Difficult tenant

10 Replies

I have a tenant who is very frustrating. They applied for a house and wanted to move in immediately. There were tenants already there who weren't moving for another week. The applicants were apparently staying in a hotel. She asked me to get the old tenants out sooner as they couldn't live in a hotel (they are a husband, wife and a baby). I said no. She asked if I had any other properties they could stay in for a week. I said I had a room in my house if they wanted. I usually rent the room on Airbnb for $70/night. I gave it to them for $40 a night. They stayed at my house for 5 nights. They therefor owe $200. They paid the pro-rated for July's rent and the deposit to move into the house and said they'd pay the $200 later. Upon move in, she had a 3 page list of requests. These included new: New vacuum cleaner bags for a vacuum which was already in the house. A wooden strip added to the front door as she thought the gap was too wide. New electrical outlets for the whole house as the existing ones were old. There were some valid requests which I fixed straight away (AC wasn't cooling below 80, one electric outlet wasn't working, washing machine wasn't hooked up properly). When August rent was due, she paid on the 11th and gave me a doctors certificate and said to please forget the late fee. The lease calls for a $75 late fee after the 5th plus $10 per day for every day it's late. It says in the lease that illness will not excuse the late fee. The tenant is owing $200 for the stay at my house plus $125 in late fees. She is seemingly refusing to pay and not responding to my texts or phone calls. I am on a very friendly basis with the tenant and don't want to become unfriendly but she needs to pay. How should I proceed?

Nat,

I would highly recommend not to let it go too far and you are left in a hole. If you want to evict then do it immediately as your losses will be less. Non-payment of rent is grounds for eviction once you do proper paper work of notice and all that legal stuff.

Reason, I say is because my tenant, an older lady had a heart attack and was delayed on getting her job, so I am behind by 4 months now...i let it slip past for humanity sake, and now its getting difficult, promises after a while seem distant and goes unfulfilled...So decide if you want to continue with this tenant or not and let it die while you are still friendly with them and not let it play on your emotions where it gets difficult as months pass you by with loss of rent and trust in the tenant. my 2 cents anyways.

If i do it all over again, I would have evicted at the first sign of delinquency. As many have said to me, we are not running charity although you allow for some wiggle room at times, it can easily get out of hand and I want to spare you the trouble. A woman and a baby can soon spin some good stories around your emotions...so be warned.

Not responding to your texts and calls did it for me. That is one thing I don't tolerate. Some tenants think that avoiding the Landlord will not get them evicted.  That causes me to evict.

That tenant seems like trouble with all of the issues. Move in immediately?  They were most likely evicted.  When a prospective tenant is staying in a hotel, that is a big red flag for me. Needing to move ASAP is also a red flag. Another red flag: needing to move ASAP.  I always ask what is their situation when they say that and just sit back and listen.

I would post whatever notices required by your jurisdiction and start the eviction process as per your state laws.  If you do want to keep them (don't know why), the notice may provide some motivation for them to get everything straight.

I am assuming that you have a good qualification process and they just slipped through? 

Hi Nat, I thought you had a PM to handle this kind of stuff?  Oh well, I've been told that one never rents to potential tenants who are chomping at the bit to get into your property.  You really have to check them out well before you do.  These folks sound like those type of tenants desperate to move in so they can play their game with an owner.  It's gonna be hard to get them to pay or to get them out now I think.  I hope not.

I would not be on a very friendly basis with them anymore as it seems they are taking advantage of that.  Now you have to be the landlord and get serious.  But have your PM do it unless you canned her from before.

Originally posted by @Abhilash Joseph :

Nat,

I would highly recommend not to let it go too far and you are left in a hole. If you want to evict then do it immediately as your losses will be less. Non-payment of rent is grounds for eviction once you do proper paper work of notice and all that legal stuff.

I really don't want to evict them and I can't evict them for non-payment of rent. They have paid the rent in full.

