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Renter wants to harbor a homeless man. HELP!?

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Joe M.

Real Estate Investor from Hartville, Ohio

Jan 17 '13, 08:41 AM


I'm with John on this. Stop playing the doormat landlord and for the love of God don't sit down for tea and crumpets. This is a business transactions. Hire an attorney asap.



Ricks D.

Oak Lawn, Illinois

Jan 17 '13, 10:41 AM


Just because we're telling her that we're negotiating does not mean that we really are. Trust that legal action will follow if she continues to insist that she's staying.

And... a question. When renting out a single room and not a house, is there a legal heating limit or anything?

The heat in that room is electric and she isn't paying for it. Would it be legal to shut it off?

The room does have central heating, it is just not adequately heated.

It would be freezing, but not unlivably freezing without the heater.



Mattie Covatch

Jan 17 '13, 05:46 PM


Originally posted by Joe M.:
I'm with John on this. Stop playing the doormat landlord and for the love of God don't sit down for tea and crumpets. This is a business transactions. Hire an attorney asap.

For sure.

I wouldn't say you're negotiating. You're not, and she needs to know you mean business. It's your way (or, at least, your leases way) that she has to comply with if she wants to keep living there.

I'm curious how it went.



Mattie Covatch

Jan 17 '13, 05:49 PM


Originally posted by Ricks DiMarco:
Just because we're telling her that we're negotiating does not mean that we really are. Trust that legal action will follow if she continues to insist that she's staying.

And... a question. When renting out a single room and not a house, is there a legal heating limit or anything?

The heat in that room is electric and she isn't paying for it. Would it be legal to shut it off?

The room does have central heating, it is just not adequately heated.

It would be freezing, but not unlivably freezing without the heater.

I doubt you could freeze a tenant out. She would probably start living in another room anyway.

What does your lease say about utility payments?

My utilities are part of the "rent." If they are not paid in full, I serve a cure or quit notice to vacate with a late fee.. Then small claims to collect.

There's no need. I would do what others have said. Toughen up the talk.. no negotiating. Follow the lease and local laws in doing so.



Mattie Covatch

Jan 17 '13, 05:56 PM


I had this sort of tenant once. There's no "be the nice guy" here. Following your lease and local laws, you tell her how it's going to be. You don't say we're negotiating and making a compromise. You're not. You're correcting her behavior and enforcing your lease and local tenant law. She's a bully. My bad first tenant completely had an attitude change once I toughened up and told her my way or the highway. You say... here's how it's going to be if I'm going to allow you to continue living here. Yelling, unattended guests, and late utility payments will not be tolerated.



Ricks D.

Oak Lawn, Illinois

Jan 17 '13, 05:57 PM


I started to calmly point out where she was disobeying the lease. She demanded that I sit down (I was leaning against the wall because of my back issues) and then started yelling at me not to take that tone with her. My mother dictated the conversation and let this **** lead her into another room and said I could not be a part of the conversation, then proceeded to tell my mother that I come into her room uninvited all of the time (memo to self: The next time a renter insists that it's okay to come in to talk to them at any time and proceeds to invite me into their room to play games or work on puzzles, get it in writing?) and about how I refuse to take out the garbage or clean the stove (We were dividing up household chores. Those were hers.)

She is a horrible, manipulative bully and my mother, while seeing right through her, also saw that her bags are all packed. I checked the kitchen and all of her stuff is gone (including even her can opener) and her things are mostly out of the bathroom. I do believe that she's leaving without trouble, though it will wind up costing us in the end.

These situations are different for live-in landlord situations. If I did not live in the house, I would evict and get every penny I could get out of her. Seeing as I do live here, I just wanted her gone as soon as possible to lessen the tension in my household and for the sake of my comfort and the comfort of the other tenant, who this one is currently poisoning against me, telling her about how cruel I am and how I'm always "yelling" at her.

Thing is, she doesn't like the way I speak because I take an authoritative tone and she thinks she's in charge and that she has every right to be.

I am content that she's just... leaving. I don't even care about the lost money at this point. My neighbors won't be complaining anymore and I will have a peaceful home life.

My mother has no idea what to do if they're still in the room on Sunday, but I do believe that she's on her way out, seeing as ALL of her stuff is packed.

I mentioned the late payment and she attacked me, insisting that she bought other things for around the house, so she shouldn't have to pay it.

