General — 13 June 2014 — by Albert J. Ciego

He tried to collect $800 back-rent, and the tenants sued him for $6,500

Benjamin Popper, a landlord of Otro Benque Road in Orange Walk Town, who took a couple who are his tenants to court to collect $800 in rent money they owed him, has been countersued by the couple for $6,500 they are claiming for work done on his property.

In the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court held on Friday, Popper was ordered by Magistrate Merlene Moody to pay $3,000 to the couple – $1,500 is to be paid by June 30, and the next $1,500 by July 30. A reasonable time will be given to pay the balance of $3,500. If Popper fails to pay, he will be returned to court and a judgment will be made against him.

Popper said that he cannot afford to pay the money, and depends on the $400 monthly from the rent of his house for his income.

In an interview on CTV 3, the landlord said that the tenants, a couple who rent one of two houses in his yard, had not been paying their full rent for months, but that he had not made a fuss about it. He said that later, however, he needed the money owed for rent, now amounting to $800, but they refused to pay him, and so he took them to court.

The tenants countersued Popper, claiming that they had spent money on his property, for which they have receipts.

The tenants claimed $3,500 for the material and $3,000 for labor. Popper said that he is not benefitting from their investment, and that it was his tenants who derived benefits from the improvements, and now, he has to repay them, because the magistrate ruled in their favor.

Popper said that the tenants can take down whatever facilities they invested in, from the property.

The landlord said that he really needs his $800, and in no way is he able to pay the amount awarded to the tenants.

However, police told Amandala that Popper can pay what he can, and go back to court and make an arrangement with the court after showing proof that he cannot pay the money.

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