A pitbull and a propane tank! Should I be doing more?

17 Replies

Good morning guys,

I just wanted to share a bit of my inherited tenant problems and to solicit advice as to more actions I should be taking.

Tenant 1: Has a Pitbull

Absolute no no by insurance company. I went to meet her after closing and I told her the dog has to go and she absolutely fell apart! I said, ok if there is an insurance company that will cover this dog, I will find it and we can go from there ok? She said ok. I hated to do that...I really wanted that dog to go even though she was the gentlest thing ever and never barks (but aren't they all?) but I was starting to feel like a monster which I know I shouldn't but anyway, I called a broker and he found one company that will insure the house but I have to sign a waiver excluding the dog...I said no thanks. I went back to her and I said I am sorry but you either have to get rid of the dog or you are going to have to move. She was much calmer but she did say whatever I'll just move. I said you can have a few days to decide but you'll have to let me know.

Next step: Send her a certified letter today reiterating that she has to move or get rid of the dog and she has 7 days to get back to me. (insurance gave me 30 days to take care of it).

Also thanks to Thomas S. for his answer here… https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/311/topics/322540-the-dreaded-pitbull. Really helped me feel confident in my decision making.

Tenant 2: Has a propane tank in the house he has hooked up to some heating apparatus and using to heat his unit (I am assuming to save on his electric bill...house comes with an electric furnace).

I have not seen this thing. Just before closing the seller calls me and says hey so just so you know this guy is doing this again. He did it back in 2006 and we sat him down and made him sign a letter saying he will never do it again. We monitored him for a while and was confident he has straighten up but I went to tell him we are selling and there it was again. She told him to get rid of it otherwise I will evict him and he said absolutely, it is gone today. I sent a handyman to turn on his electric heater for the winter and he calls me and says ...'just so you know, there is a propane tank in the house!"

Background: he has brain damage and sometimes has difficulty understand complex things but he understands clearly this is a no no.

I went over to the fire department and they said sorry it is private property we can't do anything about it until something happens. I said you mean until the house blows up or he dies of carbon monoxide poisoning? and they laughed and said pretty much! Sheesh. Next, I called code enforcement and they said sorry we can't help you will have to talk to community development. I called them and she said I will do some research and get back to you. Bottom line, no agency will get involved since it is private property but all of them confirmed that as his landlord I have a right to tell him to cease and desist.

I went over and talked to him and I made it clear he will be evicted if I ever find that tank in the house (there was no sign of it when I was there).

Next step: Send him a certified letter saying I will be conducting unannounced visits and I will start the eviction process if I find that tank again.

We have a new judge who is very tenant friendly and for non rent payment related issues I have to send him a 7 day notice 2x before I can start the process.

Anyway, is there anything else I should have done or should do? I appreciate you guys taking the time to read this. 

Are you permitted to do unannounced inspections. Most state codes require a minimum 24 hr notice except in the case of a emergency.

If you require notice your best approach is to find out where he keeps the tank when it is not in the house. Assuming he keeps it somewhere visible, visible without you having to enter the property, you can then use that as a "emergency" excuse when you do not see the tank outside.

Bottom line you are absolutely going to have to get rid of this tenant, it is simply a matter of catching him in violation asap and moving forward with a eviction. Obviously he could never be trusted.

Your Fire Dept Sounds WACKO,, The least they could have done is write up a " for outdoor use only" warning, tagged the tank and wrote it up so you could have had a copy of that for your records.. I'd still ask the fire dept for a propane use guide and deliver that to tenant.

I'D non -renew him ASAP you can't afford to deal with Idiots. 

I actually had a tenant using CHARCOAL in his oven,, his oven broke down, didn't want to tell management..and was using this in his apartment. Found this out when we had a overflow tub in apt above to his unit,, went in on emergency look see, and maintenance tech just about flipped when he saw the kitchen. I took photos, wrote the guy up, and we gave him you move or were filing,, take your choice.. He had also disconnected fire alarms and the alarm in the building hallway just outside his apt door. 

