What to do with a tenant who was just jumped and robbed?

26 Replies

I was just informed by my property manager that my tenant was just jumped and robbed. As of now, I don't know who this person who jumped and robbed my tenant came from. Do you have any tips or advice on how I deal with this situation?

Welcome to BP. Well for you this doesn't really mean much. It just means the rent will be late. This could be a true story or not. Either way your next step is to confirm with the tenant when they will be paying their rent. Possibly with a late fee. Has this been a good tenant in the past? For how long? You  don't want this to be the start of them just trying to buy time until you have to evict them or they leave early and break their lease.

This has happened to me - in fact one of my tenants was murdered in his apartment!  As Jarrett Harris said in a prior post, just make sure you are going to receive your rent.  You and your property manager are not the police.  Too many times, tenants think you are somehow going to take care of this for them.

Perhaps he was robbed, perhaps he is just short on the rent.  Without knowing your tenant and his history, I can only guest.

There is very little information here.  Such as his condition and whether he was badly injured or whether he is working.  Did your property manager say that he has been hurt and unable to work?

@Jordan Sangalang

Jordan or Jordan's PM: "Hi Tenant, I heard you got robbed.  I hope you're doing okay."

Tenant: "Well, they hit me and kicked me and stole all my money."

Jordan or Jordan's PM: "I'm truly very sorry to hear that."

Tenant: "Thanks."

Jordan or Jordan's PM: "This won't affect the rent will it?  I hope not.  If the rent's late, don't forget the late fee."

If the tenant has been there for years and this seems to be a fluke incident, I would tend to be compassionate. However, if they've been there a few months this story could certainly be an excuse for late rent. I would be posting notice and starting eviction when the rent becomes late. 

My property manager confirmed he was actually beaten up and left with concussions. I appreciate all feedback and comments here. It really helps what to do in this situation. I was just not sure how much most of us would usually handle this. Honestly, my first thought concern was the possibility of this affecting the rent. That's why I just wanted to check up on here if others. Although this is not to neglect the safety of the tenant.

I agree with @Jarrett Harris . We would confirm the validity of what happened. If a police report was filed, we would allow some flexibility by not charging the late fee if the rent was late that month. We would also confirm that the tenant would be able to maintain on-time payments for future rent. If he was injured, we would send a get-well card. Curious as to how the property manager is dealing with the situation, other than informing you of the incident. Did the property manager say anything to you about the rent being paid or not? If not, why are you learning about this so late in the month?

Originally posted by @Tyrone Jackson :

This brings up a good question to me. Can a landlord be required to let a tenant break their lease if the property becomes too dangerous for the tenant? 

Good question. But I'm not quite convinced that I would allow this to be a pattern but again, if the tenant is concerned for his or her safety, that would be something to think about.

Originally posted by @Marcia Maynard :

I agree with @Jarrett Harris . We would confirm the validity of what happened. If a police report was filed, we would allow some flexibility by not charging the late fee if the rent was late that month. We would also confirm that the tenant would be able to maintain on-time payments for future rent. If he was injured, we would send a get-well card. Curious as to how the property manager is dealing with the situation, other than informing you of the incident. Did the property manager say anything to you about the rent being paid or not? If not, why are you learning about this so late in the month?

Actually, I didn't learn this just late. I was just informed on the day of.

My thought is this. Is this just a random act? Is it the neighborhood? Or was this person that attacked your tenant "related" to your tenant in anyway? If it is random then sympathize with them. Possibly send a card from PM. If it is the neighborhood then they should have known when moving in the way to protect themselves. Last but not least if they are "related" to the attacker in anyway either by blood or association they need to get out. Because the attacker will possibly victimize others as well and your tenant could very well be giving them access.

You're selling a product - the rental unit - to the tenant.  You're not their friend or provider.  Keep the relationship about business.  Don't get involved in the tenant's personal life.

AFAIK, a landlord does not have to let someone out of a lease because they feel unsafe.  Before my grandma passed away we had to move her into a skilled nursing facility, but still had to give proper notice to her apartment.  I sent the last rent check to them after she had passed.  Verify this with a local attorney, since this sort of thing does vary.

Originally posted by @Jarrett Harris :

Welcome to BP. Well for you this doesn't really mean much. It just means the rent will be late. This could be a true story or not. Either way your next step is to confirm with the tenant when they will be paying their rent. Possibly with a late fee. Has this been a good tenant in the past? For how long? You  don't want this to be the start of them just trying to buy time until you have to evict them or they leave early and break their lease.

I cannot disagree agree with you more. I understand that we hold property to make money, but never forget that life happens. Even if it is a fluke, you next step should be to make sure they are alive, and show some empathy for their situation. 

Go do some investigating yourself and make sure there are no weak spots in your property that lead to this event. If there are weaknesses or this is an ongoing issue, put up surveillance cameras or bright lights to deter future crime. If you do not take reasonable steps to protect yourself by protecting your tenants, you can be held liable for negligence. 

Just as everyone has stated, it's a police matter.  However if your rental is a multi unit  in an area where safety is a concern, you may consider getting security cameras. It's a feature good tenants appreciate.  And it's helpful in preventing undesirable activities from occurring on your property. 

Did this occur AT the property, or near it? If this occurred in or on my property I'd probably at least make some inquiries with the police to see if they had any more details.  If there was something I could do to help prevent similar situations, like a security light or something simple, I would probably do that.  But ultimately I too feel that this is not your responsibility.  Stuff happens in good neighborhoods and bad neighborhoods and everywhere in between.  

