Tenants in Duplex Not Getting Along- Suggestions?

7 Replies

Hello all,

Have a co-existing problem with my tenants and would greatly appreciate some insight on how to handle the situation.

The situation - Lisa and her son Bill (30 yrs) live in the lower unit. Tom, Jody (married) and there two younger children live upstairs, with a dog and two cats.

The tenants have lived in the duplex for the last eight months. There were problems at the beginning in the first month. The start of it was about not picking up after the dog. Next was doing laundry late at night and then came the nit picking.

I spoke with both tenants, the dog issue is pretty cut and dry, clean up after your pet. In regards to the other problems I said we're all adults and should be considerate of each other. I suggested that if there were any future problems they should talk with each other or contact me if needed.

A few months went by and there were more problems, they didn't inform me. Resentments grew and communication was non-existent, the problem was handle by avoiding each other and trying to tolerate things. Well you can imagine how well that worked out.

Today I was called by both tenants, things have reached a head and tempers flared. The dog who is never kept on a leash bit Bill, who in turn kicked the dog and it was on. Bill had words with Jody and insulted her, her children, and her family. Jody got in Bill's face, Bill said if you lay a hand on me I'll pepper spray you. Jody pushed him, he didn't spray her, but called me.

I listened to his account of the incident. Jody called me and I listened to hers. I suggested both parties document their accounts of the situation for my records.

In speaking with Jody I said it seems pretty clear at this point that there seems to be only one reasonable solution. I recounted the history of ongoing problems over the last 7 months and mentioned that today's incident is only going to make the situation worse. I mentioned my concern that things had gotten physical and don't want something more serious to occur.

At this point I informed both tenants that I would be consulting with an attorney. But I feel the only solution is for one of the tenants to move out. I said I would get back to them on Friday with a decision on how to handle the situation.

Thank you in advance for your suggestions, Scott

"Your dog bit a neighbor and presents a danger to the other residents. Unfortunately I need you to move out at the end of the month."

No attorney required. You do have liability if you let a dog live in your house that bites people.

Don't overthink it. Just get the dog people out.

Thanks for the feedback @Tom V. This is my first problem of this nature and it has me more than a little rattled.

I agree. As much as I'm a dog-friendly landlord, you can't have that liability on your hands. Make sure you have documentation about the dog bite-hope the tenant wasn't hurt too badly....

Just a suggestion-I warn my new tenants with dogs that if I receive complaints they do not clean up after their dogs that I would hire a poop-duty company and charge them for it. Just a suggestion if it comes up again :) Also always make sure the tenant has renter's insurance that covers the dog's liability. My insurance rep suggests $300k minimum in liability insurance for their dog.

Good luck!

@Rebecca Lebowitz thanks for your insight and concern. The bite wasn't too bad, but this will be the last time. I'll be acting on the advise that's been provided and giving notice to the tenants with the dog.

Great information about the poop duty company and insurance.

Thanks again :-)

Scott Demots Expect the tenants to fight your "eviction" unless your lease paperwork is crystal clear. You may also consider having some paperwork (ex., police report) filed by "Bill" to back up your move-out request.

@Scott Demots Sorry to see you are going through that. I would definitely work towards getting rid of the dog owners. If they are on a month to month that's easy, but I assume they are in the middle of a one year lease. In that case, if it were me I would call the RE attorney I use to follow the correct steps to get rid of them, or at lease start the process, because I know there are laws you have to follow when terminating a lease for cause. Do you have a relationship with an attorney you can call for something like that?

kick the dog and the owners out.

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