"They even took the light switches": House is stripped after jud - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

"They even took the light switches": House is stripped after judge orders eviction

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COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -

The Coeur D'Alene property at the center of an eviction battle has been left a mess, and the fixes and clean-ups will cost the new owners hundreds of dollars to correct.

Last week, KHQ told you about the former resident - Lee Coker. Coker said he was a good tenant who paid his rent on time, and was in the process of purchasing the property at the end of his lease - even going so far as to make what he said were thousands of dollars' worth of improvements to the house.

But Coker was served a notice of eviction, because his landlord, the owner of the home, failed to make the necessary payments on the property. In our May 4th story, Coker said the eviction notice came "out of the blue" and he was going to court to fight it, claiming he should have been given 30 days' notice to find a new place to live. Coker also asserted that Live Real Estate, who he said was the company behind the foreclosure, had refused his attempts at working out a new rental agreement. 

Since our story there have been a number of new developments, and information has come to light that should have been included in our original story.

At the court trial May 7th, the judge dismissed Coker's claims that this was an "unlawful" action, siding with the new owners of the property - which turns out to be Investor Holdings, LLC - and not Live Real Estate, and Agent Dan Boulton, as identified in our report. The judge ordered Coker to immediately vacate the property and further ordered Coker to pay Investor Holdings' attorney fees and the costs of litigation.

Additionally, the attorney for Investor Holdings, LLC and Live Real Estate asserts that Coker's landlord was actually a relative of Coker’s and that the blame for the foreclosure rests with that family member who failed to make payments - not with the companies. The companies also contend that Coker never tried to work with Live Real Estate on a new rental agreement, and that he only offered to pay rent to Investor Holdings after the owners were forced to take him to court.

Now Investor Holdings may have to initiate new legal action. In accordance with the judge's order, the property has been emptied. But someone has also stripped the house of many of its fixtures, including light switches, outlet plates, smoke detectors, and a ceiling fan. There's been damage to the floors, the kitchen stove, and a bedroom door is missing.

KHQ was unable to reach Coker directly about these new developments in the story. However, Coker's lawyer did indicate that they may yet appeal the judge's ruling, or file a new case to argue the eviction.

Unfortunately, the representatives of Investor Holdings and Live Real Estate have endured needless public outrage because of our reporting. KHQ Management has offered a heartfelt apology to these companies for failing to gather all of the facts.  We have used and will continue to use this incident as a lesson for all of our journalists.

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