difficult situation, please help!

13 Replies

hello all, I have a tennent who's retired military. He's receiving a retirement check, disability, BAH (from his GI Bill) as well as him and his fiance both work full time. I received a text stating, "Good morning. I wanted to give you a heads up about the rent. My term for school was split in October, I.e. classes ended on the 14th and started again the 23rd. So they processed my BAH was processed as two separate drafts. I have the first one but I won’t receive the second one until Thursday or so. I’ll have the rent Friday and will deposit straight into your account Friday morning." That was sent 6NOV17. Still have not received any payments rent is due on the first and anything after is a 100 dollar late fee. For the past two days I haven't received ANY communication back from the tenants. What should I do? Anyone on here deal with the eviction process, specifically in Virginia? thanks for any help!


I would serve the three day notice for rent, or whatever is required by your state laws, and once that has expired, file for eviction proceedings. When people fail to communicate, I move forward.

You could use Brandon Turner's advice and say something like "After talking with my partner/lawyer/etc.... he said 15 days is too long to allow a tenant to go rent-free...." or something of the like. And then throw out the word "eviction" and it might scare/motivate them a little.

If you don't have a landlord/tenant attorney, today's the day to get one.  They can advise you on the details of the process.  Like you, I can be a big flexible with a previously good tenant.  OTOH, rent for me is late after the fourth, and if we didn't have an arrangement prior to then I would have posted a pay or quit on the 5th (Sunday.)  If I then heard from him on Monday I might have agree to rent on Friday.  But because I already posted on Sunday, and CO requires only a three day wait,  I would have started the eviction process on Monday the 13th if not Friday the 10th.   If we had agreed to rent on the 10th, and I didn't have it that morning as agreed, I'd have posted that day.  Then started eviction today if there was no rent.

Oh, and there's no difficult situation here.  This is par for the course of being a landlord.  You've not been paid.  There's a process for dealing with it.  Follow the process.

Virginia landlord tenant law is fairly specific about proper steps to take, so follow it.  I believe a 5-day notice is required before proceeding with any eviction, but also read through accepting any partial payments "with reservation" as we have had to do that before and it worked well for us.  Definitely get legal advice if you are not familiar with or do not understand the landlord/tenant laws as you do not want to trip yourself up or prolong the process.   Not a lawyer, no legal advice,  but if my tenant was not responding, I would be posting the 5-day notice asap.       

update: he has responded to my texts saying ; "I completely understand. I do not have the money yet from the VA. I also became unemployed two weeks ago. I have secured employment opportunities with three different companies and am awaiting final approval from each of them so I can basically choose the best fit. Towards the current situation with the rent. I have contacted my financial advisor and am attempting a withdrawal from an IRA I have but it is going to take a few days. In the meantime, I am doing everything I can to get this resolved." he said in a day or two he can put some money for rent. he's responded and attempting to solve the problem. Being relatively new to landlording, would you work with him, or do you think he's playing games? thanks again!

Yes I'd work with him tell him you want partial payment tomorrow, and get some money on the books,, I'd still give him the pay or quit,, tell him this is formality that you are willing to work with him but if things fail you will be left with no resort if he does not pay or agrees to vacate by end of month,, And remind him Dec rent is coming up.. 

There's a funny thing about landlording.  Folks would never go to the grocery store with a story of why they should get free groceries.  Or the gas station.   But somehow its always expected that landlords should be flexible as far as paying the rent.

First there's this weirdness with the VA payments. Now he's lost his job, too. At best he's living on the edge financially. But may well be there's more to this than you're hearing and he's stringing you along. He lost his job two weeks ago, but the initial excuse for no rent was the VA payments. Now you're hearing about the job. What else is waiting in the wings to be the next reason you don't have rent? These are the tenant's problems, not yours. Your problem is the lack of rent. Stay focused on that and not all this "story".

I'll stand by the advice to find a landlord/tenant attorney.   You need one in any any case.  And get their advice on how to proceed.

Just wanted to add that, should you decide to work with him, you may want to read the Virginia landlord tenant law about giving written notice that you'll accept any partial payments "with reservation" of your rights to evict if he does not fulfill his obligation.     

As a former VA employee and a mother of a son who is a Navy veteran taking advantage of the post 911 GI bill for schooling, I have to say at least some of what your tenant is claiming in terms of not being able to pay the rent sounds like what comes out of the south end of a horse going north.

Depending on what your rent is, the BAH from his GI bill should, alone, cover the rent.  Toss in his retirement, whatever his disability is (which IS tax free) and the fact that his fiancé is working full time and even without his second BAH payment and his employment rent should be covered assuming this is an important goal for the two of them.

If I sound jaded it's only because I once rented to a young (early 30's) veteran who was not only 100 percent service connected but also managed to draw social security AND had the Wound Warrior Project fork over his security deposit AND first months rent for my SFH. His disability and social security meant his income was over six times my rent so I thought begging the Wounded Warrior Project for these funds was fairly low life on his part. Despite this HIS rent payment was NEVER on time and he eventually skipped owing two months rent. Still, he did manage to keep up his payments on that nice, shiny new Harley motorcycle that showed up in the driveway.

Sorry if this is so long winded.  Your tenant has promised  "in a day or two to put SOME money for rent".    He has already lied to you about paying you around the first week in November.   Now he's "promising" SOME rent money.

Begin the process of eviction on this couple.  The handwriting is on the wall on this one.  In my experience things will be sliding downhill rapidly for now on.  Unless, of course,  you enjoy waiting for the guy to find employment (although I love his statement about waiting so he can "basically choose the best fit" (!)).  When you owe your landlord rent you FIND A JOB ASAP, you don't sit on your rear end deciding which one is the "best fit" for you.


As the others above have stated, go give them the 5 day notice (or whatever x-day notice your county requires). You'll know right away whether they're intending on paying or not.

The sooner you serve it, the sooner you'll be able to get them out if they're intending to stiff you as that is the first step in the process.

But hopefully, they'll get the notice and then they'll contact you and/or make the payment.

Originally posted by @Gail K. :

Unless, of course,  you enjoy waiting for the guy to find employment (although I love his statement about waiting so he can "basically choose the best fit" (!)).  When you owe your landlord rent you FIND A JOB ASAP, you don't sit on your rear end deciding which one is the "best fit" for you.


 LOL. I loved this part as well. Man, what a life, when beggars CAN be choosers! 

So sorry you have to go through this! My first few evictions were really hard on me emotionally!

I don't think it matters whether or not he's telling the truth. If he can't pay rent, he should move out REGARDLESS OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES. Because of that, I always try to believe the sob stories that my tenants tell me, because I would much rather be kind to someone who doesn't deserve it thank be cruel to someone who is going through a hard time. 

It's worth keeping in mind that if you start the eviction process, and he ends up paying, then its easy to cancel. (In Virginia, at least, if you just do nothing, then the whole thing disappears.)

What is the difficult situation, tenants not paying rent is common and the process to deal is far from difficult.

Work with the guy, but for peat sake begin the process of giving the pay or quit notice asap according to your state regulations. You should have done it long ago.

Do you have any idea how many landlords end up losing 2,3,6 months rent in identical situations as you are in due to their inaction.

Act first, ask questions later.

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