Friday, August 20, 2010

Roanoke Landlord Strong Arm's Deadbeat Tenant Out Which Causes Unnecessary Drama

We all know how it feels when a tenant is shacking up in your place for free while you have a mortgage and many other expenses to pay. Much of the problem is related to the politician created Virginia Landlord Tenant Act which allows the tenant to get a free ride for 2-3 months or more. Gunther Gass, a Roanoke landlord tried to get this deadbeat out of his house using a number of unconventional methods. One of which was cutting off the water he was paying for the tenant who refused to pay him. In this particular incidence, I would have to side with the landlord. It should be allowed to end the water bill if your tenant refuses to pay rent. And it's outrageous that landlords in Virginia are forced to provide utilities that they are paying for even if the tenant is a deadbeat.

Lets turn this around. A politician owns a business and gives credit to some people. They don't pay for the items or services they bought. Should the politician be forced to continue to provide the product or service until a judge decides they can stop which could be 2-3 months later or more, increasing the debt substantially? If not, why should a landlord? Is it because the landlord is an evil rich landlord who doesn't have mortgages and mass expenses to pay? And is the politician is a good person who is only looking out for the people so he or she shouldn't have the same thing imposed on them?

Lets get real people. Enough is enough!

Read this Roanoke Times article to see how it turned out.

Court testimony details tenant-landlord tensions
The tenant filed the lawsuit to accuse her former landlord of trespass, malicious prosecution and other violations.

By Mike Gangloff

Retold Thursday in a Roanoke courtroom, the eventful end of Shannon M. Boyd's tenancy in Gunther Gass' rental duplex in Southeast was a tale of landlord-tenant relations gone awfully wrong.

"It's way over the top. It's the sort of thing you just don't hear about even in fiction very much," said Henry Woodward of the Legal Aid Society of the Roanoke Valley, who represented Boyd in a lawsuit she filed to accuse Gass of trespass, malicious prosecution and violations of Virginia housing regulations.

Consider just the events of Dec. 30, none of which Gass disputed.

First, Boyd testified, she discovered via a home test that she was pregnant with her third child.
Later that morning, Gass, who owned Boyd's apartment and who a day earlier had cut off the water because she was two weeks late with her rent, showed up with a city building inspector. The inspector condemned the building, telling Gass he had two days to restore water service or no one could live there.

Then, after Gass and the inspector left, a child protective services worker arrived to look into a complaint -- filed by Gass -- that Boyd was keeping her 1-year-old and 4-year-old in an unsafe home. Eventually satisfied that Boyd was not causing the problem, and that she was taking her children to stay at her parents' home in Bedford County, the social worker advised her to get an attorney, Boyd said.

That eventually led to Thursday's hearing.

Boyd said she, her boyfriend and her children had moved into the duplex in September and paid the first couple of months rent on time. She was a few days late in November, and Gass charged a $175 late fee.

Then about Dec. 10, five days before her rent was due, Boyd lost her job at Hotel Roanoke. She said she tried to do the right thing, calling Gass to say that she would not be able to pay until she received her last paycheck. Her boyfriend, who had worked nights for her father's cleaning business, had already lost his job because of a decline in cleaning contracts, she said.
Gass told her to find the money, and said he'd kicked people out in 48 hours before.
Boyd said she heard nothing more until Dec. 30.

The final blow came on New Year's Day. Boyd had gone to her parents' home and spent New Year's Eve caring for all her family's kids while the adults attended a pray-in-the-new-year church service. Late on Jan. 1, she came back to the duplex to retrieve some of her belongings.
She, her boyfriend and her 4-year-old daughter -- her other child had remained with her parents -- went to sleep soon after their 10 p.m. arrival. About midnight, Boyd said, she was awakened by Roanoke police who Gass had let into the apartment. Officers held their lights on her while she got dressed, Boyd said, then kicked her out after giving her a summons for trespassing -- a charge that was thrown out when it came to court in February.

With Gass not challenging the sequence of events, Thursday's hearing really revolved around how much he would have to pay Boyd, who asked for just under $15,000, plus about $5,000 in attorney fees.

Gass, who lives in Elliston and said he had been a landlord for 15 years or more, apologized, saying he should have followed legal eviction steps if he wanted his tenants out. He said he panicked after getting numerous reports about possible drug use and fights from Elizabeth Dudley, who described herself on the witness stand as the neighborhood watch leader.
Dudley testified that she called Gass the night of Jan. 1 after seeing Boyd return. She said that over the months, her eight security cameras caught a variety of unsavory behavior at her neighbors' home, including footage of a partially unclad Boyd that Boyd said had to have been taken through the window of Boyd's apartment.

Judge Frederick King asked Dudley if she had actually seen Boyd or her boyfriend with drugs and Dudley said she had not.

"Did you consider her to be a busybody?" the judge asked Gass when the landlord returned to the stand. "She threw the bait in the water and you bit on it."

King said he would make no ruling Thursday other than to declare Boyd's lease terminated. But he said he would issue an overall decision soon.


Dallas ® on March 23, 2011 at 9:41 AM said...
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