Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Helping homeless family, man faces eviction after he complains about his neighbors

NOTE:  To protect identities of NFH members, names and some details are changed.

Hi Robert,

One problem solved, another one to resolve and I desperately need your advice.

I received a notice that I am in violation of my lease. I have a situation where I am assisting a homeless family by having them live with me temporarily. It seems that the same people that I complained about filed their own complaint with management. Because they are 'trouble makers' and other tenants have complained about them their lease is not being renewed, they will have to vacate in a couple of months. Since they know that I was one of the persons that complained they informed the management that I have extra people living with me. They are basically getting even with me.

I figure that the management will push for an eviction. What rights do I have in this matter? What can be done with the homeless family that I am helping? I obviously don't want to be evicted but I can't put these people out in the street either, they just lost their home a couple of months ago as it was taken by the mortgage bank.

Please advise, thank you. --Eduardo

Hi Eduardo, I'm glad the neighbors aren't staying, and with that accomplished you'd probably like to stay yourself.

Check your lease to see if you are in fact in violation. While the contract probably states no more than one or two people may reside in your unit, it may or may not specify the length a guest may stay with you, or how many guests may stay at any time. If it does, you could be in violation. A violation does not equal eviction, but it can lead to it, or the lessor's decision not to renew your lease. If your guests are "temporary" as you noted in your mail to me, it would help your situation if you have an end date by which they are expected to depart. Then, offer to compensate management for the additional water or whatever else they pay for, explaining you are simply helping a homeless family, providing details about their predicament.

Aside from additional costs, you may be committing a fire code violation if you are "over-occupied." This is more serious in that it's not remedied by paying extra money to the lessor. Over-occupation refers to having too many people living in a given amount of square footage, and/or having too many people congregating in too small a space. But don't raise this part of the issue unless management raises it; if you can, offer to pay additional monies while your short-term, temporary guests-in-distress are staying with you, and provide as near a move-out date for them as possible.

Keep me informed. --bob

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