Owner Can Evict Disabled Resident for Not Paying for Door Damage
Facts: A disabled resident living in a Section 8 assisted living apartment refused to pay for damage to the building’s motorized front door. The owner sued to evict the resident.
The property manager submitted to the court a repair invoice and a letter he’d sent to the resident notifying her that she had been charged the cost of repairing the entrance door and had three days to make the payment or to make arrangements for a payment plan. The manager testified that she didn’t contact him, so he sent her a forbearance agreement whereby she could either repay the amount to repair the door or vacate the premises by a certain date.
When the resident didn’t contact him, the manager sent her a letter stating that she failed to make any payments or payment arrangements toward the outstanding damage charges that resulted from her damaging the front entrance door, and he enclosed a 10-day notice to vacate the apartment. The manager testified that he served her with this letter and 10-day notice by both regular mail and by affixing it to her door.
Numerous residents testified that they saw the disabled resident prop open the door with the electric motor in it at various times. The maintenance technician also testified, stating that the front door has three electrical boards, a motor, and an armature. The electrical boards tell the motor to open, to pop open the door, and open and close the door. If the door is jammed, it will burn the motor up because the door is constantly trying to close. He testified that the motor did burn up on the front door and he had to replace the motor and these are the charges the owner is asking the resident to pay for.
The trial court ruled in the owner’s favor, and the resident appealed.
Ruling: An Ohio appeals court upheld the lower court’s ruling.
Reasoning: The court stated that, as an appellate court, it doesn’t weigh the evidence, judge the credibility of the witnesses, or substitute its judgment for that of the trial court. The court found that there was relevant, competent, and credible evidence that the resident had breached the terms of the lease by not repaying the damages. The owner served the proper statutory notice of termination, and the resident remained in possession of the leased premises after the statutory notice of termination was served.
- Barcus First Richland Morrow County v. Vassel, August 2017