If a tenant of mine were to ever have this happen in/on my property and came to me saying they felt unsafe living in one of my places I would let them out of the lease immediately.  I wouldn't jump through hoops trying to make it more secure, I would simple tell them they were free to move. Nothing good can come from someone living unhappily in your unit, especially if they fear for their safety.

@Tyrone Jackson - yes, I believe a tenant can be released from the lease if the property is dangerous, but I am not sure what the exact conditions would be.  We had one tenant who "felt threatened" by a tenant in another unit, they tried to use that to get out of the lease without being responsible for the rent until I could get it rerented.  For that situation, they would have to file a police report against the other tenant, which they were unwilling to do.  I was able to rerent quickly so they didn't pay rent for any time they weren't actually occupying the unit.  

That being said, if my tenant felt unsafe at an apartment I would let them out of the lease, or figure out what it would take to make them feel safe if they wanted to stay- extra lighting perhaps.

Kelly

Originally posted by @Susan M. :

Did this occur AT the property, or near it? If this occurred in or on my property I'd probably at least make some inquiries with the police to see if they had any more details.  If there was something I could do to help prevent similar situations, like a security light or something simple, I would probably do that.  But ultimately I too feel that this is not your responsibility.  Stuff happens in good neighborhoods and bad neighborhoods and everywhere in between.  

If a tenant of mine were to ever have this happen in/on my property and came to me saying they felt unsafe living in one of my places I would let them out of the lease immediately.  I wouldn't jump through hoops trying to make it more secure, I would simple tell them they were free to move. Nothing good can come from someone living unhappily in your unit, especially if they fear for their safety.

 This was my concern, was it at the property?  If so then you should probably act accordingly to make your tenants feel safe. And to keep the bad elements from thinking that they can also continue.  I'd also have the Property Manager let the tenant know that if THEY(the tenant) provides the police report then they can waive the late fee.  It shows compassion, but also shows that you are not going to stand by and let late rent happen without proper and pre-approved reasons.

Obviously it's too late in this case - but some renters insurance policies cover muggings and robbery. I learned of it when going over a policy after a flood when I was a tenant. The rep actually said if I were getting robbed I could just hand them my briefcase or bag, and then file a claim.

Fortunately I never had to use it, but now I always mention it to tenants regarding their commute - mainly if they're taking mass transit into NYC.

I'm new to this, but I would check in with your tenant and make sure it didn't happen on your property. Who knows if they could sue you for negligence if they think it was the fault of an "undefendable zone" on your property. I work in urban design and this is a constant topic with developers and municipalities to ensure no liability.

This made me think of a story the owner I worked for told me about another resident manager he had at a different property.  The resident manager got between two tenants who were being violent, and he ended up knocked to the ground.  He ended up dying from complications from his wounds.

He told me this story when I told him about some drama between some tenants we had and he emphatically told me to not get involved, to call the police and stay out of it.

Think in terms of any of the other bills this tenant might have.  Would their Visa bill care if they were mugged?  Would their car payment?  The utility company?  No.  So, rent must also still be paid.

The only other consideration would be if there is anything you need to do to beef up security around the property - more lights?  That kind of thing.  Just in case they may be able to say you were negligent in providing lighting or anything that would have avoiding the mugging - IF it happened on the property.

Originally posted by Jordan S.:
I was just informed by my property manager that my tenant was just jumped and robbed. As of now, I don't know who this person who jumped and robbed my tenant came from. Do you have any tips or advice on how I deal with this situation?

Many assumptions are being made in this thread because of a couple of points that need clarification.

1. Where did the incident occur? Did the incident occur on your property or in the neighborhood? Is there a real and present danger? Was a police report filed?

2. Did the tenant pay rent on time? Did this incident affect their ability to comply with the terms of the rental agreement? Or did the PM just mention it to you in passing?

3. Is the tenant asking for anything from the PM or from you the owner?

4. Do you care about the health and well being of your tenants? Good business sometimes means taking an interest in what tenants are experiencing. Does your company send condolence cards and get-well cards when serious life events occur for tenants - some landlords do and some landlords don't - we do. It is a small gesture, but can be quite meaningful to tenants.

Originally posted by @Marcia Maynard :
Originally posted by @Jordan Sangalang:
I was just informed by my property manager that my tenant was just jumped and robbed. As of now, I don't know who this person who jumped and robbed my tenant came from. Do you have any tips or advice on how I deal with this situation?

Many assumptions are being made in this thread because of a couple of points that need clarification.

1. Where did the incident occur? Did the incident occur on your property or in the neighborhood? Is there a real and present danger? Was a police report filed?

2. Did the tenant pay rent on time? Did this incident affect their ability to comply with the terms of the rental agreement? Or did the PM just mention it to you in passing?

3. Is the tenant asking for anything from the PM or from you the owner?

4. Do you care about the health and well being of your tenants? Good business sometimes means taking an interest in what tenants are experiencing. Does your company send condolence cards and get-well cards when serious life events occur for tenants - some landlords do and some landlords don't - we do. It is a small gesture, but can be quite meaningful to tenants.

1. The incident occurred on the property. A police report was not filed because the tenant couldn't identify the person who jumped him.

2. I never had problems with the tenant. He pays his rent on time. The tenant has a kid. Due to the safety for his kid, I understand that as a father, they want their kid to be safe at home.

3. As I have mentioned, he has a kid and requested to close the lease. So, I did.

4. Of course, I care about the health and well-being of the tenants. I do sympathize what happened. In fact, I met him in person to check up on him.

Hope this clears things up for you. :-)

I appreciate everyone sharing their experience and perspectives on this. This really helps me see my situation in different angles. It helps me be able to deal and provide solutions for the next potential tenant on how I can ensure the safety of my tenants without getting too involved personally with them.