YOU see it all .

good luck 

Originally posted by @Thomas S. :

Are you permitted to do unannounced inspections. Most state codes require a minimum 24 hr notice except in the case of a emergency.

If you require notice your best approach is to find out where he keeps the tank when it is not in the house. Assuming he keeps it somewhere visible, visible without you having to enter the property, you can then use that as a "emergency" excuse when you do not see the tank outside.

Bottom line you are absolutely going to have to get rid of this tenant, it is simply a matter of catching him in violation asap and moving forward with a eviction. Obviously he could never be trusted.

You are absolutely right! No unannounced, I forgot about that. We do need 24hr notice here...thanks for pointing that out. The thing is this guy has lived there for 17yrs, takes excellent care of the property and has never missed a day of rent. He wants to stay...there is a big yard and he has 6 cars all in perfect condition and he drives all of them. He likes that he can tuck them away behind the fence where they are not visible from the street. I am reluctant to kick him out but I absolutely will if I see that tank again. Thanks again.  

Originally posted by @Deanna McCormick :

Your Fire Dept Sounds WACKO,, The least they could have done is write up a " for outdoor use only" warning, tagged the tank and wrote it up so you could have had a copy of that for your records.. I'd still ask the fire dept for a propane use guide and deliver that to tenant.

I'D non -renew him ASAP you can't afford to deal with Idiots. 

I actually had a tenant using CHARCOAL in his oven,, his oven broke down, didn't want to tell management..and was using this in his apartment. Found this out when we had a overflow tub in apt above to his unit,, went in on emergency look see, and maintenance tech just about flipped when he saw the kitchen. I took photos, wrote the guy up, and we gave him you move or were filing,, take your choice.. He had also disconnected fire alarms and the alarm in the building hallway just outside his apt door. 

YOU see it all .

good luck 

 Thanks so much for the advice. If it comes down to it, I will def. not renew him. I just placed him on a month to month (which I am totally sold on now) and should be fairy painless to do. I hate to lose and otherwise good tenant but I can't have someone endangering himself, others and my investment. Thanks again!

@Audrey Ezeh   I really do not have a problem with the pitbull but if someone tampers with a smoke detector that means immediate eviction.  He is probably tampering with it because of the propane setting off the carbon monoxide detector or smoke detector. 

Originally posted by @Michael Biggs :

@Audrey Ezeh   I really do not have a problem with the pitbull but if someone tampers with a smoke detector that means immediate eviction.  He is probably tampering with it because of the propane setting off the carbon monoxide detector or smoke detector. 

How did you get your insurance company to cover the property with a pitbull present? Did they submit certification of obedience school? 

Originally posted by @Audrey Ezeh :
Originally posted by @Michael Biggs:

@Audrey Ezeh   I really do not have a problem with the pitbull but if someone tampers with a smoke detector that means immediate eviction.  He is probably tampering with it because of the propane setting off the carbon monoxide detector or smoke detector. 

How did you get your insurance company to cover the property with a pitbull present? Did they submit certification of obedience school? 

 My experience with this is that the policy is not affected by pets that the tenants have. AAA told me that if I had a tenant who wanted to have a dog, my rates wouldn't go up since it is not my pet. 

Originally posted by @Filipe Pereira :
Originally posted by @Audrey Ezeh:
Originally posted by @Michael Biggs:

@Audrey Ezeh   I really do not have a problem with the pitbull but if someone tampers with a smoke detector that means immediate eviction.  He is probably tampering with it because of the propane setting off the carbon monoxide detector or smoke detector. 

How did you get your insurance company to cover the property with a pitbull present? Did they submit certification of obedience school? 

 My experience with this is that the policy is not affected by pets that the tenants have. AAA told me that if I had a tenant who wanted to have a dog, my rates wouldn't go up since it is not my pet. 

Hi Filipe, that's correct however, I did search and could not find any insurance provider that will cover a Pitbull, Rottweiler or Doberman. Those are the 3 breeds that will lead to coverage cancellation if they find out they are on your property.

