Need to Owner Occupy: Tenant didn't sign original lease

6 Replies

Just closed on my first property (duplex) and I need help!

Long story short: The tenant does not have a signed lease (Owners may have forged, and I did not do proper due diligence) and I need to have her out. We've agreed to 60 days, however the written letter I've given her was to terminate her month to month lease, which is invalid because her signature isn't on it. What would you do? 

On top of that, I originally went to give a formal letter stating change of ownership, and to collect rent. I didn't bring up the rent collection because she was very angry and emotional. She had lived there for 18+ years, and it was overwhelming for her. How should I approach this situation? Please help a brotha out. Thanks! 

Updated 8 months ago

Update: I've been able to get a lease written up and signed by the tenant. She was very receptive and we've formed a relationship to the point that she's willing to vacate and have agreed to the terms. Thanks for all your help!!! Will keep everyone posted!

Your best option is to operate strictly on a business approach, No point in getting emotionally or personally involved, She has to go and that is all there is to it.

No signed lease means she has a verbal M2M. It is no different than a written lease. You are still terminating her M2M lease.

Give official notice as specified in your state landlord tenant regulations. Include with it a letter outlining all other expectations....  

Originally posted by @Naftali Tolibas :

Thanks @Thomas S. How do I collect rent if there’s no specified date? Is it assumed on the 1st? 

 under a month to month, oral lease, rent is usually assumed due on the 1st, unless they prove previous rent payments were accepted on a different date, i.e. every check is given on the 15th.

Give her proper notice to vacate (as per your state's laws), then when she doesn't move out, proceed directly with a holdover eviction proceeding (I think also called an "unlawful detainer" in some jurisdictions).

Regarding when rent payment is due, what @Andrew Boettcher mentions sounds right, but check your state landlord/tenant laws to be sure.  You could also ask a local attorney.  Since this is a professional you'll need at some point in your landlording career, it might be helpful to start forging that relationship now.

@Naftali Tolibas I know I have commented on about all of your post but we are in similar shoes! I just met with an attorney about 4 weeks ago. I paid for 1.5 hours of his time to make sure I understood my state laws clearly and have him look over my lease that I created...This was expensive but its just one of those business expenses that I felt I needed to do. 

He said to me that in the case that there is no lease signed, each state has its own landlord laws to abide by. If there is no lease signed, you must go by your states minimum standards. I would look online for your states eviction laws, and go strictly by that. Make sure you let that tenant know that she is not being evicted and it will not go on her record. (Properly document everything!), at the end of the 30 days If she doesn't vacate, that is when you go through the court process. 

I would go ahead and sign a lease with the other tenant as soon as possible. Check out made my lease from there and had my attorney check it out. He said it looked pretty solid, he changed a few things but overall, its a great site. 

I have run into this before @Naftali Tolibas . My lawyer advised me the easiest approach is to have my tenant sign a lease, even if it's month-to-month. Then you can go through the process of legally removing (evicting or not renewing). 

A few blog posts about my experience (I'm certain yours won't be this bad):

First step, you have to have a legal lease to take legal action on removing an unwanted tenant. 

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