Should I evict this tenant before she brings a slip and fall suit

9 Replies

I have a decent, newly renovated multifamily that I rented to two parties that were friends with each other.  They turned into a landlord's nightmare - calling the town inspector for extremely minor issues, without ever having informed us of any problems, denying us access to the unit to make these extremely minor repairs, parking in such a way as to block access to the lot, sending us foul languaged and threatening texts.  For background, we have about 15 units in half a dozen or more multifamilies, and all our tenants love us because we take very good care of the properties, and are very responsive.  This group of people were obviously of the "You have to fight with the landlord" school of tenancy.

One of the units fortunately got Sec 8, and moved out, although I did have to go through an eviction to ensure that they were leaving, since the tenant wouldn't notify me when she was leaving, and stopped paying rent.  I got it rented quite quickly to a young professional family, no further trouble.  The other unit still has the original party in it, a group of three young adults.  Two of them drove out the third, who has continued to pay the ENTIRE monthly rent because he is a shnook and is afraid of them, also I suppose doesn't want to ruin his credit.  Meanwhile, the two who are still in there continue to be a problem.  One of them supposedly has a seizure disorder (she works full time), and they are continuously playing the "disability" card.  They dragged their feet on getting the gas meter into their name when I converted the building to gas, then lied about having gotten it into their name when they hadn't.  When I caught them in the lie, they blamed me for not informing them that they hadn't gotten it into their names!  At every step of the way, they threatened me with "She'll have a seizure if it's cold!"  Apparently, they claim she developed a seizure disorder after she slipped on ice in a previous apartment residence.  So you can see why I'm worried.  Their lease is up at the end of January, and in my state it takes about 6 weeks at a minimum to evict someone.  So it would be very nice to have them out before snow.  I already notified them by hand delivered and by certified mail (which they refused to receive), and I do have a text response from them acknowledging that they are aware that I will not renew their lease, and that they must move out by the end of January.

Today was the last day of the state-mandated grace period for rent to be paid, and there's no check in the mailbox.  The roommate whom they had forced out, who has already paid last month's rent in full even after being forced out, tried to contact us about paying this month's rent a few days into the grace period, but was unable to reach us because my spouse was out of the country and not answering his phone.  He tried to reach me yesterday, and I texted to him that the rent should be paid as specified in the lease, to a PO box.  He did not respond.  I emptied the PO box at 6 PM today on the last day of the grace period, so now it is officially late.

I'm thinking that I should thank my lucky stars and go ahead and run the eviction.  If I'm lucky, I can get them out before snow.  Even though they are responsible for their own snow removal, we will pay someone to do the snow removal, because we do not want to leave ourselves at risk of a slip and fall lawsuit.  I'm thinking that even though it's only one month before the end of their lease, that I should go ahead and do it now to reduce the risk of a lawsuit from them claiming inadequate snow removal, and because I am quite sure that I would have to evict them for staying over in a couple of months anyway.  They literally told me over the phone that they don't care about an eviction - just as long as I don't go after them in small claims court - which of course I would, and told them so.  

Is there any reason why I should not go ahead and run the eviction now, even though it is very likely that I will receive a check from the forced out roommate in a couple of days?

@Karen F. I would suggest that you get a qualified RE attorney involved now. It sounds like these tenants know the court system pretty well. Spending a few hundred dollars with the attorney now may save you thousands later.
If you don't have an umbrella insurance policy, now would be a great time to get one.

Get an attorney.  That way there are no mistakes.  The peace of mind should be worth it.  Be sure to ask prices, there is no reason to hire a $500 an hour guy when a $150 hour guy can probably do it.  It also lets these tenants know you mean business.

@Karen F.  

I second the idea for the attorney. Also, you are smart to get the process started as soon as possible.  Best to nip the problem in the bud before it blossoms into a full blown trouble tree. (Ok so I made that up but the sentiment is there:)   ).  Best of luck to you and I hope you can uproot this tree sooner rather than later !

Originally posted by @Mike Cumbie :

@Joshua Diaz,

My wife charges me $.25 every time I make a joke that makes her wince (She is doing quite well). In this case I think you owe a quarter to the jar.....

 Dang it..... *deposits quarter*