Originally posted by @Audrey Ezeh :
Originally posted by @Filipe Pereira:
Originally posted by @Audrey Ezeh:
Originally posted by @Michael Biggs:

@Audrey Ezeh   I really do not have a problem with the pitbull but if someone tampers with a smoke detector that means immediate eviction.  He is probably tampering with it because of the propane setting off the carbon monoxide detector or smoke detector. 

How did you get your insurance company to cover the property with a pitbull present? Did they submit certification of obedience school? 

 My experience with this is that the policy is not affected by pets that the tenants have. AAA told me that if I had a tenant who wanted to have a dog, my rates wouldn't go up since it is not my pet. 

Hi Filipe, that's correct however, I did search and could not find any insurance provider that will cover a Pitbull, Rottweiler or Doberman. Those are the 3 breeds that will lead to coverage cancellation if they find out they are on your property.

 My insurance company didn't specify. I was in the same boat as you a year ago. I bought a 4plex and a tenant had a pit bull. 

Originally posted by @Filipe Pereira :
Originally posted by @Audrey Ezeh:
Originally posted by @Filipe Pereira:
Originally posted by @Audrey Ezeh:
Originally posted by @Michael Biggs:

@Audrey Ezeh   I really do not have a problem with the pitbull but if someone tampers with a smoke detector that means immediate eviction.  He is probably tampering with it because of the propane setting off the carbon monoxide detector or smoke detector. 

How did you get your insurance company to cover the property with a pitbull present? Did they submit certification of obedience school? 

 My experience with this is that the policy is not affected by pets that the tenants have. AAA told me that if I had a tenant who wanted to have a dog, my rates wouldn't go up since it is not my pet. 

Hi Filipe, that's correct however, I did search and could not find any insurance provider that will cover a Pitbull, Rottweiler or Doberman. Those are the 3 breeds that will lead to coverage cancellation if they find out they are on your property.

 My insurance company didn't specify. I was in the same boat as you a year ago. I bought a 4plex and a tenant had a pit bull. 

 Interesting, might be a regional thing then. Thanks!

My general observations are that (1) you seem like a very thoughtful and diligent landlord and (2) you need new tenants. 

These folks don't follow your rules and/or have some issues. 

The have demonstrated that they do not fully appreciate a thoughtful, diligent landlord. So they have to go. Sooner the better. Part ways now... One may even need more supervision and care than you can offer.

Do the appropriate notices for your state and never waiver or look back.

Good news: your inherited tenants will be your worst.

 I can tell you will thoroughly screen your future tenants. It will be so much easier to be a landlord with people who follow rules. You will not have bootleg/dangerous heating issues or pitbull problems to deal with. 

And don't be afraid to exercise that "no" muscle. 

Best of luck

Originally posted by @Audrey Ezeh :

Good morning guys,

I just wanted to share a bit of my inherited tenant problems and to solicit advice as to more actions I should be taking.

Tenant 1: Has a Pitbull

Absolute no no by insurance company. I went to meet her after closing and I told her the dog has to go and she absolutely fell apart! I said, ok if there is an insurance company that will cover this dog, I will find it and we can go from there ok? She said ok. I hated to do that...I really wanted that dog to go even though she was the gentlest thing ever and never barks (but aren't they all?) but I was starting to feel like a monster which I know I shouldn't but anyway, I called a broker and he found one company that will insure the house but I have to sign a waiver excluding the dog...I said no thanks. I went back to her and I said I am sorry but you either have to get rid of the dog or you are going to have to move. She was much calmer but she did say whatever I'll just move. I said you can have a few days to decide but you'll have to let me know.

Next step: Send her a certified letter today reiterating that she has to move or get rid of the dog and she has 7 days to get back to me. (insurance gave me 30 days to take care of it).

Also thanks to Thomas S. for his answer here… https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/311/topics/322540-the-dreaded-pitbull. Really helped me feel confident in my decision making.

Tenant 2: Has a propane tank in the house he has hooked up to some heating apparatus and using to heat his unit (I am assuming to save on his electric bill...house comes with an electric furnace).

