New Landlord - First property

5 Replies

Hello Biggerpockets community!!!

I just closed on 2 properties attached to each other and each unit has 2 unit, in Florida. Ultimately it has 4 units all together.

2 of the units came with tenents.  The previous owner never had leases drawn up, so they tenents are on month to month.

I'm currently getting the other 2 units ready for section 8. And require the other 2 units to be rented while I do so.  I have a few questions that concern me.

1. I have to replace the roof. The roof is attached so would need to do it all at once.  During the replacement of the roof do the tenents have to vacate the premise? and do I have to pay for their lodging.

2. Since the tenents don't have a lease - When I present them with a lease and they do not want to sign it how much time do I need to give them in order vacate premises.

3. there is only one meter for both the water and electricity for each building (totalling 2) - Can I have the tenents pay for the electric by splitting the bill in half? or pay partial amount and then splitting it in half?

4. if I have to tent the house for extermination purposes and they have to vacate for 2-3 days. Do I as a landlord have to provide a form lodging?

5. Eventually I'd like to get new tenents, one that don't have a large dog (safty issues) and the other is a hoarder(currently no active lease if I do have them sign a lease it will be month to month).  What is the best way to have them leave?

Thanks again BP community!!


Newbie landlord


1. Typically not unless you are replacing the under-layment as well. Find a company that has a large crew and can do it in a day, assuming it's asphalt shingles it won't take that long

2. Depends on your local laws, but typically 30 - 60 days.

3. Raise the rent by the amount of the highest bill in the past 12 months and say "electricity included". Separating it out never works.

4. Yes

5. Tell them you want them to leave for remodeling and give them 60 days, in writing, and have them sign.

Tetsuo, Congratulations and Welcome to being a property owner.  Here are some answers to your questions:

1.  Check with your roofer to find out if the premises need to be vacated.  If it does, check with you local and state laws about the requirements.

you may be required to credit or refund the tenant for any time that they cannot inhabit the premises.

2.  Again, check the laws in your state about how much notice you need to give a tenant on a month to month lease.  Here in Wisconsin it is 28 days.

3.  Check the laws and personally, I would just raise the rent and pay the utilities.  

4.  See answer to #1

5.  See the answer to #2.   Maybe raise rent?

I know most (well lets be honest ALL) of the answers involve knowing the law or getting legal advice, but as a landlord you want to make sure you are familiar with the requirements because it will come up. Good luck!!

Just to be clear, none of the above is legal advice, even the advice to get legal advice ;-)


would you move out of your house if you are having a roof done? Probably not. 

Hire an exterminator.

And get rid of the bad tenants now.

As far as animals, I require renters insurance, I don’t know the law in FL, but in WI if a tenants dong bites someone, and they don’t have renters insurance, the victim can come after the property owner

Agree with everything already written, but want to add the following:

1. I just did the roof on one of my 4-plexes with the tenants in place.  Home Depot, and they were done with all the work in a day.  I honestly don't think any local contractors can beat their prices.  HD was at least 30% cheaper than the other bids I got, and it's warrantied through HD, so don't really have to worry about them not being around for the life of the warranty.  Plus, you can finance at 0%.  

2. Based on what you described,  I'd make sure they pay rent this month first, then tell them they have to be out by February 1st.  However, check your local laws to make sure 60 days is enough.  It doesn't sound like either of your two tenants are worth keeping, and you want an excuse to rehab the property.  Just rip the band-aid off and get it done with.

3. Contact an electrician and see what the cost would be to put each property on its own meter.  It may cost a couple $k, but will save you from paying the tenants electricity, and you'll recoup your money in a couple years.  I agree with @Ray Harrell , splitting the utility bill between tenants is just opening up a can of worms.  If you can't put them on separate meters, I've seen several BP posts where the landlord charged the tenants a "utility fee" each month to recoup the cost.  It's not advertised in the rent price, but may scare off some tenants.  

Bottom line, take the time now to learn your state landlord tenant regulations. It is your responsibility as a business owner to know the law. You should have done so before you invested. No excuses now.

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