Nightmare.

I just pray that it ends tomorrow.



Ricks D.

Oak Lawn, Illinois

Jan 17 '13, 05:59 PM


By the way, I did not sit down. She said "You sit or I'll stand!" I said "Then stand."

She's obese and not as comfortable on her feet as I am. She did not.



William Bannister

Commercial Landlord from Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Jan 17 '13, 06:03 PM


In several states its 68 degrees that the temp must be able to be maintained in all part of the living parts of the home.
You cant freeze them out. lol Funny as that sounds because I wish I could on some of them either way the international building codes as well as local building codes if you have them in your city require your home is able to maintain a certain temperature.



William Bannister

Commercial Landlord from Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Jan 17 '13, 06:07 PM


There are so many ways to get rid of a tenant legally so its probably a good time to brush up on your landlord tenant rights and get rid of this trash the right way so your not losing the property to a judgement. Also imperative to talk with an attorney yesterday! the longer you wait usually the worse your position gets when it comes to evictions. Just do them and be done with it. You know how trash stinks if you leave it lay around!? Same thing with non paying tenants that bring homeless people home into your property.



William Bannister

Commercial Landlord from Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Jan 17 '13, 06:30 PM
1 vote


I was in eviction court today and let me tell u my sob story her 300 ib husband decides to show up and act tough. Then after the judge tells him to shut up she explains he has a week to get out. Then on my way home I get a text by the female tenant "we need to talk I really need more time" Here are 2 adults neither working, no disabilities and In my estimation no excuses. This guy at 6ft 5 inches could be making 20 bucks an hour working concrete or 30 bucks an hour as a plumber since he is experienced in the matter. There are more factory jobs available w graveyard shifts here than I can possibly mention all start around 10 to 14 an hour..but neither of them are working. Her husband has threatened me that I cant just kick them out because they didnt pay and that he has talked with numerous attorneys and he will be sure to handle me later after they are out. I yawn and say another day as a landlord. Im not really saying it wasnt stressful its more just a part of it. Most things in life have there negativity and certainly real estate has some. I just like this better then anything I have attempted in the Corp world. Eviction for a tenant in a boarding house isnt difficult if they are causing others in the house not to be able to enjoy living in the house. I find these types of rental units work best on month to month. This way if you dont like something that someone brings into the house like a snake or one guy is just always fighting with other or someone is a slob the rest wont leave .. you can just terminate that one bad egg.
I had house rules posted on the bathroom doors of a boarding home I ran for over 10 years it worked. Every tenant signed the paper before they entered property. It was 20 rules and if you didnt follow them you got the boot. I never had to bring the rules to court and who knows if they would have held up in court but...I will say this it seemed to help.



Mattie Covatch

Jan 17 '13, 06:51 PM


Ok.

She says you can't be part of conversation? You say, "We will have this conversion in here together." Don't cave to this woman like this!! You're letting her walk all over you both. Even telling you what room to go to with whom! She doesn't have a right to exclude anyone from the conversation.

You're the OWNER!

She says you don't take out the trash, etc.? You say, "This is irrelevant to the conversation at hand. The issues here are, 1) late utility payments and 2) unattended guests." Tenant will keep bringing up trash. You repeat the line about it's irrelevant again and again. Don't fall into their b.s. trap.

Thing is, she doesn't like the way I speak because I take an authoritative tone and she thinks she's in charge and that she has every right to be.

Next time, make it clear- firmly but politely- that you follow your lease and that you have certain expectations of tenants that must be following if they want to live there. Your tone doesn't have to be dictatative necessarily. You can be firm but mean business. I'm polite, even social some with my tenants. But they know I'm in it for the money and will follow my lease no matter what sob story or excuse they throw me, and know that I don't put up with needless b.s.

I mentioned the late payment and she attacked me, insisting that she bought other things for around the house, so she shouldn't have to pay it.

You don't mention it. You say, "Your utilities have not been paid. Utilities must be paid on time in order to keep living here." You're the LANDLORD! You don't "mention" things. You enforce them and tell the tenant how it's going to be. You own the place, they're at your mercy. You've let her be the boss here. Gotta change that. I had that happen once with my first bad tenant. Never again. You're the boss of the tenants... act like one. Don't let them tell you where to stand, what room, who can be a part of the conversation, or that they don't have to pay utilities. They do! You're the boss here. Act like it.

