When to start eviction proceedings

8 Replies

I have a tenant on the second floor of a duplex on a month to month lease.  For various reasons I have decided to end the tenancy and gave the tenant notice that I would not renew the lease at the end of the next rental period (6 weeks notice). 

The apartment is filthy, the police are by on a regular basis, the hallways (common area) and completely blocked with stuff and a fire hazard, and she recently flooded the bathroom causing significant damage to the bathroom in the first floor unit.  My good tenant on the first floor is thinking of moving because they are tired of dealing with this. 

We delivered notice this past weekend and had not heard from the tenant.  Monday morning my first floor tenant called to ask if we had work going on in the basement and that it sounded like someone was cutting pipe.  She said it sounded exactly like when we upgraded the heating system recently. 

My first floor tenant heard the people in the basement, heard them go upstairs to the second floor unit, come back to the  basement and watched them come out of the basement with bags of pipe.  They managed to cut all the drain lines and any empty pipe that was in the basement and some rebar and spare plumbing pipe that was down there but did not disable any of the systems.  We called the police and they actually got names from my 2nd floor tenant, who admitted they were her friends and had stayed at the apartment the night before but she of course had no idea they were doing that in the basement. 

I'm wondering if I can now try to get her out sooner or do I still have to wait out the notice.  She's current on rent since her Mother sends me a check every month, but she's responsible for the actions of her guests and this is theft and malicious destruction of property. 

I would rather start proceedings now if I can rather than wait until the end of September.

The property is in Massachusetts

Well, as always my first advice is to discuss specifics with your landlord/tenant attorney.

If I understand correctly the upstairs tenants friends stole pipes from your property? I would post a cure or quit today, assuming that's the correct course in your state.  "Cure" in this case means hire a plumber to repair ALL damage and return the loose materials that were stolen.

Separately I would attempt to file charges on her and her friends for theft.

I already have the police involved and intend to press charges. The tennant's mother is on the lease with her since financially she fell short of my requirements.
I called her yesterday to let her know that she and her daughter are responsible for the damage. I have to get my plumber over there to get us an estimate to repair the damage.
I'm hoping she'll leave since I don't think her mother wants legal trouble but I don't want to leave anything to chance. I will call my lawyer just wondering of anyone has dealt with anything like this before.

@Kate Elson  Ugh... I hate to hear this crap:-(

I'd call the Junk Yard Dog of Eviction Attorneys [REMOVED] (I believe his partner may be handling this work right now) to set up a plan for this Eviction.

Then coordinated with the Attorney serving her:

1.Call the mother who's also on the lease and get her up to speed with what's going on.

2. Then something like, Offer a Good Recommendation (if you can, if she moves ASAP). 

3. Offer to move her (you pay a moving company, again if she moves ASAP).

4. Call the City Health Inspector who reviews rentals for compliance with the State Sanitary Code (because she will and you can document the current condition with the Inspector).

5. Get all your paperwork together: Application, Lease, Statement of Conditions, Escrow Statement (for their Security Deposit(?) and a check for the interest if you haven't paid it annually yet) , Blue Lead Form. If you don't have these forms and lost them when moving, you can create them as accurately as possible but let everyone involved know this.

Mike

PS let us know how it goes;-)

My question would be, did the mother co-sign the lease. If she did you could go after her for the money in small claims court eventually but that will be awhile down the road and I would not be conserned with that now. I would focus on getting the tenant out of the building through the eviction process.

As far of what to do now, I would contact an experienced eviction attorney and begin the eviction process.

I had to complete and eviction last year and it took me around 6-9 months to get the tenants out.

Wow! I would start the eviction process now. Not sure why you said you needed to wait until September.

I definitely agree with @Kimberly H. Turnover is key and I would immediately fill an eviction

Thanks for the comments everyone; 

@Mike Hurney - thanks for the advice; I do have most of those documents and I am holding a $1500 security deposit.  I don't have any interest statements yet as she moved in last October so I could get one of those.  I called the mother and put her on notice that as a co-signer of the lease she is also responsible for any damage caused by her daughter or her guests and made sure she was aware that we were ending the tenancy.  I have not heard back from her, but she is a responsible member of society from what I can tell, and has means so @Mike Hoefling  I will definitely be seeking any losses from her after this is sorted. 

I have been a landlord for about 8 years and so far have avoided any evictions.  We have asked tenants to leave on one other occasion and they left relatively quietly so I'm praying this one goes this way as well.  Most of my hope on this one hinges on the fact that the mother won't want to get dragged to court for an eviction for her irresponsible daughter, and the daughter won't want to rack up damage bills on the mother since she has been supporting her since she lost her job a few months ago. I will reach out to an eviction attorney just to be on the safe side.  I'd like to get her out before the heating season, she has children so if we get into the winter and she doesn't want to leave I imagine I'll be stuck with her for a while.  I know she has moved in with the mother in the past so I'm hoping that's what she'll do now. 

If the tenant knows what she is doing she could drag out the eviction very close to the begining of the heating season. From what I understand in MA since I did an eviction last year the process goes something like this.

Issue Notice to Quit. This would begin at the start of the rental period, typical the 1st, in this case hypothetically 9/1. You have to let it run 30 days.

Issue Summary Process. When the tenant does not move out after notice to quit you file a summary process at the court house and schedule a court date. You could do this Oct 1 but likely wont get a date until the 2nd or 3rd week in October.

Court. This is when the tenant pleads her case. "If" you win you will then have to wait 10 days to get an "execution". During this time the tenant can petition the court for a "stay of execution" preventing you from getting the execution.

Execution. So by this time its November. If the tenant got a "stay of execution" they may have been granted at least 1 more month in this case you would be in Decemeber if they did not you could probally get the execution and hire a sheriff to move tenant out towards the end of November.

Long story short, get with your attorney ASAP. This is a long process and there are tons of ways the court will allow the tenant to stay, it is very frustrating but eventually you will get them out.

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