Looking fo advice / how would you procede?

Discussion in 'Law and Justice System' started by spectrumc01, May 6, 2011.

  1. spectrumc01
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    spectrumc01 I give you....the TRUTH

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    Four years ago I rented a trailer to a young couple, background checks verified employment for both of them, with him working two jobs and she being a manager at McDonalds. Credit score was average. They signed a one year lease.
    In the year they lived in the trailer they managed to get themselves evicted and pretty much left the place trashed. The guy quit both of his jobs rather than pay child support on his three children, he was 22 at the time. His current girlfriend already had one child by him on top of the other three. Out of the monthly payments I received checks from United way, Christian services, and the state of Michigan for four months worth of rent. I could write a book on excuses not to have your rent based soley on them.
    I ended up taking her to court, because he would never be able to pay what they owed. In court she agreed to pay monthly installments and be out by the end of the month. They left the court, went to the trailer and left that night for Indiana where they stayed for two years without paying a penny. It took a while to track them down to Indiana, and the expense of going through the courts in Indiana made that a nonviable option. I thought all was lost until last year.
    They moved back to town and never contacted me. I found them through were I was working at the time (my second job, since I have been trying to dig out of the hole they left me in financially). I had her served and took her back to court, and this is where it gets unbelieveable.
    In court I was at the discovery stage in the process, so she arrived and told us she had no bank accounts and just started working. I asked for intrest and costs of the court to be added to the judgement. The judge then told me I was being vindictive for asking for intrest and that I was lucky I was getting anything out of them at all. The judge asked her how she planned on paying her debt and was told that with her income taxes all would be settled. So she was going to make payments until tax time and then pay me off. Well the payments were late or never came at all, taxes have come and went without me getting my money. Supposidly the state garnished her taxes for school loans. Every time I take her to court it costs $30 wich gets tacked on to her bill which never gets paid.
    So here is where I need information from anyone who knows anything about this kind of stuff. At what point does this become a criminal matter? She has now lied to me, not a crime, but she has also lied to the courts now about her taxes and paying me, for the second time. Isn't that perjury? If the courts cannot make her pay me then why do I pay my bills? I mean if the courts can't make her surely they can't make anyone else pay their bills. I didn't have much faith in our criminal justice system in the first place and much less faith in our civil court system, but now I find them useless. Now I don't know wether to seek out the prosecuter and see what he says or hire a lawyer, I just don't know what to do now. Is there really no way to make people pay their bills?
     
  2. strollingbones
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    strollingbones Diamond Member

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    nope...you really cant get blood from a turnip

    but you could have gotten your place hud approved and be happily collecting a hud check monthly....look into hud if you decide to keep renting....
     
  3. strollingbones
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    strollingbones Diamond Member

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    plus a good lawyer will simply eat more of your money.....you dont know the ins and outs of all this mal....i assure you the deadbeats do...this is your first rodeo but not theirs...mark this one off to experience and cut your losses...
     
  4. Cuyo
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    Cuyo Training a Guineapig army

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    Agreed. You're unlikely to collect. Maybe you can sell the judgments to a 3rd party collection agency and recoup a little of your money. But collection is a long, arduous and often fruitless journey, especially when your debtor has no money. Most landlords don't even consider suing for that reason...
     
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  5. AVG-JOE
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    AVG-JOE American Mutt Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Sounds like you've exhausted the courts - like 'Bones says, blood from a turnip is not forthcoming.

    Time to call 'Uncle Mike' for a late night meeting?
     
  6. iamwhatiseem
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    iamwhatiseem Gold Member

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    You are highly unlikely to get your money.
    Two things...
    1) The court systems in these cases overwhelmingly will not order wage garnishment etc. in residential leases etc.
    2) You are dealing with people who know the system. They are the scum of the earth, they have no morals, no feeling of guilt etc. They frankly would rather go to court 12 times before they will get a job and pay you off. They are fully aware they will reach a point where the courts basically will stop seeing the case - and they are off the hook.

    Unfortunately - this is the price of doing business in residential real estate.
     
  7. Mad Scientist
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    Mad Scientist Deplorable Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Spectrum, your only recourse is to dive into Michigan state law and know it like the back of your hand. Both to know how to proceed in court and have your "ducks in a row" and impress the judge. If you haven't already seen this link, you could start here:
    Michigan Online Legal Self-Help Center

    Every person I know that has rental property has had problems like this, except me. I think the reason is that the rental property we own is close to 29 Palms Marine Corps Base in California so we get a higher quality of renters to begin with. Well that and we go through a Property Management Agency that finds the renters, collects the rent, performs needed maintenance and such. It's worth the 10% they charge, especially since we're so far away.
     
  8. iamwhatiseem
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    iamwhatiseem Gold Member

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    Absolutely.
    If you have more than just a couple properties, a good management firm is worth their fees. Not just a headache saver - but an ass saver as well. If they are good - they keep spotless records of everything, making tax time easier...making situations like this happen less and with better results.
     
  9. xsited1
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    xsited1 Agent P

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    Ugh. That brings back some bad memories. Most have seen the "Make Money in Real Estate" infomercials and want to jump on the money bandwagon. I've had several residential properties throughout the years and have had trouble with every one. I rented to "high-end" tenants, those who were in executive positions who just needed a place for about a year until they got settled and I even had problems with them. One guy was the President and owner of a successful investing firm and his checks always bounced. Another guy was an executive at a national corporation and was frequently late making payments and left the house a mess. Just about every tenant lost some of their deposit because of cleaning costs (which were outsourced to a 3rd party with itemized charges), and each time the tenant said, "you'll be hearing from my lawyer." (I never did.) There are too many ugly stories to tell.

    Bottom line: Take what you can get, move on and never look back. If you've got more than, say, 10 properties, use a Property Management Agency like someone else mentioned. That'll reduce a lot of headaches. I moved on to commercial real estate. You get a different set of problems, but nothing like residential.

    Good luck.
     
  10. Granny
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    Granny Gold Member

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    Do you have a copy of your state's Landlord/Tenant laws? Might be of value if you decide to do any future rentals. Keep a photo record of pre-move-in condition (inside and outside) and take after-move-out pictures. Keep a good record (and receipts) for all repairs and improvements you make to your property. Trailers don't have to be "trashy" housing - there are people who have trailers and take excellent care of them. Set high standards of care, expectations, behavior, etc. for renters.

    For this particular pair of renters - learn a lesson. Don't rent to people with "iffy" credit reports, verify existing jobs, etc. Keep your property out of the "Section 8" rental venue - fix it up and aim for a higher caliber of prospective renters. These people did know the system and played it very well from every possible angle - and they will continue to do this to everybody else they come in contact with.
     

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