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Improper Eviction?


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#1 Niree1978

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:40 PM

I know this is long but I'm wondering if I have any legal recourse...

MY COMPLAINT:
In Sept. I was paying my rent late, was a given a pay by date that was not honored, eviction was filed and now am being charged $460 in attorney fees.
Sept 2012 I notified office staff that my rent would be late. I was told by two separate staff members that as long as I paid by 09/20/12 no action would be taken. I went into the office on 9/20 to request the exact amount needed on my money order for rent and late fees, I was told by the manager. that eviction had been filed the day prior. When I asked what I needed to do to keep from being evicted she told me that I would need to wait for staff member who wasn't there at the time. I came back into the office a short time later and the employee was there but the manager was not. The employee stated that the manager is the one who deals with evictions and late payments and that the manager KNEW eviction had been filed on me since she was the one who compiled the list of charts to file against. I finally received word at near closing time that I could come drop off my rent and late fee and that I would be required to sign a stipulation agreement requesting attorney fees in the amount of $460. Because the office does not accept cash and I was not at home when I was told this information, I could not drop off a money order until the next day, 09/21/12. On Saturday, 09/29/12 I was served by the Sheriff's Dept with an eviction order. When I called the office Monday morning, 10/01/12 I was told the eviction process would continue until I signed the stipulation agreement. I am now being threatened with eviction because I have been unable to pay the additional fees and when I looked the case information up in our court's online database I see that eviction wasn't filed until 09/25/12 and have now requested and received a copy of my payment ledger to the apt complex stating the rent was not paid until the 25th, subsequent to the actual date and prior to the eviction filing. I have the money order receipt stub showing it was purchased 09/21/12, I also have evidence that I was told no action would be taken if paid by 09/20/12 and that the manager did request evictions to be sent to the company's attorney on an earlier date than usual. I currently receive Section 8 to offset the cost of housing and if this eviction proceeds I have been warned in a letter from Section 8 that I will lose any assistance for a term of 5 years and will be required to pay ******* Apartments and ****** Management Company over $2500 before any assistance will ever be available to me again. I am a single mom with 4 children, being evicted is not an option. HUDD pays $858 of my rent to ****** Apartments and ****** Management the 1st of every month, making my rent $1176 with my portion. Fellow tenants in the same size units, paying cash are only paying rent in the amount of $999.

THEIR ANSWER:
At the beginning of 2012, management advised all residents that pay late that all rent must be paid in full by the 20th to avoid eviction filings. As of July 2012 we stated quoting all residents the 15th of the month due to higher resident delinquency amounts each month. With that being said, Erin has paid late 4 times during her lease agreement prior to July 2012. The office staff has no recollection of a promissory agreement for Erin for the month of September 2012. Erin's 3 day notice expired on September 11, 2012. The manger requested that the assistant manager send off the files to our attorney on 09/19/12 and the Okaloosa County Clerk of Courts received the information from the attorney on 09/25/12. Erin signed a Stipulation Agreement with the attorney on 10/1/12 and this stopped the eviction and set her up on a payment plan to pay off the remaining balance over the course of the next 3 months. Management allowed her to skip and pushed back her installment payment 1 month for October 2012 and allowed her to submit her 1st installment on 11/20/12. This payment was not received. A default was filed with the attorney's office.

MY REBUTTAL:
If there was a change in policy for filing dates on eviction preceding it wasn't known to me. I wasn't even aware of the original date set for the 20th. When I've had to pay late in the past I went into the office before the rent was ever late and made them aware of my intentions, as I did this time. As I said in my original complaint I have proof that Both *****l -office staff- told me that as long as I paid on or before the 20th no action would be taken. If there was a new policy about eviction filing dates #1, why was other office staff not informed (there are only 3 workers in the office)and #2, why have evictions not been filed on that date since then as someone close to me paid her rent on the 22nd of October and faced no penalties.**** (manager) told me yesterday, since July,***** no longer accepts payment arrangements for rent, but when asked about the late paid rent in October by my friend, she stated that the resident had come into the office before her 3 day notice expired and made a payment arrangement. Tenant denies signing anything and states that it was marked on a calendar in the office.
This response still does not clarify why my rent payment was held from the 21st until the 25th --the date of eviction filing. The only reasonable explanation is the fact that rent cannot be accepted if the landlord is continuing with the eviction process, it would need to be paid to the court. If the eviction was sent to the attorney's office on Sept 19 and she accepted the rent on the Sept 21, why was the paperwork ever sent TO the courthouse FROM the attorney's office? Once the rent payment was collected, there should have been no further action but in holding that payment until the date of the eviction filing it gave ****** and ***** Management the legal recourse to demand signage of the Stipulation Agreement in order to stop the eviction proceedings.
When Erica told me yesterday of her conversation with Regional Manager, ***** states that when asked by **** why she didn't have me sign the stipulation agreement until October 1, she stated that she told him I was in and out of the hospital with a family member and they played phone tag with me to get me to come into the office to sign, which is untrue. I was told that I would be responsible for attorney fees, no exact amount was given, but was not asked to sign an agreement until 10 days after my rent payment was accepted. At that point, I had paid the rent and late fees for September and we were into October, after having a Deputy deliver an eviction notice to me and being told by management that I WOULD BE EVICTED if I didn't sign, I felt I had no recourse but to sign. Had I paid my rent and late fees to the court and taken the issue to court, the court costs would have been 1/3 the amount of the attorney fees being requested.
I receive housing assistance because I qualify financially. I don't have a new vehicle, or any vehicle at this point, I pay my bills by the skin of my teeth every month. When I went into the office prior to the October stipulation payment date and explained to ***** that I didn't have the money and didn't know when I would, she told me to "just work on it" and also advised me that my vehicle was going to be towed for an out of date tag. Thanks, I'm struggling AND you're going to tow my truck, great. Anyway, at no time did *** disclose to me that she was "pushing back" my October payment (until yesterday talking to her in the office, which was the first I'd heard of it).
Honestly, I originally believed that *** was only doing what corporate told her to do, but after the discussion I had with her yesterday, if the conversation she had with Regional Manager *****, is an accurate account, I honestly believe that she is more than willing to make whatever statements necessary to keep herself in good standing with whomever she may be speaking to at the time, regardless of the truth.

