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Tenant breaks lease / Landlord gets sued...

Discussion in 'Small Claims & Municipal Court' started by tim7777, Aug 11, 2008.

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  1. tim7777

    tim7777 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I am seeing my attorney tomorrow but I was just curious if I could gain some advance knowledge.

    On 8/1/07 2 tenants moved into an apartment that I manage for a 12 month lease (I do not own the building). Starting in Jan 08 they gave written notice that they would be moving out... 10 days later they rescinded... the following month they again gave written notice they were breaking the lease and moving out by end of the month, I spoke to them and they again they rescinded and said they would be staying (we even lowered the rent on their request)... on 2/29/08 I was supposed to show the apartment to my home insurance agent (to get a lower rate)... we walked in and the apt was empty.

    Now 6 months later they sued me personally for security and alleged damage to their car (that I did not do) and for their heating bill (I would guess for the amount they could not afford to pay the energy company - this last winter was colder than usual). I kept the security deposit for documented damages and rent due for March & April 2008 during which time I made valid attempts to re-rent the apt (it was rented again in May 2008). Well I have been ill for the last 30 days and the three weeks preceding they filed suit in small claims... the mail relating to the apt goes to a po box for privacy of my family. I have not been able to check the PO BOX at the post office for the last 3 weeks due to my illness (nearly broken foot and life threatening blood clot) I have been on blood thinner meds for last few weeks but now until recently I am able to walk off the crutches & drive a little with lesser discomfort than in recent prior weeks. I go the post office today to get some fresh air and walk on my leg a little and at which point I find notice for small claims court on 8/8/2008. Well today is 8/11/2008 and I see online that a default judgment was entered obviously as I did not appear.

    Now my question is: Should I be able to ask the Judge that the case be reopened (and prove my side of the case) as I could not have known about the court date nor had the ability to get the post office to check mail during my illness? The case is in La Crosse County, WISCONSIN.

    Thanks for any info you can give me in advance.

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