I discovered something new in my land lord adventures last week. Simple evictions can be decided by a jury.
When I went to court at the appointed time the clerk let me know that our eviction time and date had been changed b/c the resident requested a jury trail. So I went to the legal library and checked out a little info and when back to the clerk and asked if it cost $ for a jury trial. She raised her hand and held up 5 fingers! I said 5 dollars is all it costs for a jury trail! It should cost as much as the initial filing fee! At least that is how I felt when I realized that requesting a jury trail delayed the court date by 5 days. So after our little delay I show up to court with my family in tow. My family were there for the field trip to see how the legal system works.
There were a few cases before mine. One of the cases involved a tenant who had a dog in his apartment in violation of his lease. He was a young guy and thought that it would be ok to violate his lease in this way. The Judge let him know that in no uncertain terms if his lease says no pets then it means no pets. So he says that he had not paid for this month b/c he did not know how this thing would turn out but that he had the money and he would pay for any carpet cleaning and get rid of the dog and would move. The Judge then asks his landlord if that would be ok if he would do those things within the next week if they could dismiss the case. The landlord says yes the tenant says yes and everyone agrees to work out a solution that could work.
We were next. There were 25 jurors there ready to decide our case but before we begin eliminating some of them to get down to either 12 or six. So the judge says hey lets have a little pretrial meeting to see if we can work some things out. So we both approach the bench. The judge says is there any way we can work this thing out. So the tenant says he is open to working something out and I interrupt him and the Judge and say I am open to settle this and it looks like him paying “Is he prepared to pay today?”
The judge then says well I want to take a little break before we get started and maybe you all can work something out. I go back to my wife and she says you could not work something out? I reply
“What! He can’t pay but since you are saying try to do something I will try.”
So the resident and myself go into a little conference room and try to discuss some type of way to work this out. What we come up with is that on monday he will pay 900 and then will get something from the county to help the rest. I reply ok my wife said work out something. We go back into the judge and let him know that we think that we have a settlement. So the judge tells the jurors that he has some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that if they wanted to experience the civic duty of serving on a jury that they would not be able to do so today and the good news is that if they desired to leave here and get back to their lives he was going to be releasing them in a few minutes. After they were released the judge says ok tell me the settlement that you have come up with. So we tell him and says to me that sounds like a good outcome for you Mr Seay as you are able to get something verses getting nothing. This was a Friday so when monday comes along I was very busy and did not have a chance to reach out to the tenant but when Tuesday came I did talk to him and ask him if he had the $900?
Of course he did NOT!
So very nicely I explained to him that the Judge would only allow me to move his stuff out at the endo of the week, but that I did not want to pay any more money to exercise my rights. I would like for him to move by the following monday and I wished that he could come up with the money an would work with him if he thought that he could but if not then move so that I can move on as well. I wished him nothing but the best and let him know that sometimes thing don’t work out the way we want them too. Did he move out by Monday?
Of course NOT!
However he explained that the self storage place closed earlier on Sunday and all he had was a few things and he would have them gone today. So finally I got my keys and took possession of the property and to his credit he did not leave me any extra furniture, food, clothing, or other accessories.
Do you have some problem tenants and need to know what do next? Are you not sure how the eviction process works? Do you want to what I did wrong in selecting this tenant? Drop me an email ro call me at 512-782-8982.