They have not paid $200 for staying at my personal residence (which there was never any contract for) and $125 late fees.

@Nat Chan

Move them out as quickly as possible.  They are not your friends/good terms, they are using the friendship to prolong it....it never works out.

First sign was when they were pushy trying to tell you what to do with the other tenant...your the boss.

2 of my keywords on BP are eviction and FNMA so I have received notifications on several threads you have started in the last week. If I recall correctly, the first was that your landlord received a judgment against you without you being notified.  Very odd!

The second was with the listing agent on a FNMA that invited you into his office and then berated you

And now, a tenant that you let stay with you ?

Do you actually have this much drama in your life ? Frankly if this was my life I would be adding whiskey to my coffee 

@Nat Chan , These tenants will give you enormous problems for as long as you keep them in the unit. They did NOT pay the full rent, because there were fees that did not get paid. One recommendation I have seen throughout the forums is to not accept partial payments. A partial payment is one that does not pay in full their outstanding amount. Fees included.

@Marcia Maynard has a great clause in her lease that states money received will first be applied toward outstanding fees, then to rent, regardless of how the tenant states the money should be applied. (I'm paraphrasing.) I do not know the legality of the clause, but Marcia is pretty smart, so I doubt she would be using it if it weren't legal in her state. Which I think is Oregon or California.

I would write off that $200 she owes you for staying in your personal residence. Verbal contracts are not binding in Real Estate. Since you have accepted the rent without the fees, I think you should send her a bill including the fees on the next month's rent, and include a note stating that partial payments will not be accepted, fees will be paid first, and eviction will start X days after non payment, whatever your state allows. 

You will have problems with this tenant as long as you rent to her. Cut your losses legally and move on.

Brandon Turner wrote an all-encompassing article on how to rent your property called How to Rent Your House. You should read that article. 

Originally posted by @Greg H. :

2 of my keywords on BP are eviction and FNMA so I have received notifications on several threads you have started in the last week. If I recall correctly, the first was that your landlord received a judgment against you without you being notified.  Very odd!

The second was with the listing agent on a FNMA that invited you into his office and then berated you

And now, a tenant that you let stay with you ?

Do you actually have this much drama in your life ? Frankly if this was my life I would be adding whiskey to my coffee 

 You are so rude it's unbelievable. In future, please don't read/reply to any of my discussions.

Originally posted by :

@Marcia Maynard has a great clause in her lease that states money received will first be applied toward outstanding fees, then to rent, regardless of how the tenant states the money should be applied. (I'm paraphrasing.) I do not know the legality of the clause, but Marcia is pretty smart, so I doubt she would be using it if it weren't legal in her state. Which I think is Oregon or California.

I would write off that $200 she owes you for staying in your personal residence. Verbal contracts are not binding in Real Estate. Since you have accepted the rent without the fees, I think you should send her a bill including the fees on the next month's rent, and include a note stating that partial payments will not be accepted, fees will be paid first, and eviction will start X days after non payment, whatever your state allows. 

You will have problems with this tenant as long as you rent to her. Cut your losses legally and move on.

Brandon Turner wrote an all-encompassing article on how to rent your property called How to Rent Your House. You should read that article. 

 Great advice and yes that's an excellent lease clause. I actually used the lease provided by BP in fileplace......that clause should be added to the rental contract on BP.

I think you are just making this more difficult than it is. They are in violation of the lease as they have not paid late fees. You have 2 options. 1. Give them notice to correct the violations and pay what they owe. 2. Let them do what they want and be happy with what they give you. 

If you are not comfortable following the lease you gave them, then you probably need to hire a PM or sell. There is no trick to it and while having additional verbage in the lease is great it doesn't do anything if you do not want to follow it. I get along well with my tenants, we chat when I stop over, we say hi when we see each other out but if there is an issue, I bring it up right away. If I have to deliver a notice, I do it because I need to enforce the lease. 

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