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Very interesting. I had a tenant that I inherited when I bought my house; she was living in a detached apartment on my property essentially as a charity case for the previous owner. The detached apartment had been built originally as a haridressing emporium, but the owner previous to the lady I'd bought from had converted it into a nice little studio apartment.

Well, this charity case (who is mentally ill) proceeded to in the space of one year destroy the apartment. It was infested with roaches and buried knee-deep in her crap, and if she hadn't wanted to move out to take care of her daughter, I was going to boot her out. Also, she got out of the whole thing owing me 1.5 months rent.

It's quite difficult to evict people as part of your practice, but when you're evicting someone from your own property, your perspective is completely different.


You have a kind heart, and that's a good thing. I admire that characteristic in you and I feel the same way about handling such matters. I've done plenty of heart-breaking judgment-debtor examinations and garnishments, and it's tough.

Let's not forget, though, that without us lawyers doing the every day work "in the trenches" like helping landlords evict bad tenants, the "law" would have little meaning in our society. We enforce rules that the people, as represented by our legislatures, have all agreed should be enforced in order to make ours a liveable society. That greater purpose is what we serve when we practice law every day.


Could this comment be any more belated? Here I go (anyway):

I have been searching the Internet using the Google.com search engine and "Ask Real Estate DOT com" (.com) for answers a neighbor of mine would like to have himself, regarding being evicted because of a transfer of ownership.

The place is Venice Beach, on "the canals". This area has attracted high income buyers from the Los Angeles areas for six years or so (before October, 2004 - present day as of this post). Not unlike so many neighborhoods and pockets and areas and towns in the L.A. area, in that same time the properties in Venice - namely those along and adjacent to the canals - have danced across the same crazing hot coals that have driven home prices to jump higher, land, jump higher still.

It has been a good thing for many people. Many of those who benefited from that market of lunacy can now call themselves previous homeowners, as it concerns Venice Beach houses. Still, it is a very good thing.

I sold my own home in the heart of L.A. last year (for a staggering profit after simply living there for three years). At that time, I wanted to live in the Venice Beach area for its liveliness and pleasant sights as well as people. The prices here were (are) way out of my league so, for the first time in about six years, I am renting a little home on the canals.

There is a man who lives across the "street" from me. (There are only two addresses on this "street" - the address of this house I am renting (and still can't afford thanks) and this man who has lived at this address for twenty-eight years. His proprietors - for twenty-eight years - have lived in Ohio, and had not really been in touch with what has been occurring in the real estate market with their properties. Recently, they got in touch.

These landlords of his own both my neighbor's house and the house that shares the same lot property. That second house faces a "real" street. Quickly enough, they announced to their tenant that they had decided to sell both homes. Making it a condition with escrow, they provided ninety days notice toward his eviction from his longtime home.

The man has had quite an outpour of pity and concern directed his way. He is an older gentleman; you might readily label him a "biker dude" at first glance, and you might well assume you have sized him up quite appropriately when you notice that he has six motorcycles lined up in the public parking spaces on this little street; you might ascertain that he is a "pack rat" from the appearance of his home, and that could be confirmed for you easily enough when he sheepishly admits he is just that; all in all, he has been a well-liked guy around this neighborhood, who people have grown accustomed to having around, though some might express that both the man and his property are in sad shape of an extreme makeover.

As the ninety-day deadline neared, a few families and other neighbors of his collected $3,000 for him and presented this to him at a party we held for him at one of the nicer homes on the canal. He received this gracious offering, given for the sake of softening the abrupt transition this man will surely have to make when he leaves this house, in which he has spent well over half his life residing. Additionally, I have been scouring the Internet to locate some service that at least might help guide him on his new, unwilling way.

He has received all of this attention and warm consideration from all of us with overwhelming gratitude...for 145 days now. In this time, and as a result of many hours spent silently brewing up a volcanic eruption of sorts (it might seem), this man has decided that since the previous owner has profited such an exurbanite amount of dough on their sale, this tenant - we must keep in mind, he is a tenant - has conjured ways by which he will complicate matters. Since the developers who purchased the homes intend to demolish both places in the name of decency, he has decided to buck "THE MAN" just a little bit as he is forced out.

In the time he has managed to have all concerned parties return to court on three occasions - his only legal contest being that he "does not agree" to the court date previously set as his deadline to have vacated the house - he has made quite a bit of progress dismantling things inside both homes and placing them onto display in the yards. He has taken apart built-in cabinets from the walls, kitchen countertops, floors - yes, floors - and then scattered these pieces across the lawn, which, of course, faces the "real" street. The homes no longer are ridden with outmoded, dilapidated furnishings...the grass now houses all of this.

The man has now assumed greater liberties for his self-authorized extended stay in the neighborhood. In result, we have become very acquainted with many friends of his we never knew he had. They each arrive with their attitudes to match their friends (that of my disgruntled neighbor), and all seem determined if not smug that "THE MAN" of the Venice Beach community is suffering this thorn in his side from the efforts of this new group.

The thing is...we have all gone to great lengths to be sure this man knew all of the following when we heard the news of his eviction: that we would all pool together our efforts and do what we could to ease his move - if anything, to ease his pain by simply listening to his plight (and listening, and...); that we all would show him the respect he felt he was slighted; that we would locate resources to assist him; that we would in fact provide some of his needed resources in the form of money as well as with phone numbers and names of befitting programs, all with their respective contact names; in all, that we would consider him a person, regardless who else he felt failed him that inalienable title.

Now, we have a problem on our hands.

I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't have a heart with such dealings, as you relayed here (many months ago). Heart is a great thing; don't ever rob that wonderful trait of its full expression.

You might also realize, however, that it that requires great efforts be expended in order for you to perhaps bring some deserving relief to both the evicted tenants and to all the surrounding characters (or onlookers). Yet, there is one difference between simply having your heart about it and expressing it...and going to the efforts to try to lighten it for anyone. Trying to soften the blow can leave you feeling better about things but can also create an UNdeserving vulnerability for yourself along the way.

Having a heart about it simply shows your compassion and expressing it offers to those involved individuals to either believe you aren't "THE MAN" as you portray this to them through good wishes...or that you are what and who you say you are...just another person doing their own business in the world...with a heart.

I can't really explain why I was compelled to respond to such an aged comment with all that but...I'm not crazy, really.

Actually, now that I see how lengthy I have allowed this view-with-no-aim to become I might have to reconsider that state of sanity. I don't imagine I'll be getting back to you on that, so I wouldn't be looking for another comment from THIS kook for a while.

Joseph Dougherty
Los Angeles, CA
[email protected]

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