Evictions - some attitude adjustment?

23 Replies

So your tenant is 5 days late or whatever and you are a business not a charity, time to crank up the only remedy in your arsenal, it's off to the courthouse to file eviction.

Evictions - I've had a few - they both took 4-5 months from start to finish during which time no rent was collected. One was a holdover who refused to vacate after an acquisition and was thrown out by the sheriff the other stopped paying and sat in the house until eviction day and then left peacefully before the sheriff showed up.

But of course it is going to take  ages to get a date for an eviction case,  the system is clogged up with filings from landlords against tenants who are "5" days or whatever late and who are in effect abusing the eviction process to get their tenant to pay. 

Yes I said abusing the eviction process, because the remedy in an eviction case is not the unpaid rent, it is the removal of the tenant. So the people that  genuinely need to get a tenant out have to wait ages and lose lots of money because of the volume of frivolous eviction suits brought by landlords who are really trying to get paid.

Does that attitude work for the betterment of all, or are landlords by aggregate of their behavior actually shooting themselves in the foot.

Here is an analogy for you. Suppose there were a limited number of doctors in your locality and everybody asked to see one whenever they had a headache. What would be the collective effect on the health of the community as a whole.

Landlords, as you say, are in business;  a professional businessperson is an expert in their chosen field--in this case your state's L/T law.

Are there other alternatives to filing for non-payment?  One could try actually speaking with the recalcitrant tenant to find out what is the holdup in payment and when payment will be made.

Remind them aware of the consequences of non-payment.  I would use a non-emotional, matter-of-fact approach.

Rather use a carrot than a stick?  Try a 'cash for keys' approach with the tenant.  That's right, you PAY them to move.  You might give them a month's rent to move, but according to your story you'll lose 4 or 5 months through the court system.

How long are you willing to wait? The more time a tenant goes without paying, the greater the percentages are you will NEVER see the payment.

You know this is a business; if you don't like the rules in your state, invest in another location with rules you can live with.  Or change your investing strategy; owning rental property/landlording  is not for everyone.  

The analogy about the doctor/headache--doesn't play quite right, imho.  There are no legal consequences to taking your own aspirin, or going to another doctor, or just suffering.  There are serious legal and financial ramifications for landlords who do not follow the L/T laws, ie 'self-help' evictions.

Good luck.

I agree with @Marc Winter , cash for keys is often a reasonable solution for both parties. I have only had a few evictions, but I have honestly found it very effective to over communicate with those tenants about the process and my intentions. What I usually do is come up with a plan and series of deadlines for them to meet to avoid eviction and tell them that if they miss any of those deadlines, I have to evict. I make it clear that this is not my preference and if I am forced to evict, that is a choice that they have made, not me. It's worked really well, and the handful of times I've had to evict tenants, they've actually apologized to me for "making" me evict them and causing me stress and have left without me paying them cash or having to go through the formal eviction process. Obviously that won't always be the case, but it can work.

Originally posted by @Marc Winter :

Landlords, as you say, are in business;  a professional businessperson is an expert in their chosen field--in this case your state's L/T law.

Are there other alternatives to filing for non-payment?  One could try actually speaking with the recalcitrant tenant to find out what is the holdup in payment and when payment will be made.

Remind them aware of the consequences of non-payment.  I would use a non-emotional, matter-of-fact approach.

Rather use a carrot than a stick?  Try a 'cash for keys' approach with the tenant.  That's right, you PAY them to move.  You might give them a month's rent to move, but according to your story you'll lose 4 or 5 months through the court system.

How long are you willing to wait? The more time a tenant goes without paying, the greater the percentages are you will NEVER see the payment.

You know this is a business; if you don't like the rules in your state, invest in another location with rules you can live with.  Or change your investing strategy; owning rental property/landlording  is not for everyone.  

The analogy about the doctor/headache--doesn't play quite right, imho.  There are no legal consequences to taking your own aspirin, or going to another doctor, or just suffering.  There are serious legal and financial ramifications for landlords who do not follow the L/T laws, ie 'self-help' evictions.

Good luck.

B4 assuming that the longer the wait for the rent the less likely the tenant will pay one would do well to look at things from the tenant point of view, because as a delinquent tenant once said to me when I offered to let her out of her lease "It costs money to move".

Here's the math. If you stiff your landlord you'll lose your security deposit (at least a months rent), you will need at least 2 months rent to put down on your new place and it could easily cost you a couple of grand to move. That could easily amount to 5 months rent,  plus you have the inconvenience and uncertainty of not knowing where you are going to be living and the consequences of a bad tenant reference and maybe an unpaid judgement against you. 

So while there is a point at which the numbers favour the tenant stiffing the landlord it certainly isn't within the first 30 days of being late and even within the first 60 it probably still makes more financial sense for them to pay their rent than walk away unless they won't be paying rent at their destination. So there is an  economic rationale for a landlord not to be too quick to rush off to file an eviction.

