Posted by Paul Tucker on December 03, 1997 at 02:45:07:
I am a renter of an apartment in the suburbs of Salt Lake City Ut. I recently had an unnerving experience that has created havoc among my day to day living. The event goes as follows: I had returned home from work one afternoon for lunch and upon leaving my residence to return to work, I was approached by a number of police officers (detectives) with their guns drawn yelling at me to put my hands up. They cuffed me and explained that I was under arrest for residential burglary and possesion of stolen property. I was taken to jail and booked under these charges. Upon bailing out of jail, I returned home to find a three day notice to quit. The grounds for this notice was that I was in violation of my lease for "criminal activities" that had occured at my residence. It was my understanding that in the US you were considered innocent until proven guilty. Apparently, the officers had met with the management prior to making the arrest. They obtained a search warrant and siezed all of the construction tools in my apartment and also in my truck (not to mention the truck itself). The three days of the notice had expired and when I went to inquire about the supposed "criminal activities" that had occurred. The manager told me that thay didn't need a conviction to evict and the fact that the cops showed up at my residence for me was reason enough to evict. I have a few questions regarding this policy of theirs. I have read the lease a few times over and can't seem to find any mention of criminal activites as being grounds for eviction. I have retained an attorney to represent me and my innocence in this issue. Since the three day notice had expired, I went in to attempt to pay rent and the management refused to accept it. This leads me to believe that a summons will follow in the near future. My questions are as follows: What if the eviction process is faster than the criminal case and I'm evicted and then found not guilty? Can I sue for an illegal eviction? Don't they have to have proof that illegal activities actually occurred? And what about my roommate? He's signed the lease also, however, he's not implicated in the alleged crime. Can they evict him also on these same grounds? And why wouldn't they accept my rent? Even if I do get evicted, I'm going to have to pay for the time that I occupy the unit. Also, if I get evicted or have to leave (at the request of the management) am I going to be liable for the remaing six months of the lease. As of yet, my rent has been paid every month and there hasn't been any complaints from any of the surrounding tenants. Am I correct by assuming that if they can evict me on these grounds...then I can call the police CLAIMING that my neighbor is abusing their child and expect them to be evicted. After all, child abuse is a criminal activity, and an accusation has been made. It fits the same scenario.
As I'm sure you may have concluded, I'm a little bewildered over this whole situation. The fact that it's the holiday season, I/ve just retained a lawyer, and I had to purchase all new tools in order to continue to work (all of my tools are in evidence), you can guess that my finances don't allow for the expenses of relocating right now. If you could help me by answering some of my questions, I would appreciate it greatly. Thank You. Paul Tucker
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