I have not seen this thing. Just before closing the seller calls me and says hey so just so you know this guy is doing this again. He did it back in 2006 and we sat him down and made him sign a letter saying he will never do it again. We monitored him for a while and was confident he has straighten up but I went to tell him we are selling and there it was again. She told him to get rid of it otherwise I will evict him and he said absolutely, it is gone today. I sent a handyman to turn on his electric heater for the winter and he calls me and says ...'just so you know, there is a propane tank in the house!"

Background: he has brain damage and sometimes has difficulty understand complex things but he understands clearly this is a no no.

I went over to the fire department and they said sorry it is private property we can't do anything about it until something happens. I said you mean until the house blows up or he dies of carbon monoxide poisoning? and they laughed and said pretty much! Sheesh. Next, I called code enforcement and they said sorry we can't help you will have to talk to community development. I called them and she said I will do some research and get back to you. Bottom line, no agency will get involved since it is private property but all of them confirmed that as his landlord I have a right to tell him to cease and desist.

I went over and talked to him and I made it clear he will be evicted if I ever find that tank in the house (there was no sign of it when I was there).

Next step: Send him a certified letter saying I will be conducting unannounced visits and I will start the eviction process if I find that tank again.

We have a new judge who is very tenant friendly and for non rent payment related issues I have to send him a 7 day notice 2x before I can start the process.

Anyway, is there anything else I should have done or should do? I appreciate you guys taking the time to read this. 

 I would ask him why he uses the propane tank and then fix the problem 

Originally posted by @Michael Plante :
Originally posted by @Audrey Ezeh:

Good morning guys,

I just wanted to share a bit of my inherited tenant problems and to solicit advice as to more actions I should be taking.

Tenant 1: Has a Pitbull

Absolute no no by insurance company. I went to meet her after closing and I told her the dog has to go and she absolutely fell apart! I said, ok if there is an insurance company that will cover this dog, I will find it and we can go from there ok? She said ok. I hated to do that...I really wanted that dog to go even though she was the gentlest thing ever and never barks (but aren't they all?) but I was starting to feel like a monster which I know I shouldn't but anyway, I called a broker and he found one company that will insure the house but I have to sign a waiver excluding the dog...I said no thanks. I went back to her and I said I am sorry but you either have to get rid of the dog or you are going to have to move. She was much calmer but she did say whatever I'll just move. I said you can have a few days to decide but you'll have to let me know.

Next step: Send her a certified letter today reiterating that she has to move or get rid of the dog and she has 7 days to get back to me. (insurance gave me 30 days to take care of it).

Also thanks to Thomas S. for his answer here… https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/311/topics/322540-the-dreaded-pitbull. Really helped me feel confident in my decision making.

Tenant 2: Has a propane tank in the house he has hooked up to some heating apparatus and using to heat his unit (I am assuming to save on his electric bill...house comes with an electric furnace).

I have not seen this thing. Just before closing the seller calls me and says hey so just so you know this guy is doing this again. He did it back in 2006 and we sat him down and made him sign a letter saying he will never do it again. We monitored him for a while and was confident he has straighten up but I went to tell him we are selling and there it was again. She told him to get rid of it otherwise I will evict him and he said absolutely, it is gone today. I sent a handyman to turn on his electric heater for the winter and he calls me and says ...'just so you know, there is a propane tank in the house!"

Background: he has brain damage and sometimes has difficulty understand complex things but he understands clearly this is a no no.

I went over to the fire department and they said sorry it is private property we can't do anything about it until something happens. I said you mean until the house blows up or he dies of carbon monoxide poisoning? and they laughed and said pretty much! Sheesh. Next, I called code enforcement and they said sorry we can't help you will have to talk to community development. I called them and she said I will do some research and get back to you. Bottom line, no agency will get involved since it is private property but all of them confirmed that as his landlord I have a right to tell him to cease and desist.

I went over and talked to him and I made it clear he will be evicted if I ever find that tank in the house (there was no sign of it when I was there).

