Evicted

by singlemomseeking on March 31, 2009

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This is not an April Fool’s joke.

Yesterday evening, my postal carrier knocked on my door with a registered letter from my landlord:

We are terminating our Rental Agreement,” it began.

“The reason is to allow for some remodeling, and following completion of that work, our daughter is moving in.”

It went on: “Plan on vacating the flat by May 1, 2009.”

They signed it: “Sincerely, Mr. and Mrs. B”

Sincerely my –ss.

I’ve been a great tenant: I pay my rent on time and have rarely called about repairs. I’ve never had a problem with a landlord. I’ve never been evicted. I’ve been a renter since I was 19 years old.

30 days. During the school year. In this economy. Heartless.

I called Mr. B. last night to ask him for an extension. I tried my best to be calm. “Mr. B, I understand that you need to remodel. But can I please have 60 days to find a place and move out?”

He said exactly what I’d anticipated: “I need to talk to my wife.”

Guess who wears the tight pants in that family?

I like to believe in the goodness of humanity. I’m raising my daughter to believe this, too. But this kind of selfishness gives me some doubt.

Yes, I did look up the law, and they can legally evict me for making “repairs on the unit that cannot be made with you living there” and moving “a close family member in.”

However, after researching all morning, I’ve found a clause in the law: 60 days’ notice is required if you have lived in the unit for a year.

Many of you know that I’m not one to give up. I’m trying to be optimistic and positive. M’s ninth birthday is this weekend, and we’ve got lots of party-planning to do.

I’m saving up all of my anger, fear, and panic for my friends and family — so that it doesn’t leak out in front of M. In the past 24 hours, so many folks have stepped up for us. This is what I need to focus on, right?

The above is one of my favorite corners in our home — although I recently re-organized the bookshelf, and it’s much neater!

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

GLSD April 1, 2009 at 11:40 am

Wow Rachel! But good for you for researching the law and letting them know it’s illegal. I’d ask for 90 days extension in order to find a new place with no pressure and let M finish out the school year in a stress free environment. I’m sure bigger and better things will come out of this, but I know what you mean about the short notice! Good Luck! It’ll all work out for the best! Stay strong! and let Mama Bear roarrrrrrrr lol

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singlemomseeking April 1, 2009 at 8:50 pm

Exactly GLSD! This is my main concern: disrupting M during the school year and dragging her from place to place in this search. She has been incredibly positive through all of this.

She told me tonight: “Mom, moving is an adventure!!”

Thanks, kid.

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Eathan April 1, 2009 at 12:29 pm

Wow. That’s totally crazy and sad. It sounds like their daughter is in a jam and needs a place to stay. I’m glad you’re looking into your legal options.

I’m sure it will work out.

Eathan´s last blog post…Spring Fling ‘09

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Kari April 1, 2009 at 12:47 pm

I know how much this sucks, happened to me once because the apartment complex went in foreclosure. NOW I have an eviction on my history and virtually no one will rent to me.

This is what I’d do instead of fighting for the 60 days tell them you know of the law and that if there is some way they can call this the end of your lease (re-write a lease from the time of your lease start until move out day) that would be better for you all around. Believe me you don’t want this to show up as an early termination of the lease because it doesn’t say why and they will just assume and no one will really look at the paperwork. Luckily I found a landlord who was understanding but not without some concessions.

Look into all of it before making any decisions.

Kari´s last blog post…Getting older… blah, blah, blah!!

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singlemomseeking April 1, 2009 at 8:49 pm

Kari: My lease had switched month-to-month a year ago, so I’m safe there. Thanks for the good info!

I’ve done a ton of homework in the past 24 hours and they’ve made MANY legal errors. Because I’ve lived here for more than a year, they legally have to give me 60 days to move out. Moreover, they legally have to provide copies of all building permits to show proof that their renovations are so extensive that I must leave. I’ve since found out that I have many legal ordinances in my favor! I don’t have to pack tonight.

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Hanna April 1, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Ugh I wonder if their daughter got evicted from her house/lost her job and suddenly needs a rent-free place to live. GRRR. Must be NICE owning property!

Happy birthday M!

