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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 33731
Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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I am a landlord. I Wrote a letter stating rent certain

Customer Question

I am a landlord. I Wrote a letter stating rent for a certain future period was paid to give to lawyer in exchange for that payment and had the letter notarized. Gave letter to tenant to give to money was given to me. The tenant says she can use that in court to get money back- even tho I never receive any. Is this possible? She is using it as leverage to get lots of money
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 2 years ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts.

I'm sorry, I don't understand your facts. Can you rephrase that part about the letter and explain it again?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Wrote letter stating rent was paid for next 12 months and had notarized. Tenant was suppose to deliver letter and pick up check for amount of money referred to in letter. Tenant picked up letter but never brought back money. She is now threatening to take me to court for amount of letter because she will be leaving house before 12 months is over
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Told her lawyer that I received payment and now she wants the money back.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Do I need to worry or is she just trying to get money out of me? Is the a case here?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 2 years ago.

I understand now.

Why did you write the letter stating that if it wasn't true? What was the purpose of the letter?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
She said she had a trust fund and they would only release the funds if I wrote the letter. I refused but could not get money for past rent until they received letter. Obviously it was a lie but unrelieved her
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
But I believed her. Now she claims that the letter is proof and she can go to court to get money back
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 2 years ago.

She can definitely try to use it and then it is just a matter of who the court believes. There are ways to beat the claim by doing discovery and then hiring an accountant to go through the records and prove that there wasn't a payment made but it's not necessarily an easy thing to do.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
She claims that a notarized letter is all she needs in court. The notary does not know if the letter was true...only that my identity was correct. The letter was written to get something I never did get.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 2 years ago.

She's incorrect. A notarization only means that the person who signed the documents is the person they claim to be. In other words, the notary is just confirming an identity as you state.

While the letter will be admissible it is not necessarily "all she needs". You can still tell the judge your side of the story and possibly convince them that she is lying. In addition, as I mentioned above, there are other things that can be done to help prove she is lying like doing discovery so that she has to provide some type of statement as to how she claims she paid you for the 12 months and then using the records to show she did not.

If you use an attorney they will know what all to ask for and to do plus you can countersue for your attorney's fees since this is really a breach of contract type of case.

If you decide to represent yourself then there are some books like the ones at this link which tell you how to do discovery, etc. If you are going to represent yourself let me know and I'll give you a recommendation as to which of those books you should get to start preparing. I recommend those both because they are inexpensive and because they are extremely good and not filled with a lot of fluff.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
What is the process if she does this.... Small claims court? She is basically blackmailing me for half the money she has told lawyer I received . Said if I give her the money-- she won't go to court, wants money now,
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
She has a problem with the child protection people and needs to pay a lawyer, I think why this is happening,,, wants $6500.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I don't need a court battle that I cannot win
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 2 years ago.

What state is this in? Different states have different limits in their small claims courts and I don't see a state listed on this question.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
She has scammed me up to niw. Don't need to lose more money
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 2 years ago.

I'm going to be away form the computer for just a couple of minutes. As soon as I return if you've provided the state I will look up the jurisdictional limits of the small claims court.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
If she does go to court.. Don't they have to file and then court will be scheduled for later. I have spoken to cps and they know that she has not paid rent for a long time
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 2 years ago.

In Virginia the small claims court limit is $5000 so she would either have to ask for that amount (maximum) or file in a different court. A lawyer isn't likely to be interested in the case on a 5 basis so my guess is she would ask for $5000 so she could file in small claims.

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 2 years ago.

Yes, if she files the case it would be a month or two at minimum before she could get a trial and probably longer. With the allegation she is going to make you would want to ask the judge for time to do discovery if the court doesn't automatically allow it.

That should have been a % symbol in the prior paragraph, not a 5

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I don't want my husband to know... Is there a good chance she will go to court or is she just blackmailing me?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 2 years ago.

I have no way of knowing that. I would think she would want to be careful about getting into court with CPS issues.

What you may want to consider is hiring a local lawyer to write her a letter and threaten her with criminal charges for perjury if she files the lawsuit, etc. Plus, they can hint that she will have to be under oath if she files the lawsuit and then she could be asked questions that CPS might be interested in and that the lawyer will inform CPS to be there to hear what she says. The lawyer can do this in such a way that they aren't breaking any laws and it may make her back off.