March 02, 2006

I Went with My Mother Today

. . . to serve a three-day notice on one of her tenants.

That's the very hardest part of property management. It's probably just as well that I went with her.

She's doing the right thing, but even when someone's trying to game the system a bit it tears one's heart out when anyone falls on hard times. Particularly when they're used to a healthy income. In the best possible universe all our incomes would chart out into a nice, consistent upward trajectory. Almost no one I know has experienced this: instead, it's fat times and lean times and fat again and lean again. And suddenly there we are, practicing the same economies we did in our twenties. The ones we thought we'd left behind for good: Clipping coupons. Cooking from scratch. Ordering just a beverage or an appetizer when we feel we must go out with others. Nothing too onerous, but stuff we thought we'd outgrown.

There's no comfort to be found in this process. I drove her there, I met the tenant, I shook his hand. And I kept my mouth shut.

Snark is for blogging. Not real life.

My mother depends on this income. So, fuck. It's gotta be done. Also: fuck.

Posted by Attila Girl at March 2, 2006 09:22 PM | TrackBack

Its not an easy thing to evict. The worse ones to do were HUD evictions where some owner would default on a loan and we'd go in and evict everyone so they could resell the property, the government would provided some moving expenses but it wasn't enough.

Of course then there are those tenants who have no respect for anything and you're glad to be rid of them. Myself, Aunt and Grandfather have some doozie stories about tenants posessed by the devil (even one that called herself the Son of God, yes I said herself, and sued on behalf of God).

On the positive side the tenant didn't curse or threaten you.

Posted by: the Pirate at March 3, 2006 07:36 AM

Good people don't take "involuntary" loans from people they hardly know, no matter how bad things get. Time to return to the nest and live off mom and pop for awhile, just like nature intended.

For the record, I have helped more people than I can remember off the top of my head. I don't recall a single one ever coming around and asking if I need anything. It doesn't matter. I still do what I can, even if it's only directing them to government agencies and private groups that can help them through the current predicament. It's always tough to do what needs to be done in these situations. You handled it perfectly.

Posted by: Darrell at March 3, 2006 10:29 AM

Well, I felt a bit better when the guy's attorney called my mother to tell her she probably didn't realize this--and he knows she's been very nice to his client--but she was in "serious, willful" violation of his bankruptcy terms.

This is the bankruptcy that (1) my mother was told she would be excluded from, as his landlady; and (2) she's never received official notice of.

But after I got mad, it struck me as hilarious.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 3, 2006 11:09 AM

We had a few cases like that where the filed for it at differnent points in the eviction process. I can't recall all the steps, but its still possible in many cases to go ahead, just ends up costing more in legal fees and going to bankruptcy court.

Posted by: the Pirate at March 3, 2006 11:54 AM

Well, she was able to take out a second on the house, which is what she needed to do to address this situation, which I guess she's been sensing might go legal. She would have been perfectly happy to see him get back on a regular payment schedule, but that isn't happening, and there are a lot of broken promises and bounced checks.

This is all in addition to the fact that when they first moved in they bargained her down on the rent.

And I'm not even mentioning the time this tenant called my husband's office (listed as an emergency contact) because he felt my mother hadn't returned his call quite quickly enough regarding a (non-emergency) plumbing problem.

The whole thing sucks.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 3, 2006 12:43 PM

Has he seen your "Finnish anti-tank rifle?"

Or have you shown up at all hours of the day and night, wearing your crisp nurse's whites, an eye patch, doing your best "Darryl Hanna" impersonation, with that nasty looking glass syringe, whistling 'sha...sha ......sha...sha..sha..."?

Some people just can do the right thing on their own.

Posted by: Darrell at March 3, 2006 01:38 PM

Oh, believe me--if I didn't want to risk messing up my mom's situation if they could document "harrassment," I'd just get a lawn chair and a book, park myself outside for days at a time, and simply look at them everytime they left. No words, no nothing. Just letting them know, that, very literally, I've got my eye on them. Not even wearing my NRA button. Nothing technically illegal, but annoying. However, who wants to give their attorney someone else to go after?

I mean, I lived in that house from the ages of 12 to 18. A quarter of that house also happens to be my retirement plan.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 3, 2006 02:29 PM

Maybe we can call upon the massive army that reads this blog and arrange a convenient time for a few minutes of harmonic convergence a day aimed at the old homestead. "Ohmmmm(hold it for as long as you can)GET OUT YOU SON OF A JACKAL!" Repeat. Let's see him document THAT for court!

Posted by: Darrell at March 3, 2006 09:40 PM

Is a good part of why I employ a good property management firm now. Not a headache I care to deal with, and the 11% is worth the loss of hassle.

Posted by: Desert Cat at March 3, 2006 10:09 PM

Why do scientists now use lawyers instead of lab rats in their experiments?

1) They don't have to worry about getting attached to the lawyers.

2) There is no public outcry against cruelty to lawyers.

3) There are some things even a rat won't do.

Actually, this looks like a case for

What I don't get is how does he have enough money to pay a lawyer if he doesn't have enough to pay the rent? Lawyers don't come cheap.

Posted by: Robin Messing at March 4, 2006 07:45 PM

Part of the bankruptcy package.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 4, 2006 10:09 PM

I'm sure I don't have to tell you that you'll be needing a lawyer. Bankruptcy may protect him from the past due rent(if that was included), but it won't give him a place to stay for life.


New Bankruptcy Legislation Affects Residential Evictions
Effective date: Oct. 17, 2005

The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 affects the procedures landlords must follow when dealing with a tenant who has filed for bankruptcy.

Generally, if a tenant has filed for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy and is behind in the rent, becomes unable to pay the rent, or violates another term of the tenancy that would justify a termination, a landlord cannot deliver a termination notice or proceed with an eviction. This prohibition is known as the “automatic stay,” and it means that landlords must go to the federal bankruptcy court and ask the judge to “lift” (remove) the stay. (U.S. Code § 365(e).) In most cases, the judge will lift the stay within a matter of days and the landlord can proceed with a termination and eviction. (Landlords don’t have to go to court if a tenant is using illegal drugs or endangering the property, as explained below in “Bankrupt Tenants, Drugs, and Damage.”)

The automatic stay does not apply, however, if the eviction lawsuit is over and the landlord obtained a judgment for possession before the tenant filed for bankruptcy. In this situation, under the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, landlords can generally proceed with the eviction without having to go to court and ask for the stay to be lifted.

In very narrow circumstances, and only for evictions based on rent nonpayment, a tenant can stop the eviction even if the landlord got a judgment before the tenant filed for bankruptcy (California does not give tenants this option). A tenant has only 30 days after filing for bankruptcy to try this -- and must complete all three of the following steps:

The tenant must file a paper with the court certifying that state law allows the tenant to avoid eviction by paying the unpaid rent, even after the landlord has won a judgment for possession. Very few states extend this option to tenants (California is not one of them). The certification must be served on the landlord.
The tenant must deposit with the clerk of the bankruptcy court any rent that would be due 30 days from the date the petition was filed.
The tenant must certify to the bankruptcy court (and serve the landlord with this certification) that he has paid the back rent.
At any point during the 30-day period, the landlord can file an objection to the tenant’s certification. The court will hold a hearing within 10 days. If the landlord convinces the judge that the tenant’s certifications are not true, the court will lift the stay and the landlord can proceed to recover possession of the property.

Posted by: Darrell at March 6, 2006 08:47 PM

She would sooooo settle for getting rent. She just needs her income reinstated.

This tenant, BTW, drives a nicer car than she does, or I do, or my husband does.

And she does have an attorney, thank goodness.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 6, 2006 11:07 PM

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