What can I do legally?

4 Replies

I recently purchased my first multi family property (2 townhouse duplexes). I closed on the property on July 2nd. Rent is due on the 1st and late by the 5th. Everyone paid on time except one. After multiple calls and text on the 6th I finally get an answer that she is leaving. I inform her that she has to give me at least 30 day notice (GA law). Obviously she could care less. She drags her feet and finally leaves on the 15th. Here is where I messed up. So on the lease it includes her and her now ex husband. They are recently divorced (June 2018). So sometime In June she kIcked him out. The husband approached me around July 12th and asked if he could move back into the apartment after she left. I agreed to let him move in but he would have to pay a new security deposit and rent would be going up. He agreed and everything was set for him to move in on the 20th. Since then it’s been a back and forth “I’ll be able to pay you rent and move in tomorrow blah blah blah.” After all that he decided yesterday morning that he wasn’t going to be able to move in since he couldn’t afford it. Here is the kicker. The wife was going to leave a couch and a bed for him for when he moves in. She instead leaves everything plus a huge mess. She turned her keys into me the day she moved out. She has yet to pay me July rent. Like I said both names are still on the lease. Do I evict them? Or is there a better route? I need their stuff gone ASAP so I can get another tenant in. This has definitely been a good learning experience for a newbie investor. Regards, Jeff

First of all, I am not a lawyer and can only speak from my own experience. My one question is: Have they signed a new lease in any form? If so, you will need to go through the eviction process.

Otherwise, in Ohio at least. I would hire a junk removal place to take all their stuff to a storage unit. It has to be stored there for 12 months I believe and you must provide them with the location. You can attempt to charge them for the storage unit rental, but wont have much luck I would assume. This is certainly an additional cost to you but part and parcel to the rental game. Before you transition to a new tenant, make sure you complete a move out checklist (you can download one as part of @Brandon Turner landlording book extras) and send it to the former tenant.

Not receiving 30 day notice from a tenant is a common problem. This is how we work around it. Collect a double security deposit. The first part acts a your security against damage, per normal. The second half goes to pay their last months rent, since you have their money on file, they call you to tell you they are moving in a month, and you use that money to pay their final rent payment. In ohio you do have to pay interest on any amount above a one month security deposit, but rates being what they are the cost is minimal and far outweighed by the benefit of actual notice.

@David Hildebrandt no there was never a new leased signed. The only thing that has me hesitant on moving their stuff out is that there was an agreement between the husband and me that he would move in after she left. Since she kept stuff there for him I thought I wouldn’t be able to touch it unless I was granted a writ of possession by the judge. Thanks for your reply!