Originally posted by @Ihe O. :

So your tenant is 5 days late or whatever and you are a business not a charity, time to crank up the only remedy in your arsenal, it's off to the courthouse to file eviction.

Evictions - I've had a few - they both took 4-5 months from start to finish during which time no rent was collected. One was a holdover who refused to vacate after an acquisition and was thrown out by the sheriff the other stopped paying and sat in the house until eviction day and then left peacefully before the sheriff showed up.

But of course it is going to take  ages to get a date for an eviction case,  the system is clogged up with filings from landlords against tenants who are "5" days or whatever late and who are in effect abusing the eviction process to get their tenant to pay. 

Yes I said abusing the eviction process, because the remedy in an eviction case is not the unpaid rent, it is the removal of the tenant. So the people that  genuinely need to get a tenant out have to wait ages and lose lots of money because of the volume of frivolous eviction suits brought by landlords who are really trying to get paid.

Does that attitude work for the betterment of all, or are landlords by aggregate of their behavior actually shooting themselves in the foot.

Here is an analogy for you. Suppose there were a limited number of doctors in your locality and everybody asked to see one whenever they had a headache. What would be the collective effect on the health of the community as a whole.

 AHHH.... the forever supporter of the tenant.  You do realize that in states like Texas we can get a tenant out in +-21 days ?  Yes it will happen during that period and evictions for non-payment of rent are simple and do not require a lawyer.  

Most evictions I’ve been told take 3-5 weeks ... also I’d post a pay or quit notice before filing an eviction.

I file ASAP because they do take 3-6 months. In my state if you get a favorable ruling from a judge that the tenant will get locked out you have almost a zero percent chance of collecting any of that 6 months of back due rent. Almost as if the judge thinks they are doing you a favor. In fact, even if the back due rent is held in court escrow and you get a favorable ruling, 9/10 times you won’t see any of that money because you “Won”.

Originally posted by @Greg H. :
Originally posted by @Ihe O.:

So your tenant is 5 days late or whatever and you are a business not a charity, time to crank up the only remedy in your arsenal, it's off to the courthouse to file eviction.

Evictions - I've had a few - they both took 4-5 months from start to finish during which time no rent was collected. One was a holdover who refused to vacate after an acquisition and was thrown out by the sheriff the other stopped paying and sat in the house until eviction day and then left peacefully before the sheriff showed up.

But of course it is going to take  ages to get a date for an eviction case,  the system is clogged up with filings from landlords against tenants who are "5" days or whatever late and who are in effect abusing the eviction process to get their tenant to pay. 

Yes I said abusing the eviction process, because the remedy in an eviction case is not the unpaid rent, it is the removal of the tenant. So the people that  genuinely need to get a tenant out have to wait ages and lose lots of money because of the volume of frivolous eviction suits brought by landlords who are really trying to get paid.

Does that attitude work for the betterment of all, or are landlords by aggregate of their behavior actually shooting themselves in the foot.

Here is an analogy for you. Suppose there were a limited number of doctors in your locality and everybody asked to see one whenever they had a headache. What would be the collective effect on the health of the community as a whole.

 AHHH.... the forever supporter of the tenant.  You do realize that in states like Texas we can get a tenant out in +-21 days ?  

 Then the discussion doesn't apply to and would seem to have nothing to offer you.

Originally posted by @Chris Connery :

I file ASAP because they do take 3-6 months. In my state if you get a favorable ruling from a judge that the tenant will get locked out you have almost a zero percent chance of collecting any of that 6 months of back due rent. Almost as if the judge thinks they are doing you a favor. In fact, even if the back due rent is held in court escrow and you get a favorable ruling, 9/10 times you won’t see any of that money because you “Won”.

So I have 2 questions.

1. What for you is ASAP? 

2. When you file do you want your money or do you want the tenant gone.

@Ihe O.

I definitely understand the point you’re making.

1) As soon as their grace period is over. Which is the 4th. If they don’t have a legitimate excuse for being late that’s when I’ll send their letter.

2) that really depends on the tenant. There’s been several times where I’ve inherited a tenant on a property I acquired and the first chance they had with me they didn’t pay rent. Those I want to get out. Tenants that treat the property like **** I want out. Habitually late payment tenants are the biggest headache tenants there is. If you have the chance to get them out I would. 

It’s rare that I just want the money, because I know it doesn’t just end there.

Eviction time to get rid of the tenant depends on state law and city rules... New York and San Francisco are tenant friendly. 

In AZ, it took 1 week after filing for case to see court, and tenant was out in 2 weeks from filing, but then there is no recouping the legal fee of $300 because tenant was late 1 month+.

There is a lot of wisdom on seeing it the tenant's way: there is a cost of deposit + move. Tenant will often pay rent and legal fee to stay.

@Ihe O. If it takes “4-5 months from start to finish” for an eviction in your area, can you really blame the other landlords for filing as soon as possible? That’s a ridiculously long time. No sense waiting and just dragging it out even longer when you have a tenant who isn’t paying and won’t leave. 

