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Catscankim

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Hoping somebody with some legal knowledge can point me in the right direction...

ok, recap of my past year. I was renting from my best friend, with plans to rent to own starting this past January. I have been at my house now for 2 1/2 years. Long story short, she died last October before the agreement was signed. I have a lease, just not the rent to own agreement. Thats kind of irrelevant right now.

Since she died, i have made my rent payments to her estate. This past September 24th, i got a text msg from the estates real estate agent...” hey kim. Its josh. We met a while back at the house. We just closed on it. So we now own the house and will be your contact from here on out.”

I didnt know the son sold the house, but thats irrelevant as well i guess. A couple of days after this text i got a 3 day notice to vacate. He never contacted me about any lease or rent or anything. Just that stupid text message. I checked the county appraisers office, and the house was still listed as being under Pams name. I get it...COVID and things are taking a while. But get this part...the 3 day notice was posted under a different name, not Josh. I have a Realtor friend who kept checking on property sales for me. She said to not even respond because its still under Pam.

So i guess it finally flipped over to the new owners name Phogh Enterprises LLC. When i search for them on google, it doesnt even say what their business is.

Friday night this week, I was at the poolhall for a tournament. This man walks up to me and asks if i am kim. “You’ve been served” He is a private investigator he says. Nice...I was all the way in the back who the heck showed him where i was lol.

This whole thing is fishy to me. I think i took my realtor friends bad advice by not contacting him. But he never sent me anything or asked to meet with him to discuss any arrangements or signing a lease with him. Just that one text msg telling me that he was my new contact. Nothing since. Then a 3-day from a totally different person.

Should i get a lawyer? I have to write a letter to the court, cc to their listed attorney to respond within 5 business days.
 

Catscankim

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I know this is a weird place to ask. Some of you are pretty good at legal-ese. If anything, consider it a rant.
 

buttonsHT

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There is a Joshua Bradley who is a managing member at Phogh Enterprises LLC. I would assume that's the Josh from your post. The LLC is most likely a "flipping/rental" company who flips houses and owns rental properties.

 

GemstonePony

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I don't know what your lease looks like, and I'm not a lawyer, but it seems fishy that you didn't receive notice that the home was being sold from the party who did the selling. While what they're trying to do may not be legal, the law is generally in the side of whoever has been working the legal system the longest, so I'd say you're a few weeks behind on getting a lawyer.
 

AliOop

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Hire a lawyer immediately. In most states, the text wouldn’t be sufficient legal notice of a property transfer, but time is not in your side. Gather all your rent receipts (canceled checks, proof of ACH payments, etc.)

ETA: when I’m searching for legal counsel in a state where I don’t know any other lawyers, I go to AVVO.com.

First, search for the area of law (landlord-tenant in this case). Then look through the results for lawyers with good ratings who will represent tenants.

Another rating source is lawyerlocator.com, which is the site for Martindale Hubble.
 

TheGecko

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A couple of days after this text i got a 3 day notice to vacate.
Uh...no...it doesn't work that way. I will first advise you to IMMEDIATELY contact an attorney who specialized in Landlord/Tenant Law, but I can give you some general advice.

If you have a lease/rental agreement, it stays in effect even after the property is sold. Nothing changes as far as you are concerned, you are just writing your check to a different person/company. You will want to contact Josh and ask him how he wants his rental payments made and delivered. You should also verify where your security deposit is being held.

Now with the above said, you will now have to refer to your lease/rental agreement about termination. If you are on a month-to-month, there is usually a specified time person for 'notice'...notice to the landlord that you are moving, or notice from the landlord that they are terminating. This specified time period can be anywhere from 30 to 90 days.

If you are on a yearly lease, the lease would end at the end of period...period. The new owner cannot evict you, though they can offer to buy you out. And like with month-to-month, there will be 'notice' language.
 

Catscankim

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There is a Joshua Bradley who is a managing member at Phogh Enterprises LLC. I would assume that's the Josh from your post. The LLC is most likely a "flipping/rental" company who flips houses and owns rental properties.

Yes. Its josh Bradley
 

cmzaha

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Listen to The Gecko. I will guess the rent to buy is not going to help you when it is not in writing. I do not know of any state that lets an owner even a new owner evict with a 3-day notice. Those are usually formal 3 day pay rent or quit notices that have to go with eviction notices at least here in CA. I never figured out the point of them myself. I have never heard of a 3-day notice to vacate, I think they are doing their best to bluff you. Do not panic at this point although sadly you will most likely have to move it is a question of how long it takes at this point. Where I live we cannot even evict at this point with Covid. Call your county and check on your local Covid housing laws. Paying for a lawyer may be a waste of money because they are the new owners but they will have to follow the lease. I simply would not pay to fight something that is not in writing, and most evictions can be handled in small claims court. Also, evictions are not legal without judgments, but the problem there is if it goes to judgment it ruins credit. Some states such as Nevada and California are not even accepting Eviction filings. You need to check with your state and county rules for evictions at this time. Here everything is on hold until next March. There are also many ways such as health issues to stall for time. Yep, I have dealt with rentals most of my life either mine or my parents, and have seen it all. Call the Fair Housing Department for your State.

