Nightmare Tenant: Help!

14 Replies

Anti-social personalities (aka sociopaths) can fool the best of us but I ignored the red flags, so this is on me.  "Kathy" is a 32 yr. old dog groomer who moved into my 1864 walk-up in early March.  Her first month's rent/security deposit check bounced. She apologized crocodile tears.  I told her I would need a cashier's check from her bank.  She calls to tell me she has mailed me a "money order" and I should get it before Easter,  but "the mail runs late" during the holidays so it may take a few more days.  Eh heh.  The money order never arrived.  She declares it has been stolen!  She must put a trace on it and I will get my rent and deposit once it is traced, which can take a few weeks.  Wrong!  I tell her I am starting eviction proceedings.  Crocodile tears and begging.  I tell her legally she has ten days to pay and so, on the tenth day she drives on my doorstep and gives me a cashier's check.  Anyone getting a migraine yet?

Her background check came back with some misdemeanor traffic tickets.  The background check failed to mention she was wanted for fraud and theft.  Basically, on several occasions she has taken customer's cards and charged thousands of dollars.  I personally talked to an 80 year old woman yesterday who told me she had been charged a total of $4,080 (just under grand theft) through several transactions. The elderly woman had her dog groomed once and she gets charged $4,080 over ten separate transactions?  Her bank refunded her and the police said it was fraud but my tenant has not been arrested.  Another customer paid $40 for her dog to have a bath and her card was charged $400!  Kathy claimed, "Opps! I don't know how that extra zero got on there!"  The lady has not be reimbursed.

Two days ago I received a call from a neighboring tenant who reported "Kathy's" dog was being left in the apartment for 12+hours at a time and the smell of dog feces in the common hallway was so bad it was unbearable.  She reported garbage being left in the common hallway for days (no trash in hallway!) with dog food spilled through a spilled bag.  Another tenant complained the dog cried and howled all night from being alone they never got any sleep.  One tenant sent me an audio of the dog crying outside Kathy's door and honestly, guys, I couldn't listen to it.  

I contacted the Humane Society and the officer told me the dog was being neglected and abused.  His advice, however, was to attempt to evict her on the clause in my lease where she has disturbed the "quiet enjoyment" of the other tenants.  He stated, however, if he needed to come in, he would.  

I have gotten advice from other landlords telling me to send her a registered letter stating she had 48 hours to remove the dog (based on x, y, z) or the eviction process would begin. I would feel better about everything if I got advice from you guys.  Please don't slap my hands too hard.  I have beaten myself up plenty.  Thank you in advance.  Francie

What exactly is your question? Your post is all over the place. Is she current on rent? Why is her background check relevant if you already accepted her as a tenant? Is she even allowed to have a dog? 

p.s. Side note, next time don’t accept a personal check for first month’s rent & deposit. 

If she is current on rent - and especially if not - start the eviction process under “quiet enjoyment” if your locality allows it, or under anything else you can factually claim, ASAP.

The fact that she has not been arrested yet is likely only because a case like this goes from the victim (1) learning about the crime, (2) contacting credit card to confirm, (3) making a police report. Given that you were able to track down these two victims, it is clear who the suspect is - (4) (because this is not a case where the suspect was still there when the cops arrived, or “hot pursuit”) the police report goes to the DA’s office, and an arrest warrant gets issued. What that means is that she is likely about to spend some time in jail, pre-trial (does not sound like she can afford bail,) and perhaps be sentenced to a term. In any case, no work, no money. The only potential benefit in that case to you is in serving her - you know where to find her, and can have the sheriff do it. But you don’t know how the eviction judge may look at the whole situation. And who will be taking care of the animal if she gets arrested away from the residence - the cops don’t know there is an unattended animal at her (your) place...

Time is of the essence.

Don’t be hard on yourself - you did a background check, which fell short. (Though, I’d be curious to know how you later learned about the fraud cases - perhaps you should not explain publicly.) From your story it is clear that she is a scammer. I’ve had those, and may again. I am yet to meet anyone who is 100% immune 100% of the time. Still waiting for that vaccine to hit the market.

