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How can you protect your home and other assets when you go active duty?

How can you protect your home and other assets when you go active duty?

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) protects active duty military personnel and other deployed service members from losing their home and other assets while they are serving active duty, temporarily stationed somewhere else, or permanently relocated...

Are You Renting a Property in Foreclosure?

Foreclosure is the legal process of a lender enforcing the mortgage against the property of a homeowner or landlord. If you are a tenant, you probably make routine payments to the landlord for the property you are renting.

Mobile Home and Manufactured Rights

Mobile Home and Manufactured Rights

Rental agreement laws are put in place to protect tenants who lease a mobile or manufactured home. Lawyers at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. can offer legal assistance to tenants whose park operators fail to comply with these laws.

A mobile and manufactured home parks rental agreement or lease must abide by certain requirements and include specific policies. Leases must be signed and completed by tenant and landlord before to moving in. The landlord must offer a minimum length of stay of one year and must offer renewal for when the term ends. The property owners name and address must be provided to the tenant and all rules associated with the park must be listed. A landlord must also state all fees and charges including monthly, extras, and for damages the tenant may cause.

A tenant is not required to purchase the rental property at the end of the lease. The agreement cannot modify the tenant rights or remove the landlord from liabilities or obligations. Landlords are obligated to keep the property sanitary and habitable and repair appliances and utilities. Landlords also have to give tenants a 24 hour notice before entering a leased property. A violation of these tenant rights may result in a lawsuit where damages are recovered and attorney fees are paid by the landlord. Contact Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. today at (614)944-5219 to verify if your tenant rights are being violated.

 

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Can my old landlord hire a debt collector to sue me for moving out of my apartment early?

Can my old landlord hire a debt collector to sue me for moving out of my apartment early?

A debt collector is allowed to contact someone to collect on a valid debt.  Before determining whether a debt collector is allowed to contact someone in a particular situation, the underlying legal situation first needs to be evaluated.

When two people enter into a lease to rent an apartment, they usually sign a contract to be jointly liable to the landlord for payment of the rent.  If either party breaks the lease, then the landlord has the right to sue either party for recovery of all the lost rent.  That lawsuit can include late fees or other charges authorized by the lease.  The legal doctrine that allows a landlord to sue either tenant (or both tenants, at the choice of the landlord) is called “joint and several liability.”  Rather than suing, a landlord can appropriately place the account with a collection agency to collect on the unpaid rent.

A separate contractual relationship governs the relationship between tenants.  Usually, two people entering into a lease agree to split the cost, where each side agrees to pay a certain amount towards the total rent.  If one of the tenants stops making payments, then the other tenant has a claim for breach of contract against the non-paying tenant.  The paying tenant can even pay the entire rent due to the landlord themselves to prevent a breach of the lease, and then sue the non-payer for breaching their agreement to split the cost.

Assuming valid contracts exists, moving out of town is generally not a good enough reason to get out of a lease.  There is no requirement that the landlord agree to allow someone out of a lease early, and no requirement for the landlord to agree to shift all of the payment responsibility onto the other tenant.  There is also no requirement for the other tenant to agree to accept all the liability for the entire lease and allow the other tenant to move out early.  It would be pretty unfair to the roommate left behind to have to pay all of the money to the landlord each month when they entered into the lease thinking they would only have to pay half.  Thus, if one of the tenants moves out early, that person should not be surprised if they are sued by both the landlord and/or the other roommate for amounts not paid.

That all said, landlords have a duty to mitigate their damages by trying to rent out the property immediately after eviction.  They cannot wait around for months in order for their damages to compound and then sue for a much bigger number than if they took appropriate steps to lease the unit to someone else immediately.  In our Franklin County, Ohio, for example, landlords are generally only able to collect about two months of future rent as damages even if the lease had six months left on it.  The landlord can also sue for fees and costs allowed by the lease or allowed by the law.  That would require looking at local law, and raising failure to mitigate damages in the court case, probably through a lawyer.

One final note on the issue of whether a debt collector is acting appropriately.  A debt collector is only allowed to demand that amount of money which is actually owed and is bona fide and reasonable.  Thus, if the debt collector is adding fees or costs which are not allowed by the terms of the lease (or are prohibited by law), then the debt collector might still be liable under the FDCPA for collecting on an inflated debt.  That kind of lawsuit could wipe out the rent claimed as due and cover your attorneys’ fees, even if the balance of the underlying debt was otherwise valid.  An experienced consumer lawyer could help there, which is what we do.  Call (614) 944-5219 if you are in Ohio.

 

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Columbus Resident Victim of Bed Bugs

Columbus Resident Victim of Bed Bugs

Doucet & Associates have filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Columbus resident who suffered physical injury, emotional distress, and economic loss due to the false assurance that the home she was about to move into was not infested with bed bugs.

R.S. Perry, LLC, and Peak Property Group, LLC, are the alleged owner and manager respectively of the property Doucet’s client leased in June of 2013. Before she moved into the premises, Doucet’s client was allegedly informed by a neighbor that the property was infested with bedbugs. The resident contacted the property’s owners to see if this were true; she was allegedly assured that there were no bedbugs on the premises.

As a result, Doucet’s client began to move into the residence. The firm’s client awoke the next morning to find she had suffered numerous bed bug bites during her first night on the property. According to the lawsuit, she immediately moved all of her belongings out of the residence and the Department of Health had to destroy her furniture. She then had to call into work to let her employer about the bed bug infestation — a call that put her job on the line.

R.S. Perry and Peak Property’s (or their predecessors) alleged inability to keep their property safe and inhabitable resulted in physical injury for Doucet’s client, as well as embarrassment, anxiety, and the loss of her belongings. She is suing on counts of breach of warranty of habitability, negligence, negligence per se, nuisance, constructive eviction, breach of contract, and battery. She is seeking statutory, economic and noneconomic, actual and emotional, general, punitive, and other damages in addition to attorney fees and the costs of the litigation.

Doucet & Associates is dedicated to fighting for the rights of consumers, protecting their interests and offering legal assistance to those who would otherwise be unable to afford it. If you feel that a company is taking advantage of consumers, the law firm welcomes your call at (614) 944-5219.

 

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