Your mother didn't dictate the conversation if she let the bully tenant tell her to go into another room without you present, telling you to sit or stand, and all this other crap. My gosh. I wouldn't put up that with b.s. from a tenant. Put up with some b.s. from my first bad tenant. Now they know I mean business and am in it for the money. They don't follow the lease, they're out... no sweat off my back. They know I'm the owner and act like it, and that they live here at my discretion. I do month to month now,... I want them out, it's 30 days. And they know it. Even long-term leases, they live here at my discretion. I live in a landlord-friendly state that's particularly friendly to landlord/roommate settings.

She'll say something like, "I bought other stuff." You say, "Buying household goods is not the matter at hand. Utilities must be paid on time. If the utilities are not paid by such-and-such date, I will have to serve you a cure or quit notice to vacate." Follow lease and local laws in doing so. Same thing goes with her saying you're cruel. You're not a 5 year old. You and mom here are letting her tattle tale about you to mom... in another room. She brings irrelevant things up, you say "That is irrelevant to the matter at hand, and I will not tolerate my tenants yelling at me. The matter at hand here is -----, and what we will do about it if you want to continue living here is ----." You. Are. The. Boss. (Or, should be.)

Gotta toughen up or she'll keep walking over and over you again. My experience is talking here... you're still letting them walk over you, and tenants know it and will take advantage of you every single time if you're not the boss.

If they don't leave and don't pay utilities, you (if allowed per lease and local laws)-- serve a cure or quit notice to pay late utilities, then evict.

I'm glad she packed her bags. Hopefully those bags will be walking out the door soon.



Ricks D.

Oak Lawn, Illinois

Jan 18 '13, 01:07 AM


I had house rules posted on the bathroom doors of a boarding home I ran for over 10 years it worked. Every tenant signed the paper before they entered property. It was 20 rules and if you didnt follow them you got the boot.

I LOVE the idea of posting rules in a public place like on the bathroom or utility room door. I need to think of a location to do that.

I have my rules mostly included in my lease... but that doesn't seem to be all that effective. I actually cannot think of enough things to list as "rules." I mean... aside from "Do not leave dirty dishes in the sink," "Clean up after yourself, leave the kitchen and bathroom as you found them," and like... "Immediately remove, tie off and replace garbage bag if you are the one who fills it." Yeah... that's all I've got. I'm sure there's at least five things that I should include that I'm not thinking of.

Did you include anything about the rule list in your lease?

My mother is the owner, technically... but it was extremely frustrating that my mother let her get away with saying that I was yelling when I was not and demanding me to sit down (though I did not.)

I think part of our core problem is that it's not specified anywhere in the lease that I have authority in the household. Both of our tenants keep turning to my mother with their complaints, despite that I am the one in charge of maintaining the property and handling tenant complaints. I really need to remedy that in my revised lease. I have no idea how to phrase it.

You don't mention it. You say, "Your utilities have not been paid. Utilities must be paid on time in order to keep living here."

Here's how that conversation went...

Her: I don't understand why this (her vagrant boyfriend) is a problem. I've been paying.
Me: You have not paid for utilities.
Her: (screaming, but I'll spare you the caps) What about those other things I bought that I couldn't really afford?

My mother cut her off and kindda rushed her into her room in the midst of this rant. I do wish that she'd stood her ground, but that's another story entirely.

Your mother didn't dictate the conversation if she let the bully tenant tell her to go into another room without you present, telling you to sit or stand, and all this other crap. My gosh. I wouldn't put up that with b.s. from a tenant.

I meant that she dictated it over ME... as in, the tenant would not let me speak, so my mother decided to talk to her instead.

Part of the problem with this is that this tenant is (believe it or not) in her 40's and I am in my 20's, so she feels as if I should be at her mercy because she is my elder... and again, my lease does not specify that I am the property manager.

A good friend keeps telling me that I should see a lawyer and just pay the money to get a good lease together. Is that necessary?

My mother has been inhumanly calm about all of this. It is actually driving me insane because as much as she's (seemingly) effectively getting this scumbag out of the house, she's also taking a massive financial hit and allowing the scumbag to believe that IT is in the right. Then again, part of me does not care as long as it leaves.



Ricks D.

Oak Lawn, Illinois

Jan 18 '13, 01:56 AM


The most irritating aspect was when my mother said "I'm sorry it didn't work out."

