Tenant had a Heart attack

11 Replies

What are the options and advice for a landlord who has a tenant who states that she has had a heart attack, and she is already late on 2 month's rent. Assuming she's stating the truth, and giving her the benefit of being honest with me, what can BP forum advice?

Late payment of 15/day is tacked on. Deposit is practically evaporated already...Help

Originally posted by @Abhilash Joseph :

What are the options and advice for a landlord who has a tenant who states that she has had a heart attack, and she is already late on 2 month's rent. Assuming she's stating the truth, and giving her the benefit of being honest with me, what can BP forum advice?

Late payment of 15/day is tacked on. Deposit is practically evaporated already...Help

 I would treat this tenant as any other late paying tenant.  Two months late on rent means the landlord is at least one month late on filing for an eviction.  Whether the heart attack story is true or not, it seems like an excuse.

Back in November, just a day or two past the first of the month, one of my tenant's suffered a serious sickness and was hospitalized.  At one point, his illness was life threatening.  He paid November's rent while still hospitalized.  He was released from the hospital in the middle of November and had to move in with his mother because he needed someone living with him who could tend to him -- and the doctors said this would be a concern for months, maybe years.  At that point, he gave me a thirty day notice to move out.  When December 1 rolled around, he paid December's rent even though he as no longer living in the apartment.  He removed most of his belongings in the middle of the month.  I began showing it and got it leased starting the second week of January.

My point is, my seriously ill tenant who was near death at one point did not use his unexpected hospitalization to avoid his responsibility for paying his rent.  Only bad tenants find excuses to not pay their rent.  Sounds like you have a bad tenant.  Evict her.

Often times tenants have divorce, car accidents, loss of employment and health issues.

One of the things landlords have to be careful about is tenants want to make their problems the landlords problem.

First your want to let her know that you are truly sorry that she is having medical problems.

If you are wanting to waive some of the rent is totally up to you, but you do need to remind her that she still has financial obligations and needs to see what arrangements she could do to have the rent paid right away.

If you have any emergency contacts for her on file youu may want to check with them and see if they are able to help her.

I would also recommend that you get a real estate attorney that is familiar with evictions and consult with the attorney. Even though it is a difficult situation you may have to proceed with an eviction.

I have a great tenant who was in a bad car accident in December '14. She called me right away, and said she would not be working for quite some time, but that her boyfriend (also a tenant in the house) would be paying the full amount of the rent, albeit a little late each month. He has. Tenants who communicate understand their obligations; those that have to be chased, or tell a story when they're already behind, are playing you. 

Once the security deposit has been used, you have no leverage. Start the Pay or Quit process unless the tenant can make some good faith payments.

If you had a heart attack, every single creditor you owe money to is still going to expect payment in the correct amount, and on time. You're essentially a creditor, so act accordingly. 

how did she contact you? I mean, if her cell phone bill is getting paid.....

If she wasn't already 2 months late, it would be a different story. I'd start the eviction process Now. 

This is the part of the business where you have to be firm. You need to explain to her that either she pays the rent or moves out. You have mortgage, taxes, and other bills that you are now having to pay because of her. File a pay or quit. 

Thanks all for your wise and helpful comments, especially helpful was not to let the tenants problems become the landlords problems and the need to be firm.

Obviously it is awful the tenant had a heart attack but the fact of the matter is she is already 2 months late.

If anything, the heart attack is more of a reason to evict her.  For the future, cut the cord earlier in these situations and start an eviction.  In our experience, when someone falls behind they very rarely catch up.  If there is no money, there is no money.

First, verify the heart attack if possible. Ask her if she can send you something so you can verify her illness. This should take a couple of hours or a day at most if she has honestly suffered a heart attack. 

If she has honestly been ill, ask what is the status of her employment. Suggest to her to contact the United Way or Texas Department of Housing as a courtesy. They have rental assistance programs here in Georgia to help people, although I'm sure its a pain in the butt to get into.  I said this because maybe there is the slim chance you can get your last two months of back rent.

By today or tomorrow evening, proceed with the eviction process.  (No need to tell her-she knows its coming)

No matter what she has to pay. Of course, she could be lying or maybe she has been sick and just isn't thinking clearly.  

By always starting eviction like a business regardless of the reasons rent is late it will force the process to reach a conclusion quicker.

So for example whether or not this tenant had a heart attack and whether or not they say they do not have the money the filing of eviction like clockwork will force their position. If they want to stay in your unit they will find the money and you will find out quick if they have the money or are just playing games.

Lot's of times they have the money they are just shifting around to who will be sympathetic to them and not pay that person because times are tough and they still want to eat out and pay the cable bill. You have to force the tenant to define their priorities in your favor. If they truly do not have the money then eviction will be that much farther down the line. If you were sympathetic and waiting to see if they came through to not spend eviction fees you lose time. It's a classic investor mistake. 

You should have in your lease that security deposit can't be used in place of paying rent. That is another tactic used by tenants especially if they move out quick to go elsewhere and just say use the security deposit for the last month. Then you have damage to the unit etc. that they want you to eat the cost on.

No legal advice given.


If a landlord had a heart attack and asked the tenant to pay 2 months in advance to pay medical bills,  the tenant would look at the landlord like they were crazy

Be compassionate but firm, its time to evict

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