Frozen Out in Tenant Eviction

Actor Jack Whitehall had a small part in the movie, Frozen, just one line, but he was so excited to be in a big Disney production.  Then when the movie came out, his line was cut.  His animated character appeared on screen, the lips moved through the words Whitehall had recorded, but the character had no voice.  The same thing can happen to property managers who try to represent their corporation in court in a contested tenant eviction. Showing up to court is good, but being able to voice your side of the case is better.  A property manager may show up to represent an owner, but unless he is the owner’s attorney, he does not have a legal say in a contested tenant eviction (and his cause may not get very far); the Judge gets to hear a one-sided argument…from the tenant. The property management company can file tenant eviction paperwork as long as the eviction is uncontested and for possession only (not money).  However, if the tenant raises a legal defense, then the property manager has to let it go, and either the property owner has to represent himself or herself in court, or be represented by an […] Read More

Closure in a Landlord-Tenant Case

You cannot always get what you want, but in court sometimes, you get what you need.  Such was the case recently in a landlord-tenant dispute on a commercial property. The Tenant was paying rent; the Landlord was not cashing the checks. When the Landlord leased the space, he did not realize there was a restriction against the Tenant’s business.  While the lease between them stated to only use this property for Purpose A, the Covenants and Restrictions stated that the property could not be used for Purpose A.  After the build out of the space, the Property Owner drove by and saw the problem. It was a mutual mistake.  The issue was that there was no adequate remedy under the law to fix it. Both sides were deeply prepared, and the case was argued well.  The facts came out, and the Judge figured out what to do:  he got the two sides to make a deal.  They agreed to a rescission, the Tenant kept his money from rent, and the Tenant got 90 days to move out. Something was going to happen one way or the other, and this gave the Tenant closure, which was the right thing for the […] Read More

Speechless in Eviction

There are certain things you should not say in court…and sometimes you are not allowed to speak at all.  More than a matter of courtroom decorum, if you are a non-attorney property manager representing a corporation, you do not have subject matter jurisdiction in a contested tenant eviction.  Thus you could be left speechless in eviction. “Your Honor, the landlord’s representative is to an attorney and is trying to represent a corporation.  He does not get to talk.” A property manager may show up to represent an owner, but unless he is the owner’s attorney, he does not have a legal say in what goes on (in which case his cause may not get very far). The property management company can file tenant eviction paperwork as long as the eviction is uncontested and for possession only (not money).  However, if the tenant raises a legal defense, then either the property owner has to represent himself or herself in court, or be represented by legal counsel.   Read More

Property Managers & Contested Eviction

Accidents happen and sometimes you become a landlord when you did not mean to.  Some accidental landlords deal with their new position by hiring a management company.  That is fine.  Let the management company handle the repairs, collect the rent, deal with the details of keeping the property rented.  The property management company can file tenant eviction paperwork as long as the eviction is uncontested and for possession only. Property managers and contested evictions do not mix effectively.  A property manager may show up to represent an owner, but unless he is the owner’s attorney, he does not have a legal say in what goes on (in which case his cause may not get very far). Tenant eviction is a summary process, meaning it takes a shorter time than a normal lawsuit; however, if the tenant raises a legal defense, then either the property owner has to represent himself or herself in court, or be represented by legal counsel.     Read More

The Silence of the Landlords – Property Management in Court

Having Power of Attorney is not the same as going to law school for three years.  Yes, you can represent yourself in court…but do you really want to?  Furthermore, do you have the authority?  For instance in a property management corporation, you have to have an attorney involved in certain eviction situations. You can be a property manager and you can complete an eviction as a representative for somebody who owns the property…but only if the eviction is uncontested and for possession only.  If you are going for more than possession only and/or if the eviction is contested, the property manager from a corporation is not the proper party in interest to invoke the subject matter jurisdiction of the court against the tenant and cannot represent the corporation in court. I love to get to a landlord-tenant hearing and say, “Your Honor, the landlord’s representative cannot speak because he is not an attorney and he is trying to represent a corporation.”  The Judge then gets to hear a one-sided argument…my side!  After a silence of the landlord’s side, you may find that property under new management. Court is full of decorum.  You have to mind your P’s and Q’s and […] Read More