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Jacob P. Sartz IV

Jacob Sartz’s Answers

12 total

  • Six siblings own land in Michigan, two have not paid taxes in years, four want to sell: can we sell without consent of the 2.

    The two non tax payers do not want to sell....can we sell anyway?

    Jacob’s Answer

    I'd recommend that you or your siblings retain a real-estate attorney to assist you with this matter. You'll need someone to carefully review your title. Ideally, each sibling should have their own lawyer, if possible, so they individually can obtain the specific legal advice they need for their particular circumstances in relation to the potential transaction.

    Based on your description, there could be some significant obstacles to selling the entire property to a potential buyer. Disputes between owners, especially when some owners have potentially encumbered the property through their actions, can really complicate the situation. It is doubtful that, in this market, a potential purchaser would want to buy a partial percentage of ownership under these circumstances. Clearing up the potential title issues here and working with your siblings to craft a unified approach will be an important priority. Further, unpaid taxes may result in sanctions, liens, and potential foreclosure proceedings by the government. The actions of some siblings may impact the ownership interests of the rest of the group.

    If your siblings refuse to go along with any potential sale, then you may want to look at potential judicial intervention. In some instances, the courts may, with the appropriate court-filings, be able to partition the land between owners and split the property. However, that can be a costly and time-consuming path and the court will only do so in certain, limited circumstances.

    I'd recommend that you retain a local attorney to review your title history and examine your options in more detail.


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  • Landlord in foreclosure, spent my deposit and still demanding rent.

    My landlord is in foreclosure, has verbally told us that he has already spent our security deposit and has come to the house repeatedly demanding rent monies. We are moving out within the next 5 weeks. Do we still pay him? What about our securit...

    Jacob’s Answer

    My advice would be to consult with an attorney regarding this matter. You may have a legal claim for your security deposit and possible defenses against your landlord's claims for money.

    This answer does not provide specific legal advice. If you want specific legal advice and representation, you would need to consult directly with an attorney. I advise you to do so because you may have some legitimate defenses and a possible claim against your landlord, assuming you follow the proper steps.

    Speaking in general terms, there are two issues here that are frequently litigated in these types of matters. The first issue is whether landlords can request rent from tenants if their property is being foreclosed upon.

    Most district courts, in situations where landlords can prove that their claims have merit, have awarded damages, including unpaid rent, if tenants continue to reside in a foreclosed property. Foreclosure proceedings may be a possible defense to a lease if a tenant wishes to terminate a lease early and move out. However, if a tenant continues to reside in the property after foreclosure proceedings have started, the fact that a landlord is in foreclosure proceedings may not be a defense to claims for unpaid rent.

    Property owners going through foreclosure have redemption rights to purchase their property back usually for six months from the date of sheriff's sale, and in some situations, this right lasts as long as one year. Some courts have determined that this redemption period right includes the right for landlords to enforce contracts and leases related to their property assuming their claim is valid.

    The second issue regards security deposits. A security deposit is the tenant's money, and pursuant to the security deposit act, needs to be treated as the tenant's money with a separate account set up. Leases typically note where and how a security deposit is being managed.

    There are only two permissible uses by a landlord for a security deposit; damage attributable to a tenant beyond reasonable wear and tear and claims for unpaid rent. No security deposit is supposed to be claimed by a landlord until after a tenant has either moved out or separately negotiated the disposal of their security deposit with their landlord.

    If no agreement is reached, and if the landlord has a claim for damages and wishes to make a claim regarding a security deposit, the security deposit act requires a series of notices by a landlord and provides a tenant with a specified period of time to respond. It is critical for tenants who move out to provide their landlord with their next mailing address, in writing, preferably within three days, to help preserve any claims related to a security deposit. Among other things, a landlord is required to provide an itemized checklist listing the damages allegedly caused by a tenant and/or noting any unpaid rent. The security deposit act notes the steps in more detail if a tenant responds or fails to respond to the various notices. Please look at the act if more specific information is required.

