Tenant moves in and the 2nd day wants out of lease!

11 Replies

So I find a tenant that appears to be pretty level headed. He works and takes care of his disabled mother. So we walk thru the unit and he likes it and wants to rent it. So make a long story short we sign the lease and I give him the key and he starts moving in. The next day I start getting these text messages complaining about little things. I tell them that I will be over the next day and take care of anything they need and to make a list so I can check them off. So the next day I come over and they have the refrigerator pulled out along with the stove saying it is dirty behind them. They also mentioned a couple other things. So I have my tool box and start on making the adjustments.

From the lease signing and texting I have never met the mother until I walk the door to do the repairs that next day. When I first meet her she starts complaining about the cabinets been to outdated and ugly I tell her they are old but they are functional. Then she talks about the floor in the living room. She tells me “do you know these are not real wood and that you can't say they are real wood?” I tell her I never said they are real wood. So at that point I try to avoid her and make the repairs but she keeps barking in my ear about the cabinets being to outdated and that she can't live with this. Then she comes out with this craziness that really makes my blood boil and is the breaking point for me. She said that they want out of the lease if I don't replace the cabinets and they will sue me in court. (she said she knows a judge) So I stop doing the repairs and pack my stuff up. I tell her I will be happy for them to move out and to please go. We have some words with each other and I leave.

I fill a 7 day notice and text the son to come out so I can hand him the 7 day notice. He tells me he is sorry and his mom is on lots of meds. He also tells me that they used all the money they had to pay me and move into this unit. I tell him that is not my problem and she should have thought about that before threatening me. I tell him that I will give him some of the rent back depend on how fast they can move out. The less days they stay the less it cost them for the rent per day. He also did not pay me the other half of the deposit which I was going to collect that day upon agreed when he got payed that day.

So after all this did I forget any steps to start the legal system? Should I come up with a lease termination letter and make him sign it. Keep in mind that He did not give me all the agreed amount of money. He is on the lease she did not sign it. As we are talking about it he is desperate in trying to talk me out of it. He is getting emotional and starts telling me he got a letter last night that the company he works for might lay him off. So I am thinking WOW!! How did I screw up so bad on this screening process??

I need some advice on this very unusual situation that I have never encountered.  Did I say this is crazy?

@Brian Johnson  it seems that you broke a few unwritten rules in taking in a tenant.  First off did you do a credit and background check?  Secondly why did you let them into your unit without adhering to the terms of your lease from the get go, of which the very first one is paying you the money that is due upon moving in.  Secondly all adults living in the unit need to be on the lease and sign it.   I don't give tenants the keys until all the steps are taken and the very first one is them paying.   

I think you came across any situation that could be part of a professional tenant's repertoire (even though they might not be one).  Still you need to protect yourself from allowing such situations to happen.  Create rules and stick to them.  If you do the chances of getting into this type of situation in the first place should be vastly reduced.  

And always pull our your fridges and stoves and clean behind and under them every time a tenant moves in and out.   This is one place I always take pictures of before the tenant moves in to show it's spotless.   And when they wonder why they get charged for cleaning the place after they move out I show the before and after pictures.  

First mistake is letting someone move into the home without paying you the full amount in Move in Fees:  e.g., Security Deposit and rent money.

2nd mistake is that you sent them a Notice to Quit and not a Termination of Tenancy Notice, giving them (if on a M-T-M) a 30 day notice to move.  (You can't just toss them out, you have to go through the process.  The same thing for them, they just can't move, they need to give you a notice)

This guy knew he was being laid off before now.  He knew how is mother is.  He had to have a place and fast and you allowed him in.

Did you do a credit check prior to them moving in? 

They could threaten you until the cows come home and there isn't a Judge in the world that would rule in their favor when it comes to you not having real wood in a home or new cabinets.  Good grief!!!  What a bluff.

They won't move, even if you give them the money back, because they haven't any other place to stay.  But try to make them an offer if you want them out, but the price may be high.  If they accept any of your offer, put it in writing the terms of your agreement!

Nancy Neville

Darren and I must have posted at the same time. 

Thank you for posting.  Yes that was a very bad move on my part.  I made some very bad judgement calls.  This is a mistake I don't want to make again.  

If a tenant has not given you the security deposit required and the first months rent they do not get the keys.  In my experience once a tenant gets behind on the money they owe you they very rarely catch up and pay on time in the future.

Well,  I was going to collect the rest that day but got distracted with all the drama.  I needed to take a few steps back with the issue.  

So if I can get them to agree to stay for a agreed short term like 1 month or 2.  Should I ask for the full amount due.  Then if they don't give it to me.  Can I not give them the 7 day notice and file eviction for not paying what is due?  That will be breach of contract.

All I can say is a saying I once heard. Any time to have a conversation with this guy keep telling yourself this. "See tenant's lips moving, see tenant lying ."

Swiftly and quickly proceed with eviction. You may want to hire the best landlord attorney you can find in your town. Check court records find the firm that does most of the evictions in your area. Hire them even if they are the most expensive. Time to bring your Sherman Tank to this gun fight.

Originally posted by @Bill S. :

All I can say is a saying I once heard. Any time to have a conversation with this guy keep telling yourself this. "See tenant's lips moving, see tenant lying ."

Swiftly and quickly proceed with eviction. You may want to hire the best landlord attorney you can find in your town. Check court records find the firm that does most of the evictions in your area. Hire them even if they are the most expensive. Time to bring your Sherman Tank to this gun fight.

 That sounds very good but why do you think I need a attorney?   

I contacted the son and told him that I can give him to the end of the month to move out.  I will write up a lease termination letter and get him to sign it.  This will put the date of the exact move out.  This will give him enough time to move out and buy me some time to cover my bases.  This seems to be the cheapest and easiest way out.  If I go thru the 7 day notice I am not sure if they can find a place to stay in such short time plus the extra $800 or $1000 (depending on area of town) to move.  I told him I do not want to deal with his mother and I will only talk with him.   

@Brian Johnson  your plan will work if they move. You said yourself that they had no place to go (son has no job, how are they supposed to come up with funds).

What happens if they don't move? You've lost 20 days of rent not to mention damages to the property from Psycho Mom. You have reason to begin eviction right now. No reason to not pursue it now. 

That's just my opinion.

I'm not sure you can evict tenants for complaining and or not liking cabinets. Is the mother a tenant? If not, who cares what she thinks. Didn't just the son sign the lease? In any case, give them a 5 day notice demand of payment. If they don't pay, you can easily evict on non payment. Don't even get involved in who threatened who. So for an easy non payment eviction, those are clear cut cases and you don't really need an attorney. They have to pay or they can't stay--judges know this.

Originally posted by @Nancy Curran :

I'm not sure you can evict tenants for complaining and or not liking cabinets. Is the mother a tenant? If not, who cares what she thinks. Didn't just the son sign the lease? In any case, give them a 5 day notice demand of payment. If they don't pay, you can easily evict on non payment. Don't even get involved in who threatened who. So for an easy non payment eviction, those are clear cut cases and you don't really need an attorney. They have to pay or they can't stay--judges know this.

 I like you idea Nancy.  So demand the rest of the money.  If they don't pay I already have the 7 day notice in action.  If they do deal with the son and avoid the mother while keeping a close eye on my unit.

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