Need a good lawyer to evict a tenant

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Submitted by 42nate1 on January 11, 2020 - 2:10pm

Purchased a Duplex in San Diego county over the summer. One side was rented, and the seller occupied the other side. Seller found a tenant, who moved in once we closed escrow. Tenant signed lease. We did not do our due diligence. It was too easy. That was the first mistake.

Second mistake. We did not fill out an inspection sheet when the tenant moved in. Tenant is now claiming habitability & all kinds of damages in the place.

Third mistake. We tried filing the unlawful detainer by ourselves. The tenant is claiming:
-Defendant denies each statement
-(nonpayment of rent)Plaintiff beached warranty to provide habitable premises.
-Plantiff waived, change,d or cancelled notice to quit
-Other defenses: fair value of rent excessive
-Other: no notice or lease was attached to the complaint.

I assume I am going to lose this first suit. I need help with the next one. I need a good lawyer to help me evict this tenant.

Lucky me. Education is never free. This one will be expensive.
thanks

Submitted by gzz on January 11, 2020 - 3:26pm.

I know somebody who had a tenant who stopped paying and fought eviction in SF. Total cost to landlord in lost rent and legal fees: $30,000.

So this could be very bad. Fortunately the local courts are not anti-landlord as they are in SF.

There are lawyers that do nothing but residential evictions, I suggest one of them.

It may be unpleasant, but the cheapest way to get him out may be to bribe him.

Long term, you can fight and win and get a judgment that includes your lost rent and legal costs (but not legal fees) and if he’s employed garnish is wages.

But he can then leave the state or declare bankruptcy.

Personally I protect myself by requiring first month, last month, and security deposit up front before move-in. And prior landlord references. These types of grifters are unlikely to have all this.

In some areas I’d want an employment history including pay stubs and W2s, but here in OB self employment and trustafarianism are big so that would be too restrictive.

Submitted by SDNative2 on January 12, 2020 - 6:52am.

Welcome to the Landlord School of Hard Knocks. Been there. Expensive lesson, but don't give up. Even if you did everything right, a Professional Tenant knows how make $ off a new landlord. And CA is making that easier for them with AB1482.

Might be too late for "cash for keys". What do other Piggs think?

Wondering if your tenant has gone to the tenant lawyer in town? FWIW, I stayed away from the property once the tenant accusations started, to avoid retaliation claims.

It depends on the type of tenants your new property draws. After bringing in my own tenant once, I eventually hired a new property manager as "insurance" and a buffer against any bad tenants going forward. (as the previous PM's wife later told me, "I had a bad feeling about those tenants" but leased it to them anyway. I found out later that that PM allowed bankruptcies if everything else--deposit, income, job longevity--was A'OK.).

If I were you, I'd go directly to one of the big landlord(only) law firms in town, listed at the Southern Calif. Rental Housing Assoc (formerly SD County Apt. Assoc). The big firms do this stuff all day long. I had a bad experience with a supposed landlord-only smaller firm. Waste of money.

You didn't elaborate on the purchase contract/leasing of vacated side, but something about that transaction/timing seems odd.

I think you're going down the right path to get an individual opinion from the experts. But what do I know?

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 12, 2020 - 4:25pm.

You might lose this suit but not to worry. You can take the opportunity to do it right. Or hire a lawyer and learn along.

Did you do a 3 day notice to pay or quit? You have to include a copy of the lease and the notice with the Unlawful detainer complaint.

https://www.courts.ca.gov/27701.htm

The tenants cannot withhold rent unless they notified you in writing. Claims of habitability issues in a non payment of rent suit will go nowhere. They have to bring proof they notified you and gave you an opportunity to fix.

Just follow the steps and you will be fine.

On a side note, I only do a 3 month lease to start off with. If they lie to me and bring unapproved residents or pets (service, psychological or otherwise) i don’t renew the lease. Simple that way.

Also remember that the 2 easiest ways to evict a tenant is non-payment rent and expired contract. Judges don’t like to evict for cause such as nuisance, etc.... unless you have proof such as police reports, affidavits from neighbors, etc... even for non payment of rent, judges like to give the tenants the opportunity to pay and remain.

Submitted by 42nate1 on January 12, 2020 - 4:32pm.

I did not include a copy of the lease with the 3-day notice. It's sited in their response with the habitability issues.

I'm visiting a lawyer tomorrow to see what I have to do to get them out of my house.

