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Small Claims Judge ignores legal process required to determine reasonable rent and makes decision himself?

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lkillmer

New member
I lost a landlord/tenant issue of non payment of rent in a small claims court. I feel that an appeal is in order however I understand that I must prove that the Judge made a mistake. There are a few mistakes one listed above regarding the rental increase to the tenant. He also ordered that I return the security deposit, All the past due rent was waived. I do not feel that this case should have been heard in Small Claims but transferred over to the Landlord/Tenant Court which the Judge is an expert on hearing these cases. The small claims court made decisions partial to the plaintiff in so many ways. The tenant claimed the apartment was not habitable without any evidence however the Judge made his decision based on the apartment being uninhabitable without evidence and based of plaintiffs word. It was a real circus as the case starting out with the Judge telling the Plaintiff that he can not consider any complaints of this matter without witness to testify. He made many statements that he reversed when making his decision. Another one was that he can see a few days allowance for heat issues however ruled the three months past due rent was waived due to apartments condition. I need to tell you that while this tenant moved in unauthorized an Inspection was made and the Certificate of Occupancy was issued without violations. Appeal? Worthy?
 


Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
I do not feel that this case should have been heard in Small Claims but transferred over to the Landlord/Tenant Court which the Judge is an expert on hearing these cases.
In addition to the state, how did this case end up in small claims court? Did you file the complaint in small claims or did the tenant? And if it was the tenant, did you try filing a motion to get the case moved to the landlord/tenant court (assuming your state has such a specialized court)? How much did the court's decision cost you?
 

adjusterjack

Senior Member
I lost a landlord/tenant issue of non payment of rent in a small claims court.
If I am reading it correctly you are the landlord and got sued by the tenant.

Small Claims Judge ignores legal process required to determine reasonable rent and makes decision himself?
Small claims court is informal. The rules of procedure and evidence are relaxed. In some states more than others and in many states the courts are tenant friendly.

I do not feel that this case should have been heard in Small Claims but transferred over to the Landlord/Tenant Court
Then why didn't you ask for that? In most states you can remove a small claims case to another court level just for the asking.

The tenant claimed the apartment was not habitable without any evidence however the Judge made his decision based on the apartment being uninhabitable without evidence and based of plaintiffs word.
The plaintiff's "word" is evidence. The judge appears to have found it credible.

I need to tell you that while this tenant moved in unauthorized
Must have had a key. Yes? If you gave him a key, he was authorized.

Appeal? Worthy?
Can't say, without knowing your state.
 

quincy

Senior Member
And whether they are the plaintiff or the defendant. Some states allow only one side to appeal (go figure) and the nature of the appeal options.
True. The right to appeal can be limited to a defendant in some small claims courts.
 

Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
Some states allow only one side to appeal (go figure) and the nature of the appeal options.
The rationale for that is that the plaintiff picks the forum, and as a result the plaintiff knows the rules say he cannot appeal. If he wants to have the right to appeal, he has the freedom to pick another forum instead. The defendant, on the other hand, may not have a right to get the case moved to another forum and it's unfair to deprive him of appeal when he didn't get to pick in which court the case will be heard.
 

quincy

Senior Member
It would be nice to know the state name here.

The landlord/defendant seemed ill-prepared to argue the tenant's claims - or the tenant/plaintiff had convincing arguments and evidence recognized by the judge but not recognized as such by the defendant.
 

adjusterjack

Senior Member
Another reason for knowing the state is that some states treat a small claims appeal "de novo" (a do-over) which could be advantageous to the defendant/landlord who can correct all the mistakes he made the first time around.
 

quincy

Senior Member
Another reason for knowing the state is that some states treat a small claims appeal "de novo" (a do-over) which could be advantageous to the defendant/landlord who can correct all the mistakes he made the first time around.
Yup. All sorts of good reasons to know the state name. :)
 

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