Seeking tenant land...
 

Seeking tenant landlord laws in the VI  

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jarrodjcard
Posts: 32
(@jarrodjcard)
Advanced Member
Joined: 11 years ago

Good afternoon,
My former landlord evicted me and my girlfriend (@ 6 months pregnant) for being 2 weeks late on our rent for the the first time in 9 months. Now she's taking us to court to try to force us to pay the 3 months that remained on our lease. We have a baby coming Next month and can't afford the $4000 she's trying to get from us. Anyone have any info or advice on how to best defend ourselves in court? Having a very difficult time finding information online about tenant landlord laws in the VI.
I've discovered that VI code chapter 28, title 31 pertains to the laws but can't seem to find any finite explanation of what it entails, or any way to read it.
Thanks very much if you can help

30 Replies
OldTart
Posts: 6523
(@the-oldtart)
Expert
Joined: 8 years ago

And no, that wasn't an eviction. An eviction is a legal process. She gave you a notice to vacate but didn't evict you and, if you didn't have a lease but were on a month to month agreement, she was within her rights to ask you to leave. HOWEVER, if you had a term lease she was way out of line in giving you 30 days notice - it just doesn't work like that - and no way can she now demand that you pay for the remainder of the lease term because she forced you out and breached the lease agreement/contract. Nor could she arbitrarily breach the contract because of pregnancy since you hadn't yet breached the contract yourself by having a child on the premises.

Given the new information you have an excellent case and may even have cause to counter sue for damages from her for lease breach. Good luck and let us know how it works out for you!

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Alana33
Posts: 12153
(@Alana33)
Expert
Joined: 7 years ago

OT - it depends on the lease they signed. Landlord does have to give 30 days notice which is in effect on the day notice is delivered to tenants. A lease will generally give both tenants and landlord the TIME LINE, in event of non payments, late fees, evictions, deposit returns, etc. for BOTH parties.

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Isle Tell Ya
Posts: 106
(@Isle_Tell_Ya)
Advanced Member
Joined: 7 years ago

Lots of fairly inaccurate legal advice by Old Tart and Alana33.

Old Tart - VI law is actually quite simple and clear in L/T matters. Jarrod - if you received a 30-day Notice to Quit/Vacate, you would have at least 30 days (typically closer to 60 days as per VI Law,) to vacate. However, you were under no legal obligation to physically vacate, and few tenants in the VI actually do. The Landlord would then have to go to Court for eviction. It sounds like what he is doing now is seeking a breach of Contract claim for damages on your failure to pay rent for the entirety of the lease term. Another error by previous posters - landlord has every right to do this, as you promised to pay a fixed sum over a period of time (i.e the lease term.) Your lease will ultimately determine whether you (or landlord by sending a Notice to Vacate) has defaulted, and the Judge will decide. Previous poster is also completely mistaken - mitigation of damages is not a universal responsibility of landlords in the mainland or VI. That defense won't get you anywhere.

Consider contacting an attorney with experience in L/T matters and please don't ask any previous posters to serve as expert witnesses! 🙂

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OldTart
Posts: 6523
(@the-oldtart)
Expert
Joined: 8 years ago

I disagree. If the LL gave the tenant notice to vacate on a term lease, the LL cannot now go after the tenant for the monies remaining on the lease since she has arbitrarily breached the contract.

I agree that mitigation of damages is not a legal requirement but judges in general use discretionary powers and, for instance, won't usually award a LL months and months of rent payments if LL has made no attempt to re-rent the property.

I was simply giving my opinion based on experience, not as a legal beagle, and plainly opined that the OP should seek legal advice.

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Isle Tell Ya
Posts: 106
(@Isle_Tell_Ya)
Advanced Member
Joined: 7 years ago

I disagree. If the LL gave the tenant notice to vacate on a term lease, the LL cannot now go after the tenant for the monies remaining on the lease since she has arbitrarily breached the contract.

I agree that mitigation of damages is not a legal requirement but judges in general use discretionary powers and, for instance, won't usually award a LL months and months of rent payments if LL has made no attempt to re-rent the property.

I was simply giving my opinion based on experience, not as a legal beagle, and plainly opined that the OP should seek legal advice.

Fair enough but your 1st paragraph is still incorrect. If he arbitrarily evicted, he will not win in Court. If it was valid a Court may award the unpaid rent - although the VI Courts are so tenant-friendly that it never happens outside commercial lease contests.

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