HELP....I HAVE THE TENANT FROM HELL!

89 Replies

Anyone would represent themselves as an ideal tenant. I don't understand why you would offer a reduced rent for such a reason. You have clearly been pretty lucky to not have a difficult person until now with your 7 units. Now you learn to be tough and not take people's word, but only their actions....and no long-term leases.

Regarding your call-back to the previous landlord, this is also why you call the landlord previous to the current one. And even then, I never take their good referral to heart.

You should try offering, in writing, X amount of money for her to move out by X date. State the amount and date this must happen and state that the place should be returned "broom swept" condition and keys returned too. You will pay with a certified check or money order on that day and not without her returning the property and signing the offer.

Finally, if her dog damaged the last place, it'll damage your place. So do periodic inspections (that you should have a right to...check your local laws on how to do that). As soon as you see damage, photograph it, and give her notice that she must vacate or whatever your first step to evict for damaging a property (breaching lease?) is.

Hi @Sharon C Hartless ,

Sorry to hear about your issues. I think you have gotten some really good advice so far.

As a side note, I would ask her again if her dog is aggressive toward humans period (In writing). If it is, then it needs to be dealt with. If it is not then you should be able to enter the property for repairs with the proper notice (following the lease of course).

It has to be one or the other.

Very good advice throughout this forum. 

With 5 years experience in landlording at various levels I have become jaded and never assume that anyone will be a good tenant. During the screening process I think of myself as trying to find a reason NOT to lease to this person/people. If I can't find anything, then I move forward. Tenants have to earn my trust by paying on time and following the rules. At the same time, I earn their trust by following up on maintenance items in a professional and timely manner. 

Another tactic that can be used to push out a bad tenant is Notice of Increase in Rent. If you don't want this person in your unit, find the legal way in your state to give notice in a timely manner and raise the rent directly to market rate, or maybe slightly above market rate. There has to be a rental rate at which you would be willing to deal with her! Ask yourself what dollar amount that is and do the market research to see if it is anywhere close to a competitive market rate. Decide what a healthy rental rate for her would be and serve the Notice.

I can't give legal advice, blah, blah, blah, you get the idea. 

Trouble is, Lauren, that she has a 24 month lease and still has quite some time to go. I'm not sure of an area where you can raise the rent in the middle of a lease.

Wow, you have a lot of help here. I'm new to this site, I think its great that there is so many people wanting to help. Way back when I started I had to figure all this out on my own. No internet, etc. I haven't read all the replys so this my be redundant. For starters, you should have in your lease that any repair request must be in writing, and will be attended to as soon as possible. This will eliminate most "light bulb" or "toilet clogged" type bs. This will also give documentation if you have to goto court.

I'm on my way to the post office to mail her a certified letter and a regular letter with confirmation.  The letter is one sentence. "Is your dog aggressive towards humans"? 

My text to her was about procedures for repairs. Armed with the new information from her old landlord I need to be doing regular inspections which the law and my lease allow with proper notice.

Thanks to all of you ... I really appreciate your help!

I'll keep you posted.

Sharon

Unfortunately, you found out the hard way some landlords will lie to get rid of bad tenants. Many people in your situation would give a good report on a tenant to make the pain stop. I would suggest taking the current landlords reference with a grain of salt and look for older references that are more removed from the tenant. 

Out of curiosity, when you met the dog that was in the car how did the interior and exterior of the car look? 

Originally posted by @Sharon C Hartless :

I also made a call to her previous landlord yesterday to ask if her security deposit was refunded and the landlord said NO!!! Her dog chewed the carpet up and the place was filthy. I asked this landlord why she gave me a good reference for the tenant and she responded "it was you or me. I needed her gone"! 

 haha, that made me laugh out loud! Not at you, but at the scenario. It's the same for screening tenants or new employess: you ALWAYS call the 2nd to last.

Seriously though, this sounds more like a landlord failure than a tenant failure. What does your pet agreement say? If it says no vicious animals, then get her to put in writing it is vicious and evict her. Use a lawyer since you already messed it up once. If it says she will kennel the animal on scheduled visits and she refuses then evict her. Again, with a lawyer.

It is your job as the landlord to be the professional, set the tone, and set and UPHOLD the standards. You have done a very poor job of that here. It sounds like you are doing fine with your other units. Consider putting this one under management with the expectation that they can draw the lines you cannot and will evict when able. That reduces your stress, gets the job done, and you can then find a new tenant and start with a clean slate after integrating the lessons you've learned from this one.

