Inherited Tenants Refuse to sign New Lease

11 Replies

I did some searches on past forums and while I found some info, I couldn't find anything that was exactly similar to my scenario.

I purchased a quad-plex this past Nov.  The property was poorly managed and maintained.  All four units have existing tenants that were on verbal month-to-month leases. I had an Estoppel Agreement filled out prior to closing.  None of the tenants had signed a lease for the property, only one had a portion a security deposit. Three of the tenants seem like good tenants that I would like to keep.  However, one seemed like trouble (even when I was under contract).

Bottom line up front: The troublesome tenant is refusing to sign the lease, and is claiming that I am discriminating against her due to her disability (FYI the lease is almost exactly the same lease from @Brandon Turner 's book on managing rental properties).  Because she has not signed a lease on the property, and is now refusing to sign my lease I am assuming the law is on my side as the landlord/owner correct?  Does anyone have any advice?  Can I kick her out?  I know that eviction can be a long/expensive process, is this my only option if she doesn't sign?

For some additional background, the property is located in Florida.  She is paying well under market rent, but has paid on time.  I am having all the tenants sign month to month leases until May when I will then have them sign year long leases.  My plan was to keep this troublesome tenant on for the month to month until the summer when I would notify them that their lease would not be re-newed, and find a better tenant in the summer months.  I suspect she has drug related problems, and the police have been called to the property multiple times.

Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated.

Send her a notice of non-renewal in accordance with local law and list the property for rent. Don't give any reason, say as little as you can for that matter. If she isn't out by the date file for the eviction.

She would have to prove discrimination, which is not easy to do.

And sounds like you are treating her like everyone. You offered a signed lease. She is the only one that refused. Gives you a good reason now. So send her a 30 day notice.  And you just as well learn the eviction process now. If she will not move now it will be the same in the summer.

I would go ahead and give her a non-renewal notice. I believe you only have to give them a 30 day notice in Florida since they are m2m but check the landlord / tenant laws for the state. She sounds like she is only going to be a problem particularly since she has brought up the disability card. If she tries to send in the signed lease I would tell her the offer is off the plate. Then do whatever remodeling you need to do. Then rent out at market rents. You eliminate a problem tenant and increase your cash flow. Win win!

Ok thanks for the advice.  I knew she was going to be a troublesome tenant and this only pushed up my timeline.  I just wanted to make sure that I can legally do this.  The fact that there is no documentation for her tenancy made me assume that I had the upper hand. 

You are only required to give 15 days notice. However, I would try to give a little more advance notice so she can hopefully find a place. You don't want her sitting there claiming she cannot find some place to go. 

Since you now own in Florida google and print out chapter 83 FL statutes--part II...which is residential landlord-tenant laws. Get familiar with them. 

John Thedford, Real Estate Agent in FL (#BK3098153)
239-200-5600

How can she be claiming discrimination if you are asking her to sign the exact same lease as everyone else? It’s not like you have a specific “f):$& Paula clause”.

Originally posted by @James Canoy :

How can she be claiming discrimination if you are asking her to sign the exact same lease as everyone else? It’s not like you have a specific “f):$& Paula clause”.

That's easy. The same lease as everybody else may be disadvantageous to someone in a protected class. Not saying that is what has happened here.

I would give her the proper notice of non-renewal according to the Florida state laws. Moving forward I would also use a lease specific to your Florida's state laws.

If You wish to stay in control of your property I would advise you not go to term leases. This situation is a perfect example of the advantages you will lose with a term lease. When problems arise with a tenant a landlord with M2M leases simply non renews. With a term lease you would be forced to wait till the lease ends or be forced to go through a expensive eviction.

There are no advantages to a term lease when you consider you are turning over control of your property and the tenant still has the option to break their lease when ever they choose.

Use the FARBAR lease. I never give two year terms because markets change, but not only that, if they are a PITA you don't want to be stuck with them for two years.  BTW---security deposits MUST be held in a FL financial institution in a segregated account. Also, tenants must be notified where they are kept within 30 days of receipt. This is why you need to print out and learn chapter 83 part II. 

John Thedford, Real Estate Agent in FL (#BK3098153)
239-200-5600

Florida Attorney here. 

I just went through the same process with two inherited tenants in Brevard County. All the tenants on a month to month verbal lease or expired written leases. I came in and made everyone sign new leases immediately. 

Florida is actually a landlord friendly state if you are only looking for possession of the property and no back rent or other damages. I had my tenants out in about five weeks. Granted it was probably easier for me since I'm an attorney and I filed my own pleadings, but it is not a complicated process. PM me if you want any advice.     

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