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I have a triplex. One of the units was empty and needed a few…

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I have a triplex. One...
I have a triplex. One of the units was empty and needed a few repairs. I had an acquaintance who needed a place to sleep until he found a place of his own. I said he could stay there and do some painting until it was rented. That was the middle of January. Around feb 1 he said he'd like to stay there. I said he could if he could pay the rent. He's still there and hasn't paid me anything. What are my rights? Is he a tenant? Is he trespassing? From what I read everything says I can't turn his utilities off to get him to leave. Is this true even if I pay the utilities? I can't afford to pay them.
Submitted: 6 years ago.Category: Landlord-Tenant
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2/25/2012
Lawyer: insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer replied 6 years ago
insearchoftheanswer
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 57,197
Experience: Lawyer; developer/owner of RE developments.
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Good afternoon. Unfortunately, at this point, you are going to have to treat him as if he is a tenant in default. You will need to give him a 10-Day Notice to Quit...meaning he must vacate within that period or face formal eviction. Then, if he still has not left, you must file a petition for an eviction order. Once that is granted...you can have the sheriff evict him. You may then file a claim against him for all unpaid rent (including utilities) and damages not covered by the security deposit. Once you get your judgment, you can attach his assets, including bank accounts, and garnish his wages, to collect that judgment. Unfortunately, you must go through the formal process and what you cannot legally do is shut off the utilities, change the locks, or avail yourself of any other means of "self-help" eviction prior to getting the eviction order.

 

 

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Please be aware that the information provided here is not legal advice. Rather it is simply general information. All states have intricacies in their laws and any information given is simply information only and specifically is not intended to be, nor does it constitute, legal advice. This communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship with you. I hope this answer has been helpful to you.

insearchoftheanswer
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 57,197
Experience: Lawyer; developer/owner of RE developments.
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
You know we are in Arkansas? I don't know if that matteres. How does the 10 day notice need to be delivered? Does it have to be in person? Will I get in trouble if the water company shuts his water off because I can't pay it?
Lawyer: insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer replied 6 years ago
Yes...I did take note of that. Deliver it by courier so you have proof of the delivery. If he doesn't accept it, have the courier post it on the front door. If the utilities are in your name, you would have exposure if you allow the utilities to be shut off.
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
Courier? I don't think we have one locally. Will certified mail work?
Lawyer: insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer replied 6 years ago

Certified mail will work if he picks it up. If there is no courier, I would have a disinterested party take it and tack it to the front door and take a picture of it to show that it was indeed delivered. Then, have that person sign an affidavit that he/she delivered it on the date specified.

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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
There is a ten day notice of a criminal offense. And a three day noticethat Is a civil offense ??? Which would I be more likely to recover unpaid rent and damages?
Lawyer: insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer replied 6 years ago
The civil suit is what will recover the unpaid rent and damages....but you will nonetheless want to give the 10-Day Notice to Quit. The eviction suit is totally separate from the later civil suit for damages.
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
Ok. I hired a handyman from church to deliver the 10 day notice to quit. He will sign an affidavit to all of this. He knocked on the door, an adult answered, said Joshua(the tenant) wasn't home but that he lived there also, he signed line two of the notice. (line 2 says received by adult other than tennent). While this was happening a third person ( who said he lives there and pays Joshua rent, went upstairs and got Joshua. Joshua came downstairs, took possession of the signed papers, ripped them up, and threw them back at the server. There was also a copy mailed to him. Does this count as serving the notice?
Lawyer: insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer replied 6 years ago
Yes....that is service. Joshua acting like a 2-year old does not negate the service. :)
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
So in 10 days I take this to a judge?
Lawyer: insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer replied 6 years ago

Yes, and when you file it, be sure to include the tenant (and all other occupants) to pick up this other guy living there.

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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
Thank you!! What court do I look for? How do I file it?

I'm on an unlimited plan on here can I just leave u a tip?
Lawyer: insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer replied 6 years ago

You will file it in the local civil court.

 

Sure...that would be great! I appreciate your generosity!

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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
Sorry to keep bothering you. Do I file it now or wait till the tenth day?
Lawyer: insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer replied 6 years ago
No worries. You must wait until the 10 days is over.
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
Ok this is getting complicated. At 3:00 a bounty hunter is going to break into the apartment and get him. He skipped bail. Do I consider him gone after that? Or do I wait the ten days? What aboutthe other guys there? They have no right at all to be there do they? I don't know them, they have never ask to be there. Can I just lock them out? What about all the "stuff" in the apartment? Do I have to move it? Store it? Is it mine?
Lawyer: insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer replied 6 years ago
At this point, I'm going to have to opt out and let another expert help you from here. Take care.
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
Do I need to ask someone or are you forwarding my question somewhere?
Lawyer: insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer replied 6 years ago
I have opened it up to all experts.
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
Ok. Ten days is up tomorrow. The court said that "the prosecutor is in on Thursday's. If I give him enough proof, he will send it to the judge, then to the sherriff. That usually takes a couple weeks". Do I have to wait two more weeks? Can I just lock them out now that I've waited ten days? Or do they still have legal right to be there?
Lawyer: insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer replied 6 years ago
You can not lock them out until you get an eviction order issued by the court.
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
I took the eviction papers to court. They said If I had a signed lease agreement they could send it to the prosecutor and try to have him arrested. But that the court has no power to have anyone evicted. But since I don't have a signed lease they arent going to do anything at all.
Lawyer: insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer replied 6 years ago
Even without a lease, if you own the property, you have a right to give month to month "at will" tenants a 30 day termination notice, followed by a Notice to Quit. If the tenant has not left, you can file an unlawful detainer action. You do not need a lease for that. Think of it...if that was not the case, if anyone came to live with you and wouldn't leave, you could never get them out.
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
I believe you. I'm just saying the law enforcement and court system where I live are both useless. They all say I will have to hire a lawyer. Our city runs a racket like that I think. Thanks for your help tho.
Lawyer: insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer replied 6 years ago
My pleasure. I've enjoyed working with you.
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