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Contributor
LAPropertybuyer
Posts: 34
Registered: ‎03-05-2012
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Warning for Rental Property Buyers: Jury Trials Skyrocket for Eviction in Los Angeles

If you are purchasing a rental property in the City of Los Angeles then please be aware of the Shriver Housing Project. It is a prototype project to provide legal council to low-income individuals.

 

The project has 2 objectives: defend low income individuals & use evictions to train attorneys because evictions move throught the court system quicker.

 

The low income demographic is diverse and large in Los Angeles. Examples of individuals may be: seniors, college graduates, subsidized families, etc. It is Income based.

 

The project launched in 2012.

 

The attorney's representing the tenant's are requesting Jury Trials for eviction cases.

 

This creates a significant change to the costs required to pursue an eviction of a tenant.

 

Many leases (especially in Rent Control which are restricted from changes) are written to  limit expenses to $500 for legal fees. This is to deter a tenant from acquiring an attorney that will waive fees in return for a percentage of the proceeds if there is a judgement in the tenant's favor. If the maximum amount is $500 then the attorney isnt incentified to invest without billing the tenant.

 

That is no longer the case effective 2012.

 

How much will this cost? A jury trial can start at approximatly $2500 for review of documents, interrogatories(questions), and dialog with attorney. Costs can increase to $4000 or more if a trial date is selected. Further increases are subject to the length of the trial and time required, and complexity of the complaint.

 

 The tenant does not incur any cost.

 

This is much different than the $500 scenario to have a case heard by a judge where documents/evidence is disclosed the day of trial.

 

Also, in Los Angeles, a tenant is not required to pay rent after the case has been filed, but may still reside within the rental unit.

 

Many Mom & Pop landlords (5 or less units) are being overwhelmed by the expense from both the loss of rent revenue while the tenant remains in the unit, and the costs required to pursue the case to vacate the tenant.

 

A jury trial request gives the tenant leverage. SIGNIFICANT leverage that didnt exist previously.

 

Jury Trials now have the following consequences:

 

The owner is incentified to entertain a settlement to allow the tenant to remain rent free, waive debt, or dismiss the case in an effort to reduce losses, and retrieve rent revenue.

 

The credit report no longer has value because owners are settling cases and there is no record of an eviction.

 

Problem tenants are more difficult to identify.

 

Tenants are sharing which complaints are most costly to the owner. Issues which require a licensed contractor able to document and appear in court.

 

Contractors(plumbers, electricians, etc) lose income due to trial appearance for past work to the rental unit.

 

Owners increase the required rental deposit to the maximum permitted (2 months, 3 months if furnished), to create a cash reserve.

 

The tenant is incentified to stop paying within the 1st few months to eliminate any potential for the owner to profit.

 

Tenant is not penalized for deceptive statements in a complaint because they do not incur any cost.

 

Current quality tenants will suffer from problem tenants because owners are intimidated to incur costs to evict.

 

Tenants are incentified to stay, not pay, and contact the shriver housing la program, instead of vacate to reduce their potential debt.

 

Attorney's representing the owner make much more money with a Jury Trial.

 

Please contact your apartment association, or attend the monthly meetings: AAGLA (www.aagla.org), AOA (www.aoausa.com), etc.

 

Landlord Attorney's are broadcasting this as seen here:

https://twitter.com/DennisBlock/status/192619988400615424

 

Contact your district's City Councillor to share your opinion on the program.

 

 
Silver Contributor
hg213
Posts: 365
Registered: ‎07-21-2009
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Re: Warning for Rental Property Buyers: Jury Trials Skyrocket for Eviction in Los Angeles

SPAM alert:  The above post is bad advertising for eviction attorneys posing as a "warning" and should be deleted from this forum.

Regular Contributor
Tee
Posts: 80
Registered: ‎08-27-2010
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Re: Warning for Rental Property Buyers: Jury Trials Skyrocket for Eviction in Los Angeles

LAPropertybuyer, you care to respond to the previous comment about SPAM?

Contributor
RPRP
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎03-09-2010
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Re: Warning for Rental Property Buyers: Jury Trials Skyrocket for Eviction in Los Angeles

I don't see how this is spam for eviction attorneys.  This is a real project that is happening right now.  Most people who hire eviction attorneys are hoping to have a quick cheap eviction.  Under most rental contracts that limit costs, if it costs you $8000 for a jury trial, that is money that the landlord cannot recover from the tenant.  If anything it is spam for advocacy organizations, but i really believe this is a legitimate post.  It is not trying to sell any particular service or product. 

Silver Contributor
hg213
Posts: 365
Registered: ‎07-21-2009
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Re: Warning for Rental Property Buyers: Jury Trials Skyrocket for Eviction in Los Angeles


RPRP wrote:

I don't see how this is spam for eviction attorneys.  This is a real project that is happening right now.  Most people who hire eviction attorneys are hoping to have a quick cheap eviction.  Under most rental contracts that limit costs, if it costs you $8000 for a jury trial, that is money that the landlord cannot recover from the tenant.  If anything it is spam for advocacy organizations, but i really believe this is a legitimate post.  It is not trying to sell any particular service or product. 


It is SPAM for eviction attorneys because it (a) references specific eviction attorneys and (b) uses scare tactics.

 

You say that "This is a real project that is happening right now."  Yes, there is a Shriver Housing Project LA, that does help LOW INCOME TENANTS with eviction defense, largely using first or second year associate attorney volunteers from big law firms.  (Most of these attorneys, by the way, do not have a clue what they are doing at this point in their careers.  Which is why real clients, like me, do not want to pay for their "training" time, so they have time to do this pro bono stuff.)

