Unhealthy Living Environment? lease abandoned

15 Replies

Tenant Communication

 

09/05/2014

 

Debra called Trisha

Debra stated that there is mold on the inside of the toilet bowl and sink bowl by the drain. As well as, a small amount of water that came in near the kitchen when it rained. 

 

Trisha responded that we could be there the next day and analyze a repair plan.

 

09/06/2014

11:00 AM

Nick, Trisha & Debra

Meet at property

The roof was repaired and a dehumidifier with a setting to control the percentage of humidity was installed.

 

We did not see any mold in the toilet or sink, Debra had said she had just cleaned them out.

 

Upon arrival it was noticed that dog train pads were left out for the dogs. There was urine and poop on the pads and the floor.

 

We talked with Debra and she agreed to call if she had any more problems or if the mold continued to grow. We discussed the next step of installing an air exchanger with a HEPA filter if she continued to have any problems.

 

09/22/2014

2:29 AM

Trisha called and left a message for Debra

Trisha left a voice mail message for Debra asking if she has noticed any more leaks after the roof repair and if the dehumidifier has helped with the mold inside her toilet bowl and near her sink drain. 

There was no response.

 

10/07/2014

9:54 AM

Trisha called and left a message for Debra

Trisha Informed Debra that she was 7 days late on the rent and that she missed the deadline to avoid the late fee after the 5th of October.

 

A Pay or Quit Notice was posted on the door of property and placed in the mailbox.

 

 

 

10/08/2014

8:20 AM

Debra texted Trisha

Debra said, “Hi. This is Deb. Unfortunately I am writing to you to let you know that I have moved out of 2204 Iowa Ave. due to the severe mold problem. The mold has made me very ill with respiratory problems and I can no longer rent from you. I apologize for the inconvenience.

 

Pet Tracking Deposit  - $500.00


06/04/2014

Payment of $41.66

Payment made of $41.66

$458.34

07/01/2014

Payment of $41.66

Payments made of $83.32

$416.68

08/05/2014

Payment of $41.66

Payments made of $124.98

$371.02

10/04/2014

Last payment of $41.66

Payments made of $166.66

$333.36

 

The remaining balance of the 8 months left in the lease, we would need $333.36 a for the pet deposit.

 

Ideas of how to handle:

 

If you are interested in breaking the lease, then you will need to cover rents until a new tenant rents out property. Rents will be due until this occurs.

Pay all current storm water fees and sewage fees

Cover the removal costs of all your items left behind including the indoor and outdoor furniture.

Cover the cost of cleaning, check list for details.

If these costs are not covered or if there is no communication then we will issues a judgment and continue with the eviction process.

If you wish to be released from your lease, then you need to return the keys to the house

If there is no payment or response then we file a judgment.

If there is no payment or response then we could have the lawyer draw up a letter.

 

Suggestions?

Tenant skipped. She did not follow proper procedure for terminating her tenancy. You remediated any potential mold problem in a timely and professional manner. No proof of mold existing and no proof of tenant having health problems as a result of mold in the unit.

Post a notice for entry. See if she removed her property from the premises and left the keys.  If she did, she has returned possession of the property back to you, as would be evidenced by her text, vacating the property and leaving the keys. If so, you can proceed with the unit turnover and end of tenancy accounting. 

If she has not clearly returned possession of the unit back to you, determine if it was abandoned or if she is still occupying. If the unit was abandoned, follow abandonment procedure. If the unit is still occupied, follow eviction procedure. 

Retain all of the security deposit until the accounting is complete and do so within the timeframe allowed by the landlord-tenant law for your jurisdiction. Establish reasonable charges for missing items, damages, unpaid fees (such as a lease break fee, notice posting fee, late fee, etc.), unpaid utilities, unpaid rent. You should send her an itemized report on how you used the security deposit and bill her for the difference. 

Marcia Maynard, Fischer Properties | Podcast Guest on Show #83

Trisha,

It's about the local landlord tenant laws and whether your state is landlord friendly or tenant friendly.

Sounds like by your tenant rents you are showing this is a very low income unit. Sounds like the tenant didn't pay due to income issues and was just making up stuff to get out of the lease.

The judgement you need to check on laws and process for your state.

Here where I am in GA you CANNOT get  a judgement against a tenant if they didn't sign the court summons notice or didn't file an answer etc. The judge in that case will just grant you eviction and the writ. For a judgement we would have to take them to small claims court and win. Even then getting the judgement the former tenant could be judgement proof. Meaning they fall below income and federal poverty guidelines so you cannot wage garnish or levy their bank accounts.

The point is if you have a file and income with credit you should know if they have resources to go after or not.

If not and they have vacated the unit and do not have storage there then you need to re-key the unit. I would not worry about returning the keys. They could have made copies or offered to sub-lease "sell the keys" even though they no longer live there for a few hundred bucks etc. 

No legal advice.

Medium allworldrealtyJoel Owens, All World Realty | [email protected] | 678‑779‑2798 | http://www.AWcommercial.com | Podcast Guest on Show #47

Thank you for your responses.

