Landlord from hell saga continues...
March 19, 2013 2:08 PM   Subscribe

Building off of the landlord theme from today...I posted about this 5 0r so months ago. We assembled our paperwork, took advantage of some pro bono consultations, and then filed in small claims. But they were unable to serve her and last week I discovered that she's libeled us on the website www.terriblerenters.com. We're seeking an experienced counsel, but in the meantime need help thinking this through.

The background is here

I read this recent post and was hoping someone could offer me similarly helpful perspective.

Our former landlord never provided anything more than PO Box address. Using google and a process server, we found a likely address but the server could not get them to come to the door. So we have an affidavit, which we will take to the court, though I'm not sure it will work.

In the meantime, I googled myself to see if my new job (yay) bio would come up, but instead, five or six entries down, I found a post with our names on www.terriblerenters.com. She essentially printed the charges that she made of our supposed "damages" to her condo. Again, the damages either don't exist or they are wear and tear. Interestingly, the comments under the post say she's out of line.

I am using the local bar association to find a lawyer (and with a job I wound't mind paying for a good consultation) but the last time I met with pro bono counsel, I had studied the state's landlord-tenant law better than he had. So I'm not terribly confident in what we will get for our money.

Should we contact the site first? Steel ourselves to sue her for libel? Are there questions I should be asking a process server if we try again (she may have an alternative address).

This whole situation is really tiring. But I really don't want to give up and let her get away with what she has done. Thank you all in advance.
posted by SpicyMustard to Law & Government (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Don't be upset about TerribleRenters.com, in fact, use it to your advantage. Post on there saying that you want to sue for the remainder of your deposit, and that you need her actual address so that you can serve her.

Also, rebutt what she is saying on there. Now it's just a garden variety landlord/tenant dispute.

That will get your side of the story out there, and frankly, based on what's on the site, she sounds like a total nut bar.

Now, my suggestion stands, Call the People's Court and ask them to mediate your case. I would LOVE to see y'all on TV.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:25 PM on March 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


You will probably want to make a plan of what a win looks like for you. In other words, what do you want and what will you take to put it behind you. LL is unlikely to ever say she is sorry or take down feedback. Is it enough to get a default judgment in small claims court (which to say having a judgment and collecting are two different things)? If you found her and she wrote a check for $x (less than 850) would it be enough for you walk away? You want to make sure you can live your life and not let this small person bring you down.

The previous advice you got about getting your paperwork ducks in a row is something to work on. Have a short story for the judge so s/he does not have to spend a great deal of time on it. Less fun advice: call the small claims clerk and figure out when landlord docket is (many have a special morning for it) to (a) get an advance look at the process, and (b) see if there are any lawyers there who are doing this who you might hire. Probably better to take their name and call later than hit them up in the Court.

LL/Tenant conflicts are not fun and it is a shame you are going through it. Good luck going forward.
posted by mr_felix_t_cat at 5:54 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


IAAL, IANYL.

Do not post anything on that site or attempt to contact the site without the advice of an attorney.

Take a screen shot of the blog post and save it.
posted by murfed13 at 6:56 PM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


For a lawyer who knows more than you do about the laws, is there a tenants association for the area you lived in that you can ask about legal representation?
posted by Hactar at 11:23 AM on March 20, 2013


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