Stranger in My House

24 Replies

About to close on a home with an existing tenant. They are month to month and I have the names on the lease but nothing else...A month ago we told them they will need to find a new place (as far was we know the seller did give notice) Looks like they aren't leaving, but are in violation of the lease (have pets when the lease specifically forbids pets).

1. I've asked for their specifics to be provided at closing but doubt he will provide them. Do I have any right to this info?

2. Since we have no lease and are closing on the last day of the month it feels like we are in legal limbo...what are our options?

3. I'd rather not have to but looks like eviction is likely...any advice?

Assuming no written lease is in effect ...  He's not communicating, so if he doesn't pay rent on the first, file for eviction as soon as you can.  If he does pay rent, accept it, and immediately hand him a 30-day notice.  Then, if he doesn't move after the 30 days is up, file for eviction.

Good luck.

so you have a lease and he is in violation of it? I'd ask for an escrow account at close for eviction of non-compliant tenants to cover 1 month rent, and the cost of eviction in your jurisdiction. Or the unit to be empty upon close.

Originally posted by @Randy E. :

Assuming no written lease is in effect ...  He's not communicating, so if he doesn't pay rent on the first, file for eviction as soon as you can.  If he does pay rent, accept it, and immediately hand him a 30-day notice.  Then, if he doesn't move after the 30 days is up, file for eviction.

Good luck.

Clear, concise, great info...Thank you.

I failed to mention they are section 8...how does that change the dynamic?

I did not know a section 8 could be month to month.

Are you receiving their security deposit at closing?

That changes things a little.  

Contact your local Section 8 office and tell them you are the new owner of the property.  (Legally, I don't think they can discuss the property with you until you are actually the owner.)  They should transfer you to the caseworker for the client in your property.  That case worker should be able to explain the terms of the least to you.

If the tenant is on a month-to-month lease, ask the case worker what you need to do to have the tenant move as soon as legally possible.

However, if the tenant is actually violating a written lease by having pets in the property, you may have grounds to evict. 

Good luck.

Originally posted by @Troy Fisher :

so you have a lease and he is in violation of it? I'd ask for an escrow account at close for eviction of non-compliant tenants to cover 1 month rent, and the cost of eviction in your jurisdiction. Or the unit to be empty upon close.

Awesome! I'm asking for it right now!

@Michael David

 - I would NOT close on this house until the tenant vacated. You're assuming, and maybe I'm taking this position because I'm in the VERY tenant-friendly state of NJ, that this tenant will be easy to evict. Not necessarily so. Are you prepared for the worst case scenario with the tenant refusing to leave and putting up a serious dog fight?

Your buying a house with a headache. Have him resolve the issue before closing on the  house. if I was in your shoes I wouldn't close till the matter was resolved.

TX is the best landlord friendly state. Eviction cost exactly $108 and it's up to 3 weeks.

You can't evict a section 8 tenant without cause, even if they're month-to-month, as I understand it.  Better check into this before you close.

I'm not sure if you can get out of a Section 8 contract by being the new owner.  You may just inherit the contract, as normally happens with rental contracts.

Time to talk to the Housing Authority.  They will also have all the tenant info and a copy of the rental agreement.

Okay, I found that in California, a landlord can terminate a Section 8 tenant once they go month-to-month, but they have to give the tenant 90 days notice.

http://califweb.org/index.php?id=9,32,0,0,1,0

So, check the law where this property is.  Is it in Texas?

Originally posted by @Michael David :

About to close on a home with an existing tenant. They are month to month and I have the names on the lease but nothing else...A month ago we told them they will need to find a new place (as far was we know the seller did give notice) Looks like they aren't leaving, but are in violation of the lease (have pets when the lease specifically forbids pets).

1. I've asked for their specifics to be provided at closing but doubt he will provide them. Do I have any right to this info?

2. Since we have no lease and are closing on the last day of the month it feels like we are in legal limbo...what are our options?

3. I'd rather not have to but looks like eviction is likely...any advice?

Never acquire properties that already have tenants in place.  You are inheriting problems. And they will be costly... An average eviction runs $5k. That's enough to destroy your cash flow for at least a year.

