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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 10238
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing both landlords and tenants in residential and commercial property disputes.
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I signed a lease agreement on my brothers behalf I had a

Customer Question

I signed a lease agreement on my brothers behalf for which I had a power of attorney.
Realtor took one month commission and land lord cashed check for one month security and advance rent of one month, all were my brother's checks.
My brother and family moved in (pregnant wife and kids 3.5 & 1.5 years).
Before I took the hand over of the house on my brothers behalf, landlords wife spoke to my brothers wife who was overseas and there was no illusion who the lease is for.
When brothers wife asked me to tell landlord about minor issues in home, he became irrational and came home with his wife and both were very aggressive with my brothers wife and inspected the whole house.
Now they have file law suit for eviction on the grounds that there is no agreement as the agreement signed was by me and not Ashar and that there are Jon Dhos living in house.
What should we do?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 4 months ago.

Dear Customer,

Your brother and his wife will need to defend the eviction proceeding (if their landlord actually does (or has already) filed the court action (unlawful detainer/forcible entry and detainer), your brother and his wife will want to file an answer to the complaint.

(You can usually find self help information on how to defend an eviction specific to your state online (some state courts, attorney general's offices, or state legal aids - will provide eviction defense packets with forms and helpful guides on the process)).

As part of this defense, your brother and his wife will simply argue that the lease was entered by their power of attorney (you) and that the contract is valid and binding. (you will likely need to come to the court hearing to testify on your brother's behalf).

It is possible to defend these kinds of actions yourself, but if your brother and his wife prefer, they can retain a landlord/tenant attorney to represent them.

You can find local attorneys using the State and local Bar Association directories, or private directories such as www.AVVO.com; www.FindLaw.com; or www.Martindale.com (I personally find www.AVVO.com to be the most user friendly).

(Some local (county) bar associations also have clinics or legal aid to help low income families facing eviction).

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Do you know along island New York specific laws or not.
Can you pl send my question to an appropriate person.
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 4 months ago.

Dear Customer,

The information above is general simply because your initial post did not give the state in which you are located (I provide as much information as possible because some customers do not return or do not answer follow up questions and I want to help by providing as much as I can with the information given).

In New York, this eviction is going to be classified and treated as a "holdover petition" (there are two basic types of eviction in NYS - Non-payment, and holdover). Holdover is the more complex one, and a local attorney is recommended (but again, not required - your brother and his wife can represent themselves if they choose to do so).

The basic defense that you have is already identified above, the only thing more specific is the exact process (so the resources available to your brother and his wife to assist them in defending the action).

The first, and most critical thing to do, is for your brother and his wife to file their "Answer" to the complaint. If they do not file an "answer" the landlord will win by default. In New York, it is possible to file an "oral answer" by simply walking into the housing court clerk's office and stating your answer, a written answer is preferred simply because it helps ensure that there is no confusion, or misunderstanding, it also allows you to reference any necessary documents (such as the POA agreement authorizing you to enter into lease agreements on behalf of the tenants).

In New York, the Courts have a helpful website that discusses in much greater detail how to file an answer and what exactly that does (basically it allows the tenants (your brother and his wife) to tell their side (they have a valid lease, it was signed by their duly authorized POA, and their POA (you) are prepared to testify at the hearing (understand these hearings are usually a single event, so be prepared to accompany them to the first court hearing).

https://www.nycourts.gov/courthelp/Homes/LTanswering.shtml

The problem that your brother and his wife are going to run into is that the NYS form answers to not conform to this defense - this means that your brother and his wife must draft (write) their own answer. This is where going to the local law library is important. (This is still a relatively easy matter, and shouldn't be a complex answer (the issue is very straight forward, as summarized above in a single sentence), but it still needs to be written up and filed within the time for filing)

All New York Housing Courts have assistance centers as well - this may be a good place to visit in lieu of the law library to help putting together an appropriate document (they cannot give legal advice, but they can help with formatting and appropriate cover papers).

There is a legal aid for New York State (so a much larger state organization) that provides general information and guidance, http://www.lawhelpny.org/issues/housing/eviction?channel=know-your-rights&category=preparing-for-court&location=all

If you want a more specific overview (so more detailed and more specific to NY State) than what I provided above as to what happens each step of the way, I would recommend the following link, it is put together by Legal Aid of Western New York, and has additional resources that may be helpful as well: http://www.lawny.org/index.php/housing-self-help-141/housing-and-eviction-self-help-142/48-general-eviction-information

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