!!!Emergency!!! I need some help!!

I got a legal problem and tomorrow I will consult an attorney but before everything, I really hope somebody can give some idea.

I just purchased an apartment building couple of days ago, when my
inspector went to attic in one unit, tenant of that unit was not there,

I was down there to hold the ladder for him, in that narrow space, I had to look downwards because in front of my face was wall. I unintentionally saw a bill statement saying “serious delinquency” sth like that. and I asked the seller, did the tenant pay the rents on time? the seller asked why ,and I said I noticed a delinquency note. I finally bought that apartment and I don’t know for what reason, the seller called the tenant who lives there and told her that “I went through her belongings and peeked her privacy” and she is very mad at me, saying that she is gonna sue me for " privacy violation" , also, she said I committed an “federal offense” by delivering paperwork to her mailbox, she said I can mail it but can’t physically touch her mailbox. She said the seller and realtor were all there and can go to court as witnesses. God, I never meet the tenant before, and I really don’t have any interests in her stuff. Before I purchased the property, I pointed out that the seller showed me some fake numbers in the income-cost profile sheet and I guess this is the reason she called the tenants , provoking the fight between tenant and me.

What can I do ? what is the consequence if I am found guilty?
I didn’t even touch anything, the delinquent bill was in front of my face, and unless I closed my eyes, otherwise I had to see it.
Is delievering paperwork to tenants’ mailbox a “federal offense”?

Please advise , I understand your advice is not formal and I will finally consult with a professional lawyer but please give me some of your ideas!!!

Thank you!!

It sounds like TWO different problems.
The seeing the bill statement, you have the inspector as a witness. It was in plain view and I assume the owner or manager let you in?

The putting something in the mail box. She would need to call the post master and worst case scenario, you might get a, DON’T DO THAT AGEN or you could be fined.

Sounds like you inherited a problem child.

Wish you the best

Thank you Bruce.
When I saw that bill, the inspector was in attic and he didn’t see anything. but realtor can be a witness, she was there standing together with the owner.

Also, when this thing happened, I was not even a landlord, I was
just a potential buyer, the owner and realtor let me in there.
they let me stood in front of that letters and after I saw that bill,
they physically picked up and studied over.

Is the delinquent bill so private? I notice another delinquent bill
hang on a door knob of another unit and everybody can see.

seems if that information is very private, how come the
utility company put the bill and disconnection notice
in so public place?

Take some goodies and go and meet the tenant, sit and
talk. Try to win the person over.
You are the new landlord for their property.
Focus on their issues in the property and try to suppress
this glitch by making it sound like a thing of the past.
Litigation is the last resort. It costs time and money.
But always make sure you are in control.

-Good luck

Also, being sued isn’t that bad. Just because you get sued doesn’t mean they will win anything. I’d rather not be sued, just about everyone gets sued at some point in their lifetime, but it’s not as scary as you think.

If she did sue you, what would it cost her? What would she gain? Would she even win?

If you have witnesses then her claim is false and she is just going to have to pay her attorney and get nothing in return. ((on a cynical note, if she can’t even pay her bills on time what are the chances she can pay an attorney)).

Have some faith in the legal system (I have faith that it’s way to easy to sue, but it’s also not nearly as easy as people would have you think to actually win).


When all is said and done, what harm did you actualy
cause her?? She may be going through some tuff times and could be embarassed about it, or she could just be a loser…
What you do need to do is nip it in the butt, find out when her lease expires and send her on her way out.
If she sees any weakness in you she will exploit you all she can.


Thank you all for the warm help!
I have other properties and always get very well with my tenants.
These things never happened to me before.

yes, I have to say I inherited a bad boy but the deal seemed so good to me.

I have the same question, how can she afford a home attorney?
and what she claim for on this case?

I understand all this trouble was provoked by prior owner because I
pointed out there are too many fake numbers in the property cost
profile sheet, and she also tried to hide some deposit, tried to
hide some prorated rents from me on closing date. Now the prior owner keeps calling these tenants, How to stop her and can I ask for an order on court to prevent her from entering or approaching my property?


I wouldn’t worry about the threatening tenant with respect to these problems. There are talkers and do-ers. Some miserable people like to moan and complain.

I would hope that any lawyer she contacts would tell her there is nothing to sue for.

As far as accessing the mailbox. You ceased that method of communication immediately after one of your tenants found it offensive. RIGHT??? Technically, if you would put something in a mailbox you may be inclined to take something out. Mail is a very private thing.

As far as the prior owner. You can send your tenants a letter that it has come to your attention that the prior owner has been making negative comments about the new owner. Let them know that they can contact you directly if the have any concerns about the property.
It just establishes turf and opens communication.

It seems like your seller does not have good business skills.

You did learn some good lessons though. Don’t discuss your tenant’s business with anyone but your spouse. What did you gain by telling the seller about the delinquent bill? Any additional re-assurance from the seller would not change the status of that bill.

And the mail… you actions weren’t willful and your intent was not malicious but you had no business bypassing the stamp.

You’ll be fine. Just another day of dealing with people who aren’t you.

Thank you Jeff.
Your post is very helpful for me. I belive even I bought the property
with relatively “lower” price, I need to deal with lots of management problems left by prior owner.

I think that Tenant is a professional deadbeat and always trying to
find trouble with landlords. Now I am very careful , this is a
good lesson, but anyway, it is better for me to learn everything
as early as possible!


Take heart - I’ve had two or three tenants talk about ‘getting an attorney’ in the past 2 years, and in every case I’ve been able to talk them out of it.
Usually, this is the ‘bluff’ of a schoolyard bully.