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I currently reside in a sober living environment. One of the…

Customer Question
I currently reside in...

I currently reside in a sober living environment. One of the things that their entry paperwork states is that all residents are NOT "tenants" and have no housing rights and no legal recourse if asked to leave. Management reserves the right to ask anyone to leave at any time. It further states that any lawsuits or retaliatory legal efforts on the part of residents will be deemed frivolous and if a case ever makes it to court or arbitration the resident is responsible for all fees the organization must pay to defend itself. Is this something that they can legally state/demand?

Lawyer's Assistant: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.

Illinois.

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken so far?

I have not and will likely not at this point. If the situation deems it, I would like to know what my rights are as the resident. I am still living there and have not been asked to leave. However I am in a situation where they have not made good on a $525 payment reimbursement - I don't want to create waves if they do then have the right to just toss me out.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

This is simply a question of "do they have the right to make this statement/demand." .... to require payment for legal fees.

Submitted: 2 months ago.Category: Real Estate Law
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Answered in 8 minutes by:
5/31/2018
Real Estate Lawyer: Sean K, Lawyer replied 2 months ago
Sean K
Sean K, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 970
Experience: Attorney/Member in Private Law Firm
Verified

Hi, I’m Sean and I will be assisting you as an expert today. I’m an attorney with more than 20 years of experience. It is my goal to provide a solid overview of your situation. Whether the analysis is good or bad as to your matter, I want to make sure you understand any points you need and that you have options to better address the questions you have. If I am able, I will also provide you with some resources. Please note that the system, independent from me, may offer a phone call. You are not obligated to engage in a phone call, but I am happy to speak if you desire. This is completely up to you.

Some subtle, yet important points here. If what you have addressed is part of an agreement that you and the residential treatment facility have signed as part of a contract for services, or as a part of treatment, the there is a likelihood that, if reviewed by a Court, it may stand. Essentially, unless a Court is given the power to award attorney's fees and costs in litigation by some statute, the only other way they can be awarded is if there is a contractual agreement between parties.

So if this language in an agreement - about the resident as opposed to tenant and a waiver of the right to sue with legal fees being at issue is in a contract, it could stand. The reason why I say "could stand" is that often people will decide to litigate not only over something of issue, say the unreimbursed expense, but also over whether the contract is valid.

That being said, as litigation can be expensive, from the perspective of the person pursuing it, it becomes a cost benefit analysis.

So can this occur? Yes. Does it mean you have no legal recourse? No, only that you would have to invalidate the contract then go from there to any underlying issue.

Please let me know if you have any further questions or if there are more questions based on what I have provided.

Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. There is no specific course of action is proposed and no attorney-client relationship or privilege formed within this conversation.

If you have any follow up questions it would be my pleasure to answer them. As experts we only get credit for the time and effort we spend on our answers if you rate us positively - 5 stars is definitely appreciated but not required! There is no cost associated with you rating me and you can still ask follow up questions after rating me and I will respond.

One final point, there may be a delay between your question and my answer; this is because I'm either not at my computer or helping someone else but rest assured, if you ask, I will provide an answer. Thank you again.

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
I’m summary, any resident deciding to pursue any type of legal recourse would in most circumstances be required to pay for legal fees. This could be avoided if challenging the contract statement itself.
Of course court and litigation is expensive and a cost benefit would need to be considered. This is of course very broad strokes.
Real Estate Lawyer: Sean K, Lawyer replied 2 months ago

It would not likely be quite that direct. As well, it would be based on the exact language of the agreement/contract signed. Rarely do you see contracts that require a prepayment, generally it is something that is done on the back end if there is a judgment.

There are also issues raised of the validity of such a contract.

However, in the broadest of terms, as a starting premise, if a contract defined individuals as
"residents" as opposed to "tenants," limited their right to sue and also had an attorneys' fees provision, all of this is possible and could be contained in an agreement/contract.

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