Ever evicted someone after voided "Contract for Title?"
Posted by Joshua Austill (+94) 13 years ago
Hey y'all, I sold a mobile home on a contract for title in February, and today the purchaser is 5 days from defaulting it back into my name after not making any payments for 3 months. My problem is that once it goes back in my name I can't afford to pay the lot rent on it AND my current apartments rent at the same time.

I talked to a couple of lawyers about evicting the buyer once it's defaulted, assuming she doesn't pay up. She has 5 more days to catch up her payments in full, which would be terribly nice at this point honestly. The lawyers both told me that its probably going to cost me around $1,500.00 to evict this lady!!! Has anyone here ever had to deal with this before? It seems ridiculous to me that I could own a mobile home, have to pay the lot rent, taxes, and whatever else on it, but not have the right to change the locks and kick someone out of it!!!
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Posted by K.Duffy (+1813) 13 years ago
That does sound crazy! Must be the main reason you never see anyone offering the rent to own deals. I would talk to the police/sheriff dept. After she's defaulted, wouldn't she be trespassing? Good luck!
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Posted by howdy (+4953) 13 years ago
Might be pretty easy to resell it tho with those lower numbers...With the current housing shortage in Miles City particularly..
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Posted by Joshua Austill (+94) 13 years ago
It's actually in Lockwood, outside of Billings . My new wife has made it pretty clear that if the buyer defaults she wants to evict her and then just move back in to the mobile home because she hates my apartment with a passion .

I am just depressed that if this happens the lawyers tell me that it could take 90+ days to get her evicted and cost me so much money, on top of paying for my current apartment and the mobile.

One thing is for sure, I have learned my lesson about selling things on contract, NEVER AGAIN!!!
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Posted by Kacey (+3157) 13 years ago
http://www.uslegalforms.c...0470-9.pdf

Fill out a form like this. Make two copies. Have one hand served to your tenant. If you mail it certified they will most likely not sign for it which makes it worthless.

Give your tenant a certain number of days to pay up or move out. If payment is not made and you have to evict take your copy of this notice to the sheriff's department to see if they will serve eviction papers for you.
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Posted by Joshua Austill (+94) 13 years ago
She's actually already gotten that exact same form basically from my escrow agency . Basically, she has until next Monday at 5pm to catch her payments up in full, or the escrow agencies files the paperwork to have the title returned to my name, and our installment contract becomes void. At that point she(the purchaser) will become a tenant at will for about 30 seconds before I fill out the paperwork and have the sheriff deliver her the notice that she is to move out in x number of days.

I have a number of questions in my mind, like the sale included a lawn mower, 3 air conditioners, a stove, and a refrigerator. Once the title is back in my name and those items officially belong to me, which items am I allowed to legally show up and take? The lot will be in my name, and the trailer will be in my name, am I legally allowed to show up and inspect stuff? I know that MY landlord can come into my apartment anytime s/he wishes with 24 hours notice and I can't stop them. I'm not sure how this is different since I won't have an actual rental agreement with this lady.
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Posted by G. Huss (+163) 13 years ago
Josh -

Check out 70-27-104 as to the requirements for a notice terminating a tenancy at will and 70-27-110 as to how that notice is served.

If the person does not vacate the property within the notice period, you can then bring an unlawful detainer action. See 70-27-108, 70-27-111, 70-27-113, 70-27-114, 70-27-116 as to the procedure.

You can access those statutes on the Internet on the State Law Library site.

You will have to file the action in Yellowstone County but you can file it in Justice Court there (cheaper filing fees).

Before you file your complaint, you can go to the Clerk of the justice court or the district court and, if you can find a friendly and cooperative clerk, you can ask them to get you a file that involved an unlawful detainer action. If you can get the file, it will give you the format for your own action.

There is some good news. If you win your unlawful detainer action, you can get treble damages under 70-27-206. However, that is probably theoretical, because if they don't have the money to pay the contract they probably don't have any with which to pay treble damages.

When you sell property on a contract, it is advisable to get a significant down payment (I recommend 1/3) to cover the situation you find yourself in. Otherwise, let the buyer get financing from a bank, you get paid in full and the bank gets the headache of trying to collect. If your buyer couldn't get financing from the bank, that should have been the first red flag.

Good luck.
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Posted by Kacey (+3157) 13 years ago
So basically you are going to have to do all the work and most likely will get nothing back to recover your losses. Sad but true. A judgment is only good if the person you have it against has assets or a job where you can have their wages garnished.
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Posted by MCGuy (+56) 13 years ago
If you're lucky, she won't trash the place before she leaves. That's the new thing with home foreclosures all over the country. Kick in the walls, tear out the wiring, break windows....you get the idea....all just before she has to leave. They usually disappear after doing this vandalism for obvious reasons. Good luck.
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Posted by Joshua Austill (+94) 13 years ago
Wow, thanks for the great info Mr. Huss!!! Knowing the statutes makes the stuff soooo much easier to find, wow!

