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The Manipulation of Guest-Tenant Laws and Homeless Laws are Hurting Good People

Sean McDermott

Posted on January 30, 2021 22:41

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Many local jurisdictions have laws preventing home and lease owners from throwing out those who either stay longer than they are wanted or break verbal agreements.

Picture this being you: You're an honest person. Despite owning a Bachelors Degree, you've worked unrelated, low-wage jobs. You have always taken pride in being a trustworthy friend and an intellectual thinker. You have been through some tough times; nearly becoming homeless twice. Nevertheless, you've met good people to take you in, always made payment arrangements in full, and obeyed verbal agreements. 

The sobering scare of homelessness left you with a soft spot for those in similar situations. You personally advocate for higher wages and a wider safety net for those befallen with economic hardship. After everything, you could hardly imagine anyone making your version of humanity look bad by taking advantage of local laws; conniving their way into staying somewhere without paying a dime. If you did find someone as such, they could only be complete strangers, right? 

Wrong. Those destroying the flowing highway of good faith between helpers and the disenfranchised, in this case, are relatives. 

Their plan is simple. In the short term, they cry they have nowhere to go, swear on the world to pay x-amount of dollars, promise to be good co-tenants/roommates, and be out in short time. In the long term, they move in everything they own (including pets,) stop paying you, secretly have their mail sent to your address, and when time is up or exceeded, with a smug smile they say, "you are going to have to evict me.

It just so happens there's many homeless laws and guest-tenant laws that individuals can take advantage of. The laws vary by name and jurisdiction, but in many when a guest stays 15-30 days, has mail sent there, and larger items moved in — they become tenants by technicality! The police cannot throw them out and you cannot move their things outside/change the locks if they aren't home. If you move their things outside, they might declare you damaged or stole other personal belongings inside (even if they're yours.) 

It is enraging. You open your heart and home and they manipulate you. Evicting them takes 30 or more days, having to go to a county courthouse to pay for an eviction application, getting tangled in court appearances, and if you live in an apartment with a child in a one or two bedroom apartment, you are now breaking your own lease agreement. If your lease only allows you and your child to stay there, and you attempt to have the unwanted evicted, you and your child could be evicted as well! 

If you could imagine any of this, imagine them getting to your elderly parents immediately afterwards. They do have their troubles: Both pay child support, have outstanding tickets, etc., but they work, decided they don't want to pay anything, and neither is transparent about their finances to help them save.

If these relatives aren't enough to make you lose faith in people, their inadvertent justifying opponents' refusal to help anyone is as bad as manipulating good people.

Sean McDermott

Posted on January 30, 2021 22:41

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