The Arrogance of Confidence
It is frustrating when renters ignore advice about their precarious positions, and then waltz into court thinking that the facts and their righteousness will carry the day. Let me tell you, dumb ass, I told you so.
When he said he had tendered the rent, but the landlord just sat on it instead of depositing it, I asked: Do you have a receipt? No, he did not.
When he said he mailed it, I asked: Did you use a cover letter? No, he replied. I asked: Did you mail it certified, or even with a certificate of mailing? No, he said, just regular mail. But, he insisted, he had a history of always mailing rents by regular mail on the first of the month, so no doubt the court would accept his version.
The court hearing was set right in the midst of his imminent, pre-planned, overseas vacation. I suggested that he retain an attorney to pay to the landlord’s attorney the base rent, late fees, court costs and attorney fees in accordance with A.R.S. § 33-1368(B). That way, the whole situation would go bye-bye, and he could do the holiday. He called the referral attorney, but opted to proceed on his own. Mr. Tenant cancelled his vacation, showed up in court wearing a suit and tie and carrying a huge swath of documentation, at which point the opposing attorney was supposedly blind sided and sought a continuance, which was granted. Great, I said, you got lucky. Go pay the rent and/or hire the attorney to represent you.
But now the guy was breathing fire and brimstone. He was irate that the other side was adding to its claims, seeking back rent that was not due. HE HAD THE EVIDENCE, he declared, and so his case was invincible. He thought the landlord’s attorney was a dope. No, I told him, this guy is a bulldog. The courts are biased.
He did not call my attorney referral back. Last time we spoke, he had his hearing without attorney representation, and the court had just granted the landlord judgment for over $7,000. The tenant was determined to appeal by posting a bond of over $9,000. He had the money, believed his case had merit, and he was sure he would ultimately prevail.
Yeah, likes pigs wear lipstick.
If this guy had just paid the $2,000 or so rent he legitimately owed, plus swallowed the late fees and, later, court costs and attorney fees, that would have been the end of it. But some people are determined to fight, when instead they should take their lumps and fold, awaiting a more propitious battle.
Listen, people, stop cruising for a bruising. There are no brownie points gained by proclaiming your case to someone, i.e. a justice of the peace, who doesn’t give a damn. The system has power and authority over you, so you need to finesse it, using a professional. Let your ego go. You, Mr. Tenant, may have won a court battle in the past, and may be a very capable businessman or whatever, and you may even have nice clothes and cologne, but you need to realize the deck is stacked on this one. Your performance will fall on deaf ears.
Sheriff Joe has 24 square inches of space where you can sit your dumb ass, just like everyone else he chooses to target.
- Ken Volk -