Is it in an agent's scope of work to assist a seller in eviction?

10 Replies

I recently found a motivated seller through my marketing who has a house in my city that he needs to get rid of. The house is in the seller's name and he wants to unload it for what is left on the mortgage which is roughly what it's worth on the market currently. The problem is that his brother-in-law still lives in the house and won't leave. He hasn't had a renewed lease in two years and he has not been paying rent for longer than that. The seller has described the brother-in-law as both unstable and possibly confrontational.

The seller lives across the country and says he can't evict the tenant from where he currently lives. For those of you experienced in these matters, is it worth trying to help the seller evict this tenant? What steps of action should I take if I want to help him? Thanks!

"The house is in the seller's name and he wants to unload it for what is left on the mortgage which is roughly what it's worth on the market currently."

I don't understand where the benefit is for you. Do you want to own it, assign it, make an agents commission off of it??

How do you know the mortgage value is the balance owed?? There could be late fees, penalties, interest that make the balance much larger than you think. The brother in law likely will not go easy. The court might require the owner to appear there for eviction unless an attorney is used which might be why the seller is saying that.

If you think it is close to market value likely selling it with a tenant inside will be lower than market and the property probably has maintenance issues in the thousands at least. So after adding in eviction, damages, commissions you are talking tens of thousands probably the seller needs to pay out of pocket. It's doubtful they have that money or if they do they do not want to pay it.

You could try a short sale on it if the seller is open to it.

Lot more involved here. It is not an agents scope of work to do an eviction and go to court.

Some PM companies that are managing the property might offer eviction services as a package. Some courts do not allow the PM company to represent the owner in court.

No legal advice given.    

If you are going to pay market value on the property why buy it? This one sounds like a LOT of trouble for little or no profit. Where is the benefit?

@Joel Owens   and @John Thedford  

Thanks for the responses guys!

I should have been more specific: If I decide to help this seller I will first help him get the tenant out and then list the property traditionally on the market for standard commission once it is vacant. He needs help getting the tenant out and selling the house and doesn't know what else to do. I don't think he's as concerned with the sales price as much as the headache of keeping up with the house. What would you guys recommend to him? 

"I will first help him get the tenant out"

If you are not the principal broker that Is not your decision to make. Everything has to go through for approval where you hang your license if you are an agent etc.

Brokers carry E & O insurance. I am sure your broker does not want you performing eviction activities to try and land a listing. Your IC agreement likely states all forms of advertising have to be brokerage reviewed and approved.

If the tenant court law there is the owner has to be present to answer in court then you couldn't be there even if you wanted to. They might only allow the owner or the owner attorney to go in front of the judge and present the case as the plaintiff.

If the seller has money it would seem like they would have already flown in to evict with a court date and write it off their taxes or they would have engaged an eviction attorney to do it.

This sounds like a waste of time to me.

No legal advice given.

Maybe you can recommend an eviction company or eviction attorney to the seller. That brings a 3rd party into the game, who has no emotional entanglement with the BIL and the seller might not have to go to court. Also, it keeps you out of it.

No, evictions are not within the scope of work as an agent or broker, that ends with notices and from there it's either the owner or their attorney taking legal actions.

Saying he can't from where he is probably means he won't as he sees family issues and costs, you might offer to be a point of contact for an eviction attorney, might help with the costs, might be able to be seen as the scapegoat for the tenant, but the owner must bring the action and that can be done from anywhere. :)

This is all very helpful. Thanks so much!

Unless you are being paid to manage the property all you should do is refer him to an attorney.

 If he has not evicted this guy for two years he sounds like he really doesn't want him go. I would likely not spend much time & effort on this guy.

The last thing I want is some unstable guy getting ticked at ME because he's losing the roof over his head.  The owner has to take some responsibility for the situation.  Definitely refer the seller to resources in the area that can help him get the job done.  Even offer to do 'drive-by's' to keep an eye on the property but don't put yourself in the middle of this family squabble.

Stay Safe

if the agent is that commited to close on it? then YES

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