Need A Limited P.o.a.
Q: A friend, and many of the tenants in the property in which he resides, are in dispute with their landlord, in this case the landlord being a large corporation whose management style ranges from indifferently neglectful to malign, and whose attorney was sired by Cerberus. As part of a more general court action they have filed a motion which was granted to allow them the privilege, upon delivery of 24 hour notice of intent, of entering his premises to document evidence they feel will substantiate their claim that one of the conditions about which he has had long standing cause to complain is actually due to modifications he has made in the apartment. He is not in opposition to their so doing because he is sure the assertion is unsubstantiable, but it also so happens that he is expecting soon upon short notice to be hospitalized for a very serious condition (which in fact may have been exacerbated by other conditions in the building), and is very upset about the prospect of not being present while the landlord sends in a team to launch upon a general fishing expedition in order to lodge exaggerated counterclaims instead of confining their activities solely to purpose of the motion granted to them. We know this attorney would not recognize the authority of anyone in the apartment to supervise and curtail his activity in the apartment other than the lesee, unless, it occurred to me, were this person to be carrying a limited Power of Attorney empowering him or her to act on my friends behalf in this instance, or even to file on his behalf a Tempoaray Restraining Order to prevent the landlord from acting upon this motion until a more convenient time. In addition to having the signing over of such power notarized, are there any suggestions as to how such a document should be worded? Are there risks involved for my friend (other than those incurred in trust) or the person placed in such a position, i.e., could an adversarial skilled attorney somehow manipulate the scenario so as to cause the entire situation to blow up in the faces of both his oppposing parties?
A: If the motion is granted, the result will be a court order. That order will be in the form drafted by the moving party unless the motion is successfully opposed. Your friend's attorney will file an opposition. That opposition may contain a proposed order as an alternative to the one drafted by the landlord. The tenant's alternative proposed order may include (a) a requirement that a convenient time be chosen, when the actual tenant may be present, (b) a requirement that the inspection may be conducted only if the tenant or an authorized representative is present to observe, (c) the name and phone number of the authorized representative, (d) a requirement that the inspection be video taped and (e) a requirement that the tenant's attorney be present. If the order contains none of that, then I don't know whether a power of attorney would accomplish what your friend wants. A power of attorney form can be obtained from stationary stores and similar placed. Some states have statutes which include a form guaranteed by the state to be valid. All of those forms have blanks to fill out, describing and limiting the authority of the agent. Whether the power of attorney is risky depends on the drafting skill of the person drafting the powers and restrictions in the blanks.
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