The unit we are discussing is a two bed singe family house. Located in a very desirable part of town, the rents are $995.00 and the tenant is the Director of Nursing at a local hospital. She was living there independently. 

Another concern we have is she told all the neighbors that there is a massive mold problem. I have consulted with a forman working for Belfor and they said if the mold is in the bathroom on non-porous areas (inside toilet bowl and inside the sink drain), then it is a matter of the tenant cleaning. Bathroom molds on shower curtains, etc. are just house hold molds that need to be cleaned. It has been 4 days and we have not seen any re-growth of the mold.

If the former tenant is bad mouthing you without cause that is defamation of character and libel. You could sue for damages and potential loss of rents etc.

Might want to get an attorney involved to squash this problem. They could send a letter to the former tenant involving legal action if they do not stop.

No legal advice.

Medium allworldrealtyJoel Owens, All World Realty | [email protected] | 678‑779‑2798 | http://www.AWcommercial.com | Podcast Guest on Show #47

Comments or suggestions on the itemized billing letter?

Itemized bill for tenant: Every fee listed you have agreed to by signing and dating contracts of 06/03/2014.

October rents ………....…………..$995.00

(Prorated rents will be returned to you if we can rent the property before the month expires)

Late Fee………………......………..$ 50.00

Re-rental Administration Fee…….$ 200.00

No keys returned fee...…………..$   30.00

Utilities

Sewage……………………………$ 135.00

Storm water……………………….$   35.00

Cleaning Fees:

Stove Top or inside oven..………$ 75.00

Vacuum and mop entire unit.…..$ 50.00

Remove junk and debris (The documented pictures are included)

5 hours of labor by two people @ $75.00 per hour...….$ 750.00

Dump fees……………………......………………………..$   30.00

Pet urine and feces on the tiled floor (pictures included)

2 hours of cleaning……………….………………………$ 150.00

Spot Comp Pet - enzyme cleaner.……………..……….$     4.49

Pet Odor Eliminating Spray……………………….……..$     3.98

                                                                       Total          $ 2508.47

If you are interested in breaking the lease, then you will need to cover rents until a new tenant rents out 2204 Iowa Avenue. Rents will be due until this occurs.

All contracts are included please review all highlighted areas and pictures. 

Thank you, Iowa Ave. LLC.

Originally posted by @Trisha Shaw:

Comments or suggestions on the itemized billing letter?

Itemized bill for tenant: Every fee listed you have agreed to by signing and dating contracts of 06/03/2014.

October rents ………....…………..$995.00

(Prorated rents will be returned to you if we can rent the property before the month expires)

Late Fee………………......………..$ 50.00

Re-rental Administration Fee…….$ 200.00

....

Cleaning Fees:

Stove Top or inside oven..………$ 75.00

Vacuum and mop entire unit.…..$ 50.00

Remove junk and debris (The documented pictures are included)

5 hours of labor by two people @ $75.00 per hour...….$ 750.00

Dump fees……………………......………………………..$   30.00

.....

Trish:

The idea of an itemized invoice is sound.  However, your labour rates for cleaning and junk removal are way above market and would likely not be defensible in court (especially if you, or a non arms-length party are doing the work).  Same goes for your re-rental administration fee.

Medium greenapartmenthires 1024x1024Roy N., Louer Louer Ltd. | 1.506.471.4126

Yes, I agree, but these are the terms in our contracts. The contracts we used are from Bigger Pocket. I am willing to compromise. Do you think just compromise up front and reduce fees or introduce to the tenant wait for response and then compromise. 

I feel like since the numbers are the ones they agreed to by signing the contracts, I should start there. As an end compromise I would be happy with utilities and rent then waving all other fees. 

Thank you @Roy N, 

Do you have actual third-party invoices for services rendered to clean and haul away debris at $75.00/hour?   If so, I would offer you got cleaned.  If not, I would adjust the labour rate to be whatever Moly Maid and "1-800-Got-Junk" charged you and furnish their billing as pass through evidence with your invoice.

If you did the labour yourself at a charge rate of $75/hr and do end-up in court, I would anticipate the judge disallowing it. 

Medium greenapartmenthires 1024x1024Roy N., Louer Louer Ltd. | 1.506.471.4126

Here in Maryland the $ 75 per man hour labor   is about right on .    If the house needed to be lead safe certified you would need to add that on the bill also . 

If the tenant was the director of nursing at a local hospital , she would be fairly easy to serve papers . I would file in small claims court ASAP , she may file to get her deposit back , it would look better if you file first .

Okay so I thought I would stick to the prices agreed upon in the sign contracts, but asterisk line items we would be willing to drop if we are compensated in a timely manner.

It is the on going struggle between staying professional and letting it get personal. We were personally offended on three counts. She communicated with us once then just left, She left over two pick up trucks worth of crap furniture, and made zero attempts to clean the place leaving standing dog urine on the new tile floor and rain filled buckets of dog feces in the yards. The icing on the cake is she went around and slandered us to the neighbors. Deep breath and keep it professional.

Suggested letter, what do you think?

Itemized bill for tenant: Every fee listed below you have agreed to by signing and dating contracts of 06/03/2014.

