How to evict really ill tenant ?

28 Replies

Hi Everyone,

I am newbie here, 

I bought triplex 2 years ago and came with one of really sick tenant and he live by himself.  2 years ago his ill was not that bad but gotten worse reasonly and he is in wheel chair, the property not suitable for him to stay (we have no ramp). 

I am trying to evict him because I don't want bad thing happen like fall from stairs or even he die at property (because he got cancer)

My questions are:

Is the eviction right thing to do?

How to evict him?

Any advice appreciated!!

Does he have a lease or is he month to month?

He is tenant at will.

Well, honestly, anybody could die in an apartment you own.  If he's paying rent and not damaging the property, and he's not bothering your other tenants, then perhaps you shouldn't kick him out.

That said, why don't you call social services for him?  Or ask him if he minds if you do?  There are so many services available for disabled people.  He can probably get a free caregiver through the county.

If you're worried about him, you could contact social services or adult protective services.

But, why don't you sit down with him and tell him you're worried about him, and wondered if he has help with his wheelchair.

He might also qualify to get your building adapted for the wheelchair for free.  You are required to make a "reasonable accommodation" for a disabled tenant, but you don't have to pay for modifications.  I think you have to allow the modifications, though, if he pays for them.

Bottom line, though, is he - other than being ill or dying - a good tenant?  If you kick him out, you might not get so lucky with the next one.

Make sure he has someone who checks on him.  If he doesn't, then call him yourself every so often - with his agreement.  Don't tell him it's because you want to know if he died and is rotting away in your unit, rather tell him you want to make sure he's okay :-)

But, if he's on month-to-month you can give him notice to move.  If he's got a lease you can terminate it when it's up.  

It sounds like he's going to end up in assisted living anyway.  

Is it "right"?  Everyone has a different "right" meter.  I would not personally judge you either way.  Especially because I know that there are so many resources out there nowadays for disabled people, that this tenant will be fine.  He just needs to make use of the resources available.  You could help him connect with them, if you're up to it.  If he isn't getting county help, he may just be too sick to look into it.  Maybe you could just make a couple phone calls to the county social services and adult protective services, and let them take it from there.

Is he causing problems or not paying?   How would you like it if you were in his shoes and your landlord wanted to kick you out because you had health issues and nothing else?  Treat others as you want to be treated.   Karma has no time limit.  You could very well be handicapped someday. 

No company avatar mediumBrian Mathews, Brian's Heating and Cooling | [email protected] | 512‑350‑8704 | http://www.brianac.com

Is your tenant currently paying on time and does he have a good payment history over the past two yrs? Does the tenant have a will and a substantial life insurance policy? Might set up to get your money after he passes if it is written into the will and their are life insurance funds.  Doubt if I would toss a deathly ill person to the curb to die I would for sure try to get him some help as others have stated. 

Thank you Sue Kelly for advice! You are right! any one could die in apartment anytime even they were healthy. I just don't want get blame and I don't know what the law if he fall and get hurt because property not suitable for him.

Yes he pays on time Chase.

@Rizki Setia

If the tenant has been working with someone in social services or homecare, I would meat with both the tenants and his care worker.  If he has no one, you could speak with social services to see what is available in his situation.

Here you could not evict him because of the change in his health/ability.  That does not mean you could not work with him to find a more suitable accommodation or to make your property more accessible - lots of times there are government or endowment funds available to assist landlords in making a property accessible.

Updated almost 3 years ago

If only I could type. The first sentence in the first paragraph above should read ".... I would meet with them ...."

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

Originally posted by @Rizki Setia :

Thank you Sue Kelly for advice! You are right! any one could die in apartment anytime even they were healthy. I just don't want get blame and I don't know what the law if he fall and get hurt because property not suitable for him.

Yes he pays on time Chase.

 I see your point that it could be a liability issue.  In that case, do you have an email for him?  That would be more casual than a letter, but you'd have proof in writing that you were trying to avoid an accident.  You could email him and ask him if he's getting along okay without a wheelchair ramp and that you are concerned he may hurt himself. And/or you could call the social services dept and ask if there are any programs that would help him with a caregiver who could help him get in and out, or pay for a wheelchair ramp - if you're willing to let him do that.

