Tenant's father causing a caustic atmosphere in Student House

12 Replies

Hi BP

Looking for advice on how best to handle this situation.  I signed a contract with a student who is over 21.  Since he moved in, his father is accusing us of doing a variety of things and has become rude in communications demanding that I only deal with him and not "my" tenant.

In five years I have had no issues and this is a first. Frankly I would rather be rid of them both as they are toxic for my other tenants. Can I offer to let them break the lease as they are clearly unhappy or could I be opening myself up for litigation? Basically it would be their choice.  

They also appear to be looking for ways to avoid paying the rent, if they do this I can start the eviction process but I would rather just have them out.

thanks

If the father is not a signatory to the lease, you have no obligation to "deal" with him.  In these situations, I politely remind the parent that their child is our tenant and that I have no business relationship with them.  I then ask that they cease communications with us.

If the behaviour continues, I will speak with the tenant about their parent's conduct, explain the legal/contractural situation and advise that they speak with their parent.

It's not just with landlords, my wife use to teach at a local university and helicopter parents were routinely contacting her about their child's assignments and in-clase performance.  She would simply tell them that they were not her student and {privacy} policy forbade her from discussing student matters with them.

Here is the thing, I am not saying people always lie or that everyone is bad... but... No, absolutely never do anything nice for anyone in this industry if you can help it. I am not saying be a jerk but the moment you start bending backwards your way people like this run all over you and before you know it you are in a bad situation that you were trying to avoid in the beginning. 

This guy is trying to intimidate you and force you to play the game his way. No! You have the legal document, here is where we test it for holes, that states you are in the right. Expect to be held to the letter of it at every turn until they are done. Just don't break it, it is your shield and if you break it you are left open. They might try to force your hand at every turn but the reality is that, unless he cosigned, he has no rights here. 

He never signed anything with you and very technically you don't have to speak to him through any medium. I would be very careful of what you say and how you say it in email and text as that can often be printed out and used against you. All this being said now is the time to start shopping lawyers, I am not one, but get your team together and ready. You are inviting trouble if you try to handle "professional" tenants on your own. 

What if he's a cosigner, obviously no idea if that's the case here but common enough.

Even if he is and has SOME rights to inquire there is a line between harassment and genuine inquiry. Let us say that he is indeed a cosigner, which happens, if there hasn't been some breech of the agreement (I don't know either but the original post didn't make it seem so) and the issue at hand seems to be an inability or unwillingness to pay that is where you have to put your foot down. 

As a landlord, running a business, with contracts in hand, what's the point if you don't stick to the contract you put out? Why even have one if you aren't going to stick to it and force your tenant to do the same? I am not trying to be rude but I think you are going to have to dig deep here and stand your ground. It will be bad for business and for your reputation if someone can just bully you into getting out of a signed agreement.

I hope I am helping you and that you take this to heart, I wish you the best and it is a bummer when the first guy comes along to ruin your perfect streak but don't bend. The first time I did I regretted it and the next time I thought would be different it wasn't, I may not be smart but I learned eventually that even adults need to be handled like children when they act like it and forced to follow the rules one way or the other. In the end it will be better for you if you stick to your guns and the agreements at hand, the easy way isn't the right way and if it isn't the right way you shouldn't do it.

@Roy N.

@Zachery Buffin

@Matt K.

Thanks for the replies.  The mother is a cosigner, not the father.

I think the poor kid is brow beaten and scared of his father. Also he probably holds the purse strings. If it was not for the other tenants being impacted I would take a hard line.  I do however think I need to ask the father to back down and let his son deal with the circumstances. Oddly it all started with the internet services which I have nothing to do with, the father took it upon himself to get involved, which let him to accuse me of withdrawing rental money from his account! Convoluted and disjointed. I have a better idea now of the path I need to take.  I hope it does not involve lawyers but this could be their end game so I will prepare for this.

Maybe you should use the fathers hardball tactics against him.... kindly ask for a copy of the signed lease with his name on it. Probably a good time to inform him that if he is unable to do so you are unable to discuss the lease with anyone not named on the lease out of respect to those on the lease.

Write it as if were to get read aloud in court.... make it boring, to the point, and clear.