Hopefully she'll pull a miracle out and catch up on her payments, still has 4 days to go...
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Posted by Kacey (+3157) 13 years ago
I would be keeping a close watch on the place.
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Posted by Joshua Austill (+94) 13 years ago
Ya Kacey, you couldn't be more right! Luckily I lived there for like 3 years and I know the neighbors very well. They are keeping a pretty close eye on things for me, I'll have to throw them all a BBQ and buy a keg when all is said and done .

In other news, the lawyers reviewed the contract and it turns out that I have to wait ANOTHER 30 days of her not paying before I can start the eviction process. Apparently they have to give her 30 days once she's fully defaulted to pay the loan in full, giving her a chance to refinance elsewhere. The real kicker is that I guess they passed new federal laws in response to that sub prime mortgage stuff that says if in THAT 30 days she catches up her payments in full then we have to accept them and she goes out of default. So now I guess I know what the government meant when they said they were going to make it "easier for people to stay in their homes..."

Thanks so much for everyone's insights!!!
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Posted by mckee (+387) 13 years ago
I had a squatter and it took my lawyer, the police and the judge to evict her. The officer had to physically walk her out of the house. The way it was explained to me was that the renter has more rights then the owner. I had to pay $65.00 to the court and the judge ordered her to pay me back rent, which I never got but SHE WAS OUT. I did own the land. Good luck
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Posted by Buck Showalter (+4458) 13 years ago
You never heard of a home invasion? Sometimes you gotta bend the rules a little - kicking the door down at 3 am would do the trick.
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Posted by Joshua Austill (+94) 13 years ago
Hahahaha Buck, I've often wondered if it goes back into MY name how much trouble can I ACTUALLY get into for visiting my OWN property all hours of the night hahahahaha. Sadly, since we live in a very socialistic country, I'm betting that its a LOT .
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Posted by Joshua Austill (+94) 13 years ago
Just an update, it looks like I'm getting pretty lucky on this deal. It would go back into my name on September 4th if she hasn't paid by then( was SUPPOSED to be August 4th, but fine print in new laws sucks I guess haha). BUT, she is getting evicted from the trailer court she rents the lot in, and that defaults the contract too. This is happening on Monday unless she comes in and pays up by then, which I highly doubt.

This is good news for 2 reasons, number 1 being that the trailer court manager is going to evict her for me, so I don't have to do it. And number 2, because they have a lawyer on retainer that costs them 300 bucks per eviction, and the manager of the court has agreed to do all the work for me if I agree to cover her 300 expense. This is wonderful news because the cheapest lawyer I've been able to find wants to charge me around 1,500 to evict this lady!

So sometime next week I get to go pay back rent on the lot, a lot deposit for re-renting the lot, and a 300 dollar eviction fee. Basically, I'm BROKE haha. But at least at that point it will be over and done with once they get her out. Her 3,500 dollar down payment means I'm just about breaking even...
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Posted by Bridgier (+9424) 13 years ago
Note to self: sure, being a slum lord sounds cool, but appears to be fraught with large amounts of paperwork and a not inconsequential PITA factor.

[This message has been edited by Bridgier (8/20/2009)]
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+12191) 13 years ago
And people wonder why no one wants to sell them a property for contract for deed. Well, if your credit is so terrible you can't get a loan, it probably means you will default.

Glad to hear the court owner has a lawyer. Poor guy is probably used to this kind of thing.
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Posted by Dan Mowry (+1435) 13 years ago
Glad it's working out for you Joshua.
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6174) 13 years ago
My grandma's house was sold on a contract for deed and the occupants never paid the property taxes for which they were responsible under the contract. We found out just by chance and saved the house from going to the county. The occupants were evicted but they took all the fixtures and appliances with them. Jerks.
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Posted by Joshua Austill (+94) 13 years ago
I'm pretty much just counting on the fixtures and appliances being gone. I called around to get utilities taken care of and found out that she's NEVER had the gas hooked up, so either she already ditched the nice brand new gas stove, or she's been eating out of a microwave...

