Our buddy, Nicki, bumped up against the Virginia justice system recently when she tried to boot some derelicts out of the house that she rented to them. I’ll let her tell the story;
They’ve been renting from me since November 2013. At first, they paid 6 months in advance, and there were no problems, but as time went on, they started paying rent progressively later and later. My property manager didn’t evict them, even though he had every right to if they didn’t pay by the 5th of the month, but they did eventually pay – even though it was late.
In September of last year, I got a call from Mike (my property manager), and he said he was really concerned, because they just didn’t pay. If I didn’t get that money, I would default on my mortgage. I pay $2600 for rent out here in Arlington, plus approximately $1600 for my mortgage. If I had to pay both, that would be the majority of my takehome pay for the month, so it was absolutely critical that they paid.
After a couple of months of this, and one month where I actually WAS late paying the mortgage, because they only paid part of their rent, I finally decided to sell the house. I met with them and Mike, as well as my realtor. I explained the situation to them – that this was a financial hardship for me, and that I had to sell the home. I told them they were welcome to stay until I sold the house, but asked them to make sure it was in a condition to show well.
That didn’t happen. They literally sabotaged showings. My realtor would text them and tell them he had a showing scheduled at a particular date/time. They would either not reply, or complain that the agent showed up late, or that the time wasn’t good for them. They sabotaged an open house. They were asked to leave for a few hours and have the place in presentable condition. They instead hid in the basement and presented a cluttered home. The last showing I had, they basically blocked the entrance to the kitchen, so the prospective buyer couldn’t get in, let their dogs loose in the house, and one of them ran up to the buyer and the agent, squatted right in front of them and pissed on my floor.
They were given a termination letter in February giving them two months to move. They called me at the end of March and asked for an extra few days. The wife begged, told me they just needed a few days, told me they were moving in with her daughter and putting stuff in storage. I believed them. I had Mike draw up a legal order giving them until April 5 – this was the date they had asked for in the first place – for them to sign, guaranteeing that they would be out of my house, and that they would pay for the days they stayed there. At that point they cut off all communication, and after a week or so, sent Mike an email basically telling him that they didn’t find a place, had no other place to go, and they’d be out when they’re good and ready. And sorry for the inconvenience.” That entire message is in that first link.
At this point, we petitioned the court for immediate eviction and possession of my home. A sheriff’s deputy delivered the notice telling them to either vacate or show up in court on April 23.
In court, Mike told the judge that they’d been given a termination more than two months ago, that they hadn’t paid the rent for April, and that I wanted possession of my home. The Coopers told the judge that they deserved to stay there, and lied and told them that they paid a $2400 security deposit, probably hoping the judge would just allow that deposit to be used in lieu of rent. That’s illegal in Virginia, AND they only paid a $1600 security deposit, but the judge either didn’t know this, or didn’t care.
Our initial petition requested that I get immediate possession of the home and that they be forced to pay April rent since they stayed there for free the entire month. The judge told them to pay April, and instead of giving me possession of my house, set a trial date – nearly THREE MONTHS later. Not only that, but he didn’t require them to pay rent for May, June, or July. He said that since we only requested April, they could just stay there until the July 9 trial date. Free. At my expense, apparently, because someone has to pay the mortgage.
The courts have no patience for people who follow the law and since property owners are hamstrung by the so-called justice system to protect that which they own, courts are skewed against them. That’s why “the damn rent is too high”. Property owners have to mitigate their risk to their capital when they allow people to live on their property by charging higher rent and there’s basically no relief for them in the court system except by spending more money for lawyers and being forced by the court system to loan their sole investment with no return in sight on that investment.
Nicki says that she’s lost hope and I really don’t blame her. On top of the fact that she may end up in bankruptcy and that she may lose her job because of this, most of us have believed in the system that is supposed to reward those of us who play by the rules, but it never seems to do that simple thing that it was designed to do.
Judges feel better about themselves when they succeed in perpetuating criminal behavior at the expense of the innocent victims, for some reason.
Category: Dumbass Bullshit