Kicking out tenants who pay

18 Replies

I have been cleaning house a bit lately.  Getting rid of some bad tenants even though they do pay rent and take pretty good care of the units.  Most of the problems are reported by other residents, noise, smoking, smoking dope, fighting at all hours and confronting the good resents who report the problems.  I have giving a number of warnings but the problems continue.

I don't want to lose the good residents that live around them so the bad ones have to go.

They always want to know why we are not going to rent to them anymore.  I don't want tell them that we still are getting bad reports about them.  But I never really know quite what to say.  Any ideas?

Tough question. You certainly don't want to say the wrong thing and make things worse. Have you considered raising rents? Sometimes that will prod tenants to move. 

John Thedford, Real Estate Agent in FL (#BK3098153)

Do you have a clause prohibiting illegal activities?  If so, a police report may help you evict them.

Are they ever late on the rent?  Non-payment of rent is always easier than these type violations.

Thanks John, I have thought about that.  It may be a good way to go, that way they will be the ones who choose to leave.  It puts the ball in there court.

David, getting police reports for these types of things has proven incredibly difficult.  Unless the police see the crime committed they won't even write a report.  Any suggestions on getting the police to be more proactive would be great.

As far as late rent, these are people that always pay, they are on month to month leases, so here in Wisconsin I just give them a 28 day notice that states we will not longer rent to them.  If they stay past the 28 days then we evict.

I am just trying to find a good "go to" answer to the question "why won't you rent to me anymore?"

One suggestion. You may state you have a 3 strikes policy.  That is, you already gave them 2 warnings and you chose not to continue the business relationship.

"I want to do a major remodel on that unit"

"I have a family member that I want to rent the place to"

"I've been thinking about moving into that unit"

"You have violated our noise/smoking/etc clause and have not heeded our warnings to comply or move out"

"I'm pretty sure I can get $xxx.xx for the place but don't want to stick that kind of increase to a current tenant"

"I know this is a terrible inconvenience for you. How 'bout I give you your entire deposit back and pay for your first month's rent at your new place?"

The Truth always helps.  Spend some time documenting the problems, you should be able to do this in one weekend by having your tenants call you immediately when offenses occur.  Then meet with them, thank them for paying you good, but you have had repeated complaints, issues that your witnessed and request that they leave in the 30 day notice.  You can offer cash for keys and clean residence upon leaving. 

Tom, Personally witnessing these problems would be great.  Normally they are happening in the middle of the night which makes it a little difficult.

Cash for keys is a great strategy we have used it a few times to make a win win out of a bad situation.

Thanks for the response.

Do you have a repeated violations policy

Originally posted by @David Thornton :

Tom, Personally witnessing these problems would be great.  Normally they are happening in the middle of the night which makes it a little difficult.

How far away are you from your properties? If the complaining tenants called you while the offense was occurring, could you get in your car and go there to witness it yourself? While hearsay can be helpful in giving us a heads up, we always verify. 

We also let neighboring tenants know to call 911 for crimes in progress or endangerment to life or property. Then we meet the police at the property.

Also, when we have complaints of this nature, we do a property inspection. If tenants are breaking one rule, they are likely to be breaking others. Know what to look for in terms of evidence.... drug paraphernalia, odors, residue on walls and in furnace filters, etc.

What did they say when you served them the prior notices to comply? Reference the fact that they continue to violate the terms of the rental agreement so it is time for them to go.

Be swift, firm, polite and fair. I have often used the phrase. "You know and I know __________ is going on. That doesn't work for us. Let's talk about a move-out plan." Also, take a listen to BP podcast #83 where I share some of our property management strategies. Good luck!

Originally posted by @David Thornton :

I have been cleaning house a bit lately.  Getting rid of some bad tenants even though they do pay rent and take pretty good care of the units.  Most of the problems are reported by other residents, noise, smoking, smoking dope, fighting at all hours and confronting the good resents who report the problems.  I have giving a number of warnings but the problems continue.

I don't want to lose the good residents that live around them so the bad ones have to go.

They always want to know why we are not going to rent to them anymore.  I don't want tell them that we still are getting bad reports about them.  But I never really know quite what to say.  Any ideas?

 This sounds like the identical problem I have been having. The girl has people over they party all night and the people upstairs complain. I told the upstairs people to call the police so I have a record. Then I called the problem tenant and went over and made her sign a letter stating she violated the lease and I gave her fair warning. I told her she would be evicted if it happened again and since then she has been good! I hope I just didn't jinx myself lol

@David Thornton Getting involved with tenant disputes to much never works out in my experience.  If people are breaking the law at the property urge the other tenants to call the police.  Going around and accusing people when in reality you don't know what is going on because you do not live there.

As a landlord we send out letters to everyone when a serious issue arises that is brought to our attention.  

In every letter we point out that there was a complaint reported by a fellow and that we are not accusing anyone in particular of doing anything but that we urge them to call the police if illegal activity is going on in the building.

If the problem persists AND now there are police records confirming the illegal activity then you can go to the tenant and have a discussion.

We really strongly urge tenants to try and work out things between themselves as adults and us being involved should be a last resort after they try to work it out themselves and/or the cops are called.

Michael Noto, Real Estate Agent in CT (#RES.0799665)
860-384-7570
Originally posted by @Michael Noto:

@David Thornton Getting involved with tenant disputes to much never works out in my experience.  If people are breaking the law at the property urge the other tenants to call the police.  Going around and accusing people when in reality you don't know what is going on because you do not live there.

As a landlord we send out letters to everyone when a serious issue arises that is brought to our attention.  

In every letter we point out that there was a complaint reported by a fellow and that we are not accusing anyone in particular of doing anything but that we urge them to call the police if illegal activity is going on in the building.

If the problem persists AND now there are police records confirming the illegal activity then you can go to the tenant and have a discussion.

We really strongly urge tenants to try and work out things between themselves as adults and us being involved should be a last resort after they try to work it out themselves and/or the cops are called.

 I was rushing typing this response but in the first paragraph, last sentence I meant to say:

"Going around and accusing people when in reality you don't know what is going on because you do not live there is a slippery slope."

Michael Noto, Real Estate Agent in CT (#RES.0799665)
860-384-7570

are they on a month to month lease? if so and your state allows no-cause 30 day notice then your best reason is no reason

Thanks for all the replies.  Lot's of great feedback.  I totally agree with and practice many of the strategies in the replies when it is necessary.   

I think I may have given the wrong impression of the question I am asking.

 I'm going to try and make the situation a bit more clear.

This is not an eviction.

These are month to month tenants.

I have chosen not to renew their lease for a number of reasons.  

They have been served 28 day non renewal notices.

They understand that they have to leave at the end of the term.

They want to know why? 

I am looking for good answers to that question that will not make the remaining resident look like the bad guy, and also answers that not upset resident that we are kicking out so we can avoid them doing any damage to the property.  No matter what I always try and make a good situation out of a bad one.

@Kevin E. had some good ones in his response above.  I'm looking for more of that stuff.

Is it a month to month lease?  If so, give them a 30 day notice to vacate.  It's not an eviction.  You are just terminating the tenancy.  You don't have to give a reason why just like a tenant doesn't have to give you a reason.  Explain If they don't leave after the 30 days then they will be evicted and break down how bad that would be for them.  Harder to rent a new place, judgement for money, wages garnished.....