I'm just holding out hope that she is oblivious enough that she doesn't see this coming and doesn't have time to arrange moving such things!
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Posted by Steve Sullivan (+1413) 13 years ago
Skunk. Just drop a skunk off at the trailer and you'll save 300 bucks. She'll be gone in a hurry and it wont cost anything because we all know skunks work for pretzels and beer. Pretty cheap.
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Posted by Joshua Austill (+94) 13 years ago
Thanks everyone for all your suggestions!!! Today I officially filed the Unlawful Detainer complaint in Justice Court and the Sheriff should be delivering it sometime soon. That was a great 65 bucks to spend let me tell ya!
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Posted by Joshua Austill (+94) 12 years ago
I officially have the keys to my VERY filthy house. Just so yall know, 157 days is what it took, and this story has a happier ending than most!
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Posted by howdy (+4953) 12 years ago
Congrats to you for your success in this frustrating endeavor...
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Posted by KELLY BABCOCK (+195) 12 years ago
This story isn't about a "Contract for Title," but in concerns trying to remove someone from a house that they don't legally belong in.
We rented one of our houses in Butte, to a very nice young man, who fullfilled his obligations for 4 months, and then quit. He had left all of his furniture, so we didn't know exactly what had happened. We sent a registered letter, that got us a response from him, telling us that he had told his cousin that she could stay until the last of the final month, that he had paid for. After almost 3 months of trying to reach this "cousin", I literally camped out in the driveway until somebody showed up. The person, that finally made an appearance, actually wanted to know who I was. I told her, and got the response, that I couldn't own the house, because she knew the owner, and he had told her she could stay there {rent free, of course} while he was in Europe. Then she goes in the house, and calls the police, on me! I thought this was great, because when the cops get there, I can have her evicted for trespass, or something.
Boy, was I wrong! I got told that the only way to get them out, was to get a court order to evicte them. After talking to a lawyer, I find out that it is going to cost me a minimum of $1500.00, in legal fees, alone to get an eviction order, and it would take another 2 months, {at least} to get the order, and probably another month or 2, to actually get them out. In a moment of anger, I made a comment about shutting the electric, gas and water off, only to find out, that if I shut the utilities off, to my own home, they could have ME arrested on criminal charges. I don't think I can explain what the law was, that could have been used, but it had something to do with the fact that I hadn't removed them from the house within a certain length of time, therefore they had squatters rights, and because it was winter, if I shut the utilities off, I was endangering their lives.
Then, my attorney, gives me his best advice; go to the person in the house, and offer to pay THEM $1000.00 to leave! $500.00, up front, to leave, and another $500.00, if they don't destroy the house when they leave.
I still can't beleive I did it, but I followed his advice, and got our house back for less money than it would have cost me, doing it "legally." And it was basically in 1 piece.
Considering it was Butte, I thought it was quite appropriate that I paid to get screwed! eek!
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Posted by Joshua Austill (+94) 12 years ago
Wow, your story sounds VERY similar to mine!! I got EXACTLY the same advice from a lawyer about offering this lady 1000 bucks to move out of my own house!!! I told the lawyer that's why I hate lawyers, always thinking about the bottom line instead of what's right!!! In the end I decided to follow Mr. Huss's advice and did it Pro Se, which basically means I didn't hire a lawyer and did all the paperwork myself. This ended up costing me the following.

File Complaint and Summons, $35
Process Server to serve her the complaint, $50
Process Server to serve her the Writ of Restitution, $50
Process Server to oversee the lock change, $50
Lockset, $200(VERY nice Schlage digital entry, could have spent less)

So my total bill was $385, and the entire process took 1 month and 6 days from the time that I filed the complaint to having the locks changed.

I got very lucky in more than one regard, firstly, my squatter didn't answer the complaint, so I got a default judgment. She could have drug it out in court up to another 60 days potentially if she had answered. Also, she didn't purposely destroy anything on her way out. She left the place a freakin mess, but it could have been worse. To see pictures just face book search my name, Joshua Austill, and I have a photo album of a few pics I took of the condition and the work we did this last weekend.

Another thing to consider, I currently live 1 block from the Court House, and work 1 block the other way from the Court House. This made filing the paperwork VERY convenient!!! Also, I had to read basically the entire Montana Code Annotated to understand my rights and walk a very fine line between evicting and harassing her. In the end I did some things that were maybe not perfectly legal, such as showing up 10 minutes after the process server served the writ of restitution and removing everything she owned from the lawn shed and putting the lawnmower and air conditioners in it and paddle locking it haha. It made sure she didn't get away with stuff I included in the house, but she could have raised a stink over it. I already had the writ of restitution, so it just woulda bought her a few hours if anything, but she could have tried.