October rents …………………..$995.00

Late Fee………..………………..$ 50.00

* Re-rental Administration Fee.....$ 200.00*

* No keys returned fee…………..$   30.00*

Utilities

Sewage…………………….……$ 135.00

Storm water….……...………….$   35.00

Cleaning Fees:

*Stove Top or inside oven……..$ 75.00*

*Vacuum and mop entire unit…$ 50.00*

Remove junk and debris

5 hours of labor by two people @ $75.00 per hour….$ 750.00

Dump fees………………………………………………..$   30.00

*Pet urine and feces on the tiled floor*

*2 hours of cleaning………………………………………$ 150.00*

*Spot Comp Pet - enzyme cleaner.……………….…….$     4.49*

*Pet Odor Eliminating Spray………………………..........$     3.98*

 

                                                                   Total          $ 2508.47

                                                       Minus deposit      $  995.00

                                                         Total ……………$1513.47                 

                          Discounted total if paid by Oct 20...$ 999.53

We are willing to drop the fees in asterisk lines items if this can resolved by Monday the twentieth of October, 10/20/2014. We would need a payment in the amount of $999.53, for us to stop all further legal actions.                                                          

If you are interested in breaking the lease, then you will need to cover rents until a new tenant rents out 2204 Iowa Avenue and return the keys. Rents will be due until this occurs.

All contracts are included please review all highlighted areas and pictures. 

Thank you, Iowa Ave. LLC.

The email response is as follows:

" I received the documents you put in my mailbox.


Please consider that I was not informed of the severe mold problem at 2204 Iowa Ave when I moved into the property in June.  Neighbors have told me that it was a problem in the immediate past, too.  They speak of management needing to replace a window in the kitchen that was moldy.  In addition to the severe mold coming up the sink in the bathroom, there is significant mold in the store room/furnace room on the wall –near the floor.  This is not new mold as you can tell that it has been there long enough to damage the wall.

This mold issue has made me ill with sinus and respiratory issues. 


I am willing to clean the floorings, stove, and sinks at the property and leave the key in the house when I am finished.  I am also willing to pay a negotiated amount of the October rent as I did not vacate the property until October 7th.  $32 per day x 7 days =$224. 


Please let me know if this compromise is acceptable. "


End Email:

There was never a mold issue in the past, literally just in the sink and inside the toilet bowl when she lived there. My husband and I own and manage the house. No windows have been replaced. She wants to clean now!?! It has been 7 days since she texted she moved out. We posted a Pay or Quit and Right to Enter and have been cleaning and installing an air exchanger. We have not personally encountered any mold, but we want to insure that this house is 100% healthy. At least she is acknowledging she received the documents and that she was in the house during the month of October.  


Suggestions?

In addition, I now have the tenant's written statement that the neighbor is lying about us. 

Any update in the last couple of days? I had a similar situation a couple of months ago, so I'm interested to see how it turns out. 

Update as of Nov. 03/2014

We went to our attorney, they said that we should rent the property out.

Although, until the property rents we should continue to sent itemized billing statements as each month goes by without a new tenant. The billing statement needs to be sent via certified mail, with CONFIDENTIAL printed on the outside of the envelope. We sent one to the house hoping it will be forwarded and one to her place of employment. 

We found a good tenant for Dec. 1st. 

As for the neighbors they approached us again, and we asked them to stop spreading rumors about the neighborhood they live in. They insisted they are correct and told us other lies like "at one time there was no roof" "this house on a slab flooded" "drug dealers lived there prior to our owning the property. The strange thing is they moved in two years ago and we have own the property for about 3 and 1/2 years now. 

We ask our lawyer if they could write a letter, their law office responded with a "nastygram" as they called it. 

October 31, 2014 

RE: Tenants at

Dear , 

I write this letter on behalf of Trisha Shaw, owners of your neighboring property at 

Iowa Avenue.  It has come to their attention that you provided information to the previous tenant, which is patently untrue. 

According to Ms. , you told her that the windows in her house all had to be replaced because 

of problems with mold.  This claim is baseless, as the windows currently in the house are the 

originals from when it was first built.  

You have also approached the Shaws with claims that previous tenants have been drug dealers and 

that the house previously suffered flood damage (despite the fact that the house is on a concrete slab 

and has not suffered previous flood damage). 

The purpose of this letter is to advise that you cease and desist communicating with the Shaws’ 

tenants about these false claims.  If the Shaws continue to lose tenants because of these false 

statements, they would have a claim against you for slander.  Making a false statement that you know 

to be false that causes harm to the Shaws would entitle them to money damages in a civil case. 

The Shaws do not wish to bring this matter to court.  They merely want these false statements to 

cease.  If you discontinue making such statements, you will not hear a peep from the Shaws in the 

future.  If the false statements continue, the Shaws will be forced to take action. 

Sincerely, 

An associate of said firm

@luke I will keep you updated as to the continued events if you like.

@Luke W.  undefined

You've already lost.  Now you are spending mental energy and actual money fighting with neighbors, who you cannot ever recover anything from.  

Just rent the house and move on with your life.