I suspect my tenant is stealing.

13 Replies

I notice my tenant backyard is full of A/C scrap, pipes, water heater, supermarket cart. This guys is a Section 8 tenant I suspect he stole these from other houses. I called him and told him that is illegal for him to keep those stuff in the yard and he should removed it before I report this to the authorities. What will you guys do in this situation?

I would ask him why all that stuff is there.  Hopefully, you have something in the lease that covers not keeping junk in the yard.  If you are really suspicious, call the law.

I'd have already called the cops.  

I called him he was not available to answer at the time. I told his girlfriend I'll need to talk to him about it. I will call the cops. 

Tell the housing authority what is going on and they might handle it for you.  I'm sure he wouldn't want to risk losing his benefits.

Looks to me like he's a scrapper, not necessarily a thief.  I still wouldn't allow scrapping, though.  It creates an eyesore.

Be guided by the language in your lease.  But I wouldn't expect the police to necessarily pay a whole lot of attention.

Call the police.  Unless you're a licensed A/C contractor there's no reason to have a big pile of A/C units in your yard.  The shopping carts are also stolen.  

I'll echo what others have said about using what language is in your lease about keeping the premises neat and orderly, which clearly shopping carts are not. Have a conversation, if that doesn't go anywhere, issue whatever fix or quit notice is appropriate in your area and notify the PHA. Most PHAs aren't hands on enough to do much other than send a threatening letter in this kind of situation, but yours might do more. If things continue to not improve, remind him that eviction proceedings will also terminate his voucher and then follow through. 

Judging by the pictures, that looks much more like scrapping fueled by some mental health or addiction related drive rather than outright theft. It looks like mostly items you would pick out of a dumpster or alley, shopping carts included. I've had a lot of experience with homeless and formerly homeless folks, so I speak from experience. The police wouldn't likely do anything other than be a bit annoyed you called, unless items that look like they have some value started popping up (other than shopping carts). 

If the rent is still on time (ie the guy has a payee or is religious about paying), consider referring him to your county mental health/addictions/adult protective services/his payee, depending on whats going on. A 5 minute phone call by you could save the tenancy, if its a tenant/payment stream you'd like to keep.  

I'd just stick to telling him he needs to keep the yard free of the junk as the lease states. I wouldn't get too involved with where the stuff came from or calling the police unless you have some solid evidence to pass along. Him being on section 8 isn't enough to claim he stole them as alot of people in that type of situation make money going around hauling away scrap. 

 I inherited this tenant when I purchased this property a few months ago and he has a record of being arrested back in May 2014 for trespassing and stealing unoccupied premises. That is why I suspect he is doing it again. I'm not concerned about the yard cause I can force him to remove it and if he does not comply I will ask my maintenances crew to remove it. I don't think he is a hoarder or scrapper cause he did not have junk like this before. His rent is paid 100% by Sec. 8. Nevertheless,  I called the police and will leave it to the police to decide if this is legal or not.

That is stealing.  Electricity, bypassing the meter.

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