4 family fully rented. what do I need to do first?

5 Replies

I recently, (July 14th) purchased a 4 family home on the south side of saint louis, it was relitevily cheap and seemed like a definite buy, I am pretty inexperieced as this is my first home purchase.

The closing took about 7 weeks due to the bank being a nightmare and the seller left the country on the day of the closing and I have no contact with her.

The listing agent gave me 4 keys for the front doors and no other info other than copies of the leases. no key for the back door. 

I have hand delivered letters letting the tenants know the house has been sold with my contact information and letting them know new leases will need to be signed on august first and to contact me with any questions or comments because they were all month to month and I will be requiring 1 year leases. 

I was wondering, how can I go about making sure the utilites are set up? 

what else should I do to make this as smooth of a transition as possible? and any other just overall advice would be greatly appreciated.

one of the units was supposed to be vacated by jul-20th which is today and it appears to still be full of the tenants things although I have no way of contacting him. 



Congrats on jumping in! 

Regarding the utilities do you know what utility companies services the house? If you are supposed to pay utilities or the tenants? You will most likely at very least be paying for the water/sewer so I would start there by calling the water company in the area and transferring the account to you. Depending on the other utilities call the rest of the companies and transfer the accounts. 

Regarding the back door you may need to get a lock smith in there to switch out the lock, which should not be very expensive. 

When you handed the tenants the letter stating that you took over ownership did you discuss the move out date with the tenant in the unit to be vacated? if not, you may need to go and physically knock on the door to see what is happening in there. Make sure you have a working number for all of the tenants and keep an open dialogue with them of their needs and issues. 

Good luck and let us know how it goes! 

It's never easy transitioning to a new owner. Your Realtor should've been able to make the transaction a bit smoother -- 7 weeks is pretty long. 

For the utilities just call up MSD, Laclede, Ameren, etc, and say you're the new owner of the property and give them the address. They might ask you to show up a their office with the HUD/settlement statement. A lot gets switched automatically but its better to be proactive and make sure.

One tip: Get the website login information for all the utility accounts (if you'll be paying anything). We've got properties that have logins from previous owners/tenants and haven't found a way to update them, so you obviously won't have access to their emails and calling is the only way to get access to the online account for the property.

Hi Jabu,


On the utilities- who pays them?  If it is you, call the provider and get them put in your name.  If it is the tenants, see if they have a "Landlord Policy" where you would get notified (billed) if they don't pay, and the utilities would be automatically switched into your name when the tenant moves and takes their name off of it.

Keys- does one of the tenant have a key to the back door?  Ask for a copy and tell them you will give them $5 to do it, or borrow it and copy it yourself.  If they don't cooperate, get a locksmith to change the lock (or change it yourself if you can access it from the inside) and provide copies to the tenants, preferably before you change the lock.  When I change out common door locks due to new tenants coming in I give my tenants the new key about a week before so no one gets locked out.

If the tenant is supposed to be out and isn't, start the eviction process.  Here you would hand deliver the notice, or mail it, then if they still don't get out file with the court.

We just bought a 4 family and I requested contact info (cell numbers and e mail addresses) along with SSN's from the existing tenants, only one apartment complied.  I now have contact info for all of them, but only after each needed to get a hold of me for some reason or another.  They may be suspicious of you and why you want information, or just lazy, or they could be hiding something.  I told mine if they wanted to sign new leases they had to fill out my application and submit to the background check, but I would cover the fee.  It isn't their fault the building sold and the previous owners didn't pass on the info, or never did the checks in the first place!

Best of luck,


Per the old lease,

"UTILITIES ANDS SERVICES: Electricity, telephone service, cable television and other utilities are not furnished as part of this Lease unless otherwise indicated..."

"...Charge for heat, hot water, water, garbage pick-up, snow-removal and lawn maintenance furnished to the apartment are included as a part of this Lease and shall be borne by the landlord..."

It also states that they can't use the washer or dryers without paying an extra $50 a month.

As far as the notice, I was told by the listing agent so I will be attempting to contact him to see if there was any paperwork involved.



@kelly n.

Would you recommend getting background checks on the tenants? two have been living there for 5 and 7 years. and the 3rd is under 1 year.   

I will work on getting a locksmith out and make sure that all the tenants get a copy of the key.

I knocked on the doors when I hand delivered the letters but got no answer so I just left them in the mail boxes on Jul-18.  But I will continue to try and contact them.

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