@Gary Baker As others have pointed out, you (may) only have a legal relationship with the tenant. That means you're not helping yourself by dealing with someone else if they have no legal standing with you. You haven't provided much detail about the exact situation, but hopefully whatever you're being accused of you have some documentation to prove that that's not the case. 

I suggest taking the path of lease resistance and trying to work directly with the student. From recent experience, I don't expect that will be particularly effective since it's quite easy for parents to teach their children the wrong things. If you're already using the E word then be prepared for that possibility.

Also -- I'm not sure how the father is accusing you of deducting rent from his account? There are likely deeper issues at play (on their part) if you've being accused of something that's (hopefully) impossible for you to do. Those sorts of details certainly perk a morbid sense of curiosity, so feel free to share more if you're up for it.

Originally posted by @Gary Baker :

@Roy N.

@Zachery Buffin

@Matt K.

Thanks for the replies.  The mother is a cosigner, not the father.

I think the poor kid is brow beaten and scared of his father. Also he probably holds the purse strings. If it was not for the other tenants being impacted I would take a hard line.  I do however think I need to ask the father to back down and let his son deal with the circumstances. Oddly it all started with the internet services which I have nothing to do with, the father took it upon himself to get involved, which let him to accuse me of withdrawing rental money from his account! Convoluted and disjointed. I have a better idea now of the path I need to take.  I hope it does not involve lawyers but this could be their end game so I will prepare for this.

Gary:

For future reference, never make a parent a co-signer of the lease as it gives them all the rights of a tenant.   We often have parents be guarantors for our student tenants, but we always execute a separate guarantee with the parent.   As a guarantor they have the right to know whether little Johnny or Jane are in good {financial} standing under the lease and the obligation to open their wallet when they are not.

Unfortunately if the mother is a co-signor of the lease, and the parents are not separated, it may be interpreted that the father has some standing depending on martial law ... you could quickly verify this.

Originally posted by @Roy N. :
Originally posted by @Gary Baker:

@Roy N.

@Zachery Buffin

@Matt K.

Thanks for the replies.  The mother is a cosigner, not the father.

I think the poor kid is brow beaten and scared of his father. Also he probably holds the purse strings. If it was not for the other tenants being impacted I would take a hard line.  I do however think I need to ask the father to back down and let his son deal with the circumstances. Oddly it all started with the internet services which I have nothing to do with, the father took it upon himself to get involved, which let him to accuse me of withdrawing rental money from his account! Convoluted and disjointed. I have a better idea now of the path I need to take.  I hope it does not involve lawyers but this could be their end game so I will prepare for this.

Gary:

For future reference, never make a parent a co-signer of the lease as it gives them all the rights of a tenant.   We often have parents be guarantors for our student tenants, but we always execute a separate guarantee with the parent.   As a guarantor they have the right to know whether little Johnny or Jane are in good {financial} standing under the lease and the obligation to open their wallet when they are not.

Unfortunately if the mother is a co-signor of the lease, and the parents are not separated, it may be interpreted that the father has some standing depending on martial law ... you could quickly verify this.

 If the father didn't bring this up and you insisted on talking only to those on the lease I wonder how that would play out? I bet you'd have a furious father typing away on his sons or wife's email acct haha.

@Roy N.

The separate guarantor agreement is a good idea. Unfortunately too late for this contract and for this martial law would probably apply.  I have to reconsider what I have to do. 

@Peter MacKercher

I think you are right and there are other things at play, I am starting to suspect financial.  I have used Venmo as a payment option and the majority of my tenants love it. I send them a request (a perfect reminder) and they pay on time. This father thinks I could initiate a payment out of his account. All the other issues are to do with money.

thanks 


 If the father didn't bring this up and you insisted on talking only to those on the lease I wonder how that would play out? I bet you'd have a furious father typing away on his sons or wife's email acct haha.

Actually he hijacked his sons text and email to tell me off about contacting his son.  

:-\

Originally posted by @Gary Baker :

 If the father didn't bring this up and you insisted on talking only to those on the lease I wonder how that would play out? I bet you'd have a furious father typing away on his sons or wife's email acct haha.

Actually he hijacked his sons text and email to tell me off about contacting his son.  

:-\

 Due to security concerns over authenticity of end user .... Future correspondence via notorized letters via reg mail sig required .... Lol

Not serious

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