My Tenants are slobs!

10 Replies

HI all,

Looking for some advice on what to do with my messy tenants of 6 months in one of my SFHs.

Today I was building a fence at one of my properties and tripped a breaker for the outdoor outlet. I asked them to let me inside so I could flip the breaker back on. As soon as they swung the door open, I couldn't believe how much of a mess the property was on the inside of the house, because the outside has been tidy since they moved in. (they live in my neighborhood so I do casual drive bys) They do have 4 kids and cats, and probably do live a busy life, but the clutter, garbage, cat litter smell in the basement and overall dirty mess was way over the top.

When I did my screening, their former landlord didn't mention anything about them being slobs. I even did the "check out their vehicle while they're viewing the property trick". Seemed to be normal.

Other than the mess they've been good tenants thus far. Never had a had late payment and are nice people. I do have in their contract that "the tenant must maintain ordinary cleanliness of the property"

Do I send them a friendly reminder to keep the house cleaner? Just give them the benefit of the doubt of a long week and check in on them in a week or so? Wait til the end of their term in October and not renew? Or just let them be?

Thanks for your input!

Kevin

If you can smell the cat urine now , its too late . 

Send them a notice about the condition of the property and odors you witnessed.  Remember this is your property and if you let it linger and things continue...you will have a nice mess to cleanup at lease end.  Consider adding an addendum to  your property lease that says you will perform quarterly checks on the property rather than the casual drive-by.   Schedule your checks with a 24 hour notice.  That way you are not trying to figure out what kind of tenants are in your property.  Of course the previous owner did not say anything because he/she probably wanted them gone and were glad you were taking them off their hands.

 I would also limit the number of pets allowed in your property or do not accept pets.  Pets can destroy your property and if you smelled the animals just walking in, imagine what it will take to get that smell out of the house after a year and before you can lease it again (to someone without pets) or sell it.   

In my experience former tenant landlords are very unreliable when screening tenants. 

There are six people and animals living in the house. How clean do you expect the house to be? 

Do they pay the rent on time?

Medium rzt hc 6483Michael Noto, SalCal Real Estate Connections | [email protected] | 860‑384‑7570 | https://www.zillow.com/profile/Mike-Noto/ | CT Agent # RES.0799665

schedule a routine inspection of the interior in the next month. Check furnace filter, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and other mechanicals and do a quick walkthrough. They will have time to clean up and prepare for you. If everything is great, then you might have caught them at the end of a busy couple days. If there are issues then address it with them and clearly reaffirm your expectations. Less awkward if it was a fluke and if not it shows a professional approach.

Please don't rent to people with cats. Absolutely nothing good comes from it. 

Originally posted by @Kevin V. :

HI all,

Looking for some advice on what to do with my messy tenants of 6 months in one of my SFHs.

Today I was building a fence at one of my properties and tripped a breaker for the outdoor outlet. I asked them to let me inside so I could flip the breaker back on. As soon as they swung the door open, I couldn't believe how much of a mess the property was on the inside of the house, because the outside has been tidy since they moved in. (they live in my neighborhood so I do casual drive bys) They do have 4 kids and cats, and probably do live a busy life, but the clutter, garbage, cat litter smell in the basement and overall dirty mess was way over the top.

When I did my screening, their former landlord didn't mention anything about them being slobs. I even did the "check out their vehicle while they're viewing the property trick". Seemed to be normal.

Other than the mess they've been good tenants thus far. Never had a had late payment and are nice people. I do have in their contract that "the tenant must maintain ordinary cleanliness of the property"

Do I send them a friendly reminder to keep the house cleaner? Just give them the benefit of the doubt of a long week and check in on them in a week or so? Wait til the end of their term in October and not renew? Or just let them be?

Thanks for your input!

Kevin

 If the "overall dirty mess" isn't something that causes a health problem, like attracting roaches, I'd leave that alone.  If it isn't causing damage or attracting pests.  Clutter won't leave damage when they move out.

I would address the cat litter smell, though.  If you attack them over their entire housekeeping skills, they'll be less likely to be cooperative, in my experience.  But, they will probably agree with you about the cat litter and get on that. 

Then, schedule an inspection in a month or so saying you need to check the smoke detector batteries and check for plumbing leaks.  And give them appropriate notice, preferably at least 48 hours - and I say this from the point of view of someone who is now a tenant, who lives a cluttery lifestyle LOL.  My house is never a health hazard, but I have clutter everwhere.  I would appreciate a 48 hour notice to get the place in tip-top shape.

Anyway, then see what they produce when you give them 48 hours notice to enter.  They may surprise you and have the place looking pristine (like I do) if they have notice.  But, even then, if you go in and it's just cluttery, but there isn't a bunch of food laying around rotting everywhere, I'd leave them alone.  Just address the issues that cause damage or attract pests, or leave odors that are hard to get rid of.  

And for what it's worth, even though I'm a cluttery person who needs 48 hours to get my place in tip top showing condition, I always get my full deposit back when I move.  So, this may not be an indication of a tenant who will leave a damaged unit.

Thank you all for your input!

I will check in on them with a 48 hour notice next week and go from there if things haven't shaped up.

I just wanted to add why I suggested 48 hours instead of 24.  The reason is that people don't get a full 24 hours to prepare for you to enter.  You put the note on their door, or send them an email, and they may not get it until they get home around 6pm or even later, if they have to fix dinner, get the kids' homework done, put the kids to bed, etc.  Then they finally sit down with a glass of wine and open their email and scream an obscenity!!! OMG!  The landlord will be entering at 9am!!!  LOL.

Or, they come home exhausted with kids wanting to know what's for dinner, and there's your notice on the door telling them that after they make dinner, do homework, put the kids to bed, they will now be up until 1am cleaning the house.  Ugh!

So, 24 hours notice is great when you want to surprise someone.  But, not if you want to give them a chance to really prepare for your visit :-)

Originally posted by @Sue K. :
Orig

 If the "overall dirty mess" isn't something that causes a health problem, like attracting roaches, I'd leave that alone.  If it isn't causing damage or attracting pests.  Clutter won't leave damage when they move out.

I would address the cat litter smell, though.  If you attack them over their entire housekeeping skills, they'll be less likely to be cooperative, in my experience.  But, they will probably agree with you about the cat litter and get on that.

 Agree with all this.  While we all want tenants who practice the Good Housekeeping Tenets every day all day, all I really want are tenants who pay on time and don't damage my property.  The pet odor would be my only concern of the things the OP mentioned.