Tenant not evacuating the apartment after 3 months

8 Replies

Hi BiggerPockets members, I inherited a section 8 tenant when I bought a house in DC. In October she had filed for an unscheduled Inspection. The apartment failed inspection and I arranged for the repairs to be made but the tenant would not cooperate. She didn’t communicate seriously and did not commit to a timeframe in advance so that I could schedule the repair crew. The time allowed for repairs passed and I don’t know how the inspector made the failing final. This means no rent for the landlord and the tenant has to evacuate. But the tenant hasn’t evacuated and I have lost three months of rent. I want to settle with her with the cash for keys method so I offered her $500 but she said $1,000. Now I have agreed with $1,000 but she says this is not enough and wants to file a lawsuit against me for damage from mildew and water leak! She has already found another place to live but isn’t evacuating my apartment. Some of her stuff are still in the apartment. What do you suggest I do? 1. Throw her stuff on the street and let her go forward with her lawsuit process? 2. Give her $1,000 and have her take her stuff and let her go forward with her lawsuit? 3. Ask her how much she wants and accept it? 4. Do you have any better option?

@Matt N.

Lawyer time. Give it one final shot - ask how much she needs to be out by Monday. In the mean-time, get on the phone with attorneys who represent LANDLORDS and get appointments set for Monday morning to protect your rights.

In the future, don't ask permission to enter. Post notice of your intent to enter under the time-frame prescribed by law, be it 24 or 48 hrs or howevermuch time. Then you and your repair crew enter. If they refuse to allow you entry, you file an eviction. In most jurisdictions "emergency" items like those that are likely tying up your section 8 payments need no notice and you can enter to repair asap.

If she has less than $500 worth of stuff in house you can enter your property and throw her stuff out as she has abandoned your property. Confirm this with your local Magistrate. I'd take pictures and a witness with you.

If she doesn't have utilities on the house is not habitable. Call code enforcement. They can put someone on the curb in 24 hours in my area.

Then I would get a professional inspection to hopefully counter any claims she has about condition of house.

Matthew and John thank you for your response. The tenant wants to file lawsuit against me! And asked me for $20k to settle out of court! What can she claim that may conclude with her getting $20k? She says the mold and mildew have caused problems for her. Well she’s responsible for maintenance and well keep of the apartment too. Isn’t this enforceable?
John I didn’t understand your point about Code Enforcement. Please explain with an example.

Get a lawyer. I think if she has another section 8 address she could be considered to have abandoned your place but check with a lawyer. If she says she is living there say ok I will Notify section 8 and then contact them and see what they say. If she isnt physically living there post notice to enter and make the repairs and see how long you have to store her stuff. If she is gonna sue she will, anyone can sue. Hope you can prove she was uncooperative with repairs.

I suggest keeping record of all your attempts to repair the issues.  Ultimately this will serve as proof as her impeding repairs.

She also seems to be a "professional" tenant- suggest getting a lawyer to have her out ASAP.

Don't wait to see if she sues. I hate to go to a lawyer too but she will be out of your life a lot faster with a lawyer than without. And then you can move on.

Once you get her out, you really need to hire a property manager. When the unit failed the inspection, she should have been given notice and forced to move. Use the court if necessary but get rid of her.

Now you want to pay her??? I manage over 300 rentals and have NEVER, EVER paid anyone to leave. Spend that money on an attorney so you can get her out AND get a judgment for everything owed. Even if you don't collect, you can at least send the judgment to collections and it will make it harder for her to screw over the next Landlord.

I'm sorry for being so blunt but "cash for keys" is for amateurs. There are always other options.

Thanks all for sharing your expertise. To let you know how my story went.

I got a lawyer in DC and the court hearing was held. The hearing ended with the judges decision that she has already abandoned the property and I can take control of the property. There will be an ad-junction court in March. This tenant is trying hard to rip me off. 

@Nathan When you say she should have been given notice and forced to move, I don't know if your experience has been in DC or other state(s), but I hear in DC it's very hard and time consuming to get a court order that will allow eviction of the tenant by force. If anyone has experience of eviction in DC please share.

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