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now wait a minute... (legal rant)

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
We recently started renting a small home and we have it signed for a 1 year lease. So monday, i'm home while the boyfriend is at work and a cop pulls up! I'm thinking oh geez did someone call on the dog (privious rant, and the dog has been being better). So i open the door and say hello. He tells me that our landlord owes someone $5,300.00 and that we may need to pay our rent check directly to the poilce. I tell him my boyfriends contact info since im not actually on the lease.

Yesterday, the luitenent comes, with papers ordering us to (basically confirming) that we need to pay them instead of our landlord. Now, we've met this landloard once... And like many people right now he does not have spare money. (the person he owes is a sue happy person that took advantage of him so he basically is hiding and hasnt paid the guy) So our rent checks are NEEDED for him to pay the mortgage on this little house. My boyfriend calls his lawyer to make sure of the legality of all of this... to find out that our landlord also have a $4,000.00 tax lean on this place!

The cops are asking me if i know where he lives and how to contact him, and i really don't. we did this all through a realestate agent, and now certainly wish we knew about this before we signed the lease!

So basically, if we dont pay the cops then we have to go to court. if we dont pay our landlord for 5 months (thats how long it would take to pay off this other guy) he'll get foreclosed on! and either way we'll be out on our bums!

Does this sound fair to anyone? that the legal system would catch innocent people to pay for what this other guy did?

My boyfriend was mad, because the papers they served us with have my name on them too... and im not on the lease and he in no way wants this on me. So he called the leitenent and told him he can re issue the papers with my name off of them.

(and for giggles? i was letting my dog out as the cop pulled up the second time? my dogs BIG. and scary looking. Doberman, with very pointy show cut ears. and the cop looked sooooo scared!!!)
post #2 of 11
You'd better have a copy of your lease, all info on the landlord and what the cop said - and get this ALL to your lawyer immediately! IMO you should not be held responsible for what the landlord is doing or isn't doing.

Personally, I'd be looking for another place - sounds like you will be moving very soon!
post #3 of 11
First, as already mentioned, contact an attorney immediately, providing all your documentation. I've never really heard of paying the police directly in cases of mortgage default - usually it's the bank as mortgageholder or, in some cases, a court.

Honestly, your landlord sounds to me like a shady character, if he was hiding rather than seeking legal protection or a work-out arrangement. I'd start looking for another place to stay.

But, in any case, get yourself an attorney right now - you and your boyfriend cannot afford to have your credit rating damaged due to others' legal problems.

Best of luck, but do get an attorney asap.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
paying the police has nothing to do witht he tax lean. its about the guy who sued him that he owes money to. the mortgage problem is if we dont pay the landlord, he cant pay his mortgage, and hes already got a tax lean.

We did talk to our lawyer. and apparently... its legal? if they have an order to pay this guy... we have to.
post #5 of 11
OK, sorry, I read your original post as sounding like you were making payments ot the police <that we may need to pay our rent check directly to the poilce. I tell him my boyfriends contact info since im not actually on the lease.

Yesterday, the luitenent comes, with papers ordering us to (basically confirming) that we need to pay them instead of our landlord. >

You must follow the court order, as your attorney said. What other advice did your attorney have? I'm guessing your rental agreement was drawn correctly, and your contract should be honored with whomever ends up with the house (the IRS, the mortgageholder/bank, etc.). But, I'd really discuss all options with the attorney, to make sure my interests were properly covered. What a mess for you, but I hope it all turns out ok, at least for you.
post #6 of 11
Actually, depending on where you are, if your landlord loses the house, the next owner can either honor your lease (and they just may, if it's the bank) or ask you to leave. This is a basic principal of law. You have an agreement with the current owner. No agreement that he makes can be binding on the next owner, unless that owner agrees to it.
post #7 of 11
Talk to your lawyer and ask about the laws in your state. If the property IS foreclosed upon, there is a good chance that the bank or mortgage company will allow the occupying tenants to remain - after all, they are a business and it makes more business sense to keep the tenants in place, esp. if they pay on time, than going through the time and expense doing evictions and then, after evictions, prepping the property and spending more time and $$ seeking new tenants.
And while I feel for your landlord, the laws regarding enforcing a judgment (at least in California anyway) do allow for someone being unable to pay off the debt in a timely manner. Your landlord could probably still call the state bar & get some advise on getting an attorney who would at least give a free consultation and some guidance. Your landlord can appeal to the court for help - give a current income/expense statement and if he is truly struggling financially, the court will intervene and tell the creditors to accept reasonable payments as long as your landlord makes good faith efforts. And there is always the relief provided by bankruptcy - in that case your property would go into receivorship, and the overseeing agency would in all likelihood allow paying tenants to stay put.
Sending calming vibes - what a worrisome situation
post #8 of 11
Just a note about the tax lein. The landlord have not been paying the property taxes on the house?? There can be state and federal tax leins. If the leins accumulate to a vertain point a house can be sold to satisfy them.
post #9 of 11
Wow. This is becoming a huge issue all around the country because of the foreclosure mess. Basically, if the landlord's house is taken away from him you may not have a leg to stand on. The bank (or the town) will own the home. The best thing for you to do is to contact a lawyer and see exactly how much trouble this guy is in. You also may want to start scanning the paper because if the home IS foreclosed on there has to be a public notice.

Also, in some cases renters have been allowed to stay in the homes, and pay the bank rent because of existing housing laws in the state. They'll pitch a fit about it, but they have to follow the law as it's written. You may want to check into that as well.

This whole thing may be an education in the housing laws in your area.
post #10 of 11
I've never heard of the police collecting debts! Is this legitimate?
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
^^^ thats what we thought.

We have called our lawyer and, yes... its legit. if this is the way it goes we have to pay to the police, then they send that money to the guy whos owed.
It sounds like our landlord called and got voicemail, and the leitenent called us and said that they are going to try to find him and get him to pay without having to involve us at all...

that would be nice.
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