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Do I have enforceable rights? Unlawful Eviction

Discussion in 'Other Residential Landlord & Tenant Issues' started by Trapped in Texas, Jul 11, 2016.

  1. Trapped in Texas

    Trapped in Texas Law Topic Starter Guest

    I am a 56 year old woman who moved to East Texas a little over a year ago, after living with my mother for three years. I was desperate to get away from that dysfunctional relationship, and I couldn't find an apartment in New York or the rest of the northeast I could afford. I'm disabled with a chronic neurological condition.

    I'm usually an excellent judge of character, and ordinarily would never do this, but in my desperation I trusted "friends" I'd met on Facebook, who I'd spent months speaking with by phone as well. They helped me buy a pre-fab house with my savings, offered to let me keep it on their land next door to them, and even drove to NYC to move me down here. There were other promises made, such as providing transportation, since I don't have a car or license, and we're in a rural area. I very stupidly didn't draw up a written agreement, but I guess I was afraid to rock the boat and be stuck at my mother's, where I was becoming suicidal.

    Soon after my move I began having difficulty getting them to keep their promises. They also demanded $200/month for land rent, which had never been mentioned, but I've paid it religiously and on time. I have my own electricity and internet/phone/cable, but was required to pay half the installation of the septic system and additive, which they control. We agreed to share the water service, which is in their name. For the first 8-9 months, after the initial argument over the percentage of the bill I felt I was responsible for (they have 5 people and two bathrooms; I am alone and an environmentalist who conserves water), I paid what I thought was 1/5 of the water use, based on the amount I was told by text each month. There were constant excuses as to why I couldn't get a copy of the actual bill. When I finally was given one, I discovered I had been tricked into paying part of their water meter, and subsequently lied to. In order to get my own meter, I would need $1,500, which I simply don't have, and their permission as owners. In the meantime, this has become a bludgeon they use to control me, and as I found out from the water company, since this is a rural area they can legally turn off my water at any time.

    Relations really broke down around February, when they demanded an exorbitant amount of money to even take me grocery shopping. Luckily, I discovered the "GoBus", which I pay for and isn't exactly convenient, but it gets me to the store and the doctor. They continued to accept my rent, but there were inappropriate, nasty texts sent to me concerning transportation, threats about the water, refusals to maintain the property, and most recently disagreements about trash disposal. They changed my street address after announcing I couldn't share their mailbox any longer, despite my receiving no more than 3-5 pieces of regular mail a month. Thankfully, the mailman found and installed a mailbox for me, since I had no way of transporting or installing one myself.

    The couple has separated within the past few weeks. The wife, who remains on the property with her sons and visiting mother, is Mexican, with a green card but not a citizen. On July 7, 2016, she sent me a text informing me that she's "tired of dealing" with me, and that she "wants me out" in a month. She also claims to be selling and moving to Austin.

    The research I have done online doesn't specifically address my situation. I know she'll still have to file an eviction notice in court, and since I have paid my rent it will be a minimum of 30 days. I doubt if she's really aware of this, and I'm not going to be the one to tell her. I am however, afraid that she'll turn off my water, without which I can't survive. Besides the disability for which I receive benefits, I was recently diagnosed with hypertension, and while my doctor attempts to get it under control with medication I remain at very real risk for a stroke. This situation is not helping.

    I HATE it here. I presently have no way to move, and have no friends in Texas. While there was no written agreement, obviously they helped me buy the house, helped me move, and had the house placed on their property, as well as accepted rent all this time. I need to know about the likelihood of them successfully evicting me just because they feel like it, or what happens if they sell or the bank forecloses. At what point should I retain an attorney, and what will the expected costs be depending on how far this goes? Even if I win, and they are ordered to pay my legal fees, they aren't likely to comply, so will I be liable? My boyfriend in Florida is involved in a malpractice suit which he is expected to win. The only variables are the amount of the settlement or award, and how fast it will happen. When it does he will get me out of here, but until then I have nowhere to go and no money, especially while continuing to pay my mortgage.
  2. ElleMD

    ElleMD Well-Known Member

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    Forget the supposed boyfriend in Florida. I'm going to guess you met him online as well. He owes you nothing, even if he is real/his story checks out and you will be right back where you are now, dependent on others. You are a tenant and can be evicted. I'm guessing you are living in a mobile home or trailer of some kind. You would be better served looking for a lot elsewhere (perhaps a mobile home park?)and moving the home. Wash your hands of these friends and move on. Figure out where you want to live on your own, and if that isn't where you are now, sell the home and move. Do not move in with the bf until you have met in person many times and each visited the others' homes many times. I say this as someone who has made some incredible real life friends online, including posters here.
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    ElleMD guessed mobile home or trailer but when I see "pre-fab" house I think of a conventional frame house that's built in sections (modular) at a factory, delivered to the site and built on a permanent foundation.

    So please clarify. Did you buy a mobile home or trailer to which you have a title or did you buy a house that is now a permanent part of the land?

    The distinction is critical.
  4. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    The fish jumped out of the frying pan into the fire. Sheesh....

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