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Who is the Landlord?

The lease says “ABC Property Management Company, Inc. (“Landlord”) and Joe Smith (“Tenant”), agree as follows…” The property is owned by Sally Jones. Who is the real landlord?

It is not ABC. They are the AGENT for the landlord, but not the landlord. Calling them the landlord in the lease just muddies the waters and makes things confusing. It’s not necessary to reveal the true owner’s name. You can say, “ABC Property Management Company, Inc., as agent for Landlord, and Joe Smith, Tenant, agree as follows…”

Someone recently called me with a problem related to such confusion. He filed an eviction lawsuit against the tenant, with ABC Property Management Company, Inc. (a fictitious name made up for this article) named as Plaintiff. It wasn’t quite so obvious, because the real company name did not include the words “property management.” As far as the court clerks and the judge could tell from looking at the complaint, it named the true owner of the property as the plaintiff. The lease named that same company as the landlord. When the tenant failed to file an answer, the plaintiff obtained a default judgment

Afterwards, police officers were present for the turnout order. The tenant’s personal possessions were placed on the side of the road, where they were stolen. A week or so later the tenant hired an attorney. She asked the judge to void out the eviction judgment and turnout order because the plaintiff was not the true landlord. The judge agreed. This issue is similar to me filing a divorce lawsuit against Bill Gates and asking for $10,000,000 a month in alimony. I might get a default judgment, but it’s not enforceable. I was never married to Bill Gates. (Really!!!)(But, I have joke below with Bill Gates in it, as a reward for reading on to the very end.)

Because the turnout order was void, the landlord had no right to enter the apartment and put stuff out on the street. The landlord was liable for actual and punitive damages.

Don’t let this happen to you. Just like you are not supposed to commingle money, you also cannot commingle identities.

That was pretty grim, wasn’t it? Here’s a joke to lighten things up:

MY SON WAS FLUNKING OUT  OF COLLEGE SO I TOLD MY SON, “YOU WILL MARRY THE GIRL I CHOOSE.”
HE SAID, “NO.”

I TOLD HIM, “SHE IS BILL GATES’ DAUGHTER.”
HE SAID, “YES.”

I CALLED BILL GATES AND SAID, “I WANT YOUR DAUGHTER TO MARRY MY SON.”
BILL GATES SAID, “NO.”


I TOLD BILL GATES, “MY SON IS THE CEO OF THE WORLD BANK.”
BILL GATES SAID, “OK.”

I CALLED THE PRESIDENT OF WORLD BANK AND ASKED HIM TO MAKE MY SON THE CEO.
HE SAID, “NO.”

I TOLD HIM, “MY SON IS BILL GATES’ SON-IN-LAW.”
HE SAID, “OK.”

AND THAT’S EXACTLY HOW POLITICS WORKS HERE IN  AMERICA.

And thus, began the practice of hiring morons to work in influential positions of government.

The practice is unbroken to this date.

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What Were They Thinking – Tub Won’t Drain

A student shared this story with me. When she was in college, she rented a ground floor apartment. One day she came home from classes to find her bathroom flooded, with pieces of ceiling lying on the soaked floor. Of course, she called the property manager. The bathroom was cleaned up and repaired very quickly.

Nice story. What caused the flood, you might wonder? The student upstairs had a clogged bathtub drain. Perhaps he thought it was a garbage disposal and had been stuffing chicken bones down into it. Perhaps he had been bathing large hairy dogs to earn money. Perhaps he did not know how to operate the drain valve. Whatever the reason, the tub would not drain. His solution–drill holes into the bottom of the tub. Problem solved!!!

If you have a story you’d like to share for our “What Were They Thinking” column, please send an email to Denise@AlabamaLandlords.com.