Inherited tenant welcome letter.

19 Replies

Anyone have a nice welcoming letter to mail to an inherited tenant?  Looking for something that we can customize for each situation.  I've looked around and can't find much of what I'm looking for.

Thanks!

I'm also interested in examples!  My situation will involve introducing myself and making some notifications: expect new month-to-month leases within 30 days with no rent change (all are long time tenants on undocumented month-to-month leases), tenants will be responsible for utilities starting in 60 days, and defining how rent should be paid since currently each tenant does what they want, including walking over to current owner's house to give him cash. 

I have used something similar to this in the past and it worked fine:

Your name

Your company

Your address

Your city, state, zip

October 27, 2014

Ms. Jane Smith

123 First Ave.

Anytown, IA 51501

Dear Jane:

I will be purchasing the house at 123 First Ave from Mr. John Doe on 10/31/14. I believe you and I met briefly when I viewed the home with John a month or so ago.

Mr. Doe hase provided me with a copy your current lease agreement (enclosed) and will be transferring your security deposit over to me at closing.

I will continue to honor the existing lease agreement, and I look forward to having you continue to rent the home for the foreseeable future.

Moving forward beginning with November 2014, any rent payments will be made out to: Your Company, and mailed to: Your address, Your City, Your State, Your zip.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, concerns or maintenance requests. You can reach me by using the email address or phone number below.

I look forward to speaking with you in the future.

Best regards,

Your name

Your company

Your email address

Your phone number

Hey Grant,

Congrats on the purchase! 

After learning the hard way, I would highly recommend not inheriting tenants, unless you don't have liquidity to be able to ready the property for a new tenant. I have had to endure many headaches with entitled tenants (2 properties with inherited tenants) who feel they are more owners than I. A few people on podcasts also highly encourage booting existing tenants. I personally would send a letter incorporating a solid rate hike. If they stay, they pay. If they leave, you save yourself some pain. My 2 cents.

Thank you everyone for your replies.

I will definitely use the example and my template. Trying to fill a vacancy in the winter in Nebraska isn't the ideal situation. I may let them be and see how many headaches they will cause (I assume a lot).

@Grant Francke Something that I do with inherited tenants in addition to the letter is just make a phone call and/or set up a time to meet them in person. Some tenants are leary of change (even if it's change of ownership/management). If you can put a face/voice to the letter I have found that this helps the tenant and also allows you to also do a quick walkthrough of the house while you chat with the tenants (I'm not sure if you've been able to get into the property at all but it's nice to see what you're working with). When I start the landlord/tenant relationship off on a positive note it helps with a smooth transition.

@Grant Francke , remember that if the tenants are under contract you have to honor the existing contract.  I do like @Owen D. suggestion of including a copy of the agreement and even asking them to confirm that all information is correct.  I just had a similar situation, I do not have the letter I sent in front of me right now.  But remember when giving them your contact information to remind them that contact should be during regular business hours unless emergency and give them an emergency contact number.   Also its not a bad idea to assure them that you will be trying to make the transition as smooth as possible and if you are making any updates to the property right away to let them know that you will be improving the property.

In addition to what @Courtney King said about meeting them in person I would suggest that you can spell out what they need to do using a very clear language. Also use "we" instead of "I" even if it's just you. For example:

"We are making some changes.

Future rent payments 

Wire transfer your rent before next due date to the following account:  BSB, Acc#

Utilities

1) by 30th November call 1800 000 000 and set up an account with Your Utility Company

2) expect to pay $X for water, $X for electricity etc. This amount will vary based on your usage so this is an estimate only.  You can get more information by calling the Utility Company. 

3) Pay your utility bills by 30th December to avoid being cut off or late payment fees. We have no control over late fees charged by Your Utility Company."

The idea is to make it perfectly clear what your tenants must do, when and how exactly as 1-2-3. 

Give them super clear instructions and then follow up some time before they need to do it. Remind them about these changes, ask whether they are prepared for them and if not - why and when they will be ready.

To sum up: give clear instructions and follow up well in advance of due date.

Is the property down in Adams or is it in Lincoln or Omaha?

I would never inherit tenants unless you are in an area that is hard to rent. And then you have to ask yourself why are you purchasing the property at all?

(901) 264-8674
Originally posted by @Courtney King :

@Grant Francke Something that I do with inherited tenants in addition to the letter is just make a phone call and/or set up a time to meet them in person. Some tenants are leary of change (even if it's change of ownership/management). If you can put a face/voice to the letter I have found that this helps the tenant and also allows you to also do a quick walkthrough of the house while you chat with the tenants (I'm not sure if you've been able to get into the property at all but it's nice to see what you're working with). When I start the landlord/tenant relationship off on a positive note it helps with a smooth transition.