Next step: Send him a certified letter saying I will be conducting unannounced visits and I will start the eviction process if I find that tank again.

We have a new judge who is very tenant friendly and for non rent payment related issues I have to send him a 7 day notice 2x before I can start the process.

Anyway, is there anything else I should have done or should do? I appreciate you guys taking the time to read this. 

 I would ask him why he uses the propane tank and then fix the problem 

 Why didn't I think of that? LOL! Thanks, I will do that. His furnace works perfectly but you never know what people are thinking until you ask! 

Originally posted by @Michael Boyer :

My general observations are that (1) you seem like a very thoughtful and diligent landlord and (2) you need new tenants. 

These folks don't follow your rules and/or have some issues. 

The have demonstrated that they do not fully appreciate a thoughtful, diligent landlord. So they have to go. Sooner the better. Part ways now... One may even need more supervision and care than you can offer.

Do the appropriate notices for your state and never waiver or look back.

Good news: your inherited tenants will be your worst.

 I can tell you will thoroughly screen your future tenants. It will be so much easier to be a landlord with people who follow rules. You will not have bootleg/dangerous heating issues or pitbull problems to deal with. 

And don't be afraid to exercise that "no" muscle. 

Best of luck

 Thank you so much for point number 1. That really means a lot and I needed to hear that. Yes I do try to be excellent in all I do and landlording should be no different. I demand and expect a lot from my tenants; I have to give just as much as I ask for! Thanks for the encouragement and advice, I will certainly do my best.

@Audrey Ezeh   The insurance and pitbull issue is really by state.  There are companies that advertise on google.  Just search "landlord insurance pitbull".

People in Texas have more dangerous animals.  Horses, cows, donkeys, are all more dangerous than a pitbull.

Originally posted by @Audrey Ezeh :
Originally posted by @Michael Boyer:

My general observations are that (1) you seem like a very thoughtful and diligent landlord and (2) you need new tenants. 

These folks don't follow your rules and/or have some issues. 

The have demonstrated that they do not fully appreciate a thoughtful, diligent landlord. So they have to go. Sooner the better. Part ways now... One may even need more supervision and care than you can offer.

Do the appropriate notices for your state and never waiver or look back.

Good news: your inherited tenants will be your worst.

 I can tell you will thoroughly screen your future tenants. It will be so much easier to be a landlord with people who follow rules. You will not have bootleg/dangerous heating issues or pitbull problems to deal with. 

And don't be afraid to exercise that "no" muscle. 

Best of luck

 Thank you so much for point number 1. That really means a lot and I needed to hear that. Yes I do try to be excellent in all I do and landlording should be no different. I demand and expect a lot from my tenants; I have to give just as much as I ask for! Thanks for the encouragement and advice, I will certainly do my best.

 I agree very detailed oriented and diligent landlord.  I admire that 

Those are not my strengths so I know not to be a landlord 

Originally posted by @Michael Plante :
Originally posted by @Audrey Ezeh:
Originally posted by @Michael Boyer:

My general observations are that (1) you seem like a very thoughtful and diligent landlord and (2) you need new tenants. 

These folks don't follow your rules and/or have some issues. 

The have demonstrated that they do not fully appreciate a thoughtful, diligent landlord. So they have to go. Sooner the better. Part ways now... One may even need more supervision and care than you can offer.

Do the appropriate notices for your state and never waiver or look back.

Good news: your inherited tenants will be your worst.

 I can tell you will thoroughly screen your future tenants. It will be so much easier to be a landlord with people who follow rules. You will not have bootleg/dangerous heating issues or pitbull problems to deal with. 

And don't be afraid to exercise that "no" muscle. 

Best of luck

 Thank you so much for point number 1. That really means a lot and I needed to hear that. Yes I do try to be excellent in all I do and landlording should be no different. I demand and expect a lot from my tenants; I have to give just as much as I ask for! Thanks for the encouragement and advice, I will certainly do my best.

 I agree very detailed oriented and diligent landlord.  I admire that 

Those are not my strengths so I know not to be a landlord 

 Thanks! I really appreciate that!

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