for that matter) so opening myself up at this point is really a mute issue. How many of you can keep a rental for a year with no income while still paying insurance, taxes, water, sewer, and oh yeah lawyers fees above and beyond that all while taking time out of your day to go to court on and off again for months....

My plan is basically what I stated from the beginning is lawyer up and pray that he is in fact held to a higher standard and they will deny his request to go downtown where the courts are backlogged, while also deny his request for a Jury trial. 

As far as representing myself goes; you must be a lucky guy to have never been dragged into court as he would have a field day with motions and every trick in the book to buy him more time, and ultimately staying in the house longer than he would have to if I had a lawyer.

I do have multiple other properties that are cash positive, but with a mortage and expenses at $1,000/month plus legal fees starting at $5,000 (lowest estimate after three lawyers) I don't see that much of a choice. 

I will not rent to a felon under any circumstances. Not sure of what advice to give regarding your current situation except don't let this crud get you down! I may be working an eviction case in the near future and I fully understand the stress.

Just get an eviction lawyer and hand it over to them. I don't know if there are some local Cleveland regs that make it more complicated, but I know that Ohio evictions are relatively painless for landlords. That jury trial aspect may make it drag out longer, but if he's not paying, he's going to lose. Make sure you have all your documentation in order , don't accept any partial payments, and (especially) don't do anything stupid like threaten his dog or shut off his utilities ;)

here's a simple explanation of the Ohio process: http://www.landlordguidance.com/eviction-notice-forms/ohio-eviction/

Drag him out by his neck!

Just hire an Eviction Lawyer without delay. The longer the delay, the more it costs you. When you win the eviction case, you can go after him for the amount owed and if he has a good job, you should be able to attach/garnish his wages.

Go get the dickhead and don't get mad, take him to court.

@Chris Reynolds

Sorry to hear about this mess. The first response in this thread was telling you to include a waiver of jury trial clause in your lease in the future and that's an excellent idea. Earlier this year I was at the "Landlord Training Class" put on by Cleveland Housing Court and an investor asked one of the Magistrates if such a clause was valid or enforceable. He had just gone through a similar situation with a tenant who got a legal aid lawyer that used this tactic against him. The Magistrate confirmed that she did feel that such a clause was enforceable, and it would avoid this situation you're seeing here. Like everyone's been saying in this thread, it's not that a jury trial will lead to a different outcome, but it certainly buys the defendant more time. 

I'm afraid I don't have much advice beyond what's been given here. Proceed with the case and / or make a cash for keys offer. If you're forced to wait for the jury trial, I'd consider pursuing your second cause for money damages. If he's employed with a firm, he'll be collectible. The lengthy jury trial process means that your damages for non-payment of rent will be much higher than is typical and may justify pursuing collecting of the money damages.

Best of luck to you with this mess.

Originally posted by @Brett Pedigo :

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.

 Do not under any circumstances do this.

Originally posted by @Rob Beland :

Why do you need a lawyer @Chris Reynolds ?

Do it yourself. 

 There's an old saying among lawyers:

"The man who represents himself has a fool for a client."

@Matt Devincenzo , @Richard C. - Sorry! Wow. I didn't know that. It seems a bit unethical, but in an extreme case like this.... Thanks for the warning!!

Didn't read it all.

1. Don't rent to felons and if they are an attorney past or present that is a double whammy!

2. Don't buy property for investment if everything has to go perfectly for you to not lose it. Murphy's law kicks in more times than not and something does happen requiring steep cash reserves to weather the storm. 

Just because a bank gives a loan on a property does not make it a winner.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

At this point it looks like you are in for a lot of pain and possible foreclosure if you can't hang on. One of your only options might be to approach your lender and explain the hardship and what is going on and see if they can help in any way moving payment to the back end of the loan, reducing interest rate etc. Anything that can help you hang on until the property can get performing again. This is especially true if you have little to no equity in the property.

If you are equity rich and cash poor meaning you are at 70% for example loan to value and you can't pull out the equity you might be better off selling and leaving meat on the bone for the buyer. This way they get equity on the back end for taking on your problem and you get out of the situation without damage to credit etc.

No legal advice given.   

  

Some people mentioned on here shutting things off etc. That is a BIG NO NO. Look up self help evictions.

The courts highly frown upon those activities.  It's not about what is fair or right but the legal process is followed as it is outlined.

If you want to give the tenant ammo against you and possibly pay fines of thousands or more on top of your existing problems then go ahead but I doubt you want to consider doing such a thing as it is not smart.

No legal advice given.

@Chris Reynolds sorry to learn about your situation. Many of us have rental properties but never imagine  - the unthinkable. What did I learn from your post:

1. If a tenant is late with the rent DO NOT entertain any stories. Move on with the proper notices and eviction process ASAP. Forget all that attorney "chit chat". 

2. There are no pets or dogs that will prevent my access after proper notice for inspection or repair remedy. I dont care if they are pitbulls. Two full buckets of KFC chicken (family size) will solve that. One when I enter and another one when I leave.

3. The screening is always your best weapon to try to prevent this.

Now the problem has grown into several months of late payments and a loan facing default. Good luck and Im truly sorry about your situation. Sincerely.

