Depressed renter

19 Replies

We have a 2 unit building that we have lived in for 10 years.  The renter lived there before we bought it.  It was/is our first place, the renter was clean and worked a stable blue collar job, and it was easy to keep him.  About three years in, he had some money troubles and fell behind on rent, but then pulled himself up and squared up.  Since then, it's been ok.  A few months ago, he had some health problems but more so, he was very depressed and having a hard time getting himself to go to work. He is back now but I think it is only a matter of time until things go south.

I want him out but I'm seriously concerned that he might hurt himself or worse.  He is super fragile and is not able to handle life.  How would you deal with the eviction?

So he's been your tenant for 10 years and he's always paid? I would keep him. He needs motivation, not a kick while down, if he was not paying then I could understand wanting him out.

How much more would have cost you to have a different tenant every year for 10 years? Every time you might have to do work and maybe have a month empty. That would have accumulated to almost a year without rent by now. 

I think a 10 year tenant is worth overlooking some things for and go easy on him.

Looks like he needs more than just help with the rent. Does he have family? I really think having his family see what's up would be more helpful.

Thanks for the replies, I really appreciate the input.  Sorry, I should have given more detail.  I would love to keep him there and work with him if I can.  He is behind on rent now since he didn't go to work for a month.  He has almost paid up on Dec rent by paying a few hundred each week.

I am willing to overlook that and even let it go for another month or two but I have a bad feeling about the future.  He has no family.  When he couldn't get to work, the place was a complete mess.  You could barely step through the apartment.  He just watched tv all day.  

Maybe you are right that I just hang on but I am not trying to kick him while he is down.  I'm hoping he will get back on his feet and I can move him along while he is in good enough spirits to handle a change.

However, if the advice is still overlook late rent, a hoarder like apartment and another potential paralyzing depressive episode, then I am open to the feedback.

Super Encouraging to hear from the BP Family that sometimes a bit of compassion and consideration is warranted when a tenant has been loyal for 10 years. Sometimes actually caring more about certain tenants other than the rent they pay can be good business. Bravo for caring when it counts. Just the kind of thing I've comr to expect from BPites.

@Brian C.

Do you, by any chance, have his original application?  Usually part of the application is a release that we may contact references, etc at any point in the future.

We've used this to contact personal references from the application when we've encountered problematic mental illness issues and it's worked out pretty well.

Good luck.

@Brian C. I would keep the tenant, tenant turn-overs will most likely be expensive on the current renter. And what if the next renter will pay 3 months on you and then hire eviction attorney to stay for another 4-6 months, then the next will be the same thing. For each and every turn-over, it might cost you high hundreds or even thousands, this will translate to rent months and even loss rents on the eviction period of an ugly tenant; if you spend two thousand on the turn-over, and you're paying 200-300 in mortgage, then probably it is worth looking at. count your blessings and try to sit it out, he still pays, if he misses a few months rent, maybe only then.

I may be seen as particularly unsympathetic here, but I did want to point out that you are not his family or his psychiatrist or doctor or responsible for his welfare, but you are actually responsible for your own family's well-being, especially as it sounds like you live next door and this is likely an important investment for you, not a charity.  Sympathy for the renter's plight is understandable, but you should make sure you keep your boundaries very clear.  You are his landlord, and if he is late with the rent multiple times, especially if it wasn't good the last time it happened, you have the right to give him notice.  If you are concerned, maybe find some contacts to services available to him locally, but it sounds wrong to me that you seem to want him gone but will put up with him because you feel he is unstable.   

Depends on your rental market  but maybe offer to help him by finding a reasonable, less rent payable home.  Hire movers to pack,  load, transport and unload belongings that he wants to keep.  Suggest that you will look after disposal of anything left behind.   Keep enough of his deposit for clean up your rental, trying to leave him enough for his next deposit.  Or some such scenario.  With caring & helping, he may leave semi-happy.

Childhood sweethearts break up, marriages end, and best friends grow apart, and so do tenant/landlord relationships. My wife is a Therapist, I invest in real estate. Her target market is people with problems so she can help them solve their problems. My target market is people who can solve their own problems so I don't have to help them solve their problems. We balance each other out that way :)

To put it bluntly, it's more about getting the guy out alive before he devalues the home one way or the other - purpose is for the owner to consider a well known and used strategy to help himself. Thought it might be worth sharing since no one else had mentioned. Cheers to all for opinions and ideas.

A lot of employers now offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAP).  If he has a mid to large company employer he may be able to use these programs to get assistance with counseling.  they will help protect him from job loss, and even help financially at times.  Recommend he calls HR and inquires about an EAP or invite him to your church to get him into a good community.  While I agree this is not your job, after 10 years it is okay to blur the lines between landlord and tenant if you have built rapport.

I would call adult protective services in your  town and tell them you have a tenant that is depressed and that you have no idea how to handle the situation and ask them if they can come by and evaluate his him and his situation.   Tell them you are afraid if you tart eviction proceedings he might kill himself. 

Perhaps they an help get the place cleaned up and help hm,  Perhaps he is eligible for some rent or food stamp assistance.   Perhaps they can get him into some kind of program.  Start there and see if it helps

Hi Brian,

Job losses can be so hard on a person.  If this has been only a few months, it may be a down period in your renter's life.  I tend to think that given your long history, a little compassion and understanding is good.  Please pray for your tenant's well being.  You want this person to succeed in life because his success contributes to your success, and he has been "on your team" for a very long time.

Sometimes I've heard people refer to thinking of their tenants as employees.  Now if you had a 10 year employee who came upon hard times, a personal loss, you would still expect their work be done but you would also have a kind attitude toward the person. 

For your business relationship, it is important to be kind and professional.  If the place is getting too messy, then you need to inform him that the place is too messy and ask for him to clean things up.  I do not know what you mean by super fragile -- I do not know how often you have conversations with him or how deep your relationship is on a neighborly level.

Job concerns + health concerns equals a lot of stress. Imagine yourself in his shoes. 
Try to be kind and encouraging, but at the same time, maintain your expectations.  I hope that you get some good advice and support here to assist you.  

You can only evict for certain reasons, so be clear about what your reasons are if you go down that path.  You are wise to consider the health of your tenant and a thoughtful approach will hopefully benefit both of you. 

Some churches have outreach programs and support programs for people going through touch times.  You may want to reach out to your church or churches in the area to ask if they have anyone who would be willing to connect with your tenant and help him get some help, some hope, or both.  

Good luck!!

Thank you very much for the additional comments

My thought right now is most in line with the thinking to compassionately help him find a new place.  Part of this is because I don't believe letting him stay there is helping his situation.  He is in a rut and the apartment contributes to it.   He could also find less expensive places that are closer to his job. 

Of course, kicking him out without any help isn't the answer, so the best for both of us I believe is helping him to move on in a way that is not completely disruptive to him. 

Some great advice including paying for a moving company to help, finding churches and local support groups.  He has been in touch with his work and is going to help now and then. 

This is less about the short term money and more about finding a better long term fit for both of us.   Thanks again for all of the advice, it has helped a great deal. 

Has your renter recovered fully from his health issues?  Pain and poor health suck and if he has physical limitations, that may be contributing to the messiness and work reliability and depression.

Best wishes again, I hope things get better for all of you.