Thursday, May 17, 2012

Unconstitutional to Who? My landlord's in Bankruptcy!!!

Moving day, I was so ecstatic to be moving from my old place and cutting my rent nearly in half in the Economy of April 2012. Little did I know, my NEW landlord was in bankruptcy.
I was aware that my landlord "may" be under foreclosure;- however I had an inexpensive room in a house on the market in a similar situation. I thought I'd be there for 1 month maybe two at first. I wound up living there for approximately 1 year until the sale of the house (approx. $682,000) was closed on.

I found out May 1st that my new landlord is indeed, in bankruptcy. And, in my searches through Hawaii's Supreme Court Library;- I have only found a few laws and cases that apply to private/personal leases and tenants taking landlords to court.

Plus, the electricity has been shut off since May 1st by the Association that runs the building. It's an older building so all of the utilities are not on separate lots. And, the Association/Board decided to try and force
anyone in the Penthouse apartment unit out of the unit by shutting off the utilities to the unit at the breaker box within the building. Keep in mind, the breaker box is indeed LOCKED.

Step 1.  After a nearly a week of discussion with my landlord in person I mailed a letter stating that I'd like the utilities restored.
Step 2. After his hearing with the Association in Federal Bankruptcy Court to have utilities restored;- the Association did not turn on the utilities. So I filed a petition(s) for TRO against Unlawful Utility Cut-Off as well as related "Claims for damages". Keep in mind, the landlord would possibly incur daily fines of $500 to $10,000 in Hawaii for not providing the basic hot water, electric, etc. (despite it not being his "direct" fault)

Step 3. The hearing for my case commenced yesterday May 16, 2012  as I feel I exercise my tenant rights despite under Hawaii District Court Landlord-Tenant Manual --The Landlord as the Debtor 365 (h)(1) "...the non-debtor tenant may elect to retain its rights under the lease."  And 365(h)(1)(A)(ii) specifically relating for my "quiet enjoyment, etc."

Step 4:  The initial "Ex Parte TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) against unlawful utility shut off" has an addendum TRO on it as "TRO for Harassment."   And, I was instructed by the Judge to file for a "Motion for a lift of stay" in US Federal Bankruptcy Court, in order for me to proceed in the District Court.
This has 2 SERIOUS problems:
1.  I reside at the same residence with my landlord in a separate bed/bath situation;- as it is a penthouse. 
2.  To file for a "Motion for a lift of Stay" is expensive ($150 file fee) as well as filing any and additional Complaint at ($293) without an attorney. And, I believe must be filed with 20 days notice to debtor-landlord.

Step 5:  Filing Motion for lift of stay as by Federal Procedure/Bankruptcy/9:1111 Motion for Relief:
- as I researched in the Supreme Court Law Library and also viewing the forms for Motion for lift of stay/Automatic Stay. I am not in a typical Creditor position for which these Motion forms seem to be intended. Though i may use terms "non-debtor tenant and debtor-landlord" I do not feel that it doesn't compromise my BASIC U.S. Constitutional Rights. And so I found that there is 9:335 Constitutional limitation on exercise of jurisdiction by bankruptcy court, and am wondering why in the world I, personally have to file for the Motion for lift of stay despite my landlord and his property falling under Title 11.
It seems unconstitutional to me to have to even subject myself to being potentially held in contempt of court at the Federal level when this is a case that should only be held at the State or District level. I feel that the very act of Filing for Motion for lift of Stay violates my individual Constitutional rights that are deemed "Limited" by the Federal Bankruptcy court.

I'm screaming inside since this happened yesterday. I feel so Violated by the Hawaii Court System and that they are ordering me to deny myself my basic Constitutional Rights and also to Due Process.