[MD] My tenant is at worst mentally ill, at best abusive.

10 Replies

I have a difficult tenant who has been a nightmare from the start. He seems to have mood swings and I had to stop him from making small repairs a bigger deal that they are. I know for a fact he called the county to try to place a complaint against me because a neighbor would smoke. The county told him there is nothing they can do as it is not illegal to smoke in your condo. After that he said "you will pay" to me and threatened to sue me due to my neighbor smoking. He also told them he wanted out of the lease.  Anyway, he became verbally abusive towards me and I advised him to stop. He first claimed the fridge was not working and I did replace it. Things were good for a while until Saturday. He called and say the washer is not working. At this point he has been at the unit for almost a month and he claims he never did ONE load since he moved. I sent a technician to check on the machine (I lived at the unit and the washer machine was at most 2 years old when he moved in). The technician said the machine was overload and the motor was damaged.

At this point, I want him out. I told him I was going to the county for them to investigate what happened to my washer. I also told him the repairs will come out his security deposit and if he does not agree we can go to court. He said to go ahead to take the money out of his deposit. I called the county regardless and it appears that given that he did pay for the repair he is not on breach of lease (being that he paying would be the resolution to the breach of breaking my appliance).

I also told him he does not seem to be happy in my unit and if he wants out, he can pay a penalty and leave.

I just replaced the fridge and all other appliances are in good condition and I am afraid he will destroy them. I want him to leave but at this point I would have to pay him to leave. Any advice?

Originally posted by @Jeremy Tillotson :

@Carolina Pedreros Munozobviously you want him gone and he wants to leave why are you trying to charge a fee? 

He is breaking the lease one month in. It is like a penalty. I have to incur on expenses until I find a new tenant.

Hi @Carolina P. ,

If he stays you may be out a whole lot more money than just the lease breaking penalty. May be easiest/cheapest and quickest to tell him "Look If you are out and the place is in good order by Jan 1, We can just break the lease, part fair and as long as everything is good I'll give your full security deposit back".

If he is going to get a penalty etc he may just stay. 

Originally posted by @Carolina P. :
Originally posted by @Jeremy Tillotson:

@Carolina Pedreros Munozobviously you want him gone and he wants to leave why are you trying to charge a fee? 

He is breaking the lease one month in. It is like a penalty. I have to incur on expenses until I find a new tenant.

 You want your tenant gone, yet you are making it harder for him to leave.  Letting him leave unencumbered and having a short vacancy is merely the cost of doing business. Where is the property located? If it is in Silver Spring where you are, it should be very easy to rent.

Originally posted by @Carolina P. :
Originally posted by @Jeremy Tillotson:

@Carolina Pedreros Munozobviously you want him gone and he wants to leave why are you trying to charge a fee? 

He is breaking the lease one month in. It is like a penalty. I have to incur on expenses until I find a new tenant.

 If he is that much of a headache - and it seems he is going to continue with his abusiveness and continue giving you problems - it seems like it would be worth it to let him leave if he wants to so that you can get a better tenant in his place- the mental and physical toll this tenant will place on you does not seem worth keeping him around and then trying to "punish" him for resolving your problem by leaving  seems like it would only stretch out the inevitable. I guess it all depends on your threshold for pain - if you could really talk to this guy and work things out , then it may be salvagable    - perhaps he just got though dealing with some major life issues and took it out on you - just remember - this guy is living in your property and you have to keep dealing with him on a regular basis - the property management industry can be better defined as a "people management" industry - so it may be good to learn how to deal with these type of situations so that you can get a thick skin  - personally , having dealt with problem tenants and with ideal tenants - I would choose the temporary loss of replacing a bad tenant with a good one any day of the week, cause there is really no way to quantify the piece of mind that comes with having and excellent tenant vs the anxiety of dealing with someone unstable.  - just my two cents.

I'm in the same camp as @Jeremy Tillotson on the penalty. He's incurring expenses on you, so charging him a penalty creates financial incentive for him to stay, when you both want to move on.

Situations like these are when I have a sit down with my tenant and present them the two options: 1) Pay for whatever they're not paying for (bill back repair costs if you can prove they caused the damage, late rent, etc) and stop bothering me, or 2) leave.

The dialogue starts like this "Clearly this isn't working for either of us, so you have two options. Either you pay and stop bothering me, or it's best you move on." An approximation of that phrasing works for me, adapt it however suits you and move on. Doesn't sound like this guy is worth your time.

Update: The appliance technician just informed me the tenant is refusing them entry to the unit (repairs need to be done and I informed them about this via email on Sunday).

Does this constitute breach of lease? My lease states I have to give them 24 hours notice for entry for repairs. I talked to my attorney this morning and he says the breaking of the washer is breach of lease even if he pays for the repairs. 

@Carolina P. Where is the property located? If it is in Montgomery County, then you need to have used the lease approved by the County. No other leases will hold up in court. One of the first things the judge in housing court will look at is whether you used the MoCo lease, and if you did not, they are almost certain to find in favor of the tenant, regardless of what your lease says.

Originally posted by @Carolina P. :

I have a difficult tenant who has been a nightmare from the start. 

"A nightmare from the start"??  Curious, why did you rent to him then?  Did you screen properly?

And, "at worst mentally ill, at best abusive", for whom, him or you?

Take the advice of the other posters and make it easy on the guy to leave instead of trying to find a way to penalize him on the basis of principle, technicality or the like.