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Help! Landlord is committing fraud

Discussion in 'Commercial Landlord & Tenant Issues' started by bamawebster, Nov 4, 2008.

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  1. bamawebster

    bamawebster Law Topic Starter New Member

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    My jurisdiction is: Fulton County, GA

    I leased a home is Roswell GA June 20th 2008. I met with the landlord(husband and wife), read over the lease, and signed. They only had one copy, so they said they would mail me a copy of the lease.(first mistake) October 7th, 2008 I get a letter from an attorney representing the homeowners association and they state they have sent 3 warning letters to the landlord stating he is renting against the covenants of the neighbor hood and they will take action to evict if landlord does not.

    I called the attorney(home owners association) and yes, leasing/renting is against the policy of the neighborhood. Attorney(homeowners association) then sent a letter to the landlord, stating I called, and he had confirmed I must move out and the owner/landlord will incur a $25/day charge every day I am there until evicted.

    I spoke with the wife landlord and she asked what my plans were. I told her I was making plans to move and would let her know the details soon.

    Once I made arrangements(I cant change now), all is set to move, I sent a notice to the landlord and stated to apply my security deposit toward the rent. I have only been here 4 months and I am being evicted due to their actions, I only saw it fair. They requested I not do anything and pay the rent. I stated to them that all arrangements have been made and I gave them a move out date. I also call the attorney for the home owners association and tell them my plans on moving so they do not move forward with eviction.

    I then get a notice from the husband landlord, also an attorney in Atlanta, stating he is taking care of the issues and for me not to move and pay the current rent. Again I stated I have already made plans and will move in less than 2 weeks. He then goes to board of home owners association and asks for a hardship exemption. He threatened to foreclose on the house and they granted him a lease exemption.

    Husband landlord(and attorney) says I need to pay the rent, he fixed the eviction problem and he will enforce the lease.

    I contact my attorney, and my attorney requests a copy of the lease. We questioned the legality of the lease from the beginning.

    The attorney then faxes a copy of a lease with my signature on the last page of a lease I have never seen. Of course the signature page is on a blank page at the end of the lease. Totally different than what I signed but I never received a copy. The signature page is a different font and different size that the lease he attached. There were very specific details of the lease I remembered that are not included in this "lease" he sent my attorney. I had a pet policy(now not included), I had a specific amount of time before a late fee would be charged(now not included), I have the ability to terminate the lease(now not included), and finally if I choose to only rent and not purchase, I agreed to allow them to relist home on the market in month 8 of my lease.(again, not in the fake lease he sent my attorney)

    We found a copy of the lease you can download online with the exact same signature page I signed(even had same font mistakes). The lease attached to the signature page resembles what I signed. Then I found a copy of the identical lease he sent to my attorney(with some slight changes) and it has a totally different signature page.

    This landlord has requested my attorney make a settlement or he will enforce the lease. I know he can't because I know for a fact that is not the lease I signed.

    Any advise here? I am going to report him to the State Bar of Georgia with Ethics charges(not sure what they will do). My attorney is not a landlord/tenant atty, and knows what is going on in illegal, but says we need him to present the original document, have it analyzed to show the ink was done at different times, and then I can move forward with forgery charges.

    I was wondering if anyone had advice or has had this happen to them. This is why attorneys have a bad rap. They try to change the law to fit their need or they just lie.

    As of now, the attorney threatened to sue me and will enforce his "fake" lease(so he says). My movers will be here in 2 weeks to move me. Any advise is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. jacksgal

    jacksgal Super Moderator

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    You have an Attorney your advice should come from him
     
  3. bamawebster

    bamawebster Law Topic Starter New Member

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    My attorney has no idea where to go from here. He said we can only wait for him to sue. I think what the landlord is doing is wrong and there has to be something else that can be done.
     
  4. jacksgal

    jacksgal Super Moderator

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    So you want advice from faceless persons of unknown educations and backgrounds? If your Attorney doesnt know why would we? Consultation often cost nothing meet with some other Attorneys
     
  5. bamawebster

    bamawebster Law Topic Starter New Member

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    If you do not have advice, then don't post. I called legal action line at the Georgia bar, and I get a recording and someone will call me back. I looked up several attorneys that do specialize in Landlord tenant issues, and guess what.....of the 8 I called today to get advice, not one of them could help me. Either they only deal in Commercial issues with Landlord/Tenant or they only represent the Landlord. Seems very few attorneys want to help an actual tenant.

    Fact being I own a home, a 500k home that is still on the market. I have never leased crap in my life. My husband was promoted within the federal government and has relocated to New Mexico.