I hope I can just start over having the lawyer send out the 3-day notice and go from there.

I really don't care about the rent. I just want them out to limit my losses.
Thanks

Submitted by 42nate1 on January 12, 2020 - 4:37pm.

@ FlyierInHi,

there are other issues i'm hearing about from neighbors which violate the lease on multiple counts. I do not have proof like you mention above, so the non-payment of rent seems like the easiest. That is the route I went with.

Good to know on the habitability assertion. Tenant only notified me of one issue in the first month, which was fixed the next day.

Sad part is, we actually spent quite a lot of money doing repairs & upgrades to the place. I assume the tenant will break everything on their way out.

Can't wait to see the lawyer tomorrow.
thanks

Submitted by 42nate1 on January 12, 2020 - 4:46pm.

@SDNative2

The transaction/timing was just because we were working directly with the seller. My wife found the property, and we agreed upon the transaction outside of the MLS. We've done these type of purchases before. While in escrow, we told the seller we were looking for a renter, and the price we were looking for. He said he would ask around, and came back with a tenant shortly after which agreed upon our price.

That the tenant was immediately ready to move in should have been a red flag...

I don't think the seller intentionally did this to us. Ultimately it is our fault for not following our standard due diligence.

Submitted by EconProf on January 16, 2020 - 3:20pm.

Welcome to landlording in liberal California, where lefty politicians have succeeded in raising rents and deposits via efforts to "protect" tenants. The result is hurting the poor, people with children, anyone with a dodgy work history or past eviction.
Long ago I had San Diego apartments and would occasionally take a chance with such an applicant. Sometimes it worked out, often it did not. When it worked out, I felt good about helping them get their life together.
Now, thanks to the nightmare landlords put up with, as described by the commentators above, landlords must act defensively, to the detriment of poor people. Thanks, CA politicians.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 16, 2020 - 6:28pm.

I don’t know, Econ prof. Poor people don’t have to lie, cheat, not pay rent and be drug addicts.

I might give you that liberal politicians “protect” people too much. Liberals have passed laws that are abused such as laws concerning emotional support animals. People now abuse the law to bring unauthorized pets without disclosing them first. But people who do that have no integrity. It is the law or the people of abuse it? I think that in America, we have a trashy, low-life culture among a large percentage of the population. Blame whichever party you wish.

I think the structure of our society causes people a lot of stress. Then they become whackjobs who don’t pay rent.

Submitted by 42nate1 on January 18, 2020 - 9:50am.

Tenant has agreed to move out tomorrow, leave the keys in the kitchen & text me when they vacate.
I told them if they leave, they do not owe any rent for January & I will cancel the eviction process. This is a great outcome!

"IF" (big if) they leave Sunday night, will change the locks and assess the damage & work required to rehabilitate to get it ready to rent again. Coordinating with my repair guy & a cleaning service.

Fingers crossed that I dodged an expensive bullet.

Submitted by Coronita on January 18, 2020 - 10:22am.

42nate1 wrote:
Tenant has agreed to move out tomorrow, leave the keys in the kitchen & text me when they vacate.
I told them if they leave, they do not owe any rent for January & I will cancel the eviction process. This is a great outcome!

"IF" (big if) they leave Sunday night, will change the locks and assess the damage & work required to rehabilitate to get it ready to rent again. Coordinating with my repair guy & a cleaning service.

Fingers crossed that I dodged an expensive bullet.

good luck to you. hope it works out let us know when it does.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 18, 2020 - 11:58am.

Good for you, Nate.

But i disagree with what you did. The tenant said that they’ll move out so leave it at that.

I would still go through with the eviction, because they deserve an eviction on their record. You’d be helping out future landlords who have to deal with them. There must be consequences to their actions.

Submitted by EconProf on January 18, 2020 - 4:14pm.

FlyerInHi wrote:
I don’t know, Econ prof. Poor people don’t have to lie, cheat, not pay rent and be drug addicts.

I might give you that liberal politicians “protect” people too much. Liberals have passed laws that are abused such as laws concerning emotional support animals. People now abuse the law to bring unauthorized pets without disclosing them first. But people who do that have no integrity. It is the law or the people of abuse it? I think that in America, we have a trashy, low-life culture among a large percentage of the population. Blame whichever party you wish.

I think the structure of our society causes people a lot of stress. Then they become whackjobs who don’t pay rent.


