Eviction vs Mediation

12 Replies

Has anyone tried tenant mediation over eviction? I have a section 8 tenant who is just chronically bad with managing his life. Gave wife money to pay rent, she left with the money, his wrong won't ring when I call him, blah blah blah. 

Doesnt seem like he is trying to get away with anything but he is just a screw up. 

Would mediation be better? Anyone have a lawyer in Denver who evicts on the cheap? 

Yes, we did. It worked out well. We worked on the issue together with the Section 8 case manager and the city mediation team. The tenant had some mental health issues so we created a team approach. The tenant responded favorably to mediation and then did what we needed her to do. The tenant thanked us during the mediation and told the mediators that we were good landlords. Section 8 reinstated the rent payments that had been suspended when the tenant had deviated from the terms of the agreement. We were able to save the tenancy. 

As hard nosed as this may seem, we are not our tenants friend, mother, father, brother, sister, bank or care giver.

We are a business and our rent money is our income.  Would you like it if your boss told you they couldn't pay you because they were a "mess", there mother died, their car broke down.  We'd be pretty mad, wouldn't we, but then we are our own boss and depend on our tenants to help us make a living. 

But society believes that Landlords need to make exceptions, they need to be compassionate, and understanding, and most of us are, but they also feel we should help them by letting them make payments to us until they get on their feet.  What people don't realize, is that they never do get on their feet.  They usually get further behind.  

Oh believe me...in the beginning...I did try..  They were thankful, until the next month when they didn't have the rent and still didn't catch up on the last months rent.  You learn very quickly that emotions don't belong in the landlord business.  It doesn't mean we don't feel sorry for them, or are not understanding, but what if we did this for all tenants, and if you do it for one, you need to do it for all, who is going to support US!  Right?

Run this business based on the contract you and the tenant sign called a Lease Agreement.  Once you deviate from that contract, you have created a new contract based on the deal you just made the tenant. 

So send that Notice to Quit if rent isn't received in your office on or before it is due, because the Eviction takes a long time.  Time enough for them to get the money and stop the eviction process.

Nancy Neville

@Nancy Neville I owned 16 units when I lived in DE and I could not agree with you more. They never catch up. So that's why I wanted to explore mediation. I am not sure how it works and if it works. 

I guess mediation is different state by state based on pro-tenant or pro-landlord.

In GA - IF the tenant shows up to court to answer then the court has mediators and tries to get landlord and tenant to agree to talks. They might not agree and it still goes in front of the judge later or the tenant or landlord might say they do not want mediation but want to go in front of a judge to decide.

If you do a written mediation agreement and tenant defaults then typically the court will grant eviction with a writ without going to court again.

Mediation is kind of like people filing chapter 13 bankruptcy and agreeing to a workout plan. 90% of the time they do not finish the plan and fail. So you are kicking the can down the road. Mediation might be helpful if it is a slow leasing time of the year and you want to extract more money from the tenant and eventually evict them in 3 months or so when you can land a better tenant.

Many factors play into this. I am always surprised when people buy low income stuff that they expect these tenants to pay on time and have little issues. The people are in low income for a reason. Some might have fallen on hard times but for many it's a lifestyle choice and not accepting  responsibility to change their lives.

So this is why I do not buy this stuff anymore. I don't want basically children to have to manage for a higher yield return. It's just simply not worth it to me for any return.

No legal advice given.   

@Joel Owens these were section 8 tenants that came with a good rental history and sect 8's seal of approval into my newly rehabbed SFR. Not a low income property. This property rents for $1790 and I have a line of people waiting to pay that rent. It's unfortunate that these people became dirt bags the moment they moved into my house.

Mediation will not change that fact. It's like going into business with a sleazy partner. The odds of them not becoming sleazy and changing their whole persona is slim to none.

Once in a while you get a bad apple and just have to move on. A tenant like that I would worry the longer they are in there the more they damage my unit and increase re-rental cost down the road.

No legal advice given.  

@Bill Coleman  I don't know about Adams County Court (which is where I believe your eviction would take place) but Denver Court requires mediation like @Joel Owens  mentioned in GA. Some landlords like this because they get to negotiate the terms and when the tenant fails the get immediate eviction and get a judgement for any monetary items negotiated originally. The down side is that Section 8 is typically judgement proof (meaning you can't get blood from a stone). I would only participate in mediation if it meant that I would not have to start over in the courts. 

Personally I would never select a Sect 8 tenant for a place where I had other good and qualified applicants since I want to be able to pursue them for a judgement if needed. I'm sure you were thinking/hoping it would be a long term situation but it's tough to get the right Sect 8.

I just want my house back so I can rent to someone who pays better and who keeps the unit in better condition. He is being served notice today and the court date is Feb 13th. I doubt that he will even show up. It's Adams county FYI. 

@Bill Coleman  I hear you.  I hope you get the tenant out soon and have a better one lined up next!  Good luck.