I like the face to face meeting.  I know with my work clients a little face time can go along ways!   Tone of voice and mannerism can be easily miss understood in a letter.  Its better to keep the tenants thru the winter. 

I may even keep the utilities the same until spring and then do a new lease and utility change all at once.  If they don't like the utility part then let them move.   Unless you are lowering the rent due to removing the utilities the tenant will see this as a double rent hike.  The tenant will see they now have to come up with an extra $100 (guessing) a month now on top of a rent increase.    

Short and sweet letter with large font....

Hello, XXXXX and thank you.


Frank

Frank Romine, Real Estate Agent in CA (#01957844)

@Courtney King The is something we defiantly want to do!  I think they will be very worried about this change.  I met them during a walk through and they were both pretty stand offish.

@Michael Karl  They are currently on month to month leases so we would like to get them on our month to month fairly quickly.

@Katrina M. We are planning on setting up a face to face in the first couple weeks.  They currently pay all utilities and take care of the lawn/snow as well.   

Each letter is a bit different depending upon my intent, but here is the last one I used:

Dear XXX:

My name is XXX, myself and XXX are the new owners of the duplex located at XXX.  This change in ownership is effective XXX.The purpose of this letter is to do the following:

  1. Notify you of the change of ownership.If you need to contact me regarding maintenance, your lease or any other issue related to the property, you can contact me via text or telephone at XXX.Additionally you can email me at XXX.Rent for July should be mailed to XXX and made payable to XXX.
  2. Notify you of information needed from you.I need you to email me, text me, call me or mail me with contact information for all parties on the lease, including a phone number and an email address within 5 days of the date of this letter.I also need the name of each of your pets and their breed.
  3. Notify you of my understanding of your tenancy.It is my understanding based upon the representations made by the Seller and the Estoppel Agreement that you signed, that you have a security deposit of XXX.You are a month to month tenant (there is no written lease) and that the monthly rent is XXX with a monthly pet fee of XXX and due no later than the 5th of each month.As the tenants, you are responsible for all utilities and lawn maintenance.The sole occupants are XXX.I am including a copy of the estoppel agreement.
  4. Notify you of an increase in rent. As of XXX, the rent will increase to XXX per month plus XXX per month in pet fees.I realize that is a large increase, but that is why I am giving you such an early notice of this change.If you decide to stay, I have a written lease agreement that I will send to you for signature.Please let me know no later than XXX whether you are going to stay or whether you will be vacating the property and when you are going to vacate the property.
  5. Notify you of an increase in activity soon as we make some needed repairs to the property.In order to determine what work needs to be done to the property, we will be inspecting the property at some time in the near future.We will be inspecting the inside of the units as well as the outside that day.You are more than welcome to be present at that time if it fits into your schedule.If there are any repairs that need to be me made that you are aware of, please let us know as soon as possible.Appropriate notice will be given to you of the inspection date and any future entry onto the property.At the current time, you have notified me of the following issues via your Estoppel Agreement:
       
    1. XXX

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.

This was a tenant that I was giving them a significant hike in their monthly rent and I gave them 60 days notice of that change.

Hi @Grant Francke ;  great question.  Obviously you should do your due dilligence prior to the purchase and you'll know if the tenant is performing.  @Owen D. 's suggestion is on point, and he owns a lot more properties than me (so I'm taking notes here too).

One thing I typically include is a "thank you" for tolerating viewings, inspections, appraisals, etc.  This is a stressful time for the tenants, and assuming they check out, you need to reassure them that they won't get booted.  Remember, the tenants essentially buy you the property!

@Grant Francke

There are several people here who are advocating not inheriting tenants. You have to honor any lease currently in place until it ends. 

In addition to some of the excellent suggestions here, I would also add something along the lines of "We know that things break or wear out in any property. Please notify us immediately of any emergencies (and the spell out what an emergency is and is not) at this number. Please let us know if there is anything that currently needs repair in your property at this number."

You want to start off on the right foot, and if the previous owner had let something or things slide, you want to take care of those.

Mindy Jensen, Real Estate Agent in CO (#FA100049656)

@Grant Francke

As @Mindy Jensen stated you have to honor the lease, they run with the property. Even though both parties (you and the tenant) have to abide by the lease, that doesn't mean that you can't implement new expectations (as long as they don't contradict the lease). Many landlord don't establish what their expectations are in the beginning and it ends up costing them in the long run. Let the tenants know in the beginning that you are proactive in all aspects of managing the property (rent collections, evictions, maint......). Once you have established what the expectations are its usually pretty easy to keep both parties happy

Thank you everyone for your input! We closed and the letters are in the mail. I'll keep you updated on the transition!

If the existing tenants agree to sign a new lease (with the same rent and lease termination dates as the existing) would that violate any laws in regards to honoring of existing leases? I'd like all the tenants to sign a new lease with us so that everyone is abiding by the same expectations/rules etc.

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