a civil case of wrongful foreclosure, which under Alabama law, means an action that was taken not to recover the alleged debt owed but for some ulterior purpose.
I had forgotten what it was like to be a renter, but my memory was that the experience in Birmingham (from 1978 to 1990) was generally OK -- even though friends had shared a number of horror stories over the years. I had forgotten most of those tales, or who had even told them -- but they flooded back to mind after our experience of renting a two-bedroom duplex apartment from Trent Cowherd for a little more than 13 months (July 2014 to September 2015).
We've already shown Trent Cowherd, his lawyer Craig Frederick Lowther, lawyer David Shuler (my brother, for God's sake), and Judge Kelly Ann Halford took all sorts of flagrantly unlawful actions that led to our eviction last September 9 -- an event that left Carol with an arm broken so badly that it required repair from a trauma surgeon.
But what is it like to deal with a landlord in postmodern America? If our experience with Trent Cowherd and his staff is any indication, it is grim, indeed. An Answer and Counterclaim, which I filed on August 24, 2015, might best summarize what it was like to interact with the "professionals" at Trent Cowherd's company. (The Answer and Counterclaim can be read at the end of this post.)
|Trent Cowherd and his wife, Sharon|
My primary communications came with a Cowherd employee named Megan after someone had left a Notice to Vacate on our door on July 2, 2015. (See copy of the notice at the end of this post; the lease calls for such 30-day notice to be provided on the first of the month--the notice is a classic example of Cowherd violating its own lease.)
Carol and I were a bit stunned to receive a Notice to Vacate, given that our rent had always been timely paid, and even Cowherd never suggested that we were anything other than model tenants. When I called and asked Megan what was up, she explained that my mother, Gondy Shuler, had indicated she no longer wanted to be cosigner when the 13-month term was up at the end of July and the agreement was due to continue on a month-to-month basis.
Megan stated that a Notice to Vacate had been placed on our door because Carol and I had not been qualified on our own. This presented a couple of curious issues:
(1) No one from Cowherd, prior to placing the Notice to Vacate on our door, ever contacted us to say we needed to qualify on our own;
(2) When I asked Megan to point out where such a requirement was spelled out in the lease, she was stumped. That, of course, is because the lease includes no such language.
Did Megan react well to having it pointed out that no such provision existed in the lease? Not exactly. "I don't have to renew a lease with you, and we're deciding not to renew the lease."
Notice the tone that some might describe as "snotty." Also, notice that we suddenly were not being told to vacate because we had not qualified on our own -- we were being booted at Cowherd's whim. And that whim developed when the company was informed that it was attempting to violate its own lease.
Does this sound like the action of a butt-hole to you? It sure does to me.
And get this: Cowherd had the audacity to send us a bill claiming we owed more than $2,000 for new carpet, paint, and other miscellaneous items. The carpet was filthy when we moved in, so much so that we had to wash our feet every night to get the stench off. Uncarpeted areas had not even been swept, and the sinks were clogged from the moment we arrived. As for paint, we did nothing to the walls or any other painted area.
When the same landlord proceeds to unlawfully schedule an eviction inside the 10-day window when no such action can take place, under Missouri law . . . and the same landlord ignores a Notice of Appeal that had been timely filed and placed an automatic stay on the eviction . . . and the same landlord allows cops to burst into your apartment with an assault rifle and multiple handguns drawn . . . and one or more of the cops assaults your wife and leaves her arm in a shattered state -- well, that's pretty solid evidence that Trent Cowherd is a butt-hole of world-class proportions, at least when it comes to running his company.