    Tenants, assuming all the steps have been filed properly, may file a complaint against their landlord in a local district court for twice the value of their security deposit, among other damages, if a landlord fails to return their deposit.

    Respectfully Submitted,

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  • Can both parties be convicted of armed robbery if witness testifies only one said they had a gun .

    one goes to trial and loses and the other pleas guilty to get lesser sentence.

    Jacob’s Answer

    Whomever needs specific legal advice related to this question should consult with an attorney who has all the information available, including applicable police reports or whatever else the prosecutor had potentially intended to use as evidence.

    Generally speaking, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The prosecuting attorney would need to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Questions of fact, i.e., guilt or innocence, are matter for a jury or judge. Juries or judges determine whether a witness's testimony is credible and give it the appropriate weight depending on the type of trial and applicable circumstances.

    Generally speaking, pleas are only supposed to be accepted by a judge if there is a sufficient factual basis for the plea, the plea was free of any duress or coercion, and it was a knowing, intelligent, and voluntary plea. Presiding judges have a litany of statutory and court-rule based requirements they need to go through prior to accepting any plea.

    This answer should not be construed as specific legal advice. The question is too narrow and there are many variables that could impact a potential answer. Any person who needs specific legal advice related this question posted above should consult with an attorney and bring all the available information they have.

    Speaking in general terms, yes, multiple parties could hypothetically be convicted of armed robbery even if a witness testified that only one had a weapon at the time. These types of situations occur most frequently when the Prosecution is claiming there was a conspiracy between a group of individuals to commit a criminal act. I.E., because of a concept known as accomplice liability.

    A common illustration is the hypothetical get-away driver, who, together with group of individuals, plans to rob a bank. This hypothetical get-away driver could be found just as responsible as the individuals who pull the gun on a bank clerk because there was a conspiracy to rob the bank and the get-away driver was an accomplice to the individuals who committed the act. At a minimum, this hypothetical get-away driver could be proven guilty for acting as an aider and abettor to the individuals who actually went into the bank and committed the act.

    Respectfully Submitted,

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  • I rent my home if its not listed with thecity as a rental house does that void the lease?

    if the house i rent is not listed with the city as a rental house does that void my lease?

    Jacob’s Answer

    My first advice would be to contact an attorney regarding this matter. Some properties may be exempt from registration if they meet certain requirements. You need to verify that the registry requirements apply to your particular property. Local ordinances vary significantly depending on your location. I advise you to consult with a local attorney prior to taking any steps regarding this lease.

    Speaking in general terms, a tenant may have a legal defense against a landlord if the landlord sues a tenant to enforce a lease that violates a local ordinance or law. However, that defense might not be as effective in litigation if a tenant continues to reside in a property when they know their lease is illegal. Further, courts have a lot of discretion to uphold portions of leases while striking or removing sections that may not be in compliance.

    The best advice here is to contact a local attorney and make sure that this property is required to register pursuant to the local housing code prior to taking any additional steps.

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  • What is considered "reasonable time" for a landlord to make repairs to an external lock on a dwelling?

    I have made 5 (Five) requests to my apartment's management over 3 weeks time to have an external locked fixed. Each time I have been given a specific time line (eg. after 12 noon tomorrow) as to when the repairs would be made. The repairs have s...

    Jacob’s Answer

    My first advice is to contact an attorney to assist you with this matter.

    The first question is whether your requests and their responses have been in writing. Under current Michigan landlord-tenant law, written communications are an important component with these types of matters.

    Speaking in general terms, landlords have a duty to make the premises habitable for their tenants. Tenants have a couple of options when confronted with an issue that impacts the habitability of their home. In certain situations, they have a right to fix the problem themselves and simply deduct the costs from their rent. However, in order to that; there are a series of notices that need to be sent in writing in order to comply with the applicable statutes. If the situation is really bad, a tenant may even be able to lawfully withhold an entire month's rent or sue their landlord for damages; however, again, there are series of requirements under Michigan law before they can do so.

