Tenant fears for her safety... wants to move out.

4 Replies

Just to prove that there is no "normal" day at the office when you deal with tenants, I had an interesting case today.

So a high profile crime ocurred some months back in the neighborhood of one of my rentals. Its been covered extensively in the local press. At least part of the crime therefore happened right across the road from my rental unit.

My tenants' (a lovely older couple) lease is expiring at the end of July and my property manager emailed them to ask if they were staying. The wife comes into the office of my property manager this morning in tears. She and her husband want to stay long term she but she is fearful of her safety and says they will be moving out. She witnessed some part of the crime and is now considered a witness in the court case. Now she has the press permanently camped outside her house and they are hounding her every day. Her husband is a trucker and is gone mostly during the week so she is having to face this on her own and is afraid to even walk out her house because they swamp her and try to get an interview with her.

I feel so bad for her. She is so nice (she spends hours in the garden which looks like a postcard, and they take care of my rental as if it were their own home). The poor dear.

I have another unit vacant (tenant ended her lease and moved out yesterday) that may work for them but unfortunately it doesn't have a garden, only a balcony.

Just goes to show, anything can happen.

That is unfortunate for all involved. Can you do something to make your property more safe and to keep the media at bay? You can not guarantee anyone's safety, but there must be something you and community advocates can do to improve the situation for this couple. I'd offer to let them out of the lease early. Offering to them the other unit, even temporarily, may be a good thing to do, as they could move swiftly with your help. That could help lessen their stress and fear. Perhaps a garden club could offer her a place to garden in the meantime and to find a peaceful sanctuary. Your tenants may however need to move to a secure building, at least until the media circus and trial is over.

@Marcia Maynard

The neighborhood is safe, the crime committed was a "domestic" crime (a husband figured that hiring a hit man was more effective than divorcing his wife since he'd have to give her half of all their assets... no prenup) and not a case of unknown thugs coming into the neighborhood. The perpetrators were caught pretty quickly and all three are in jail and are being held without bail. So nothing to fear from the criminals themselves.

I'm going to have my brother-in-law drive by (he lives a few minutes away) to check how bad it is (i.e. how many journalists are camped outside her house). The property has pretty high walls around so I don't think the journalists can see in but I think she is just older and feels shaken and vulnerable.

The tenant has actually specified that she wants to move out end of August. Which leads me to believe its not as bad as she might think it is right now and maybe in a few weeks, things may blow over.

Lesson of the day... don't get married without a prenup. It may not be considered "romantic" but it can avoid a lot of confusion later on...

Oh that's sad. I guess I would suggest you go over and do some handholding. Let her know you support her in whatever she decides, and that you won't try to actively re-rent their place until August, so there's no need for them to give formal notice til then.  I'd guess she might calm down by the end of July, and the reality of having to look for a new place will have settled in. It sure doesn't seem she's in any actual danger (she's not married to the nutter, after all) and hopefully the shock will wear off by the end of the month.

I had a gruesome suicide on the porch of one of my properties. The tenant in the unit one of the units couldn't stand to go back for a week. But after she got over the initial shock she stayed two years.

@Jean Bolger

I'm thinking the same thing. I'm waiting for a family member to drive by later today and let me know what they see when they do a drive by later today. The story has died down (at least until the court case begins in a few months, I guess) and I can't imagine there are 50 journalists outside the front gate. What she witnessed is so minor I doubt there will be that much ongoing interest in her part of the story. Essentially she saw two of the perpetrators walking down her street talking some time before the murder happened.

The more I think about it, I don't think the situation is that bad and she is just shaken. I'm being as sympathetic as possible. If it helps, I'll give her my big, burly brother-in-law's number in case she needs anyone to stop by.

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