Case Study: The Dishonest Landlord

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Case Study: The Dishonest Landlord

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We firmly believe and are prepared to subpoena witnesses and documents to prove these facts. I do not relish the thought of attempting to evict a 92 year old woman, however, based upon practical evidence as presented above, a reasonable trier of fact will make determination in favor of the lessor.”

The quote above is from a correspondence with the landlord’s attorney to my client’s attorney. She is a widow who is trying to take over her own finances, which had previously been taken care of by her husband. Not long after his death, my client began to run into a common form of elder abuse: Bullying by landlords.

In the case of my client, the landlord is saying that if she doesn’t sign a new lease now for 2014 – with a $400 increase in rent – he will refuse to offer her any lease whatsoever, at any other time. As his lawyer so eloquently asserted at the top of the page, he does not “relish the thought of attempting to evict a 92 year old woman,” but he will.

I was previously her financial concierge and was added as her power of attorney to help her navigate the legalities of this problem.

A power of attorney is a written authorization to represent or act on another’s behalf in private affairs, business, or some other legal matter.

We’ve been meeting with lawyers and consulting the different resources available to figure out what her next step should be. Some of the great resources available include Connecticut Protective Services for the Elderly.

Just do this…

“Just do this” is a common phrase for elderly people to hear. Many of them will comply, whatever the request is. My client’s landlord must have been aware of this when he tried to collect rent from a period of time before he owned the house. This was clearly a cynical attempt to extract more money out of what he thought was a complacent and confused old woman. In other words, he tried to pull a fast one on her because he thought he could get away with it.

As her power of attorney, I “got” my client’s “back,” and retained a lawyer. Unfortunately there are many seniors out there who do not have such protection.

The reward for living a long life and productive life should not be getting exploited in retirement. Protective measures such as designating powers of attorney and the ongoing support from friends and family are the best way to preserve your favorite senior’s well-being. Plus it’s fun to listen to them talk about their lives during the historic times they experienced first hand. Call your favorite senior today!

Mother’s Day 2013 is fast approaching! This Sunday, May 12, make sure you show your appreciation to your mom, your grandma, your friends’ moms…and all the other special women in your life!

Happy Mother’s day!

Judith Heft

Judith Heft, Principal, Judith Heft & Associates is a personal financial concierge with offices in Greenwich and Stamford. She can be contacted via email at or by phone 203-978-1858.

2 Responses to “Case Study: The Dishonest Landlord”

  1. Ah, Judy, this is why you do what you do! I know how passionate you are about your clients – and how caring. They are so lucky to have someone with your experience and energy watching over their affairs. The opposing counsel should not take you lightly, as you are relentless and righteous in your defense of the underdog! You go, Girl!

  2. Unfortunately, abusive landlords exist all over this “great’ country, even here in Wisconsin, –even under the “protection” of HUD rules & regulation. Landlords know they can get away with it, because lawyers don’t want to file suit because the legal costs are too high for the amount that can be won. Here in Barron County, WI., landlords will abuse seniors and handicapped even within HUD Senior housing, forcing unpaid labor, removing personal possessions, and –if a tenant protests, he/she/they are threatened with eviction, or coerced into leaving. I have been victimized this way as well as my co-tenants in Turtle Lake, WI.
    I had thought there were laws in this country to protect the elderly and/or mentally handicapped from abuse, but it appears this country has declined into a ‘dark ages’ mentality that encourages this kind of abuse, (the wealthy takes all the peoples’ money and then the poorer people with no recourse suffer) and the landlords know they can get away with it.
    I used to be proud to be an American. I worked hard to help the “War Effort’ during WW2 with my meager contributions. It wasn’t much but it was all I had. Now however, this nation has become so greedy that people around the entire world are suffering at the hands of the wealthy americans. It’s not surprising that the suicide rate for the elderly is rising, which in itself is sad but the wealthy landlords are happy to be rid of them; it seems to be their goal in life.
    I could go on but it makes me sick to see that what our forefathers died for has become even worse than what the British peoples suffered under the powers of their ‘royalty’ and ‘nobility’. No wonder the Colonists in American started their revolution and fought for freedom from England.
    Now however, freedom has only become a useless propaganda word.

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