    Please review materials found on the enclosed link for additional and every specific information which may be applicable to your case.

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  • Hello im Ryan,how do i take care of my two year probation,

    im still on probation i have paid what i could but did take care of all other warrants and fees got my license back and dealing with child custody and im out of work due to an accident so im on workers comp the probation secretary told me to pay a...

    Jacob’s Answer

    My first advice would be to retain council to assist you with this matter. Completing probation can be challenging. However, the important thing is maintaining communication with your Probation Officer and making an effort.

    Occasionally, things do not go smoothly. If a probationer is ever charged with a probation violation, they should receive a notice listing the terms of probation that were allegedly violated. The next step is arraignment before a judge. This is not an exhaustive list; however, probationers have certain fundamental rights. This includes the right to a hearing, the right to call witnesses on their behalf, the right to cross-examine the people's witnesses, and the right to retain an attorney at this proceeding or have the court appoint an attorney to represent you if the judge thinks any possible sentence may include jail. The people (i.e., the probation officer alleging the probation violation, represented by the local prosecuting attorney) would need to prove the allegations by a burden of proof known as probable cause, which is lower than the burden of proof for a misdemeanor or felony charge. If a person is found guilty, they will be re-sentenced. Sentences for probation violations range significantly depending on the underlying criminal conviction. This is a slightly more informal court proceeding . There is no right to a jury trial and the rules of evidence are relaxed.

    Depending on how the original probation order was drafted, probation officers may have some professional discretion regarding probation-violation hearings. In some situations, probation officers may even allow the person some time to resolve the situation without resorting to requesting a show-cause hearing. Further, even if convicted, a sentencing judge may be lenient depending on the circumstances.

    Obtaining council and keep communication open with your probation officer while making an effort to comply with the remaining terms and conditions of your probation is often a good strategy. However, when things don't work out, all probationers ultimately charged with probation violations do have a basic set of rights.

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  • Will there be a hold on my licence

    my licence was suspended for a parking ticket and then i got a ticket for driving on a suspended licence. i have since paid the parking ticket but not the other. will there be a hold on my licence

    Jacob’s Answer

    Please consider retaining an attorney to assist you with these pending license issues. There are a couple of potential issues here.

    The first issue is the current status of this new ticket. With civil infractions, you have a right to hearing. Did you request a hearing for unpaid second ticket? Is it past the date to request a hearing? Has the court already defaulted you on this ticket? Carefully review your ticket again.

    The second issue is whether you were charged with a misdemeanor or civil infraction. Driving with a suspended, expired, or revoked license could potentially result in a misdemeanor charge. Police officers will occasionally issue "tickets" for misdemeanors in lieu of bringing a person to jail to be arraigned. A person charged with a misdemeanor in those situations then has to appear at court around the date specified on the ticket to be arraigned. These tickets look physically the same as a ticket for a civil infraction like speeding, but the language is very different. Please review your ticket carefully. If you were charged with a misdemeanor, the procedures are different and the consequences could be more severe than just a license suspension.

    The Secretary of State should provide any licensed driver with notice if they are suspending or restricting their driving privileges. The Secretary of State has a lot of authority to restrict or suspend licenses depending on the situation. However, they usually provide notice when they intend to do so.They should be able to inform you whether your license is currently valid.

    I would advise you to retain an attorney to assist you with these matters. Subsequent arrests for people driving with a suspended, expired, or revoked license can result in additional suspensions, possible misdemeanor charges with potential jail time, costs, and serious fees. People will occasionally get trapped into a cycle of suspensions and costs and loose their license for a long period of time. It is imperative that you know the current status of your license and the current status of your "ticket," and resolve these matters before they escalate into something more severe.

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  • My landlord has defaulted on his mortgage and the bank now owns the home. Does he have the right to enter the home now?