I honestly understand your concern.  I had a very elderly woman in the building I managed, and if I didn't see her for quite a while, I'd worry that she'd died in her apartment.  The owner came every Saturday, and I'd ask him to go see if she was in there dead!  She would go to Mexico on extended trips and never tell me, so I never knew if she was on holiday, or if she had died!  It was nerve-wracking.  So, I get it.

If you could find out if he has a caregiver, or hook him up with someone who comes to check on him, then you could relax knowing he's got help, and that you'll be notified quickly if he should pass away.

Is the property in Peabody, MA?  I could research programs for you, if you like.  I'm retired with time on my hands :-)

I don't anything about his life insurance.

You have been given some excellent information here.  I am moved by the compassion of all.  Hopefully you can help get him the help that he needs.

This is the perfect example of what this site is all about.  So proud to be a member!!!

Thank you Sue Kelly for offer, I will do research myself, just save your time:)

Pat, I feel blessed found this site, I got good people around me !!! Thank you BP!!!!

Thank you for input Roy N!

I understand your concerns; I have a similar situation going on. Please don't evict him based on being ill. That would be inhumane and HUD would consider this discrimination against the disabled.

Please do like previously suggested and try to get him some help.  Have contact with his close relatives on a regular basis.  If he stays, it may require regular check-ups on him to see if everything is ok, especially if his support network is non-existent.

You could offer to help him find a new place if yours is truly bad for him.  But tread carefully. It will require a delicate and diplomatic tone and you may have get his family involved.

You cannot evict him because he's disabled. Period. 

There is no discussion on if this is "the right thing to do". It's flat out illegal and you will get sued, hard and fast, and you will lose. Massachusetts is a VERY tenant friendly state. 

Try to evict and you will probably never see a rent check from him for the rest of his life. Chances are, you'll be paying him to live there. He will sue you, you will lose. 

While the lawsuit is ongoing, you will not be able to sell the property or rent the unit to anyone else if the tenant decides to move during the proceedings. The unit needs to stay available to him. ( * Reference below)

After it is determined that you did discriminate against the tenant for being disabled (and they will, because you did), you will have to pay all of their legal fees and if they moved during the proceedings, expenses for finding new living place. These expenses could include a nice long stay at a 5 star hotel while the tenant looked for a new apartment to live in. You would be required to pay for him equipping a new place for handicapped access, you would be required to pay for storage of all his belongings while he acquired new housing. ( ** Reference below)

And finally, you will have to pay the tenant $10,000 to $50,000. $10,000 if they believe this is your first offense, $25,000 if your second, $50,000 if more then two offenses. Now, that's not having been convicted or sued for discrimination, that's if they think you did it before. The wording on that is "adjudged to have committed [one, two, or two or more] other discriminatory practice[s]" (*** Definition of adjudged below, look at #5) (**** Reference below)

Bottom line is keep taking his rent and be glad he's paying his rent. 

(References Below)

*  "...including orders or decrees restraining and enjoining any sale, rental, lease, or other disposition of such property which would render it unavailable to the complainant pending the final determination of proceedings under this chapter. "

** "...in addition to any other action which it may take under this section, award the petitioner damages, which damages shall include, but shall not be limited to, the expense incurred by the petitioner for obtaining alternative housing or space, for storage of goods and effects, for moving and for other costs actually incurred by him as a result of such unlawful practice or violation."

*** "ad•judge

(əˈdʒʌdʒ)

v.t. -judged, -judg•ing.

1. to declare or pronounce formally; decree: The will was adjudged void.

2. to award or assign judicially.

3. to decide by a judicial opinion: to adjudge a case.

4. to sentence or condemn.

5. to deem; consider; think."