Originally posted by @Kyle J. :

@Ihe O. If it takes “4-5 months from start to finish” for an eviction in your area, can you really blame the other landlords for filing as soon as possible? That’s a ridiculously long time. No sense waiting and just dragging it out even longer when you have a tenant who isn’t paying and won’t leave. 

The 4 to 5 months refers to the delay in the court system. 

At what point do you personally decide that a tenant isn't paying rent and won't leave.

When a tenant does not pay rent on time a landlord sends a reminder notice that is generally referred to as a pay or quit notice. This informs the tenant that they are late and they have two choices.

The tenants actions going forward determines the path a landlord must then take to protect their business.

Time is money. You can not wait to see if your headache is going to be a brain tumor. If the tenant pays immediately the headache goes away. If they do not pay the legal process continues.

Ihe O -- "B4 assuming that the longer the wait for rent the less likely the tenant will pay..."

This is not assumption.  These are the percentages, derived from the facts--hundreds of tenants spanning a period of many years.  If you'd like to make your own assumptions and look at it from the tenant's side, that's your business. 

Perhaps charity or social work might have a place in your landlording strategy;  it does not in mine.  

This is a business.  Learn your laws, facts and percentages.  Treat everyone equally (we DONT make exceptions--that can be seen as discriminatory).  I can imagine it now, "You gave Mrs. Blue a few month's grace period, but you won't give me, Mrs. Purple the same treatment!  Why?  Are you pro-Blue or anti-Purple?" 

Originally posted by @Marc Winter :

Ihe O -- "B4 assuming that the longer the wait for rent the less likely the tenant will pay..."

This is not assumption.  These are the percentages, derived from the facts--hundreds of tenants spanning a period of many years.  If you'd like to make your own assumptions and look at it from the tenant's side, that's your business. 

If a tenant opts not to pay his/her landlord and run the eviction gauntlet they lose their deposit, have to pay at least 2 months  to get in somewhere else and have  to pay moving costs. They are looking at 4-5 months rent minimum to get into another rental and that's just the money side of their equation because they are going to face other difficulties getting another decent rental.  

Now if your world that is an assumption rather than a fact that's fine. There are plenty of others on the forum with whom it  is still possible to have this discussion with.

Originally posted by @Chris Connery :

The north east is typically tenant friendly states. SO in my opinion it’s every landlord for themselves.

Yes and the volume of cases that philosophy generates is why your process takes 3-6 months.  I get that you feel you have to ride but you see it's a  vicious cycle

You're right. Business is business, if it costs more money to go to court cash for keys is the answer. Iv been to court to waste $1500 on a professional tenant who destroyed the unit and Iv paid $500 to get the keys back and the unit in perfect condition in half the time.

Originally posted by @Greg H. :
Originally posted by @Ihe O.:

So your tenant is 5 days late or whatever and you are a business not a charity, time to crank up the only remedy in your arsenal, it's off to the courthouse to file eviction.

Evictions - I've had a few - they both took 4-5 months from start to finish during which time no rent was collected. One was a holdover who refused to vacate after an acquisition and was thrown out by the sheriff the other stopped paying and sat in the house until eviction day and then left peacefully before the sheriff showed up.

But of course it is going to take  ages to get a date for an eviction case,  the system is clogged up with filings from landlords against tenants who are "5" days or whatever late and who are in effect abusing the eviction process to get their tenant to pay. 

Yes I said abusing the eviction process, because the remedy in an eviction case is not the unpaid rent, it is the removal of the tenant. So the people that  genuinely need to get a tenant out have to wait ages and lose lots of money because of the volume of frivolous eviction suits brought by landlords who are really trying to get paid.

Does that attitude work for the betterment of all, or are landlords by aggregate of their behavior actually shooting themselves in the foot.

Here is an analogy for you. Suppose there were a limited number of doctors in your locality and everybody asked to see one whenever they had a headache. What would be the collective effect on the health of the community as a whole.

 AHHH.... the forever supporter of the tenant.  You do realize that in states like Texas we can get a tenant out in +-21 days ?  Yes it will happen during that period and evictions for non-payment of rent are simple and do not require a lawyer.  

 And, the first step in the eviction is a notice to the tenants before filing, so they have this time to make payment if they want.

After reading again, I believe what @Ihe O. was stating was that landlords should be more patient and eventually a tenant will pay.  I think most long term landlords on BP can dismiss this as the reality is most tenants never get caught up or have little intent to do so.  The exception might be around income tax time but why would a landlord take that chance?

The reality is that $1000-2000 might as well be a $1 million

Originally posted by @Greg H. :

After reading again, I believe what @Ihe O. was stating was that landlords should be more patient and eventually a tenant will pay.  I think most long term landlords on BP can dismiss this as the reality is most tenants never get caught up or have little intent to do so.  The exception might be around income tax time but why would a landlord take that chance?

The reality is that $1000-2000 might as well be a $1 million

No that is not what I am saying. The question mark at the end of the topic heading is there for a reason. I get that the problem being discussed here doesn't apply in your state. 

Please don't disrupt the discussion.