FlyerInHi: You are missing my point. Of course there are lowlifes among the applicants landlords get for advertised vacancies. But long ago, before politicians passed all the pro-tenant, anti-evil landlord laws, we could take a chance on a questionable applicant, because evicting them was easier and cheaper. Now landlords must raise deposits and rents and be more picky thanks to the new laws and tenant "protections". Not all poor people are lowlifes, and some can get their life together if given a chance. But CA politicians and their anti-landlord laws have managed to hurt their chances, plus, incidentally, raised rents and deposits for all tenants, good and bad.

Submitted by spdrun on January 18, 2020 - 7:50pm.

FlyerInHI:
(1) Why should you help other landlords? They're the competition.
(2) Wouldn't an eviction proceeding where the tenant is no longer there be laughed out of court?

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 18, 2020 - 9:27pm.

spdrun wrote:
FlyerInHI:
(1) Why should you help other landlords? They're the competition.
(2) Wouldn't an eviction proceeding where the tenant is no longer there be laughed out of court?

2. When you go to court, the judge will ask if the tenant vacated. All you have to do is answer “ the last time I checked, the tenant was still there.” That’s actually normal because many deadbeat tenants refuse to communicate. Just don’t check before the hearing date. Tenants who vacated usually don’t show up in court.

I have not done an eviction in San Diego for a long, long time, but in Nevada, the judge will ask if, in lieu of summary eviction, the parties would like to do a “status check”. The judge schedules another date 48 hours later and if the tenant has vacated, nobody needs to show up, and there is no eviction record. Me, If the tenant made me file eviction, then that’s what I want. No last minute reprieve.

Submitted by spdrun on January 18, 2020 - 9:31pm.

See, I'd want there not to be a record -- having another landlord end up with a ticking time bomb is an amusing thought.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 18, 2020 - 9:41pm.

Other owners are not completion because there are plenty of tenants.

I have an ongoing ad, so I actually refer good applicants to other owners. I talk to other owners and we discuss how to proceed with problem tenants. Slumlords who don’t care are problems just like trashy tenants.

Submitted by gzz on January 19, 2020 - 10:23am.

“Eviction on their records”

Isn’t this three possible separate things?

1. A court record of the eviction action being filed

2. The “bad tenant” database large landlords use that is like a credit report

3. Unpaid rent on a credit report.

None of these things requires actually completing the eviction action.

Nate’s tenant has 1 already, and in flyer’s case, 2 and 3 can happen even if the tenant vacates between the filing of the UD action and the hearing.

Submitted by 42nate1 on January 21, 2020 - 8:05pm.

Took possession yesterday.
Certainly some damage, but they didn't destroy the place. Driveway & street next to house completely saturated with oil. Not sure what can be done. I expect its permanent in the driveway.

Re-keyed all locks.
Got trash out of the house & had a company do a move-out cleaning.
Handyman begins tomorrow on repairs.

Will start advertising for move-in ready next week.
Definitely screening carefully going forward.

I got lucky.

Submitted by Coronita on January 21, 2020 - 8:47pm.

42nate1 wrote:
Took possession yesterday.
Certainly some damage, but they didn't destroy the place. Driveway & street next to house completely saturated with oil. Not sure what can be done. I expect its permanent in the driveway.

Re-keyed all locks.
Got trash out of the house & had a company do a move-out cleaning.
Handyman begins tomorrow on repairs.

Will start advertising for move-in ready next week.
Definitely screening carefully going forward.

I got lucky.

is that motor oil? If so, call the EPA and report your tenant and screw them over that way.

If you need a cleanup, go to an autoparts store.They sell material that will soak up the oil. Then scrub with degreaser or use muriatic acid... The degreaser will dislodge most of the oil. The muriatic acid will burn the concrete and turn it a full white. Then when it rains the concrete will eventually weather and turn back to a normal color. Please don't let degreaser and concentrated muriatic acid run into the storm drains. It will empty out into the ocean and kill a lot of marine life.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 22, 2020 - 1:03am.

42nate1 wrote:
Took possession yesterday.
Certainly some damage, but they didn't destroy the place. Driveway & street next to house completely saturated with oil. Not sure what can be done. I expect its permanent in the driveway.

Re-keyed all locks.
Got trash out of the house & had a company do a move-out cleaning.
Handyman begins tomorrow on repairs.

Will start advertising for move-in ready next week.
Definitely screening carefully going forward.

I got lucky.

Congrats. I assume you won the first unlawful detainer suit and didn’t need the lawyer?

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