As an aside, quit acting while you are emotional! Stop the texts and the letters. Get it together, write your draft. Give it a couple of hours. Have someone in control of themselves read it or you review it when your head is clear. Only then do you send it. Quit playing the tenant game and be a landlord!

Best of luck and happy investing!

I would not send her a certified letter asking if her dog was aggressive. She already knows you have a problem with her and you are looking for an excuse to get her out. She will LIE! I would try to get her to admit in a casual text why you "can't" come in to fix X while she is out. If I were going to do anything before talking to a lawyer. 

I agree with Thomas. And while it's one line, short and nonemotional, it still isn't a professional format and it is clearly trying to get a certain answer. She's not going to fall for this. 

Originally posted by @Sharon C Hartless :

I also made a call to her previous landlord yesterday to ask if her security deposit was refunded and the landlord said NO!!! Her dog chewed the carpet up and the place was filthy. I asked this landlord why she gave me a good reference for the tenant and she responded "it was you or me. I needed her gone"! 

This is not the right way thing for landlords to do and please don't do this to the next landlord. 

Ideally send your reference request via e-mail and get response in writing. Better to always get two references and don't rely on current landlord who may be motivated to see them leave. I have also found that apartment complex and large companies are more reliable references. The ma and pa landlords are more likely to have that "me or you" attitude. That is small minded and unprofessional thinking. 

Are you referring to Bryan's post (I don't see a Ryan)? If so, his post, while quite direct, is indeed helpful. Honest advice can sometimes be hard to receive because it makes you feel like you failed, but it is still great advice and was not borderline rude. We want you to succeed.

Thomas and Nicole, what do you think her response will be to the letter? Will she respond? Will she say the dog isn't aggressive? If the dog isn't aggressive, why can't I go in while the dog is there and she isn't? As a Landlord, do I have a right to enter my property with proper notice or does she have the right to tell me I can not enter my house? Just wondering...

@Sharon C Hartless I am not trying to be rude, just accurate. Check your rental agreement and pet policy. Mine says 24 hour notice for access to the unit, with or without tenant presence, and that all animals shall be kenneled during scheduled visits.

You probably have the right to enter with proper notice, however you need to know your local area's rental laws. When you know the laws, you know what actions you can and can't take without worrying about a tenant's reactions. I suggest to find a local real estate attorney to get you familiar or at least do some searching online for your city/county.

I apologize Nicole ... I got the feeling that he was calling me stupid ... I am definitely having a difficult time controlling my emotions. As my profile says, I'm an old lady whose been renting houses for 30 years. I'm just not as smart as most.

Nicole... I've been studying the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Laws for Tennessee for a long time ... That doesn't mean I know everything. But,  thanks. I think I've gotten the help I needed.

Anyone who has the gumption to invest in real estate is quite smart! Don't downplay yourself; You're just not as jaded/non-emotional/strict as some of us. It's okay! We're just here to give you tips to incorporate a little bit of toughness mixed with professionalism because you definitely do not deserve to have anyone walk on you...especially a person living in one of your assets! :-)

Thanks Bryan... My lease says the same thing but the tenant is refusing to crate the dog or agree to my coming in the house when she isn't there. I know exactly how to handle my tenants when they cooperate... I didn't know quiet how to handle this one. I'm not going in with an aggressive dog in the house that is not crated. I think Mike gave me the right answer. If she says the dog is aggressive, I'll evict her. If she says the dog is not aggressive, I'll go in the house for the scheduled inspection. Of course I will have someone with me because I am frightened of dogs ... aggressive or not.  

I actually have a portion in my rental agreement as to what constitutes an "emergency" & how those & other "non-emergency" repairs will be handled, by whom & when. 

Most states allow access to the property with 24 hours' notice, regardless of the tenant's availability. (Check yours, of course!). 

If you have it in writing, with valid signatures from the tenant, STICK TO IT! 

If you don't have it in writing, add it to your next agreement & learn from it.

I completely agree. It is not easy to stay calm, especially when you watch a @#$% mess up what you worked so hard for, pay for, maintain, etc.

If you lease has kenneling the animal in there, and she has texted or emailed (get it in written form!) that she will not kennel, then move forward with the eviction with that documented breach of the agreement. If your lease says kenneled and she says it is not aggressive and not kenneled, I would still go ahead and evict. No matter the dog disposition, the lease says kenneled and she refuses. Get the headache out so you can enjoy life again.