Here’s my latest update on how the courts are handling evictions right now.
Last week, I went to court over a lease violation; the tenant was running her water all day long because she thought that gnats were coming out of the drain. Even though we had been checking on it every week, we were not able to find any gnats. The owner was paying the water bill, which was very, very high.
I have three buildings, all of which have separate water bills. I brought the owner of the building in question all three bills and showed them the difference between theirs and the other two. While their building had only four units, the water bill was as high as it was for the other 10-unit building.
The tenant didn’t show up to court but still tried the case as though she were there. After reviewing all the documentation, the judge determined that the occupant was causing damage to the unit (i.e., the owner) and therefore granted my eviction.
To be honest with you, I was shocked. I’d expected him to deny the eviction based on everything else that had been seen, but I think a large portion of why he granted it was that the occupant didn’t show up to court. That was good news, and I was glad to see that we were making some headway for the owner.
However, I did receive the news recently that the 30-day no-cause notices that were filed in August are being denied. We believed from the memorandum that we had previously received that we would be able to start filing 30-day no-cause evictions for tenants who are on a month-to-month lease in August. But the courts have decided that we should have filed those evictions on September 1, so we’re now having to re-file those notices, which means that it won’t be until October that we’ll be able to evict some of those tenants if they don’t move out at the end of the 30 days.
Additionally, the Supreme Court’s mediation program will soon hear the testimonies of property managers, legal aides, and legislators who are asking for sunset mediation, which would provide an end-date for mandatory mediations.
We also learned there are legislators who are trying to earmark the extra $10 million that the governor issued for rental assistance (specifically to the mediation program). This means that anyone who is going through the mediation program would be eligible for that money in rental assistance, but no one else would.
That comes with a lot of issues. First of all, we probably won’t be able to get into mediation until January, which means that certain occupants’ bills will continue to get higher and higher and delay payments to the owner. It also means that fewer tenants will be helped. We’re hoping that the Supreme Court won’t tie up the $10 million and that there will be added stipulations requiring tenants to have some responsibility to prove that they’ve actually been affected by the pandemic so that we can weed out the bad apples.
I’m sure that I’ll have even more updates for you in our next blog post. In the meantime, stay safe and healthy, and don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions you may have.