 

I do not know what the "low income" cutoff is for this particular pro bono organization. But I would not be surprised if it was something south of $22,000 a year.  Perhaps the OP can enlighten us as to what the cutoff is.  It is not as if this pro bono project is going to help the people to whom I rent my properties--because they make too much money to qualify for free legal advice.  So one scare tactic in the original post is to suggest that there is some mysterious group out there helping middle class or lower middle class tenants screw over their landlords.  That is simply not true.  If such people want to try to use attorneys to screw over their landlords, they have to pay to do so.  And that is expensive.  So most don't, because they cannot afford a lawyer.  Period.

 

Let's face it, the tenants who would qualify for the services of the pro bono group in question are poor.  Really poor.  Let's use Tee's experience as an example, since the OP posted a reply to Tee's post about his (Tee's) situation with his tenants at the property he just purchased.  Tee mentioned that the woman's husband "works for the city with the same job over 30 years[.]"  Does that sound like a person who would qualify for pro bono legal services?  No.  So I highly doubt that Tee will have to deal with an attorney from this pro bono project that the OP mentioned, in the event that he has to evict these people (with the so-far phantom lease).

 

Now let's talk about the use of jury trials, as opposed to trials heard by the judge (i.e., a "bench trial").  Requesting a jury trial does raise the costs of the litigation and causes more of a delay and a hassle than just having a bench trial.  But if the tenant requests a jury trial (landlords never do), then the tenant has to post the jury fees for the trial.  There may be a waiver available for low income people, as there is for court filing fees.  But, again, you have to be really poor.

 

And where did you get your figure of $8,000 for a jury trial?  Huh?  You must be kidding.  A simply issue like whether a lease exists or the length of a lease just is not that complicated.  So this $8,000 figure is way too high.  

 

You certainly need a lawyer to assist you with preparing for an unlawful detainer trial, especially if you have never dealt with one before.  But it is not a certainty that you need a lawyer at the trial.  I have handled with several trials myself, and won each one of them.  They just are not that complicated.  Did the tenant pay the rent?  Is there a lease?  This is not rocket science, folks.

 

And now let's talk about this Dennis Block character.  I have sees articles by him in the Apartment Owners Association publications that I receive.  Some of his stuff is helpful.  But I would never hire the guy.  He puts out racist videos.  Here is one (scroll down to the bottom video and watch--shocking):  http://www.evict123.com/LLTV.htm

 

And posting stuff like this on Twitter brings his judgment into question:

 

"A client just sent me a letter containing 4 condoms. The letter read, 'Thanks for helping me F__K my tenants.' --Another satisfied client!"

 

So the original post is definitely SPAM in my book.

Silver Trusted Contributor
GEAH
Posts: 940
Registered: ‎10-22-2010
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Re: Warning for Rental Property Buyers: Jury Trials Skyrocket for Eviction in Los Angeles

The bottom video is not shocking or racist. It was pretty funny and well-acted.

Silver Contributor
DrivingSideways
Posts: 547
Registered: ‎03-03-2009

Re: Warning for Rental Property Buyers: Jury Trials Skyrocket for Eviction in Los Angeles

OMG!  Thank you for sending me to those videos!  They were hilarious!  How exactly is he racist!??  I think it's incredibly offensive how people throw the word 'racist' around these days.  It cheapens the experiences of people who actually confront racism.

Contributor
justlookin
Posts: 42
Registered: ‎08-20-2012

Re: Warning for Rental Property Buyers: Jury Trials Skyrocket for Eviction in Los Angeles

I thought the videos were very informative for landlords, especially those not having much experience in legal forms. Is the accusation of racism in the final video because of the various objects found in the toilet (ie the gun clip?). As a woman,should I object to the final video  because the deadbeat tenants were all women??  Misogynistic? LOL! I would never be a landlord in LA. after watching these videos and reading these posts. Too much trouble and looks like it's just going to get worse.

 

Contributor
LAPropertybuyer
Posts: 34
Registered: ‎03-05-2012
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Re: Warning for Rental Property Buyers: Jury Trials Skyrocket for Eviction in Los Angeles

[ Edited ]

update:

 

the shriver housing la project recorded their training videos and posted them on YouTube.

 

they are not hiding their tactics for jury trials.

 

Track to time 1 hr 29 min. Topic - pre trial considerations 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hm1P51vXEMM

 

"when you request a jury a lot a times that gives you leverage to settle"

 

the owner's attorney doesn't know if they are bluffing until trial. The landlord assumes the costs to prepare regardless.

 

the tenants costs are none Or possibly $150 fees if requested from the organization.

 

income limits aren't posted in the state's bill (ab 590). I haven't been able to get the amounts by calling And requesting the amount for low income.

 

 

 

Silver Contributor
hg213
Posts: 365
Registered: ‎07-21-2009
0

Re: Warning for Rental Property Buyers: Jury Trials Skyrocket for Eviction in Los Angeles

Just listen to the first minute of the video.  The representation is for low income people WHERE THERE IS AN ATTORNEY ON THE OTHER SIDE (i.e., representing the landlord).

 

So, if you are a landlord, just handle the lawsuit yourself, and you avoid this organization's involvement altogether.  (Just have your attorney working behind the scenes.)

 

Simple. Done.

 

Deuces