Shaker Heights woman faces eviction after signing lease with someone who was not the legal owner

Case ends up in court three times

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio - Rose Price is facing eviction from her Shaker Heights rental home, after she signed a lease with someone who was not the legal owner of the house back in May.

Price told NewsChannel5 she suspected something wasn't right, when the so-called owner of the house failed to live up to promises.

Price said she was stunned to learn the truth, after taking a trip to see the Cuyahoga County Fiscal Officer to verify who owned the house.

"The clerk told me the man I signed the lease with is not the legal owner," said Price. "The actual owners of the property live in Alabama."

After making her discovery, Price decided it would be a good idea to withhold two months rent, but did so without having the rent held in an escrow account set up by the court.

A week later, Price started to receive eviction notices in the mail, and both sides ended up in Shaker Heights Municipal Court.

NewsChannel5 will not reveal the name of the person Price signed the initial lease with back in May, as both sides try to work out their differences.

5 On Your Side confirmed the property was transferred from the Alabama owners to the current landlord a year ago, via a quit claim deed.

However,  the current owner did not complete the transfer of title until Aug. 31, more than three months after Price signed the one year lease for the home.

Price told NewsChannel5 the now-former owners in Alabama were still receiving tax and utility bills on the property throughout much of August.

Price said she believes the lease she entered into in May is not legally binding, but Shaker Heights Municipal court ruled otherwise, ordering Price to pay the two months back rent she withheld.

Price's sister can't believe the mess her sister has been dealing with.

"I just think this is crazy," said Eleanor Price. "There is a lot of this going on, and nothing is being done about it."

Renters need to understand they should not withhold rent without court supervision. 

Consumers can check to verify the ownership of a home on the Cuyahoga County Fiscal Officer's website , or their county auditor's website, before they sign a lease agreement.

Tenants should rely on verbal agreements from landlords, always get terms in writing as an addendum to the original lease agreement.

Price has now been ordered to leave the rental property on Sept. 24. Both sides are in talks and are hoping to reach an amicable settlement.

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