I had my first eviction of 2009 - tenants in a $1800 per month house on 12 month lease....2 checks bounced so they were put on bank/certified funds and then they were late in Dec and I waived late/notices fees ($300) if they paid as agreed AND were not late for the remainder of their lease...they paid/I waived. THEN, they did not pay Jan rent and I filed for eviction/UD = unlawful detainer (Jan rent & late/notice fees) AND a week later, when I did not hear from them, I filed a Small Claims court suit for $5,000 * max in VA.
They tried to claim no mold disclosure (it's in the lease); I did not tell them where their deposit was held (not required in VA); I allowed people in the property without them agreeing (again, they don't have to agree and HVAC firm advised them via phone and e-mail) and I allowed gutters to be cleaned when their windows were open (it was Dec and their windows SHOULD have been closed at it was 30degrees outside)....all non-issues.
They did not appear at the return date for trail and I got immediate possession. I e-mailed them that I would not ask for the writ of possession (request sheriff to put them out) for a week which would give them a weekend of 60degree weather to move and they should return the keys to my office by noon on the 10th....she e-mails that they are gone and keys are on the counter. I advised her that was not my stipulation for not serving the writ of possession....she calls the police and reports I am threatening her via e-mail.
It gets better....the rented property is in a 4500 home GATED community with own police who are "sworn" and who can arrest/issue citations, etc. A sgt from the police called me and was obviously having a bad "bald man" day....he started screaming at me that I could not threaten her via e-mail. He did not want to listen that it was an eviction situation and that I was providing information mandated by the county courts....no matter to him.
After a day thinking about the situation, I elected to write to the chief of police with a copy to the general manager of the development (I am also a homeowner as I own rental property there) and while pointing out the unfortunate situation with their "sgt", I related a similar situation a few years earlier when a tenant actually returned house keys to a police officer and when I was notified, I had the locks changed at the tenant's expense.
In my letter, I offered to be part of the solution and to come give a presentation to the police department on the mechanics of the eviction process and how they can assist their homeowners (who pay their salary) by knowing the law and being able to field eviction questions more appropriately. I enclosed my 10 line "speaker intro" with my letter in the hopes that they take me up on my offer.
In our lives as property managers, we will encounter police and other government "authorities" in our duties. Rarely, do these people know or understand the laws governing the landlord-tenant relationship...they are not attorneys and if they are, they probably do not have the specific knowledge of the situation in question. Realizing that this type of situation may offer an OPPORTUNITY to actually enlighten them as to our profession, duties and responsibilities should NOT be missed....don't be afraid to offer your knowledge and experience to better the public perception of our profession....
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM * over 45 years of property management experience to serve you....now eLeasing rental homes in Central Virginia for the summer of 2009.... http://VaHomes4Rent.com