In the end she rented a uhual and loaded everything up in the last 24 hours, she drove away in the uhaul as I was changing the locks. It really paid off to have the contract through a 3rd party escrow that did all the paperwork too! But, even so, I will NEVER do a contract for deed again, NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Posted by Mrae2 (+95) 12 years ago
Never, never, never do a "lease to own" agreement!! I too learned this the hard way!!!
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+12191) 12 years ago
IF a person has a lousy credit rating and no savings, they aren't likely to have a good grasp of budgeting and financial responsibility. If a person has at least a huge down payment, that might be different but I would assume anyone with a huge down payment would also have a decent credit rating and could get a real mortgage.

Sometimes, you have to save up and practice fiscal restraint until you can afford to buy a house. Same for any purchase.
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Posted by KELLY BABCOCK (+195) 12 years ago
It isn't always the people with no down payment, and a crappy credit rating, that need a lease to own, type contract. I am proud to say that we have helped several people own a home, that they couldn't have afforded any other way, than by using "lease to own contracts." There have been young couples, just starting out, there was a recently divorced mother of 2, and there was a man who was trying to fix his credit, after his identity had been stolen. Even with the horror stories, that I could tell, most of my experiences have been positive. I know that we did something wrong, because we definantly didn't make any money doing it, but I'm not sorry we did.
Just for laughs: To teach me a lesson for kicking her out, because she had stopped making her rent payments, I had a woman take all of her own possesions, and leave them in a huge pile in the middle of the master bedroom, before she left. Because of the smell, we thought it was best if we wore heavy duty rubber gloves before we started to empty out the room. Among the things we found were 16 personal vibrators, {of assorted sizes, ranging from small, to OMG I can't believe it} and a half full gallon of personal lubricant. I guess she really showed me! roll eyes
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6174) 12 years ago
Ha! You should have taken out an ad in the paper letting her know that you had her property (spelled out in detail!!) and where she could come to pick it up.
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Posted by Lorin Dixson (+594) 12 years ago
My brother bought a four plex in California. Part of deal was that there was one renter who hadn't paid their rent for a long time, I believe it was close to a year. Anyway before the deal closed they were supposed to be evicted. Somehow my brothers bank closed the deal before this happened. He tried to collect rent for four months with out success. One day he gets this brilliant idea to get them out. He goes to the property told them he was going to do some remodeling. He removed all the plumbing in the house, sinks, toilet,shower every thing that used water. Then waited for them to move. Well they didn't move they sued him. He went to court thinking he wouldn't need a lawyer,what judge wouldn't agree with him. Well they won He had to pay them a cash settlement plus find them a place to rent and pay the rent for six months. He said the worst part was finding someone who would rent to them.
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6174) 12 years ago
It's perfectly legal in most states to request a credit report and references and I think sometimes even a criminal background check when vetting a potential renter.
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Posted by Matt - Schmitz (+164) 12 years ago
I have several property management companies as clients. Most people that wish to be in the landlord business would be wise to hire a management company to "handle" their properties. They do all the heavy lifting, and they usually charge around 7% to deal with all the grief. They screen potential renters, collect your money, and if things go haywire, they handle the collections for you. They also do most minor repairs for you. And will use contractors they know and trust to deal with major repairs. For my money, at 7%, it's a no brainer.
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Posted by KELLY BABCOCK (+195) 12 years ago
Wendy,
I have to leave the suggestions that were made, about what to do with the items we found, to your imagination, but believe me, none of them were as funny as what you suggested! It could have been made to look like a legal notice.
At the time we went in, we didn't know her name, so we looked at some of the letters that she had left. It didn't look like she had made any effort to sort thru the stuff she had left. It appeared more like she had simply dumped out dresser drawers, and emptied the closet, into a pile in the middle of the room.. We found several letters addressed to a cousin, in which she wanted to know why he had started their affair. She asked several times if he had ever really loved her, or if he had just wanted to ____{have sex}. She went into great detail about how furious the whole family was with her for ruining a family gathering, because they attended, and acted, like a romantically linked couple. She said that she was glad, that they had broken up, before she could get her sister involved.
I wasn't born yesterday, and it takes a lot to shock me, but what I read shocked me. I checked to make sure that she wasn't a minor, and that she could legally consent to a relationship. Then I did everything I could, to try and forget who she was. I think I handeled it allright, but my wife knew the family, and this woman had been in school with her.
I was talking to a deputy sheriff, a couple of days ago, and he said that it was the things that went on behind closed doors, that concerned him the most How true, how true, how true! I still get cold chills when I think about the things I saw in that room. At least now, I can include your idea into my memories, and get a small bit of humorous relief. It would have been funny!

[This message has been edited by KELLY BABCOCK (10/16/2009)]
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