I'm being kicked out of my apartment, but I've done nothing wrong! Can I do anything?
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (20 answers total)
I live in a fairly nice, large downtown apartment which is run by a building manager who answers to the building owner. I've met and deal with the manager on a monthly basis, but have never met or spoken with the owner. There are 6 upstairs units in the building and one downstairs business area for lease. I've lived in the unit for 1 year now. When I originally signed the lease, it was for 6 months with the understanding that it would go month to month after that (a big mistake, I realize now). I had been planning on leaving the city around this September, though that never panned out, so I was planning on staying in the apartment for at least another 6 months to a year. That's just not going to happen, now.
On August 1st, the building manager and I had scheduled a maintenance man to come repair my dishwasher. I told him to come in if I wasn't there--as usual--and he came and fixed the appliance, also dropping off a notice that my lease is being terminated and that I must leave in 30 days.
I immediately tried to call the building manager, as this was a total shock to me. I live 2 blocks from where I work, I no longer own a car, and I pay my rent one month in advance. I've had no problems with the unit, had everything repaired promptly and have kept it immaculate, regularly cleaning the carpets and obsessively washing/dusting/wiping down everything else. All of the tenants have become great friends of mine, and life is, as they say, good. The manager would not answer her phone. I called 6 times in the span of 2 hours before getting a response, and she feigned ignorance. She knew I was being kicked out, but couldn't tell me why.
She would not give me a reason for the eviction, stating that I have been a great tenant and that she would gladly give me a recommendation, but that the owner has decided he wants the unit for "other purposes" and that she doesn't know what's going on or why he wants it. I demanded to speak with him but he is conveniently on vacation and I have been unable to reach him by cellphone. The building manager--despite our regular contact--made no indication that this would be happening anytime soon, and has never once mentioned that my apartment might be needed for something else. In fact, in the morning I had spoken with her about the dishwasher, and she conveniently forgot to mention that I was being evicted, but managed to have a nice conversation with me about everything else going on in my life.
This is what I strongly suspect happened: the downstairs business tenant was a record store, and they relocated. The new tenant is a sandwich chain opening their first store in my city. They have been working on construction for about 4 months now, and are planning to open in another month or two. I think that the owner has decided to give my apartment to someone affiliated with this store so that they can live and watch over it--and have some nice digs.
Neither my building manager or owner has told me why I'm being kicked out and it is infuriating me. This is the worst possible time for it to happen: I have been trying to dedicate this month, August, to studying for the GRE which I have scheduled for mid-September. Now I will have to concentrate on not only moving, but finding a new place, within walking distance of work. I also happen to live in a college town, and all of the units in the city are pretty much rented up now, as August is when school starts and consequently the worst month to start an apartment hunt. Also, I have no car. After a few days of calling, I've realized that all downtown apartments are full, and I'm simply not going to get one.
Is there anything I can do here? I feel that I have been evicted for personal reasons. I'm the only tenant under 25 and though I am established, with a good job and a college degree, but I hardly fit the stereotypical mold, so to speak. On top of all that I have said, two units came available in the apartment complex just last month (an incredible rarity, as these apartments are highly valued and in a great location), and one was rented to a couple, the other to a single female. Why wasn't that used for whatever purpose mine will be used for? Why wasn't I offered a chance to switch apartments?
I realize that on a month-to-month lease, I can be kicked out for any reason at all, but this just makes no sense to me, and the timing couldn't be worse. I want to have some kind of recourse but I feel completely on my own and unprotected. Is this simply a case of "life isn't fair, move on?" or is there something I can do, legally, or not? Even if I cannot keep the apartment for another year, what can I do to make this landlords life hell? Can I stay in the unit for another month past the eviction? Can I hold the keys? Is there anything? Am I just whining? Sorry for the long post, but I'm in a bad spot right now.
I'm in Nebraska, if that matters at all for the legal aspect.