I just had one of my VERY FEW eviction cases go to trial a few weeks ago. The tenants have a lease through November at $1595 per month...his mother is ill in WVa and he wanted out of his lease early so they could relocate to care for her. He advised me he wanted out of his lease for this reason and I offered him the options outlined in his Resident Handbook - locate his own replacement residents and pay me $400 to re-write the lease paperwork OR hire me to find replacement residents and pay me my one-half of one month's leasing commission and he is responsible for the lease, yard maintenance and utiity costs until new residents move in.
He did not like either option so he did not pay his July rent. Since I knew he was leaving the area mid-August, I proceeded to file an eviction suit for July, 2008 rent AND a companion Small Claims court case for the VA max of $5,000 for the accelerated rent through the balance of their lease....SURPRISE!!!
When my process server served the court paperwork, the tenant advised him that I had "tried to kill him and his wife". When I heard this, I had NO CLUE what he was referring to. I had just had a working HVAC system replaced to be more efficient. The home was completely rennovated prior to their moving in last fall....new paint, professionally cleaned INCLUDING the windows inside and out. The attorney/professor owners had left for SoCal and want to retain the property as an investment. NOBODY WAS TRYING TO KILL THEN.
At the "return" court date in August, he mentioned mold at the property. I talked to the HVAC service firm that replaced thei equipment and checked the photos of the old equipment that was removed - no MOLD.
Since he wanted a "trial" I prepped my attorney for the "mold" issue being raised at the property the hearing. Luckily, the judge has heard this before....he wanted copies of the residents' medical reports - the tenant said they did not have money to go to the doctor * completely ignoring the fact that they had not paid rent for 2 months - $3,000 would buy a lot of doctor visits. The residents had no evidence of communication with me regarding mold nor did they have any third-party inspection evidence of mold at the property.
Long story short, I won and the tenant has vowed to appeal his loss which has not happened.
In anticipation of this "defense in court" I had printed a copy of the Johns Hopkins Health Alert 9 Common Mold Myths and had it in my "court" folder. Anyone anticipating or involved in a "mold issue" should have this publication in their file.
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM * GIBSON MANAGEMENT GROUP, Ltd.
"...to be a Virginian, either by Birth, Marriage, Adoption, or even on one's Mother's side, is an Introduction to any State in the Union, a Passport to any Foreign Country, and a Benediction from the Almighty God...." Anonymous