At Least Three Landlords Out Tens of Thousands of Dollars
When a Sonoma County, California judge agreed to postpone an eviction hearing, a distraught former landlord yelled back at the judge in anger. She was ordered out of the courtroom.
After months of legal manipulations, and no rent or reimbursement for damage done to the rental, another former landlord claims she is now forced to sell her rural property to avoid foreclosure.
These landlords are not alone.
Now, the same tenant is being evicted from her Oregon rental home. There, the tenant is playing the same game — coming up with excuses to delay the inevitable eviction hearing while she lives rent-free.
The tenant, a paralegal, followed the same pattern with each landlord. Once she moved in, she asked to pay the rent in increments, claiming to be a financially-strapped single mother.
Then, she started to complain about the safety and habitability of the rental, which is grounds for her to legally withhold rent. She involved utility companies and building inspectors. When each debunked her claims that the rental was unfit, she used delay tactics to postpone her eviction. In one case, she moved out just one hour before her eviction hearing.
Each landlord tells a similar story: she was a charming person, a single-mother just trying to get by. That’s why none of the landlords checked references or ran a credit report that would have revealed at least one previous judgment in yet another state. She had no previous landlord reference, and at least two eviction records —not to mention that she has used an alias name. Still, each landlord allowed her forbearance when she said she couldn’t come up with the rent.
The Oregon landlords found out about the tenant’s history on Google, after she had moved in.
Her victims have suggested she targeted them, looking for casual situations where she wouldn’t have to submit to a tenant background check. She turned on the charm, tugged at their heartstrings to garner sympathy, and then tapped her legal expertise to try to set the landlords up for income loss.
At the next hearing in Sonoma, the same judge who had originally showed leniency in postponing the case had since come up to speed on the tenant’s history of delay tactics. This time, he enforced an order awarding that landlord damages – including a penalty for egregious behavior.
The Oregon judge is not taking any guff either. There, any unjustified delays in the trial will result in penalties. And thanks to diligent law enforcement, criminal charges are now pending against the tenant for theft and fraud.
But these landlords are each out tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid rent, damages and legal fees that they may never collect. Unfortunately, they had to learn the lesson the hard way: conducting tenant background checks on every tenant is not optional. It is an all-out necessity in order to avoid income loss.
This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.