Hanna´s last blog post…Major Hottie

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America April 1, 2009 at 6:23 pm

As a landlord, I do have to say that while your situation sucks, sometimes there are extenuating circumstances. I had to evict two long term tenants when my ex and I split up and the legal repercussions made me nearly suicidal. Then 4 years later I had to evict my ex which was just as bad.

In this kind of economy I doubt that they took lightly evicting someone who pays on time, so they may have their own troubles.

That said, I hope they are able to give you the extra time, and at least in SoCal the rental market is MUCH more a buyers market than it was 5 years ago, so you may be able to find something you like even better!

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singlemomseeking April 1, 2009 at 8:47 pm

America: I was hoping to hear from at least one landlord out there! I’m doing my best to have compassion, although I don’t know their daughter’s story…. I DO know that the landlords live in a big fancy home in the suburbs. I imagine it’s a hard role to be in, but if they’d only shown a tad of empathy. Jeesh.

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VJ April 2, 2009 at 12:26 am

Yep, I’d use every legal recourse that you can, and mainly to keep the continuity on M’s schooling intact until the end of the term. The landlord should be accepting of that. But the legal filings should all be complete and up to snuff. Their renovations need to be filed, and I’d have someone familiar with the process look them over too. Not to 2nd guess them (it’s a tough time for many people today), but it’s really a common excuse to rid yourself of tenants, even ‘stellar’ ones.

It’s a very common ploy to make changes on a property, to ‘go condo’ or for other contingencies that may not be wholly in compliance with zoning or the renatal law. I’m just wondering if it’s a ‘hardship’ situation with relatives why their daughter is not moving in with them ‘in the burbs’ too? Dimes to doughnuts there’s just a bit more than meets the eye going on here, probably.

But be that as it may, we’re wishing you all the luck possible with the pending forced move. And did I mention the old curse of ‘frozen locks’? Once you ‘unstick them’, (especially if after a very long while) all sorts of annoyances & chaos is bound to pour forth. This is one superstitious reason why most people just add to or replace the locks! (OK, just those over a certain age who might recall such ‘old wives tales’!) Cheers & Good Luck, ‘VJ’

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John F April 2, 2009 at 4:10 am

On a serious note, without knowing your LL, this should be able to be worked out.

Is this really an “eviction”? No, it is the end of a lease. I am not sure why this would look “bad” to any future landlord. People move for any number of reasons.

And if this is an individual LL as opposed to a complex or a corporation, even if it WAS an eviction, it likely is not going to appear anywhere as a blemish. If you were a deadbeat, I imagine the worse you can do is not get a reference.

That is not to say it does not suck. Keeping M in the same school is critical right now (at least till the end of the year). Hit Craigslist and find a great place–and take your doorknob.

John F´s last blog post…Maui, Hawaii June 21-28, 2009

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Melifera April 2, 2009 at 8:44 am

Not fun at all- glad to hear about your landlords being legally bound to 60 days (as opposed to 30- yikes!). Well, you know what they say… When a door is closed, someone opens a window!! Good luck!

Melifera´s last blog post…Screenprinting Classes and Sudafed

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mykidsmomx4 April 3, 2009 at 1:12 pm

Yay for no pitty parties!

I love it when people choose to have a good attitude about things when they, in all reality, would have every right to have a bad one.

I feel for you on the short notice. I’m hoping that once your landloards know the facts, they’ll be a little more accomodating.

Heading over to Dr Leah’s to share some budget slashing tips…

mykidsmomx4´s last blog post…Strong Girl

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Madison homes for sale April 13, 2009 at 7:12 pm

Your landlord is really a heartless individual to do that to you and your daughter. He definitely could have planned better and given you more notice. I guarantee it would take him at least 90 days longer to get a court order to evict you if you decided to dig in your heels and refuse to vacate the premises. They can’t forcibly remove you from the apartment at the end of the 30 days. The guy is an idiot for not realizing that! Anyway, try and be strong. Neither you nor your little girl needs ugliness and conflict in your lives. Talk to a lender in your area and see if you qualify to buy a home. Rates are at historical lows, prices are way down in many areas, and there is this wonderful freebie the government is giving away to the tune of $8K!!! What if it turned out you could better your situation and you never would have known about it had it not been for this eviction? Talk about what a wonderful silver lining that would be! Good luck and stay strong.

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