Don't send her a letter telling her to remove the dog, you want her out, if she gets rid of the dog you'll be back to square one, start the eviction process,asap on the grounds that she violated the lease, and don't beat yourself up too much. I once let to a tenant who claimed he had no credit history because he paid cash for everything, he was a minister,he sounded great , as soon as he moved in he was partying and indulging in various un minister like activities, a google search turned up the fact that he'd spent 20 years in jail for murder and was making up for all the lost time. He stopped  paying his rent two months after he moved in , it took another 7 months to get him out. I ended up having to help him physically pack his [email protected] because he was trying to move with a shopping cart

Ouch that was hard to follow. So you gave an apartment to someone without receiving rent or a deposit ahead of time?

Is she current on rent? At this point you need a PM. I see these posts all the time. Someone tries to self manage, thing go awry and then they ask BP what to do. Find a professional. It’ll be way less stressful

So, she got you deposit and March rent by end of March. Has she paid April and May on time? If she hasn't, I would definitely start the eviction route, as it will be much more difficult for you, if she's in jail. Then you'll have to transport and store her things somewhere etc. But those requirements can differ in your area, so, you need to be familiar with NC dispossessories. Definitely don't wait. It'd be much easier, if she were to pack up her things and move out on her own, because she might hear that the police knows where she lives. You could maybe let that slip.........

Offer her her deposit back, if she moved before end of the month. It'd likely be cheaper than having to go through the whole eviction route. And maybe less potential damage. 

I couldn’t make it past the first paragraph

I never would have given her the keys. 

Deposit, first and last always have to be in cash 

Sounds like you don’t want her. Call an Atty ask how to get rid of her. 

Think of the $400 Atty fee as a very cheap tuition to landlord school 

I'd keep her.  She'll probably turn it around pretty soon and be a great tenant for years to come, never causing damage to the property, won't give you excuses, and will always pay on time.  Plus she'll make the neighbors enjoy living there and tenant retention will be great along with possibly improved rental prices.

I apologize my post was so nuts. I have 6 doors and I have always been careful and have never had problems with a tenant before. Thank you to the people who were supportive and told me not to beat myself up too much. Hindsight is always 20/20! I've never posted on here before. I think I should stick to reading threads. 

AI D, 

  Thank you. It did not occur to she still may be going to jail, which would be a mess. I found out about the credit card scams/fraud by reading reviews of her dog grooming business online. I was able to confirm charges through public records. It wasn't difficult to get the numbers of her victims. The elderly lady was pleased to talk and 

undersoon I had business with "Kathy" and didn't ask questions. She did say I was not the first person to #metoo call her. 

     Maria Theresa, what a horrible thing to have happened  I do appreciate your insight. It had not occurried to  she may go to tail and then I would really be in a pickle!  With a dog. 

      I thought Bigger Pockets was a place where a person could come for insight feedback and advice regardless. It seems rather  presumptuous to label me as " one of those people" who make a mistake and then "run to Bigger Pockets".  My husband has been a member of BP for 4 years, we listen to podcasts and webinars for entertainment and wetake to heartball said from other investors. We are both very aware of what we did wrong. I was under the impression thisvis acgoid place to come when things go bad and  do you understand things could get worse. 

     The tenant is paid uptil June 1st. Getting those cashiers checks came after a ten day eviction notice. To the person who said " I don't want her", that really isn't the case. If she pays her rent on time and takes care of her dog, I would rather not have the aggravation. But we all know the best indicator of future behavior is past behavior. 

     Again, I do apologize if my first post was too random to comprehend. I  had a slight stroke in 2005 and when my brain is tired my thoughts sometimes get jumbled. Have a good week everyone. 

Updated about 3 years ago

Yes. Tired brain. Lol!! Typo's galore!

@francie, don’t let these comments stop you from posting again on here or seeking advice. People forget we all have been in situations where we made mistakes. I would get animal control to remove the dog, especially if the dog is being abused and neglected. I would evict her the first window of opportunity you have. Keep your head high!!

@Francie Hartsog my post wasn’t meant to offend just that it was hard to read and understand.  You made it sound like you gave an apartment to someone without rent or deposit and then both of the checks bounced.  Now it sounds like that wasn’t the case.  

If she pays on time and is otherwise not an issue probably keep her but don’t renew the lease.  

Good luck 

Thank you my friends. I take full responsibility for not always being totally clear. You should see my husband's face sometime (engineer  fact based vs. psychotherapist feeling based), but hey!!.It works!  Even if I have to take a loss it will be worth it to get rid of her. Thank you all and for your patience if y'all ever have a "parenting your teen" question, it's on me!😎