Author Topic: Need urgent advice from attorneys on the forum  (Read 2099 times)

backandforth

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Need urgent advice from attorneys on the forum
« on: August 10, 2017, 10:15:24 PM »
OK, I know this is not the best place to ask, but I am travelling internationally for work, and just got a phone call from home, I am very worried, and don't have a better place to ask at this moment. So please forgive me..

We have rental properties (residential homes), one of which is rented to a close family member(let's call her A) on my husband's side. This relative runs a home daycare out of it on the first floor for years now, and have recently rent out the 2nd floor to a family of 3 (mom, dad and a teenage girl M), all been through background check and came back clean.

Now sometimes the parents of daycare kids would drop off their kids on Saturdays if they need to work, and A would either ask a daycare worker to take care of those kids for a standard fee, or if it's just one kid, the teenage girl M live upstairs may do the babysit by herself for a smaller fee.

I just got word that M got arrested, since a very young girl (no more than 7 year old) accused M of molesting her during babysit and M absolutely denied it. Now I am too removed to the related parties to even begin to guess what really happened (but either way it blew my mind of human capacity of evil and lying).

Shortly after the arrest, the police executed a search warrant and took the daycare's video recording of daily operations (I have no idea how far it goes back, but pretty sure when M babysit on her own it's not on). They also issued a subpoena to relative A, to submit to court all records of employment and attendance history of the daycare, which is well maintained from what I heard.

To make things even more complicated, that family including M, do not have legal immigration status. Supposedly the parents works many jobs for long hours and usually quite and nice. M, and her parents, are NOT an employee of the daycare.

Yes I know we should be more careful what other people do with our properties, we will definitely be much more cautious going forward, if not just selling it off to be over with.

My question is, will my husband and I, as the property owner, be in anyway liable in such situation? To what extend my relative A will be liable personally? She is family, and a nicest person I know, and we need to help her. I am pretty sure the daycare business is done for good with this no matter what really happened. What we should do going forward? what type of attorney we should be looking for? I have not heard anything about lawsuit against A at this moment.

I am still in a bit of shock, as a mother with young children myself, the very thought that a seemly nice teenage girl could do something like this or a young child could possibly lie like that appalls me,  but we are living in a strange world. Gosh we need to watch out!

Thanks for reading, any advice is much appreciated. I need to get home quick!




2Cent

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Re: Need urgent advice from attorneys on the forum
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2017, 10:43:17 PM »
If you're in no way connected to running the daycare and had no knowledge of this or responsibility for the daycare then you personally have nothing to fear. Please just calm down and wait for a while. Things will sort themselves out. Don't take actions in a panic.

ixtap

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Re: Need urgent advice from attorneys on the forum
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2017, 04:45:39 AM »
Do you know the local and state laws regarding renting to undocumented aliens?

Villanelle

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Re: Need urgent advice from attorneys on the forum
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2017, 05:08:43 AM »
How much of this were you aware of in advance?

HoustonSker

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Re: Need urgent advice from attorneys on the forum
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2017, 06:22:39 AM »
I don't think you would be personally liable for any daycare related issues however you need to acquaint yourself with implications of renting to people here illegally. 

Perform a quick google search for your state's law and any applicable Federal law.  With the recent enforcement activity, it's best to make sure you are renting to legal residents so as to not get caught up in any ensuing legalities. 

Cheers

SnackDog

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Re: Need urgent advice from attorneys on the forum
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2017, 06:36:59 AM »
I am not an attorney but if I were you I would be concerned about potential civil claims from the parents of the child or even from A. I would consult a qualified attorney asap.
The habit of saving is itself an education; it fosters every virtue, teaches self-denial, cultivates the sense of order, trains to forethought, and so broadens the mind. –Thomas T. Munger

ponyboy

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Re: Need urgent advice from attorneys on the forum
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2017, 08:30:41 AM »
Hope you have umbrella insurance.

sol

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Re: Need urgent advice from attorneys on the forum
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2017, 08:41:03 AM »
Do you know the local and state laws regarding renting to undocumented aliens?

Standard disclaimer:  I am not a lawyer.  I am a landlord.

With very few exceptions, most of them recent, the laws about renting to undocumented aliens seem specifically written to protect the rights of undocumented aliens.  They are people, and they are legally allowed to participate in the local economy, buying and selling things the same as anyone else.  As a landlord, you aren't allowed to discriminate against them based on their immigration status.  In most states, you're not even allowed to ask.  It's like asking if a potential tenant is gay.  You can't use that information to make rental decisions.

So I wouldn't worry about any legal liability.  Landlord liability is mostly a concern when your property causes physical injury by virtue of being improperly maintained.  Like if you don't have the required hand rails, and someone falls down your stairs, then they can sue you.

On the child abuse charge, try to keep an open mind.  We've dealt with a series of allegations that turned out to be obviously false.  Educators currently have mandatory reporting requirements that dictate they must call the police if a child says an adult has harmed them, even if the child is unharmed and has a history of making stuff up, as little kids sometimes do.  The police have investigated these claims, talked to the child and the adults, and (in our cases anyway) determined the kid was just blowing smoke.  We have been asked to come in for questioning, but never arrested, so maybe there is some actual evidence of a crime if they went that route.

Bucksandreds

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Re: Need urgent advice from attorneys on the forum
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2017, 08:51:45 AM »
Trust Sol's advice. Thread can be locked

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Need urgent advice from attorneys on the forum
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2017, 08:53:17 AM »
Stop talking to people about it. Immediately.  Don't post about it anywhere.  The only person you discuss it with is your attorney and the people they recommend you speak with.  No one else.  As for who to hire, I would look for a small general practice firm that has people that do criminal, civil and landlord/tenant so you can one stop shop. You will likely need separate attorneys due to potential conflicts.

BFGirl

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Re: Need urgent advice from attorneys on the forum
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2017, 10:05:06 AM »
Stop talking to people about it. Immediately.  Don't post about it anywhere.  The only person you discuss it with is your attorney and the people they recommend you speak with.  No one else.  As for who to hire, I would look for a small general practice firm that has people that do criminal, civil and landlord/tenant so you can one stop shop. You will likely need separate attorneys due to potential conflicts.

+1

backandforth

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Re: Need urgent advice from attorneys on the forum
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2017, 10:31:05 AM »
Thanks all! We were not aware of any of this prior. Will shut up, go get a lawyer and hope this will go away quietly. Thanks again.

Goldielocks

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Re: Need urgent advice from attorneys on the forum
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2017, 02:04:00 PM »
I am in the middle of training volunteers for our annual kids camp later this month.

The bottom line -- the organization hiring the volunteers or the employees that work with children must do their due dilligence, and due dilligence is quite involved here.  OP is another level of removed from that, so my guess is that OP would need to show some due dilligence about who they rented to, knowing a daycare wold be the activity...  but if it was a licensed daycare, that alone could be considered due dilligence.

Criminal checks, personal reference checks, training session, personal interview with pointed questions to suss out any strange attitudes, having 2 volunteers working together (so that there is always a witness to protect them and the kids), not having those 2 people be spouses or related family members, etc.

But, once the due dilligence is done, then the directly liability is limited.   The risk to the landlord then just remains about potential loss of rent  / income if the kids camp defaults / closes.

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An aside -- any babysitting I have arranged in the past through daycare contacts on off hours, it was made known to me that it was a strictly separate arrangement from the daycare business, and not held on the premises.