Edited by FindLaw_AHK, 03 December 2012 - 08:34 AM.
This post has been edited to remove personal or identifying information. -Moderator


#2 Fallen

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 09:23 AM

You can probably guess why no one responded. Way-y-y-y too much extraneous detail there. You also didn't ask a question, unless you can count your subject title as such.

If your rent is due on the 1st and you were given a 3-day notice (which I gather is required in your state), then the landlord's free to file an eviction action if you don't pay.

"If there was a change in policy for filing dates on eviction preceding it wasn't known to me."

It doesn't matter if some internal informal "policy" changed; what matters is what your lease agreement says.

"On Saturday, 09/29/12 I was served by the Sheriff's Dept with an eviction order."

I presume you mean you were served with a summons ("order") to appear in court, not an "eviction order"; it pays to be specific.

"I am now being threatened with eviction ..."

You were already "threatened" with eviction if they filed an eviction action. It's unclear in your post whether there is an eviction action pending. So long as you paid the late rent noted in the eviction paperwork, the court will dismiss the eviction action (unless one has been filed more than once, in which case your state's law may allow for the landlord to proceed based on repeated late payments ... which I gather for you is a regular occurrence because you don't get ahead of a given month).

"Fellow tenants in the same size units, paying cash are only paying rent in the amount of $999."

This isn't relevant, I'm afraid.

"At the beginning of 2012, management advised all residents that pay late that all rent must be paid in full by the 20th to avoid eviction filings."

If rent is due on the 1st, naturally they're being more generous than law requires.

I'll echo PG's advisory "warning" with a twist: (Many) legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here might not fully identify or explain the ramifications of your particular problem. I do not give legal advice as such (and such is impermissible here at any rate). Comments are based on personal knowledge and experience and legal info gleaned over a quarter century, and every state has differing laws on and avenues to address most topics.  If you need legal advice, you need to consult (and pay) a professional so that you may have someone to hold accountable.  Acting on personal and informational advice from a stranger on the internet is a bad idea -- at least not without your own thorough due dilience/research and confirmation as it applies to your situation.  :)


#3 Guest_FindLaw_Amir_*

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 09:37 AM

To learn more about evictions, you may wish to visit the Real Estate Law Center: Landlord-Tenant Law and read Evictions as a good resource.

#4 Niree1978

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 06:41 PM

Gee, excuse me Fallen for not being as well-informed as you are. Maybe that's why I'm here. I'm not sure if you meant your reply to sound rude or if you just happened to drive a BMW this morning. I appreciate your contribution but maybe you could TRY to be a tad less pompous. I'm betting that's just your natural tone as you look down your nose at anyone who isn't in the same tax bracket as you. Thanks anyway. (That's sarcasm, in case you were too busy hiding your millions offshore to notice)

#5 knort4

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 07:39 AM

What is the reason that you were late in coming up with the rent? Have you read your lease and have all of the eviction procedures been given to you IN WRITING? The expectation is that you as a tenant should be aware of the evicton procedures before it is begun. You probably should not have signed the stipulation agreement about the attorney fees, but you probably did not know that and you probably couldn't foresee what would have happened if you didn't sign it. Can you honestly say that you can afford to continue living there with the rent you are being charged? Would it be possible for you to borrow the money from someone else to pay off the fees? It seems a bit obvious that the management may not want you living there anymore as a tenant and you may want to explore your options for moving somewhere else. Think about contacting the Section 8 Office and applying for a transfer to a different, perhaps less expensive place. And contact your local social services agency to see if there is free legal help or a session with an agency or a landlord/tenant attorney who advises people about landlord/tenant law to see if the facts of your case cand be reviewed to see if you have any options or loopholes to be granted leniency if perhaps management did not strictly follow procedures correctly. Didn't the eviction notice explain in writing that the eviction would be cancelled if you paid a certain amount by a certain date?

#6 Niree1978

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:21 AM

Knort, I was unfortunately late because my elderly aunt had been living with my children and I for several months while waiting a senior facility. While she was in my household she did not contribute financially, even though we discussed the situation and she knew she was a financial burden, she refused to help. I've been living here for 2 years and the previous times I'd been late it was by one or two days while waiting for a paycheck. In our lease agreement it does not outline an eviction filing date and since being more than a dy or two late was new to me, and I went into the office to discuss it with them, I thought I was covered. I agree, now that I know how things would go, I should've never signed the agreement. Being a single-parent, receiving an eviction "summons" threw me into panic mode and I clearly didn't think things through.
It has now been agreed that the management company will split the cost of the attorney fees with me and they have acknowledged that the apartment manager mishandled my rent/late fee payment. They have given me until tax return time to pay the $230 amount and have offered to let me out of my lease early when I can afford to move. Unfortunately, with Section 8, if you violate your lease agreement you become ineligible for assistance for a period of 5 years. Also, the mangement company has a stipulation in our leases that states we are responsible of $2700+ if we terminate our lease early without special permissions.
Thank you for your reply, and for not making me feel like I'm being talked down to. :-)




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