How bad does this suck?
I moved into a new apartment in December of last year. Towards the end of the month, I noticed that the roof was leaking. I mentioned it to the landlady that day, who advised me that she couldn’t do anything on that day because it was raining. No problem. I put a bucket down to catch the water, and let it go.
In January, I approach her again about the ceiling. Her response is that there’s no reason to fix it now, because “it’s not raining now.”
I contact my local tenant’s association to find out what my options are. Per their info, I send a certified letter to both her and the owner indicated that, per Louisville (KY) city law, they have 14 days to repair the damages, or I will withhold the rent and pay for the repairs myself. Nothing happens. I mail this on 1/21/03.
On 1/23/03, the apartment complex files an eviction notice due to nonpayment of rent. The sheriff’s office mails a notice to me, and also posts one on my door saying that there’s a court date on 2/12/03.
I never show up. Because, and this seems to be vaguely important to me, I NEVER GOT ANY NOTICES. There was never anything on my door, nor in my mailbox, advising me of this fact. So I don’t show up, because I don’t know there’s anything scheduled.
When I don’t show up, the judgement defaults in favor of the complex. From that date, 2/12/03, I have, within the confines of the law, 7 days to appeal this decision. However, since I had NO knowledge of this hearing taking place, or of this decision, I let the 7-day window lapse.
The first I hear about ANY of this is when the sheriff posts a notice on my door on 2/26/03 saying that I have to be out by 8am 2/28/03.
I call a lwayer, and explain the situation. He files for another hearing, which was on 3/03/03. At this hearing, I advise, under oath, that I had received NOTHING prior to the notice on 2/26/03. The sheriff testifies that they notice that was mailed to me was not returned by the post office, and that the one to be placed on my door WAS delivered. Under the current law, that means that I DID get them, even if I didn’t.
I have NO WAY to prove that I didn’t get the notices. How can you prove you DIDN’T get something? So, because of that, the judgement stays the same. The reason I withheld the rent becomes immaterial, since I would have had the opportunity to go into that at the hearing on 2/12/03. That I didn’t know about.
Personally, though I have no way to prove this, I think the landlady removed the notice from both my door and my mailbox before I saw them. That way, the judgement goes to the complex when I don’t show up for the hearing. The squeaky wheel (me, for throwing a fit about the ceiling) gets replaced.
Interestingly, when I went to talk to the landlady after the hearing, she told me that I NEVER told her about the ceiling. And that Alice, the previous tenant of that apartment, had complaimed about a leaky ceiling, too. And that, when she went to check it out, it was “dry as a bone.” I imagine she probably did so on a day when it wasn’t raining.
What kills me is that, during the hearing on 3/03/03, the judge expressed concerns about the current method of delivering these notices. But was powerless to do anything about it. Current law doesn’t dictate that either of the notices for court require a signature, nor being placed in anyone’s hand.
So, basically, I got screwed by the system. Lucky me, huh?