I understand giving into her demands to get her out faster... there is logic behind that... but APOLOGIZING for something that is entirely her fault?

Again, I would pay her to leave and sign the termination of lease... I just wanted her gone... but apologizing and allowing her to continue believing that she is in the right is beyond the reach of insanity.



Tim W. Donor

Inspector from Tampa, FL

Jan 18 '13, 02:05 AM


I'll be darned. Oak Lawn. I grew up there about two blocks from the baseball fields on Central avenue. Brother Rice grad. In fact if you went to Sward, odds are my mom was your music teacher.

Anyway I've never specified or had to specify in a lease who a property manager is, nor has any landlord I've ever heard of unless a lease is through a property management company. It's my property and it's my business who I hire as a property manager. The tenant doesn't have to worry about that. If they're breaking the lease, they're problem is with the lease, not whomever may be managing it at the time. Just get this one out asap.

"A good friend keeps telling me that I should see a lawyer and just pay the money to get a good lease together. Is that necessary?"

You're landlording in Cook County, Illinois. I grew up there and specifically don't landlord there because of how litigious and pro-tenant it is. Yes. You really do need to do that.



Mattie Covatch

Jan 18 '13, 02:08 AM


I don't think a tenant will ever respect you if they know your mom is the owner.
Perhaps you say you're leasing the house (don't say from mom), and are subletting. Perhaps you say you're the owner (not saying mom also owns it). What you can tell them might depend on your area. You've go to pick if mom handles tenants or you do. If you do, tenants don't even get access to mom. I don't see why you would specify "mommy owns it, but I manage it" in a lease. You'll never get respect from tenants if you're not the landlord and act like it. Tenants have to know you can, will, and have the power to evict them.

Perhaps look into "owner or representative" terms for the lease. Maybe ask your lawyer if there's a way to "skirt" the ownership issue while still being factual. Maybe the lease goes through you, with you saying you sublet. Maybe the house is in you and your mom's name. Then you say "It's my home, I'm renting out a room." A lawyer is always a good idea to advise on this.

Her: (screaming, but I'll spare you the caps) What about those other things I bought that I couldn't really afford?

To which I would reply...
--
"We will not be having a conversation if you continue to yell. I will not tolerate my tenants yelling at me, and if you wish to continue to live here, I expect the utilities to be paid by ---date---. If not paid by ----date---, I will have to serve you a cure or quit notice to vacate. Household purposes are not utility purposes, and you opted to purchase such household items on your own accord. Utilities must be paid on time in order to continue living here, and I expect my tenants to treat me with respect, just as I have treated you. If these behaviors of yours do not change, we will be having another conversation about your ability to continue living here."

"Additionally, I cannot allow tenant's guests to stay in this house unattended. Your guests can only be in this house when you are home, and only when you are home. This is a matter of safety and the enjoyment and quiet of other tenants. I will not allow your guest to continue to be in this house unattended. If this continues, we will have to discuss your living here."
--
A good lease is important... only if enforced regularly. You can't let tenants take control like you did this one. You've got a good lesson to use from here on out. Without much expense, too. You're out the utilities this person didn't pay, and rent until you replace her. That's not a massive financial hit. Some people here have lost huge $$$ with tons of damage, lengthy evictions, lawsuits, etc. Like I was, you're lucky to have learned a lesson early on and relatively cheap.

Also, nobody is going to "immediately empty the trash can if you fill it up." If it's raining outside and you're late for work, I doubt you would "immediately" take out the trash either. It will be late, cold, rainy, or people will have different opinions about what's full. The trash remaining full a few days is fine. You don't want them putting full trash bags inside the house, or on counters or floors. You should instead include rules about no debris, trash, etc. in common areas or on counters and that trash should be promptly removed. With roommates, you will ALWAYS, always have people who are slow to put up dishes, who make a mess and don't clean, don't take out the trash quick enough, etc. Part of it is simply the nature of roommates. I'm ok with the trash remaining full a few days, but I'm not ok with trash on the counters/floors or dishes left out a week. When it starts getting bad, you talk to good roommates and ask how "we all" want to clean this time. They'll get the hang of it up to an acceptable point. You're making money off this. Having a trash can full for 2 days is a small tenant issue that's worth living with to get rent $$. When they start putting trash on floors/counters and common areas is when it becomes a dealbreaker.

