Fake service animals
Published: Dec. 30, 2017
Nothing gets under a landlord’s skin like a fake service animal. This morning I had a call from a member who has a problem with a new renter. Less than 3 weeks ago the renter moved into a condo where the landlord doesn’t allow pets. The neighbors complained to the landlord that the new tenant has a dog in violation of the rules and that the dog has been barking at all hours. When the landlord called the renter she claimed that it’s a therapy dog and that the landlord has to allow it. I believe this is a perfect example of a fake service animal. The tenant didn’t ask for a reasonable accommodation due to a disability, she simply got caught with an unauthorized animal and by claiming it’s a therapy animal she feels she can intimidate the landlord into having to accept it by threatening a fair housing lawsuit. Today 19 states have enacted laws cracking down on people who try to pass their pets off as service animals and its time for Utah to follow suit.
What is an eviction?
Published: June 6, 2016
I had a call from a lady this morning and she said she received an “eviction” notice from her landlord. After listening to the lady’s story it became clear that she hadn’t received an eviction notice but rather an “end of term” notice. It’s a common misconception on the part of both tenants and landlords about what an eviction really is. An eviction occurs after a resident is unlawfully detaining the rental. In other words they were given a notice of some sort (3-day pay or vacate, 30 day notice to vacate, etc…) and they failed to follow the terms of the notice which in many cases means they didn’t move out. Once the resident is unlawfully detaining the rental then the landlord can file for an eviction with the courts. If the landlord prevails in court then an order of restitution is granted and the resident can be forcibly removed from the rental if they don’t leave voluntarily. Residents need to understand that landlords have the option to end a lease just like the resident does. When the lease expires the landlord is under no obligation to re-rent to the person again. Just like the renter has the option to move somewhere else, the landlord has the right to ask the renter to move. Simply having lived there for the last few years doesn’t mean the rental is yours. If the landlord wants you to move, you’ll have to move.
How to anger your tenants
Published: Aug. 31, 2015
I had a phone call from an angry tenant who wanted to sue his landlord. His refrigerator had died and he reported it to his landlord and the landlord took 8 days to replace the refrigerator. The tenant wanted to sue his landlord and asked me what steps to take. Unfortunately for the tenant the landlord acted within his rights and within state law. Under the Utah Fit Premises Act-deficient condition a landlord has 10 days to repair or replace a broken appliance such as a refrigerator. The tenant wasn’t happy and asked if there was anything he could do. I told him his only recourse was to move out when his lease expired. He said he was already planning to do that. It’s unfortunate that the landlord will lose this tenant over something as simple as fixing or replacing his refrigerator in a more timely manner.
Published: July 1, 2015
I’ve been unsure of what to blog since I started this site a couple years ago and assumed I had nothing new to offer so why bother writing. Lately I have had several phone calls from landlords and tenants that have given me an idea. I normally share experiences in my training classes and will continue to do so, but I am now going to blog about experiences that I hear about first hand. Here goes:
I recently had a call from a landlord who had taken my training class and was looking for advice on how to handle a “crazy” tenant. It turns out that this tenant who was “wonderful” when he moved in was now refusing to pay rent, damaging the rental and threatening the landlord and her family. The landlord said she didn’t bother to call the previous landlord for a reference because this person owned his own coffee shop and was an honest local businessman. She later found out that he was being evicted at the time he moved into her rental. The landlord is expecting a lock out on Monday the 6th but doesn’t want to be part of it because the tenant threatened to kill anyone who tried to lock him out.
This is a great example of why landlords need to be thorough when checking backgrounds. A few minutes on the phone could have saved this landlord tremendous heartache, loss of rent and damage to her property. She told me that the neighbor she talked to said the guy has already rented another place so the bad tenant has again taken advantage of a landlord who is too trusting.