    I only rented so I could put the kids in a better school district and to make our current home looks as "model" like as possible. I didn't move with my husband to keep them from changing schools during the school year and I did not want to break my lease. Seems like Murphy had other plans for me. So I am now moving to New Mexico with my husband and the federal government is paying. I can not change my plans and the last thing I need is a bunch of smart ass comments about attorneys.

    This is not the first place I looked. I only started searching for advice after contacting several attorneys and asking what I could do. Guess tenants seem to be in there eyes "low lifes" and most will not even listen. Not even the free consultation attorneys.

    So don't get on this site and blab stuff about contacting an attorney. I have done that and seems to me the law has a major flaw in this area. My attorney has sent notice to the landlord that I am moving, I am not making any proposal and from here, he has not a clue where to go. He just says wait on him to sue.

    So sorry for thinking I am getting screwed...sorry for me for contacting an attorney(several attorneys), looking for specific landlord/tenant attorneys...and getting the run around.....shame on me for contacting the bar to report the attorney, now I am waiting the several days they say it make take for a representative to call me back and take the report.....and shame on me for thinking that a person who swore to uphold(landlord/attorney) could actually break the law, manipulate a lease, attach my name, and then try to enforce it and seems there is not a damn thing I can do about it??????????? Yes, shame on me for even asking for advice when I can't get any answers from anyone!!!!!

    So again, I am asking advice from others to see if this crap has happened before. What is the point of asking advice on this site if faceless, clueless people sit around and wait to find someone who really needs advice, and tell them to call an attorney(really????). Maybe some faceless person that does have a clue what they are talking about will give me ideas of routes I have not taken, or areas of law that may have been broken and I can take action there. If you have nothing to say other than "call an attorney"..... save your finger the waste of time you spend typing that crap and move on to another helpless victim of your useless sarcasm.

    Thank you in advance for anyone who actually wants to give advice.
     
  6. jacksgal

    jacksgal Super Moderator

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  7. dee_dub

    dee_dub Moderator

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    Check with pro bono or legal aid services - they might be more experienced at representing tenants, and would probably welcome a client who might pay them for a change. :)

    There is something you can do about it. Don't settle. Tell him to get bent. Move out anyways. You'll be in New Mexico, and he can try to sue you there if he wants. (I'm guessing this is a small claims matter.) Let him try to convince a judge to enforce his bogus document.

    I am not a landlord/tenant lawyer. That said, I suspect your position would be stronger if you had your own copy, but his position is pretty weak in and of itself. They might also be in breach of your tenancy laws for failing to provide you with a copy of the lease. If I was to speculate, your defence, if it comes to it, will be that the purported lease is fraudulent and of no force and effect, and that in any event you are not bound by it since the property was leased to you in breach of the HOA agreement. This is kind of the flip side of the nemo dat principle, which is a basic element of property law: "no one can give what they do not have". How that might go in court is anyone's guess.

    As far as you suing him for fraud: Considering you are moving out and his forgery is not going to cause you any damages (you were going to suffer the inconvenience of having to move anyways), I'd forget about it. You have nothing to gain.

    By all means proceed with the complaint against him with the bar association. Nail him to the wall, please.
     
    bamawebster likes this.
  8. bamawebster

    bamawebster Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you!!!!!

    What the landlord(attorney) did was in the "fake" lease, he took out the pet policy and inserted a "right to cure". His claim is to enforce the lease since he "cured" the problem with the homeowners association.

    Of course he made a lease to benefit him. If he sues me, showing his right to cure, the lease is still a "fake". I have thought about calling his wife, the one who handled everything until it became a legal issue, and recording our phone conversation. I do believe in GA as long as one of the parties are aware(me), that it is legal to record my conversation.

    There are several items that were specific to the lease that are left out of the "fake" lease. If she admits she signed the lease, not him, and also she agrees that the specific items I bring up were items she put in the lease that I signed, does that strengthen my case?

    I just can believe an attorney/landlord would go to such fraudulent actions to get a little extra money.
     
  9. dee_dub

    dee_dub Moderator

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    I don't know anything about the legality of recording phone conversations in GA. It probably would be helpful if she said those things. But I wouldn't be surprised if he told his wife not to talk about it with you and she refuses to give anything. You should definitely check with your lawyer before doing that - you might be sabotaging your own case. What you would more likely do, if it comes to it, is get her examined under oath before the trial as to who signed the lease and what its contents were and whether she can produce the original. (Yes, that gives them a chance to get their stories straight. C'est la vie.)
     

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