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House seller forged rent documents

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bloothel

New member
What is the name of your state? Ohio
Hello everyone,
We recently purchased a house in Cleveland Ohio. The house was purchased for investment purposes and with a tenant occupying it and paying rent.
According to the selles (which were represented by an agent), the tenant was paying rent of 950$ per month. Obviously, the fact that there was a tenant occupying the property, and paying this amount of rent, played a major role in our decision to purchase the house.
When we asked for proof that indeed the tenant is paying a rent of 950$, the sellers provided a receipt for October rent, which supposedly shows that the tenant paid 950$ that month (the receipt was signed by the sellers). They also provided a short doc were they just testified that they received payments of 900-950$ per month, from July-October (doc was also signed by them).
Following that, we purchased the house, and when we got to actually talking to the tenant and presenting ourselves as the new owners, they told us, that they have never paid a rent of 950$ but of only 500$. They also presented a receipt for October which shows that they indeed paid only 500$. The receipt presented by the seller, for the exact same dates, was completely forged.

Do you think we have a case for a lawsuit here? and if so, any idea on how we can estimate our damage here?

Thank you in advance.
 


Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
What is the name of your state? Ohio
Hello everyone,
We recently purchased a house in Cleveland Ohio. The house was purchased for investment purposes and with a tenant occupying it and paying rent.
According to the selles (which were represented by an agent), the tenant was paying rent of 950$ per month. Obviously, the fact that there was a tenant occupying the property, and paying this amount of rent, played a major role in our decision to purchase the house.
When we asked for proof that indeed the tenant is paying a rent of 950$, the sellers provided a receipt for October rent, which supposedly shows that the tenant paid 950$ that month (the receipt was signed by the sellers). They also provided a short doc were they just testified that they received payments of 900-950$ per month, from July-October (doc was also signed by them).
Following that, we purchased the house, and when we got to actually talking to the tenant and presenting ourselves as the new owners, they told us, that they have never paid a rent of 950$ but of only 500$. They also presented a receipt for October which shows that they indeed paid only 500$. The receipt presented by the seller, for the exact same dates, was completely forged.

Do you think we have a case for a lawsuit here? and if so, any idea on how we can estimate our damage here?

Thank you in advance.
Are you able to increase the rent the tenant is paying? If so, then you need to do that ASAP (it's called "mitigation"). Once that's done and the tenant is paying $900 per month, then you will have a measure of your damages.
 

Just Blue

Senior Member
What is the name of your state? Ohio
Hello everyone,
We recently purchased a house in Cleveland Ohio. The house was purchased for investment purposes and with a tenant occupying it and paying rent.
According to the selles (which were represented by an agent), the tenant was paying rent of 950$ per month. Obviously, the fact that there was a tenant occupying the property, and paying this amount of rent, played a major role in our decision to purchase the house.
When we asked for proof that indeed the tenant is paying a rent of 950$, the sellers provided a receipt for October rent, which supposedly shows that the tenant paid 950$ that month (the receipt was signed by the sellers). They also provided a short doc were they just testified that they received payments of 900-950$ per month, from July-October (doc was also signed by them).
Following that, we purchased the house, and when we got to actually talking to the tenant and presenting ourselves as the new owners, they told us, that they have never paid a rent of 950$ but of only 500$. They also presented a receipt for October which shows that they indeed paid only 500$. The receipt presented by the seller, for the exact same dates, was completely forged.

Do you think we have a case for a lawsuit here? and if so, any idea on how we can estimate our damage here?

Thank you in advance.
How do you know that the doc provided by the seller was the one forged? Was the one shown you by the renter signed by the seller? Is there a lease? Ask for receipts for the last few months.
 

Just Blue

Senior Member
Are you able to increase the rent the tenant is paying? If so, then you need to do that ASAP (it's called "mitigation"). Once that's done and the tenant is paying $900 per month, then you will have a measure of your damages.
http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/5321

You need to make sure an increase that large is legal for your state...and that can only be done if there isn't a current lease.



@Ohiogal I tagged an Attorney from Ohio that volunteers here.
 

bloothel

New member
Guys, Thank you for the prompt responses.
Let me add some details following your comments -
The 500$ receipt is signed by the sellers. It actually has a serial number on it, so you can clearly see that it was issued before the 950$ receipt (which was never given to the tenant).
Also, I forgot to mention, in October, right when we were told that the rent is 950$, the sellers actually had the tenant sign on a rent contract of 950$ a month (the contract starts on October 1st).
Obviously we learned all of that, only after we purchased the property, and talked to the tenant.

Now, I guess we can just enforce the new contract, and ask for 950$, but..
The tenant is an old sick lady. She doesn't have the capability to pay 950$ (she never had). We could theoretically evict her, but there is no amount of money we would do that for.

Thank you again.
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
...the sellers actually had the tenant sign on a rent contract of 950$ a month (the contract starts on October 1st).
That means that your have no case against anybody. Your tenant has a contract to pay you $950 per month.

Now, I guess we can just enforce the new contract, and ask for 950$, but..
The tenant is an old sick lady. She doesn't have the capability to pay 950$ (she never had). We could theoretically evict her, but there is no amount of money we would do that for.
That is a business decision that you are making and you can't blame that on anyone but yourself. I'm not making a judgment on your decision, just pointing out the reality.
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
Then why did she sign a new lease for $950 per month?
Perhaps because she is an old, sickly lady that may not have even realized what she was signing, or could have been told all kinds of false things by the former landlord. Elder abuse does happen.
 

Gail in Georgia

Senior Member
"Do you think we have a case for a lawsuit here? and if so, any idea on how we can estimate our damage here?"

A case for a lawsuit for what?

Discuss with the current tenant whether they can actually afford $950 rent. If they cannot let them out of the lease to move and find a tenant who can.

Gail
 

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