Tenant refusing to sign lease

3 Replies

Here's the situation that I'm in. I closed on October 2nd in my first sellers financing deal on a duplex. On the one side the tenant and her husband and child have lived there for 3 years and are currently on a month to month lease. We agreed on a time to meet at the property to have them sign my lease. When I showed up they were not there and were ignoring my phone calls, but very soon after he the ability to text me saying they weren't home and to leave the lease in the mailbox for them to review. This happened last Saturday and they've been ignoring me all week when I've reached out to pick up the signed lease and go over it with them in person. My lease was only going to be a 6 month lease and then it'll transfer over to month to month automatically. The tenant informed me her husband did not like that and that they were moving out. They are not communicating at all when the move out date will be. I offered the "cash for keys" if they were out by the end of this month but as of the writing of this post (10/20/2017) I have not hear anything.

What immediate actions can I take? Since they are on a month to month lease can I tell them I will not be renewing their lease and need them out by end of November? Can I pursue eviction since I'm assuming they are violating lease by not signing mine? One of the clauses in my lease is that I need a 60 days notice of when you are moving out or I have the right to keep all/or a portion of the security deposit. Can I still enforce this since they did not sign my lease?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

I'm trying to embrace the journey as a learning experience and won't let the frustration get to me!

Determined landlord,

You cannot pursue eviction as they are not in violation of their current month to month arrangement. You can give them notice that you are not continuing their month to month lease by giving them the proper notice that is laid out in their current lease.  Your lease has no bearing on them unless they were to sign it.

Is 60 days notice allowed in your area?  Seems like a long time.

Hand deliver/post and mail a notice that you are ending their tenancy due to non-communication, and the end of November seems like a good date.  Include instructions for delivering Nov rent and move out instructions.  

You do not want non-communicative tenants, so focus on getting them out. If they want to leave sooner allow it with no penalties, you just want possession back.

Be reasonable in what you expect and what of the deposit you keep.  You don't want to end up in court, you just want an empty unit and to move on.  Take photos, document why, document conversations.

I don't think you can enforce the notice/security deposit part of that lease anyway. I live in a landlord friendly state and you can only keep the deposit for actual damages or unpaid rent. You don't get to keep the deposit because they didn't give you proper notice. 

Outside of that, get rid of them however it is in force now. If they are month to month, and state law is silent on the issue, then you should be able to give them their 30 day notice and have them hit the road by end of November. 

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