I went through an eviction attempt a little while ago and decided to wait until I was "cooled down" to share the experience and ask for lawyer recommendations, because, seriously, at this point the lateness will most likely occur again unless my tenant finally understands the importance of rent.
It was the strangest experience actually. I know many people on here have the mantras of "evict" "evict" "evict", which is not bad, I mean it is business, and I'm working myself to that point. I had been working with my inherited tenant for quite a while. I know people say if they pay late they are not good tenants, but I believe there is more to it than just that. I have a stepson who I would never rent to (OMG you should see the house he rents!!! If his landlord in on here I feel sorry for them. lol), who happens to pay his landlord on time every month and I think he is a bad tenant versus the one I have who has many good qualities, but pays late.
Anyway, I was finally tired, the last straw was broke. So I found an attorney and looked them up in Casenet, which is a thing here in Missouri where you can see court cases and such. They seemed ok, even though I noticed that they represented both tenants and landlords, I thought it would be fine.
I paid them to take care of the eviction because I had never done one and I didn't want to miss work. Our very first conversation they asked me if I wanted the tenant out even if they brought the money to stay and I said "yes, absolutely, I'm tired of working with someone who is only getting worse and worse and doesn't seem to be trying." I mean, this tenant apparently likes to spend money on trips instead of their rent.
The lawyer filed everything. I wondered why they didn't seem to interested on when I sent the pay or quit notice, which I took care of on day 7 giving them 3 days to pay. I thought that was important. Interestingly, the lawyer became way less responsive to emails after I paid them, they were very responsive at first. hmmmm...
On the day of court, I get a missed call on my cell. So I call the lawyer back. They tell me the tenant brought the rent monies due and...they were fuzzy on the late fees but said the tenant would be paying court fees, which was in the lease. I said "What?? I wanted them out. That's what we discussed in our very first conversation." I was hot. I had already decided I was ok with having my SFH empty over the winter, it would give me time to do a little work on it...yeah, I will never make back the money I have already "lost" on it being empty before I "inherited" it, so a few months was nothing in the grand scheme of things. My own lawyer did not do what I asked, then had the nerve to tell me "did you read on my webpage about the process?" Um, yeah, jerk, I did, but that's why I paid you, to get it done right, is what I thought in my head.
all the lawyer said was "you are being made whole." I'm thinking, OMG!!!!!!
Then, later in the month, I get a text from my tenant saying they had tried to pay the legal fees to the law office who told them they had to pay me. I remember seeing the paper filed in casenet that said the tenant was supposed to pay the law office, I just figured they needed it documented or something so I emailed my lawyer....who didn't reply. Instead the lawyer called (which they had started doing, I guess no documentation that way, lol). The first thing the lawyer says is that my tenant is an idiot and tried to pay them and the court and that they always tell the tenants to pay the landlords...blah, blah, blah, blah. I think in my head, "ummm, the paper you filed in court said the tenant was to pay you." I verbally say "it's ok, we worked it out." OMG OMG.
I did get all the rent caught up, although they were short on the late fee amount (which I decided to let go since my lawyer did not correct it in court), and I've been reimbursed for the legal fees. I'll be shocked if I don't have to do this again though.
Any lawyer recommendations for Saint Louis County MO, and does anyone know if this is a normal occurrence?
I don't believe your experience with that attorney is normal. Generally, if you hire an attorney to evict a tenant, the attorney views your lease with that tenant and agrees you are within your rights to evict and agrees to provide this service, they cannot just change the contract with you and on their own decide to accept the rent money from the tenant and allow the tenant to continue to reside in the property. I would advise you to seek other counsel to get this question answered definitively as I am not a lawyer.
I have used the law firm of Davis and Travaglini, LLC and they handle these issues almost exclusively. I recommend that you call them on Monday and get their advice. Good luck with this issue!
@Edward Mikel Thank you! I will keep them in mind. I appreciate it.
@Lily R. sorry to hear about your experiences - it definitely doesn't sound like a typical eviction process. Two of the names I hear often for landlord/tenant law attorneys are Kathy Davis and Alan Baker. I haven't had any experience with either as I almost exclusively rehab, but either one might be worth a call.
@Perron Riley Thanks! I appreciate the options for the future.
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