@brian G there has been some great advise and some not so great advice here. Let me start by saying he was current with rent until this month, at which time I gave him 30 days notice that the month to month tenancy was being ended, that will reach its 30 days On August 1st. I have filed the proper paperwork the day I found out he was deciding to stay (and was late with rent) 

To the people saying to plan for this... Again, I ask the question who here can support a house with a 15 year mortgage when you won't receive any rental income (was cash positive when tenant was paying) for 9 to 12 months, coupled with the fact that you have to come out of pocket for legal expenses? I've been around and evicted people and to eat 2 or 3 months is usually worst case senerio (considering you have good insurance and an umbrella policy for injury, or vandalism) this a month ago was unthinkable that this was even a possibility. 

As an update I called the police to ask about going in the house with dogs and they said if you let the dog out you can be sued, if you feed the dog and he becomes sick, you can be sued, if you go in the house (with proper notice) and the animal attacks you and you harm the animal...you guessed it you can be sued. The cops and animal control told me they would not help because they didn't want to open themselves up for any liability or lawsuits. (didn't tell them he was a lawyer)

I will be trying to sell the house (as I did a good job buying it, and have equity) while also pursuing him for eviction and whatever comes first is most likely what I will go with. I will be reporting him to the bar association. 

Thank you for all the comments and advice. I especially think the best advice is to have a waiver for a jury trial and will be having all new leases/renewals sign that piece of paper, as I would recommend to everyone.

I'LL start a crowdfunding campaign and donate the first $100.00 to pay your legal bills if you commit to take it all the way to judgment And do a vicious debtor's examination! 

Hey @Chris Reynolds ,

So sorry this has happened to you, and thank you for sharing your story.  As much as everyone might say you shouldn't have rented to him, a lot of us would have.  It sounds like you have tried to look at this from every angle, and I wish you all the best.  Keep us posted.

Kelly

Have you tried offering him cash? And I mean CASH.... 10k? 15k? 20k? 40k? There's always a number...

Sorry to hear about your situation.  I've had many difficult tenants that I've needed to evict.  I usually give them a chance to work it out without hiring a lawyer but afterwards, I will simply hire a lawyer and let them do their job.  Sorry about the cash drain.  

It might also be worthwhile to contact several other attorney's to get a consultation or separate opinion.  It could be possible that your attorney is missing out on something or simply not experienced with this type of matter. 

Best of luck

Surely this guy knows how much trouble he will have renting in the future once he has an eviction on his record? Regardless of the dire predictions your lawyer has about a possible change of venue and jury trial, it seems the best thing you can do is to proceed with a 3-day eviction; if this jerk is like others I've dealt with, he will be gone before the sheriff arrives. Reporting him to the bar is a good idea as well; perhaps letting him know that you're going to do this will be some incentive as I doubt he would want to risk losing his license a second time. 

Sorry you are going through all this and I hope it helps to know you're not alone. I'm dealing with a somewhat similar situation at the moment and it seems California and Ohio laws are not that different, so have been wracking my brain for anything that could help both of us. All the best to you!

Originally posted by @Chris Reynolds :

@brian G there has been some great advise and some not so great advice here. Let me start by saying he was current with rent until this month, at which time I gave him 30 days notice that the month to month tenancy was being ended, that will reach its 30 days On August 1st. I have filed the proper paperwork the day I found out he was deciding to stay (and was late with rent) 

To the people saying to plan for this... Again, I ask the question who here can support a house with a 15 year mortgage when you won't receive any rental income (was cash positive when tenant was paying) for 9 to 12 months, coupled with the fact that you have to come out of pocket for legal expenses? I've been around and evicted people and to eat 2 or 3 months is usually worst case senerio (considering you have good insurance and an umbrella policy for injury, or vandalism) this a month ago was unthinkable that this was even a possibility. 

As an update I called the police to ask about going in the house with dogs and they said if you let the dog out you can be sued, if you feed the dog and he becomes sick, you can be sued, if you go in the house (with proper notice) and the animal attacks you and you harm the animal...you guessed it you can be sued. The cops and animal control told me they would not help because they didn't want to open themselves up for any liability or lawsuits. (didn't tell them he was a lawyer)

I will be trying to sell the house (as I did a good job buying it, and have equity) while also pursuing him for eviction and whatever comes first is most likely what I will go with. I will be reporting him to the bar association. 

Thank you for all the comments and advice. I especially think the best advice is to have a waiver for a jury trial and will be having all new leases/renewals sign that piece of paper, as I would recommend to everyone.

I know this isn't particularly helpful, but "you can be sued" for just about anything you do, ever, in a landlord capacity.  Getting sued doesn't mean they'll win, but the possibility of it is just a facet of doing business.

Good luck with this awful situation.

Originally posted by @Chris Reynolds :
"...How many of you can keep a rental for a year with no income while still paying insurance, taxes, water, sewer, and oh yeah lawyers fees above and beyond that all while taking time out of your day to go to court on and off again for months..."

 So let me introduce you to @Will Barnard and his 4 YEAR battle with squatters...

The Occupants from Hell!

Correction: 4 years and...5 months now I believe?

I had no idea these type of things went on to this capacity.

Originally posted by @Chris Reynolds :

As an update I called the police to ask about going in the house with dogs and they said if you let the dog out you can be sued, if you feed the dog and he becomes sick, you can be sued, if you go in the house (with proper notice) and the animal attacks you and you harm the animal...you guessed it you can be sued. The cops and animal control told me they would not help because they didn't want to open themselves up for any liability or lawsuits. (didn't tell them he was a lawyer)

The police aren't lawyers, and they should never have had answered your question like that. I think what they meant to say was that they aren't in the position to help in this situation, vs. advising you on the legal civil ramifications, as they tried. Better to talk to a lawyer about what you can and cannot do.

Can I ask how the conversation reached a point where he told you he is going to request a jury trial?

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here