**** "If, upon all the evidence at any such hearing, the commission shall find that a respondent has engaged in any such unlawful practice, it may, in addition to any other action which it may take under this section, assess a civil penalty against the respondent:

(a) in an amount not to exceed $10,000 if the respondent has not been adjudged to have committed any prior discriminatory practice;

(b) in an amount not to exceed $25,000 if the respondent has-been adjudged to have committed one other discriminatory practice during the 5-year period ending on the date of the filing of the complaint; and

(c) in an amount not to exceed $50,000 if the respondent has been adjudged to have committed 2 or more discriminatory practices during the 7-year period ending on the date of the filing of the complaint. Notwithstanding the aforesaid provisions, if the acts constituting the discriminatory practice that is the object of the complaint are committed by the same natural person who has been previously adjudged to have committed acts constituting a discriminatory practice, then the civil penalties set forth in clauses (b) and (c) may be imposed without regard to the period of time within which any subsequent discriminatory practice occurred."

I am not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice. All references except the definition of adjudge come right from Mass General Laws Part 1, Title XXI, Chapter 151B. 

https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXXI/Chapter151b

More info can be found here...

http://www.mass.gov/ago/consumer-resources/your-rights/civil-rights/disability-rights/fair-housing.html#state

Medium handyhouseDerreck Wells, Licensed Lead Abatement Specialist | [email protected] | 978‑866‑2020 | http://www.AmericanDeleading.com | MA Contractor # MR000910

Evicting someone due to health issues is WRONG! I understand your concerns. What if you have a healthy tenant that falls and breaks a leg? This is why you should carry liability insurance. If you decide to try and evict this person, this thread might somehow find its way to an attorney for the tenant. Not sure of the legal ramifications, but posting about evicting a disabled person for no reason other than their handicap sure could bite you in the rear! Handicapped people are a protected class and unfortunately, your post asking about evicting a person ONLY because of a handicap validates the need for protection. FRSHCRN (pronounced FRESH CORN).........look it up!

No company avatar mediumJohn Thedford, John Thedford | 239‑200‑5600 | http://www.capehomebuyers.com

Evicting a tenant that pays on time every month and is not disturbing other tenants?  Why would you do that?

I think it goes without saying you cannot discriminate against a disabled person as well. 

Medium rzt hc 6483Michael Noto, SalCal Real Estate Connections | [email protected] | 860‑384‑7570 | https://www.zillow.com/profile/Mike-Noto/

Are sick people a protected group. I'm not advocating you go after them I'm just curious. I had a conversation with the tenant earlier this week and after that he went into the hospital. He knows he's going to be evicted for nonpayment. He told me he felt dizzy over the phone and three days later I found out he had been in the hospital since then. Heart issues

Originally posted by @Robert LaBrie:

Are sick people a protected group. I'm not advocating you go after them I'm just curious. I had a conversation with the tenant earlier this week and after that he went into the hospital. He knows he's going to be evicted for nonpayment. He told me he felt dizzy over the phone and three days later I found out he had been in the hospital since then. Heart issues

Watch the semantics play out. To my knowledge, "'sick" people are not a protected class. Handicapped people are. Your tenant with heart issues might be able to find a doctor to classify him as "disabled" or "handicapped". Nonpayment of rent is not a defense for anyone including handicapped people. You can evict a handicapped person, a person of different religion, race, color...whatever  if they don't pay the rent.

No company avatar mediumJohn Thedford, John Thedford | 239‑200‑5600 | http://www.capehomebuyers.com

Originally posted by @Account Closed :

Are sick people a protected group. I'm not advocating you go after them I'm just curious. I had a conversation with the tenant earlier this week and after that he went into the hospital. He knows he's going to be evicted for nonpayment. He told me he felt dizzy over the phone and three days later I found out he had been in the hospital since then. Heart issues

 Robert:

You had a conversation with the OP's tenant earlier in the week?  Or is this one of your own tenants?

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

Originally posted by @Rizki Setia :

I don't anything about his life insurance.

 That sentence makes no sense.

You may want to have talk with him ,if he is that bad you will want to know what to do with his belongings , next of kin etc .