Sadly unless you do get a good lawyer and have good reliable witnesses about the rent to own verbal I doubt that will go anywhere. When it is not "signed sealed and delivered", per se, it usually means nothing. On the flip side, you have had a place to live. As I always told my kids, I could not guarantee my kids the house of my mothers was a guarantee for them forever, and low and behold my mother under my sister's influence evicted them over a year ago. That is another long sordid story...

ETA: Attorneys easily run $350-$500 + per hr. How much do you want to spend? Also many will tell you what you want to hear to get you hooked then it changes when they get your case. It is much more advisable to find a new place.
 
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Catscankim

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Listen to The Gecko. I will guess the rent to buy is not going to help you when it is not in writing. I do not know of any state that lets an owner even a new owner evict with a 3-day notice. Those are usually formal 3 day pay rent or quit notices that have to go with eviction notices at least here in CA. I never figured out the point of them myself. I have never heard of a 3-day notice to vacate, I think they are doing their best to bluff you. Do not panic at this point although sadly you will most likely have to move it is a question of how long it takes at this point. Where I live we cannot even evict at this point with Covid. Call your county and check on your local Covid housing laws. Paying for a lawyer may be a waste of money because they are the new owners but they will have to follow the lease. I simply would not pay to fight something that is not in writing, and most evictions can be handled in small claims court. Also, evictions are not legal without judgments, but the problem there is if it goes to judgment it ruins credit. Some states such as Nevada and California are not even accepting Eviction filings. You need to check with your state and county rules for evictions at this time. Here everything is on hold until next March. There are also many ways such as health issues to stall for time. Yep, I have dealt with rentals most of my life either mine or my parents, and have seen it all. Call the Fair Housing Department for your State.

Sadly unless you do get a good lawyer and have good reliable witnesses about the rent to own verbal I doubt that will go anywhere. When it is not "signed sealed and delivered", per se, it usually means nothing. On the flip side, you have had a place to live. As I always told my kids, I could not guarantee my kids the house of my mothers was a guarantee for them forever, and low and behold my mother under my sister's influence evicted them over a year ago. That is another long sordid story...

ETA: Attorneys easily run $350-$500 + per hr. How much do you want to spend? Also many will tell you what you want to hear to get you hooked then it changes when they get your case. It is much more advisable to find a new place.
I already know the rent to own isnt going to be relevant right now. This new owner has nothing to do with that.

but i was in a situation before that a condo i was renting was sold. The new owner left a card on my door to please call and we could figure something out. So i called. He came over, and we did a new lease. He didnt care about my prior deposit etc...it had nothing to do with him buying the house. That was between me and the old landlord/lease.

I feel like whatever this guy is doing is fishy. You cant text someone out of the blue that you now own the house, then give notice to vacate within days. I just sent a msg to an attorney on @AliOop website suggestion. I just want to know my options
 

Catscankim

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Hire a lawyer immediately. In most states, the text wouldn’t be sufficient legal notice of a property transfer, but time is not in your side. Gather all your rent receipts (canceled checks, proof of ACH payments, etc.)

ETA: when I’m searching for legal counsel in a state where I don’t know any other lawyers, I go to AVVO.com.

First, search for the area of law (landlord-tenant in this case). Then look through the results for lawyers with good ratings who will represent tenants.

Another rating source is lawyerlocator.com, which is the site for Martindale Hubble.
Thank you. I just messaged an attny from the AVVO website. Not sure how responsive he is on a Sunday.

Not sure if my prior payments to the estate count, but everything was always done through zelle. With Pam (when she was alive) it was direct deposit from my pay.
 

Catscankim

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Uh...no...it doesn't work that way. I will first advise you to IMMEDIATELY contact an attorney who specialized in Landlord/Tenant Law, but I can give you some general advice.

If you have a lease/rental agreement, it stays in effect even after the property is sold. Nothing changes as far as you are concerned, you are just writing your check to a different person/company. You will want to contact Josh and ask him how he wants his rental payments made and delivered. You should also verify where your security deposit is being held.

Now with the above said, you will now have to refer to your lease/rental agreement about termination. If you are on a month-to-month, there is usually a specified time person for 'notice'...notice to the landlord that you are moving, or notice from the landlord that they are terminating. This specified time period can be anywhere from 30 to 90 days.

If you are on a yearly lease, the lease would end at the end of period...period. The new owner cannot evict you, though they can offer to buy you out. And like with month-to-month, there will be 'notice' language.
Pam was a Realtor. She also owned 6 houses that she rented out. Her leases were always set up for a year, then goes month to month without signing a new lease. I have mostly always rented...its usually set up that way. My lease was set up for 18 months, with a rent to own option Jan 1st 2020. But absolutely no details about that in the lease.

