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View Full Version : Question for all the lawyers/law students on the board



Redsfaithful
01-18-2006, 01:11 PM
I'm renting a duplex at the moment, but I'm being forced to leave because my landlord hasn't been paying his mortgage. The house was foreclosed on back in early December, but I've just found out today. We've been here since August, have paid our rent on time, etc. etc.

I am going to speak to a lawyer, but I thought I could get some advice here as well. Do I have any recourse for the rent we've paid? Especially for December, since we paid him even though he no longer owned the property (which obviously we didn't know).

The bank has offered us relocation assistance money if we vacate by February 1st, but I haven't been able to get an answer as to what happens if the other half of the duplex doesn't move out (I'm waiting on a call back right now). Here's the kicker - the other half is owner occupied. Our landlord lives next door.

The entire situation sucks, if anyone can offer any advice or experience I'd really appreciate it.

RedFanAlways1966
01-18-2006, 02:38 PM
RF, I had a friend who went through almost the exact same thing a couple of years ago here in Dayton. She had no recourse whatsoever. Even though she had made a few rent payments in which the owner made zero payments to the mortgage company in those months.

It does not sound as though you have made payments for time in which you were not allowed to live there, so technically you have received a roof over your head for the time paid. Whether the owner (loser) sent that money for the mortgage is not your concern (from a legal perspective).... as long as you lived there for the time paid.

I know it stinks. However, you obviously do not want to have anything to do with this owner anymore. If he/she somehow can get himself/herself righted in a financial perspective, then who knows what they might be capable of in the future. They have already "stuck it to ya" once and I would not give them the opportunity to ever do it again.

Try to buy something when you can and while rates are still low, RF. It is always tough to get started w/ ownership, but you do not have to deal with people like your landlord. Best of luck in dealing w/ your current situation!

p.s. I am not a lawyer!!

RBA
01-18-2006, 02:54 PM
I don't know. Have you looked into buying the property from the bank? The bank should give you first dibs????

zombie-a-go-go
01-18-2006, 02:57 PM
Try to buy something when you can and while rates are still low, RF.

But if you do, get a Fixed Rate. All bubbles must pop.

Puffy
01-18-2006, 03:07 PM
I'm renting a duplex at the moment, but I'm being forced to leave because my landlord hasn't been paying his mortgage. The house was foreclosed on back in early December, but I've just found out today. We've been here since August, have paid our rent on time, etc. etc.

I am going to speak to a lawyer, but I thought I could get some advice here as well. Do I have any recourse for the rent we've paid? Especially for December, since we paid him even though he no longer owned the property (which obviously we didn't know).

The bank has offered us relocation assistance money if we vacate by February 1st, but I haven't been able to get an answer as to what happens if the other half of the duplex doesn't move out (I'm waiting on a call back right now). Here's the kicker - the other half is owner occupied. Our landlord lives next door.

The entire situation sucks, if anyone can offer any advice or experience I'd really appreciate it.

Hey RF,

Let me preface this by saying that I don't know Ohio law - but landlord tenant is pretty standard, so I'll give you Florida law and what I am pretty sure is Ohio.

The money you paid to the landlord is gone. You had a contract with him. You had to pay rent to him, him not giving it to his mortgage is his business. Yes, it affects you, but you are a third party here.

The rent you paid was for the months you lived there, no court is going to allow you to live rent free, even for December (now the bank might have some recourse against the Owner cause they foreclosed, so technically thats thier money), but you, unfortunately don't. You can try to mitigate (moving expenses, breach of contract), take him to court and try to get some of the money back, but it might cost you more than its worth. First, there are attorney's fees. Second, you'll only get attorney's fees back if you win. Third, even if you win and the court awards you some money back, well, if the guy let this mortgage go then the chances that he will pay you the money is small. You'll have a judgment and very few ways to enforce said judgment.

I would say take the bank's assistance and get out of there.

Sorry man

TeamBoone
01-18-2006, 03:35 PM
Something similar I heard on the local news recently. The landlord wasn't paying the utility bills and they turned them off in an apartment building. The tenants were livid. Sorry, I don't know the outcome.

It does seem that tenants should have some rights (the operative word here being "should").

Ironically, I was a landlord once and that point in time (in NY) it seemed the tenents had all the rights. They trashed the joint and never had the trash removed. I had to jump through all kinds of hoops to have them evicted, which took about 3-4 months. Of course, during that timeframe they did even more damage because they knew I was trying to evict them. Never did I see one penny in damages.

Dom Heffner
01-18-2006, 07:13 PM
I would think the only thing you could do is to possibly sue him for any damages caused by your having to leave early or while you were living there, but what are those, honestly, and could he even pay them if they are substantial?

RedsBaron
01-18-2006, 07:30 PM
RF, I don't practice in Ohio, nor do I do all that much in the area of landlord-tenant law, but Puffy's advice seems to be very good to me.

Redsfaithful
01-18-2006, 09:30 PM
Thanks guys, it's much appreciated. I think I'm just going to avoid any contact with the landlord. I'm assuming I'm out my deposit as well, but since it's only $700 I'm guessing it's not worth going after, and I imagine he's declaring bankruptcy anyway.

TeamBoone
01-18-2006, 10:23 PM
Call Crime Stoppers!

Seriously. They help a whole lot of people who have been wronged. Most don't like the publicity they get.

Puffy
01-19-2006, 09:52 AM
Thanks guys, it's much appreciated. I think I'm just going to avoid any contact with the landlord. I'm assuming I'm out my deposit as well, but since it's only $700 I'm guessing it's not worth going after, and I imagine he's declaring bankruptcy anyway.

Hey - your deposit is worth going after, and you have a 99.9% chance of getting that back.

I would write him a letter (the landlord) explaining to him that the lease is voided thru no fault of yours and that you request your deposit back.

By law, a Landlord is supposed to keep a deposit separate, so even if he declares bankruptcy, the poor house, whatever, he still is liable for that money.

Yes, it takes it back to how to collect it if he spent it - but if you seek your deposit money the law is completely and totally on your side.