No trespassing or eviction?

6 Replies

I have a tenant who has been renting for almost three years. She has always paid in full and on time. However, she now owes for property damage in the amount of $420. The deposit is $515. Her lease ends on November 28?

Recently, her brother began coming over to visit or spend the weekend. I believe that he is responsible for $290 of the damaged property, but don't have proof! I already sent her a '3-day or Quit' notice requesting that she pay $100 toward the damages now or move out.

Now my question is this, do I:

1) Go ahead and pay a lawyer to evict her now or

2) Have a 'no trespassing' order placed on her brother and just not renew her lease?

@Lee Carrell check with your local police dept about the no trespass order. Im in MA and I dont know if its a local law or a state law but I was told in a similar situation that even if I put a No Trespass order on somebody and they are in my building as a guest of one of my tenants the police can't remove the person. Basically it negates the point of the No Trespass order as long as the person is an invited guest. 

Originally posted by @Lee Carrell :

I have a tenant who has been renting for almost three years. She has always paid in full and on time. However, she now owes for property damage in the amount of $420. The deposit is $515. Her lease ends on November 28?

Recently, her brother began coming over to visit or spend the weekend. I believe that he is responsible for $290 of the damaged property, but don't have proof! I already sent her a '3-day or Quit' notice requesting that she pay $100 toward the damages now or move out.

Now my question is this, do I:

1) Go ahead and pay a lawyer to evict her now or

2) Have a 'no trespassing' order placed on her brother and just not renew her lease?

 What is the nature of the property damage? Without knowing that, on the surface I would not have handled it the way you did. I assume the rent is $515? If there were no other damages, you had enough already on hand from the deposit - why do a quit notice on a good paying, on time tenant? People like that are rarely dirt bags who destroy things on purpose or run off on their responsibilities, and I would be willing to bet that she would have taken care of the damages if you had discussed it with her first.

At any rate, you've burned that bridge. Since she is legal in her lease, I see no way you can prevent her brother from staying there as a guest unless you had a restraining order on him that would prevent him from being anywhere near there if you were there, and even that would probably be dubious. 

Thanks Rob and JD! You both make excellent points!

She is a low income tenant and doesn't have a lot of money, so I already gave her several months to make payments on the damages, but she has not done so. Of course, I will keep the deposit until after she moves out to apply damages to it.

Do you have any clauses in your lease about guests?  We limit how many nights a year any one guest can stay, so we would have grounds to issue a Warning for Violation is we knew he was there more than that.  It is very hard to enforce who is living/staying there though.

If the tenant moves out, now or at the end of November, how much will it cost to get the unit rent ready?  I'm guessing way more than the $500.  So all things considered, do you want to retain the tenant, or keep her?

Regardless, it is probably a good time to invite her to coffee and give her some options, such as: A.  $100 cash if you move out by the end of Labor Day weekend.  B. Mutually agree to revise agreement to not allow brother to be on property and liberal payment plan with late fees (try to get about $200 plus late fees before move out).  If progress payments are not made, 3 day pay or quit will be issued, plus more late fees.  C.  In order to renew lease, must have damage plus late fees paid by renewal, and agree now to brother not being on property and a new guest policy.  D. Start eviction and have that on her rental history.

I always have good luck with laying out at least three option and giving the tenant the power to choose what works best for them.  And keys for cash is always a great option if you just want them gone ASAP.  Compare it to how much it will cost you through other channels and in stress and that is your upper limit.  But start low and negotiate up, because low income tenants often don't need much incentive to leave.

Thank you Michele! Those are all very good ideas. Giving the tenant options is always preferable to a single "take it or leave" choice. It lets them make the choice of consequences and tends to cuts down on bad feelings later.

Well, the issue is solved! As some of you advised, I offered her several options to choose from. She was not able to pay for the damages and maintain the full security deposit, she was not going to keep her brother out, she had had talked about moving before - so she chose to move out.

I asked her to clean up the unit per the lease and put all refuse in the dumpster.  I am fine with the decision, because I already have several prospective tenants lined up! Hopefully, the unit will be serviced and rented before the end of the month! Thanks for all the great advice!