Take these things in order:

1.  You need proof that the current owner gave the required notice.  "As far as we know..." is meaningless;

2.  Despite what some other people responding are telling you, the tenant is not "not communicating."  You own nothing, you have no contractual relationship with the tenant, he owes you nothing, including the time of day;

3.  You can certainly insist on specifics prior to closing.  Your offer should have specified what was do happen with regard to current tenants.  If your contract calls for the property to be delivered vacant, then you have the right to that.  If not, the fact that you told the tenant you want them out is meaningless (see item #2, above.)

4.  You got good advice to talk to the PHA.  You should also have a copy of the contract with them.

Bottom line?  If you are closing today, you sure shouldn't count on the tenant being out tomorrow.  

@ Kyle Atans West Virginia is another good state for Landlords. Filing is less than $70. Court within 2 weeks and if landlord is awarded eviction tenant has to vacate within 10 days!

@Michael David I agree with some of the other posts. A normal month to month tenant in violation (pets) would likely be an easy eviction. Then you factor in Section 8 and local regulations in regard to section 8....yeah. No. That wouldn't be me. I would talk to the seller or sellers agent about your concerns and have the issue resolved prior to closing. Good Luck

So, we closed today...Didn't get keys, didn't get the deposit, didn't get the tenant's info, but we got the house! I must be crazy...Seller's Agent has a good reputation for doing good business and we were told that he has the deposit check. I am trusting my agent's judgement on this...I hope we don't have to evict as I really don't want to ruin the tenants ability to qualify for Section 8 and of course incur the expenses. At the end of the day we have a really great family  pre-qualified and ready to move in and I want to keep my word that we've done our best to get her into this place. I'll update as this unfolds...

You rented the house to someone else with no assurance that proper notice had been given to the current tenants? Damn, dude...

@Account Closed

Acquiring properties with problem tenants can deliver you nice equity.  I have purchased several properties at a deep discount inheriting mismanaged tenants.  Tired, scared and unsophisticated sellers sometimes want out and will make you a sweet deal.

Problems = Opportunities


Frank

Frank Romine, Real Estate Agent in CA (#01957844)

@Frank Romine

I respectfully don't agree. It rate that the pros outweigh the cons, especially when it's a newbie investing.

Originally posted by @Account Closed :

Never acquire properties that already have tenants in place.  You are inheriting problems. And they will be costly... An average eviction runs $5k. That's enough to destroy your cash flow for at least a year.

Never assume that all existing tenants will be problems. There is much that can be discovered prior to making an offer and prior to closing. Also, depending on the landlord-tenant laws for the jurisdiction, the risk may be great or minor. Our evictions are swift, less than 30 days from posting the first notice to when the sheriff arrives. I can appreciate that in less landlord friendly states this may not be the case. But if I can find a poorly managed property with great potential, I'm up for the challenge.

Almost ten years ago, we purchased an 8-plex with tenants in place, three of which were on Section 8. Two of those tenants are still our tenants today and we love them! They pay rent on time, take care of the place, follow the terms of the rental agreement, and don't cause unnecessary drama. Three other tenants who would not have passed our rental screening criteria moved on their own soon after they signed our rental agreement (month-to-month) and became familiar with our management style... the exodus included two pit bulls and a stripper.

@Marcia Maynard

I am not talking about commercial property (5+) units. My comments apply to SFRs. Clearly when acquiring MF, you'd want it occupied on purchase.

Latest Upate:

Well, sadly, we filed for the eviction today for $121...The realtor and previous owner have fed the tenant false information (realtor hasn't even pulled the sign from the yard yet and we know he was there two days after closing). Worried that we are going to bear the brunt of the tenant's anger even though we tried to tell the tenant the truth about the situation.

Off to see the judge, the wonder judge of Oz...will update afterwards.

Well, it's over. After a biased judge and 30 extra days the tenant is gone. Left without having to go through the Writ...Place was left empty and in tack. We really were fortunate. Other than a bad flea infestation in the garage (kept an "American Terrier" locked up all day in a cage at least one size too small) and feces in a toilet the place was as she lived in it. ...We called the contractor & exterminator and they were able to completed the rehab in 9 days (new floors (including tile), new paint, new doors & misc. odds and ends)!

New tenant signed the lease and moved in on the 1st! We still have some exterior work to do but the house is 10x better and our new tenant is so happy to be there...

Lots of lessons learned that will help us make better decisions on the next one!

This post reminds me why I do not ever want to be a landlord, let alone a section 8 one Yikes!

Rod Desinord, Real Estate Agent in FL (#SL3255845)