I could give 20 names of ppl that she told that to, about my buying the house. I should have gotten an attorney before it was sold and claimed something against the estate. Too late for that now. I was her POA, and medical proxy. She called me her daughter. We were the dearest of friends. Shes rolling over in her grave right now over this.
 

cmzaha

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You can check on the ownership of the property through county records which are public. Although right now everything is harder with Covid at the moment. Simply do not move until you get legal eviction paperwork. Do you have a way to get in touch with her son that inherited the property or whoever is managing the property? These house flippers are very snakey people. I dealt with one that was trying to purchase one of my mom's, the house my daughter was evicted from. Nothing was scaring him off, even letters from my Attorney, until he finally found out I gained control. He actually got my mom to sign a promise to sell paper. Who knows this person could be harassing her son to sell, but you can usually track it down yourself. Nothing can be done without going through legal avenues. Please take my advice and do not go through avenues like AVVO for legal advice. Sorry AliOop, but this is not where you find quality advice. The two big problems I fought and won were won because I had quality attornies.
 

Catscankim

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You can check on the ownership of the property through county records which are public. Although right now everything is harder with Covid at the moment. Simply do not move until you get legal eviction paperwork. Do you have a way to get in touch with her son that inherited the property or whoever is managing the property? These house flippers are very snakey people. I dealt with one that was trying to purchase one of my mom's, the house my daughter was evicted from. Nothing was scaring him off, even letters from my Attorney, until he finally found out I gained control. He actually got my mom to sign a promise to sell paper. Who knows this person could be harassing her son to sell, but you can usually track it down yourself. Nothing can be done without going through legal avenues. Please take my advice and do not go through avenues like AVVO for legal advice. Sorry AliOop, but this is not where you find quality advice. The two big problems I fought and won were won because I had quality attornies.
I got legal eviction paperwork. Thats what i was served on friday. But its for non payment of rent. I was never asked for rent, nor have they ever talked to me about signing a lease or asked to leave
 

cmzaha

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Did you have POA for financials or just Medical. I assume she had a Trust and you were not the Trustee. I only assume this since you make the payments to the estate. If your lease mentions anything about the rent to buy you might have a case. In that case,I would ask your friend that is in Real Estate if she knows a good Real Estate Lawyer, which is what you will need.

If you were making payments you were paying rent or payments. Track them down. Just remember to send all correspondence in writing and keep proof. Whether emails or certified mail. Keep all copies. There are programs that will download text messages that exactly as on your phone if you go that route. But emails are definitely easier to print and keep.
 

lenarenee

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So sorry for all these legal mess Catscankim. This kind of problem drives me crazy because it's beyond the scope of a typical person's knowledge base which means floundering in the dark. I don't find it weird that you came here to ask - because there's a large group of people with at least one thing in common and who are generally quite helpful.
 

TheGecko

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I just messaged an attny from the AVVO website.
Waste of time. Get on the phone first thing in the morning, you want an attorney who specializes in Landlord/Tenant Law. Many attorneys offer an initial free or low cost consultation...speak to two.

Thats what i was served on friday. But its for non payment of rent. I was never asked for rent, nor have they ever talked to me about signing a lease or asked to leave
Sit down TODAY and document. If you can, screenshot the text messages from "Josh". Make sure you have a record of all your rent payments during probate and a check for rent for October. Make a list of attorneys to start calling at 8am. Write a simple statement of what is happening when you speak to the attorney or legal assistant/secretary...something along the lines of:

From XXX date to XXX I was renting a house from Pam XXXX and on October XX, 2019, Pam died. I was advised that all future rental payments were to be made payable to her estate...which I did. On September 24th of this year, I received an text message from the Estate's real estate agent advising me that they had purchased the home and that they would be my point of content. On September 26th, I received a 3-day notice to vacate. Then on October 16th, I was served with eviction papers for non-payment of rent.

Two questions that the attorney is going to ask you is 1) why you didn't follow up with Josh when you were first notified that he had purchased the house? And 2) why you didn't respond to the 3-day notice? You need to have a better answer than "I was never asked for rent, nor have they ever talked to me about signing a lease or asked to leave." You're an adult, it is presumed as an adult, that you would have asked about paying rent, getting a new lease, responding to the notice...not hanging out at the pool hall. And if you think I'm being harsh, I'm actually being a lot kinder than what a Judge is going to be if you use that lame excuse.

With the above being said...you need to plan to move WITHIN the next 90 days. The clock is ticking on the Eviction Notice. NO NOT IGNORE IT because good luck in today's housing market trying to find a place with an eviction on your record.
 

Catscankim

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Extremely helpful and thank you for everything . I really appreciate it.

everybody says 90 days. If i thought i had 90 days i might actually be good with that. But it seems like less from what i have been reading. So trust me, i am taking all advice to heart.
 

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