Coulda, Shouda, Woulda
Jan 07, 2015
Life is sure full of regrets. I mean have you ever needed to do a thing but you decided you didn't have the time or the inclination? Maybe the issue wasn't that you were too tired but that it was too much of a hassle to do the thing the right way because, you thought, how hard can it be to do it the way you want it done and when you want it completed?
Such was the thought coursing through the mind of a young man we had in here the other day who was looking to sue his landlord for trying to evict him. I mean, the nerve of some people!? Because young man didn't have the money to hire an attorney, he figured that if he could just get the judge to see his way, he could stay in his apartment rent free (Oh, did I forget to tell you that the reason he was being evicted was because he hadn't paid rent in 5 months. Sorry - "minor" detail).
Ignoring the fact that he had been served with an Unlawful Detainer action 20 days prior, young man drafted a 12 page epistle to the judge and mailed it off to the court. A few weeks later, young man gets a notice from the court denying access to a judge. A few days after that, young man receives notice that because he didn't "properly/legally" respond to the Unlawful Detainer action (that he had been served 30+ days prior), he was now being evicted (i.e. please get out before we have to throw you out).
See, the problem is that young man had recently visited the Riverside County Law Library for a tour of our facilities and knew what resources we had and that they could help him with his problem. When I say "he knew," I mean HE KNEW what he needed to do because I (as in me/myself/I) had spent about 20 minutes during that tour specifically addressing his question about what resources were available to help respond to an unlawful detainer action. For whatever reason, young man chose not to use the resources available to him (and everyone else) such as:
- California Tenants' Rights (Nolo Press)
- California Eviction Defense Manual (CEB)
- California Landlord Tenant Practice (CEB)
- Miller & Starr California Real Estate (West)
- California Practice Guide (Rutter) Landlord Tenant (West)
- California Real Estate Law and Practice (Lexis)
and chose to write a 12 page letter, instead. Had young man just listened (and, maybe, taken notes) to what I was trying to relay to him during his tour, he might not now be a member of the homeless. On the plus side, you (i.e. those reading this insightful prose) now have the benefit of this young man's folly and know that the Riverside County Law Library is your one stop shop for all things law and things legal. That's right. You have problems? We have answers. So, I guess that the moral to this story might be is when the law Librarian tells you what resources you need to use, take the hint and use it/them to protect you and your loved ones against the ravages of the outside world. Yeah, that's what I would do.
Bret is a Legal Research & Instructional Services Librarian at our Main Library.