I posted about a month ago about one of my tenants who I was ready to evict and just thought I'd share my experience so far and what I learned being in Milwaukee county in West Allis, WI.
Things I have learned:
1. Never give out keys without being fully paid a security deposit.
This was ultimately my first and biggest mistake that I learned the day after I gave them the keys. They said they would pay the next day, and I didn't end up getting it until three weeks later, the 23rd of that month after literally staying outside of the place and confronting the tenant who had not been responding to texts.
2. Screen better and be more patient.
I had just bought this place and remodeled it, everything looked good and I was over excited to get a new tenant in right away. The remodeling actually took a little longer than expected (surprise surprise) and finished around the 15th of the month. I should've put up the ads earlier and waited a little longer to get more qualified applicants rather than just choosing the best one out of the six that I received.
3. Evictions hurt your profit by a lot.
So here's the list so far:
Filing Fee - $98.00
Serving Fee - $155.00
Moving Fee - $300.00
Eviction Fee - $175.00
Other Fees - $30.00
Total so far: $758.00
Now I might recoup this in court eventually but it still hurts knowing that I won't even get the full amount in collections. In addition, now I have lost rent for October and November and most likely December.
4. The Process itself isn't too difficult.
There is a handy checklist for Milwaukee county and it was pretty straightforward, serve the 5 day notice properly after the 5th of the month, wait the full five days, file, appear in court. My tenants of course didn't appear in court and I was granted a writ right away. Now I have the sheriff coming in with the movers and hopefully I can cancel this and get refunded some of the money if they move out before then.
I do have some questions though:
I have filed the Writ with the sheriff's office as of today and they say that the eviction will happen within ten days and I'll get 24 hours notice of when it will happen. My last conversation with the tenant was on 10/13/2017, saying that he was going to pay rent.
Should I attempt to contact him at all now or just let it happen?
If he moves out early, I can get a refund. Can I legally go into the place now since I was awarded the writ?
What if he tries to pay rent now after judgment?
How does your renter pay rent? With a check or direct deposit to the bank account?
If it's a check then you don't cash it and can still evict them for failure to pay.
If it's direct deposit close the bank account so that the tenant is unable to pay. This is why it's important to have a separate bank acct for every property if you do direct deposit so that closing one account doesn't screw over your entire operation.
"Should I attempt to contact him at all now or just let it happen? "
Don't contact him. Let it happen. There should be some joy in booting this deadbeat out.
"If he moves out early, I can get a refund. Can I legally go into the place now since I was awarded the writ? "
Best to wait until the eviction has concluded (unless you are certain he is gone).
"What if he tries to pay rent now after judgment"
He's not going to pay. He didn't bother to show up for his court date. Why would he pay? If he does attempt this he would, at this point in time, owe the rent, any late fees AND all the filing, serving, court, etc. fees. If he didn't have the funds for the rent, he's not likely to have all these fees.
I do rentals in Milwaukee. My experience is that the Sheriff generally calls to execute the writ the day after I file it with them. You can accept responsibility to bring your own movers and not pay a moving company.
Last night my tenant at 9:45 pm called me twice and texted me asking where I lived. He also texted that he had October and November rent, plus court fees, plus some of the deposit. I think it is finally sinking in that he will actually be evicted soon and is finally acting. But once again he is coming up short since he says only some of the deposit (we had originally agreed on 2 months of security deposit, he ended up only giving me one month on 10/23, one more mistake).
Here though I will simply ignore his texts because I want him out of the place and if he has the money, great, I'll end up with it eventually in court later.
So it looks like it'll be a messy eviction since he will probably still be there when the eviction squad comes but at the end of the day he'll be gone and I'll start over.
Lesson learned. Stay strong.
You sound like a nice person -- maybe too nice. You are going to have to fight that impulse in LLing. The thing is, if he came up with the money now, he could have come up with the money 2 months ago. (He probably ended up borrowing from friends and family, and could have done this before, but was only motivated enough when the eviction was coming down.)
Do not contact or accept money from him, except to tell him that he now has money to put toward a new place or storage for his belongings. It would be best for everyone if he leave ASAP. We have a company policy that we share with tenants -- once the eviction process starts, we do not back down. Our experience has taught us that it is best for everyone just to terminate the LL/tenant relationship and for everyone to move on.
If you keep him, you will be in the same boat in 4 months. This is not the hassle free, profitable LLing you envisioned when you got into this business.
While it is tempting to take these funds (and it is certainly your choice to do so if you wish) it is important to look back on this tenants previous behaviors.
1. They stated you would get the security deposit "the next day". You got a portion of it 3 weeks later and only then after staking out the rental place and confronting the tenant over this.
2. They failed to show up for the court hearing and only now are panicking when they realize the poop is hitting the wall on this one.
I have found that, as a general rule, most sensible tenants would view this as a valuable lesson and pay their rent as they should from now on. But, you are not dealing with a sensible person. This appears to be a tenant who, like many, are "living on the edge" so to speak and unless you enjoy returning to court time after time, it is far better to get them out now and be done with it.
Yeah I agree to move forward with the eviction date and not accepting money before then. I'm not sure the rules in your area, but perhaps he has the right to pay you on the eviction day with the sheriff seeing it and then have the right to stay.
I'm also really glad you did not give him your home address. Never do that.
Accepting money now does not cancel the eviction, but the tenant may be under the impression that it does.
My lease has language that covers partial payment, says any partial payment does not prevent on going eviction.
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