    My landlord wants to come into the home and take everything out before the banks seizes possession. But I'm still living there for another 3 weeks. Does he have the right to do that?

    Jacob’s Answer

    My first advice would be to consult with an attorney. Given the urgency of the situation and short period of time, you may need to take quick legal action if you wish to continue the remainder of your lease.

    Speaking in general terms, even after a home has been foreclosed on at a sheriff's sale, the original owner still has a right to "redeem" the property, i.e., buy it back, for up to six months, or longer, depending on the situation. Owners of most residential properties have redemption rights up to six months unless the bank shows that the property has been abandoned.

    Generally speaking, property owners retain the right to access their property and use it until this period of time expires. Some district courts have even allowed property owners to successfully sue their tenants and get judgments for money damages, even after the property was foreclosed on by a lender at a sheriff's sale. Occasionally, lenders will send in groups of people to secure the home or inspect the property. You may have both your landlord and landlord's lender sending agents to the home.

    After the redemption period expires, the purchasers at the sheriff's sale will often file a summons and complaint to evict the remaining tenants. In my past experiences, banks tend not to be too flexible and rarely allow tenants to continue occupying a home. After the home has been secured and possession completely transferred, then they may be more willing to dispose of the property. However, you may want to contact your landlord's lender and see if they would be willing to work something out.

    With the foreclosure, your original lease may no longer be valid, but your continued presence at the home could still be treated as a tenancy so you still may be responsible for paying rent, etc.

    My best advice would be to consult with an attorney. In the interim, you may want to start looking for new housing and start transferring some non-essential possessions in case things don't work out.

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  • Can I evict a person who never paid rent and was never on the lease?

    I leased an apt. for my son; I am the only person on the lease but he pays the rent. He invited his girlfriend in & she has been living there. Last week she was arrested for possession of illegal drugs (heroin). I want her to move out but she won'...

    Jacob’s Answer

    My first advice would be to hire an attorney to assist you with process. Ultimately, you may need to file a civil complaint in your local district court if she refuses to leave.

    As a land-lord, you have a legal right to evict your tenant for cause as long as you follow the proper procedures. Attempts at self-help by locking tenants out, changing locks, etc., are strongly discouraged and may result in harsh legal consequences for land-lords, so the better option is to follow the applicable statutes.

    Landlords are required to provide their tenants with varying amounts of time based on their alleged conduct prior to filing any civil-complaints with the courts.

    This process starts when a landlord delivers a form known as a "notice to quit" or "demand for possession" on their tenant. Landlords should make copies of this document when they fill it out. A copy will be included in any future civil-complaints, along with other supporting documents. This form notes a time period depending on the reasons a landlord is seeking an eviction.

    After the period of time noted on the form expires, the landlord may then file a civil complaint with their local district court and ask for an eviction, money damages, etc. This period of time allows tenants and landlords an opportunity to try to resolve the issues prior to the start of any formal legal proceedings.

    The amount of time varies significantly. Sometimes, land-lords are required to provide 30 day's notice. If a tenant fails to pay rent, a land-lord is only required to provide seven days notice. If a tenant is arrested for types of narcotics offenses on the leased premises and a police report is filed, the notice period is as short as 24 hrs.

    Consulting with an attorney is crucial here to make sure the amount of time is appropriate. Thoroughly review the court-forms and statutes prior to serving an notices to quit or demands for possession on a tenant because the dates of service, amount of time, etc., all will be potentially issues in any formal court-proceeding. A copy of the notice to quit or demand for possession will also need to be included in any civil-complaint, so keeping copies of this document is important as well.

    If litigation in district court is ultimately successful, a land-lord will potentially get a court-order for the eviction, possible money damages, etc.

    Your best option is to hire an attorney to assist you with this process. If you are financially unable to retain an attorney, there may be low-cost or no-cost legal services available. Lawyer referral services include one managed by the State Bar of Michigan, (800) 968-0738.

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