Long Term Tenant question

10 Replies

Hi everyone, 

I inherited a tenant who has lived in the property for 26 years. He is a good tenant and pays on time. He is in his 70's and has recently been having some medical issues. Twice the ambulance had to be called because he was disoriented and couldn't remember where he was. First time he thought someone broke into his house, but it was just him being disoriented and knocking things over and the second time he walked into the neighbors house and was stumbling around. Each time he has had to stay in the hospital for about 3-4 days. He doesnt have any family that he is close to. We are thinking ahead and wondering what happens, if he has to longer stay in the hospital and cant pay his rent or if he can no longer live on his own... Do we evict? We obviously dont want to evict him because he has medical issues, but we also cannot afford to let him live there for free. We are just thinking about the future, so far he pays on time! 

One thing that might help is to set him up on some sort of automatic rent payment process so that, if/when he is in the hospital for 3-4 days around the first of the month, the rent still gets paid.  I'm guessing he's retired and has income coming in, so he should still be getting paid if he's in the hospital.  That just leaves the question of how the rent gets paid to you, which setting it up for automatic payment would solve. 

Beyond that, there's not much you can do except follow your lease and the law.  If he doesn't pay rent, serve the proper notice, and evict if it comes to that.  You certainly can't evict though for "medical issues" or because "he can no longer live on his own". 

Thanks @Kyle J. ! I didnt think of the automatic payment. That is a great idea. 

Yes, I guess what I was trying to say didnt come out typed right. But we are wondering if his medical condition worsens and he cannot pay because he is away for an extended period of time... than do we serve him a notice? Seems like a terrible time to give someone notice they have to leave. But I see that an automatic payment may solve this! 

thanks!

Originally posted by @Nicole Collins :

Thanks @Kyle J. ! I didnt think of the automatic payment. That is a great idea. 

Yes, I guess what I was trying to say didnt come out typed right. But we are wondering if his medical condition worsens and he cannot pay because he is away for an extended period of time... than do we serve him a notice? Seems like a terrible time to give someone notice they have to leave. But I see that an automatic payment may solve this! 

thanks!

 Unless your state has some weird law, preventing you from proceeding with eviction, due to health issues. You really have no choice.  If you find out the hospital he's at, and maybe drop by and see what his condition is. I know it may sound heartless, but say he goes into a coma, you aren't legally allowed to enter the house and rerent, without a formal eviction process. So you would have no choice but to file for eviction, I would guess.  Then tell the judge the situation. Likely you would have to pay to have his stuff moved to a storage unit, then you could rerent the unit.  You shouldn't have to be losing out on rent, just because someone else, unfortunately had health issues.

But hopefully it does not come to that.

Thanks @Gabe G. for your input! Yea, we have a good relationship with him, so we will have a real talk with him and set up a plan so that if, god forbid, something serious does happen, things are taken care of. I think he has early signs of Alzheimers or dementia... During his last episode he bought an RV, he doesn't remember buying. Which was a very spontaneous purchase because he didnt have a place to park it. It's just been a crazy experience we never anticipated having to deal with as landlords! 

Just my thoughts. Since this poor guy has no one watching out for him, you may want to talk to someone at your local Office for the Aging. They may have some ideas- volunteers, surrogates, caregivers etc. They may have a mechanism to appoint a guardian.   It can’t hurt to ask- and I know that as a landlord you can’t get emotionally involved- but it would be a kindness just as a fellow human being to see if you can get help for him. 

You should seek out the assistance of a local health unit or Alzheimer's group. If possible you should be working to get him moved out before your problems get worse.  The sooner you can get rid of him the lower your risk. He is a extremely high risk tenant due to the possibility of leaving a stove on or a tap on either of which can cause extensive damage.

You need to find a way to get him out asap. 

Since you have a relationship with him, let him know that you are concerned about him and ask him for the name, phone number, and address of at least one emergency contact. In the event that he die, becomes gravely I’ll, or ends up in a hospital without your knowledge you will need someone to call.

Thanks @Eileen Murray , yes its been tough not getting involved since we live on the property with him. He is a veteran and the neighbors house he walked into is also a veteran, so he offered to contact someone he has connections with in that community to find out what services are available to help him. 

@Thomas S. Thanks for your comment Thomas. That is true, I didnt think of that. Since he has been there so long (26 years) its been really hard for him to accept change, he gets really emotional. But, I do agree... 

Yes, we have his sons information on the lease. But his son is paralyzed. So we will be sure to get another emergency contact. @Amy Beth

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