Thank you for your question. Are you able to see this and respond?
Great, thank you for your question.
So, basically, these clowns moved onto your property, and now you find yourself in a position where you have to go to court to get them removed. Does that pretty much sum it up?
Yep...So frustrating and doesn't seem right.
It is frustrating, and you're right to feel that way. There is no perfect solution, but please allow me to explain the law so you can at least understand the process and know what to expect.
I'll start by responding to one of your statements: "It seems like the law is made to protect these people." The law is made to protect everyone from being evicted from their home unless it is proven to a court that they don't have the right to live there. It's a balancing act, and the legislature has basically weighed the risk of squatters coming onto someone's land and taking advantage of the system against the risk of a landlord or mortgage company removing someone from their home illegally due to a lack of due process, and the legislature has decided that it's better to protect people from being wrongfully removed from their home than to protect people from having their property unlawfully occupied. So the honest reality is that the law does favor the person living on the property. This doesn't mean that there isn't any remedy for the property owner. The property owner is entitled to recover the rental value of the land that is unlawfully occupied. The property owner is entitled to have the court find that the occupation is illegal and to thereafter have the occupants removed by force, if necessary. however, the property owner does have to jump through the procedural court hoops to get his or her just outcome. The burden does fall on the property owner.
The silver lining is that the process is designed to move much, much faster than other civil cases. Other types of cases can drag on for months or years. It typically takes only a matter of weeks to get an eviction.
For the landowner, justice means a right to court-ordered compensation for the occupancy. For the occupant, it means no removal from the premises unless the owner proves that the tenant does not have a right to occupy.
And that is the unfortunate, but blunt truth. I do apologize that I don't have better news, but I have to be straightforward if the information is to be of any value whatsoever.
Does that make sense?
Yes. It's hard to look at it from the side that the law is there to protect everyone when we haven't felt like this during this process. The police mentioned subleasing...are they considered to be subleasing the property even though my nephew wasn't a legal tenant himself?
We have also been working on the house (when we can) and so the electricity has been turned off so we can do work on the electrical issues. I'm guessing we are allowed to do this right? Same way with the water.
Well, as I mentioned, you're right to feel how you do. But just imagine your mortgage company sending the police to your door and having you evicted because they claim you didn't pay your mortgage when you did. That is the greater evil that the law is designed to protect against.
When your nephew lived on the premises, what did you receive in exchange?
Nothing really. My dad would give him projects to do (tear out walls, floors, etc) so he was just supposed to be fixing the place up.
Well, to have a sublease, you first have to have a lease. I don't feel like I have all the information, but it's not clear to me that there was a lease.
I should clarify at this time that this information should not be construed as complete or advice without consulting in person with counsel. But that said, just because a non-owner consents to you occupying a space, that doesn't make you a sublessor.
That is what i was thinking but wasn't sure. Not having have gone through this before it is exhausting. Did you read my question about the electrical and water? So if they are not technically a "sublessor" than why do we have to go down the court road? Why isn't this a different matter related to squatters which I thought was more of a criminal issue? Then we wouldn't have to go about this through the district court.
I apologize for skipping over that. Unfortunately, when multiple questions are asked, that can happen in this format.
Let's address those questions one at a time.
First, tell me a bit about turning off the electricity and the water. Did that happen during the occupancy?
Yes we were in the middle of some work when we found out they were staying there.
The challenge there is that turning off the electricity or water on an occupant can be construed as a constructive eviction--an action to make a premises unliveable to force them to self-evict--which is illegal, and would prevent the court from finding the occupancy unlawful. The landlord/owner would have to turn the utilities back on, then start the eviction process.
I'm not saying that those were your motives--far from it--but the timing isn't great.
Again, look at this through the perspective of the law wanting to protect people from being illegally evicted from their residences.
well the water was turned off because the plumbing in what used to be the kitchen was exposed. Not wanting to have water ruining the rest of the house my dad turned it off. They managed to turn it back on so the city was contacted and they disconnected it to avoid further damage to our property. We would have to rebuild the kitchen plumbing in order to turn the water back on. The electrical...we had it disconnected and the people had it reconnected so that is fine if they choose to pay the electric for their usage since we were paying for it before. I haven't turned in the petition and summons to the court house but plan to soon. I'm sensing there is really nothing else we can do in this case. These people are not paying rent or utilities and allowed to live in our property. I understand about illegal evictions but this is clearly not the case and I hope a judge will see that. We just want them out so we can work on our house. We are the ones that have invested our time and lots of $ into it. I don't get why they just won't move out. Sorry I'm ranting...:) I do appareciate your insite and answering my questions. Any other advice that might help us in our battle?
I think that the main thing you should know is that although the courts tend to be reasonably flexible in most types of matters, they are very strict in anything related to an eviction. You really have to have your "i"s dotted and your "t"s crossed, as they say. If you're serious about having these people removed from the property as quickly as possible, I do recommend that you get an attorney to at least help with drafting the paperwork to ensure that it is done right the first time. Attorney fees can actually be recovered from the losing side in these sorts of cases, so there's always the possibility of recovering those costs as well. Most people don't use attorneys, but a lot of them end up having to refile a couple of times.
I would also just encourage you to be patient in this. Although this is your first time going through this, this is nothing new. The courts just need the proof, and they're happy to get rid of the illegal occupants. You do have rights, but the system unfortunately requires the process to be exercised before justice can be served.
I hope that helps.
It most certainly did! Thank you so much for your help. I appreciated your advice. Have a good night!! Thanks again!
It was my pleasure. Have a good evening. :-)
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