I wouldn't put house rules up in a roommate setting. Either you're running a boarding house, or you have roommates. Which do you want? If you have roommates, posted rules seem naggy. Quality roommates will be reasonable in cleanliness, etc. and seeing reminders daily on the door might be a turn-off to someone who's a good tenant. If people won't follow a lease, they're not going to follow house rules. Screening people to find a good tenant is key and seeing their personality and reading between the lines. And talking to them about what you want and what you expect in roommates/tenants. Ask them about their living habits. Good tenants will follow the lease, though you'll still have someone leaving dishes out or trash sometimes. There's some level of mess that's acceptable with roommates. It's once it goes past that level that you have "the talk" with them. If you just want a temporary boarding house, by all means, post rules. I include major house rules in my lease, and if they're not followed (within reason), I ask someone to leave with proper 30 days notice. I've only had to do so one time. Boarding houses sometimes have different regulations on notice to vacate, zoning, etc. than roommate settings.

My lease is a little "intense," but for all but one tenant, I've never had to remind them of lease terms. Good tenants more or less stay within the lines.
My big lease items involve noise, overnight guests, guests, no smoking, no drugs, no parties, profane or obscene behavior, late payments, damage, liability, and storage. Random rule of the day: I don't allow bicycles to be stored in my house. You'd be surprised how much damage someone can do carrying a bike inside and outside regularly.



Mattie Covatch

Jan 18 '13, 02:17 AM


Originally posted by Ricks DiMarco:
... is beyond the reach of insanity.

This whole thing is insanity to me. Tenants yelling, rewarding problem tenants with donuts and coffee and compromise, not paying utilities on time...

Like Jon said, it's "do what I tell you or I will evict you."

I would figure out how to make yourself the "owner." I would get good insurance on the house and contents. I would run the lease and what you're doing by a lawyer. The 20 hour rule is odd. Leases are useless unless you're firm and the tenant knows you're ready and willing to enforce the lease, charge and collect late fees, and evict if needed. And, Google says your city requires rental property to be registered and pay a registration fee. Whether or not you having roommates in your mom's house is a rental would be something a lawyer could tell you.

I had a bad tenant experience once, and became a relative hard ass ever since. I'm sure you will be do. You'll find quality tenants refreshing after this.



Ricks D.

Oak Lawn, Illinois

Jan 18 '13, 07:00 PM


It left.

Thank God.

It signed a termination of the lease.

Now, is it legal for me to get rid of the crap it left behind or is there a certain amount of time to wait or... what?

It spilled water in the freezer. That will be fun to fix... and it did a few oter petty, stupid things like stealing the decorations off of the walls, but whatever.

It packed its bags and took almost everything but it left a few "valuable" baskets and various fridge junk behind.

Time to start bleaching down the bathroom to get rid of the hobo stink.



Jon Holdman Moderator

SFR Investor from Wheat Ridge, Colorado

Jan 18 '13, 10:08 PM
1 vote


A good friend keeps telling me that I should see a lawyer and just pay the money to get a good lease together. Is that necessary?

YES! For the third time just from me you MUST GET A LAWYER'S HELP WITH YOUR LEASE. Yes, I'm shouting because this just doesn't seem to be sinking in. A lawyer will cost you a few hundred to look over your lease and give you input. Perhaps more if (as it sounds) they really have to create one for you. Your state board of realtors probably has a standard one. We have some here: http://www.biggerpockets.com/real-estate-forms.html. Mine is a combination of the ones here, ones I've collected from local resources and input from a local lawyer that I paid the princely sum of $200 to review. If $200 is a problem, then you are running too thin to be a landlord. Perhaps you're just an "accidental landlord" that had no plan to do this. Or you're just trying to supplement your and mom's income. But you're in the big leagues now. There's an ante required to avoid problems.

You should move. Find your own place. Let your mom deal with her boarding house. You two clearly don't see eye-to-eye on how to run it. Its her's, so let her run it the way she wants.

OTOH, if she wants you to be the PM, she needs to butt completely out of the business. She undermined you as the PM when she went into the next room and left you behind. If you're the PM, your mother should have never been involved. The fact she was means she's not leaving you to be the PM. So quit. If you need the income (either actual or in reduced rent for your room), go find another job.



Jon Holdman, Flying Phoenix LLC


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