tenant threatens me with "serious actions" over minor repairs

11 Replies

I woke up to this text this morning from my tenants new roommate Tom. He moved in a few months ago with my permission.

"Good morning- hope you are doing well? Regard your home on Atkins and my addendum. First I'm looking for you to be fair with Yari . Second I'm very disappointed as there is still no direct air from cooler into the room used by Yari. Second we need to discuss the spraying of bugs and weeds. I'm not allowed to be around poisons while in chemotherapy. We had ants yesterday in my food . What is your plan? I need that by this MO. Also please change the cooler pads as the salts are sprayed all over my bed, the living room etc. Again I'm not supposed to breath pollutants while on chemo. Failure to ignore and respond by this MO will start serious actions by myself. Would rather work with you for sure."

First no one has requested direct air not even Yari. Second insects and yard care are the responsibility of the tennent according to the lease. Third the cooler pads are relatively new more than likely I put too large of a pump in the cooler. I don't mind making repairs and improvements. Ive already added updux in the bed rooms and installed a programmable thermostat at the Toms request but when you threaten me I don't want to do anything for you.

Just now I received a call from Yari. She got a job offer out of state and is moving in a couple of weeks. Her lease isn't up until December and she has agreed she will continue paying her part of the lease until a replacement is found and I have agreed to help her find a replacement.

I will look at the cooler and remind them of their responsibilities. I am willing to let the yard work slide for the time being so long as the weeds are cleaned out when the tenants vacate the property. I don't know what can be done about bugs without using (which have never been a problem until now).

I guess I'm looking for advice on how to handle these new developments. Also what kind of accommodations do I need to provide for my tenant who has cancer?

@Tom R. Follow the lease to a T . Your not running a rental NOT a cancer ward so just be sure to get everything in writing when dealing with this idiot . I’d be looking to get rid of this fella as soon as legally possible

Unfortunately he hasn't given me any reason to evict him. When I get a new tenant to replace the one leaving I will have a new lease drawn up and make sure it is iron tight.

Sounds like you just have a complainer of a tenant. Work with him but unless he starts deducting rent I would try not to stress out about it too much. In the future roommates should be required to pay in one payment so the splinting doesn't affect you. They have to figure it out themselves. If pest control is their responsibility in the lease, he can take care of the bugs. 

Originally posted by @Tom R. :

Unfortunately he hasn't given me any reason to evict him. When I get a new tenant to replace the one leaving I will have a new lease drawn up and make sure it is iron tight.

 how you going to switch out leases... if it's month to month just no renew.

Be as professional as you can, as tempting as it may be to do otherwise. Just let him know what is his responsibility per the lease and what you will take care of. It's best if all correspondence is in writing, especially when someone threatens serious actions. 

A few thoughts:

1.  Do the words "Jointly and severally" mean anything to you?  They should be in every lease.  Simply put, they hold all tenants individually and as a group responsible for the rent and any damages.  

2.  Tell your tenants NO MORE TEXT messages.  Email or written requests only.  I understand, we all just love to text, however an email is much easier to read, reproduce, search...  and it won't disturb you as much during sleeping or driving.

3.  Tell them to RTFM (i.e. read the lease).  The lease should CLEARLY state the terms and conditions of being a tenant in your property.  If they don't make it priority #1 to get it straightened out.

4.  If the tenant does not live up to their end of the agreement, for example, their job to do landscape work, let them know you will have it done professionally, and add the bill onto their regular rent as 'added rent' (another term that should be in your lease.)

5.  Fear no tenant--accept no threats.  Ask the tenant directly "what does 'serious actions by myself' mean exactly?"  Tell them you read that language as a threat to you, and ask Is that what they meant it to be?

6.  Allow a graceful way out for the tenant.  When they back down, ease up, smile and say, "ok, good.  Now that we're on the same page, lets see what really needs to be done, and who's responsible for what."

7.  IMO it's fantasy land to think the tenant that's leaving will be paying rent to you after they are gone.  Hope this dream actually comes true for you.  First chance you get, lose Tom.

Get a little stronger with the tenant, and good luck.

@Mark Winter The roommate addendum states that both are responsible for the total rent. So if one pays and the other doesn't I believe I can evict both. Its california so I'm not 100% sure how well that holds up.  

@Tom R. I would take care of the cooling problem only. I would also remind both of them that according to their lease they are responsible for the yard and bugs. If they don’t do it I would hire someone to maintain the yard and charge them for it. I would not let it slide or they will never do it.
@Tom R. Also the only accommodation I would make for the tenant with cancer is to let him out of his lease early so that he can find a more suitable place to live. I would not make any other accommodations.
Sounds like a jerk. Ants in his food could be totally his issue, doesnt tell you anything. Send a formal email, follow the lease and take care of issues clearly yours per lease. Point out that he is free to employee natural remedies for ants if he wishes. If it is your responsibility send an exterminator when he is out as an accommadation. For weeds and such let him know it is his responsibility. Other than maybe an initial acknowledgement I would leave any cancer chemotherapy out of your emails. That will help you in the long run if you eventually have to get him out.
@Tom R. I would not be doing the roommate thing in the future if it were me . This is a trend in the landlord section of nutcase roommates like this guy causing trouble . I would ask him if he’s “ Yari’s “ personal assistance or the union steward . If mr yari has an issue why is this goofball speaking for him ? Second I’d find out exactly what this clownmeant by “more serious actions “ that are about to take place ? Is homeboy going to beat you up now because of a random ant on his sandwich ? landlording is a difficult business and requires extreme self control and patience in situations like this