Inherited tenant problem

21 Replies

A unit in my duplex has a washer that has quit working. It's not specified in the lease whether the washer is mine or theirs, I would like to know if since it's not mentioned that makes it my responsibility or if I can pass this along to the tenant. A little background I purchased the property at the end of June and the tenants in this unit were late to pay in July and still owe money this month. Every conversation we have seems to lead to an excuse for not being able to pay or a new issue that has popped up. This is my first investment property and as the title explains these are inherited tenants on an inherited lease.

Are they on a term lease or M2M.

If they are M2M they should have been non renewed and out at the end of August. If they are on a term lease they should have been issued a pay or quit on July 2nd and by now be well into the eviction process. There is no point in having "conversations" with tenants. You tell tenants what your expectations are and follow through with actions. Never waste your time listening to excuses. Your response to a excuse should be written notice to comply...with a deadline.  

If you have done neither then first thing Monday morning begin the process to evict or non renew.

The washer is a non issue. Get rid of the inherited tenants and do as you please with the washer for your new tenants.  If you decide to take on the ongoing issues/headaches you will have with these inherited tenants simply decide if you are replacing the washer or not.....they will definatly let you know it is your responsibility to replace it. 

You will regret it if you do not get rid of them.

@Dylan Meeker Your bigger issue is the rent not being paid in a timely basis. I would start the eviction process and it will either scare them into paying up quickly or you will at least get them out sooner by starting now instead of delaying it further. I would also get the appliance fixed though because it will be an issue anyways with the new tenant.

If the washer isn't in their lease more than likely it's theirs.  REfusing to repair it, and booting them, your biggest risk here, as I see it, is they move with a broken washer.

Totally agree with the concept of boot them.  Once they are gone you will find out who the washer belongs to, since if its theirs they will take it.  If not, THEN decide if its worth fixing.

@Terre B. I know that I should have already started the process of eviction, and made the mistake of accepting part of the rent. They paid $620 and the rent is $650. They paid that amount on the 3rd which is the day they're suppose to pay in accordance with the lease. What is the proper path for me to take from this point forward?
@Dylan Meeker I’d scold them in person then hit them up for a late fee plus the 30$ they owe then I would inform them you will not be renewing the lease . If your after the limit of time you can file for eviction . However need to check with your local laws. Don’t just start taking random advise online . You’d could get into hot water if you get bad advise and do something illegal

When you bought the duplex what did it state about appliances? Each property I've bought was very clear what appliances came or were exlcuded with deal.

@Matt K. Ah, I'm honestly not sure, I know this is a real amateur question, but is that something I would have a copy of? I'm guessing so. I'm not home at the moment, I'm at work until 6am unfortunately.
Generally speaking am I allowed to do anything eviction wise this month (because I accepted a portion of the rent) or do I need to wait until September? I know I've made a mistake even allowing what's happened to this point. This is my first property and the upstairs unit needs a little work still, so naively I was hoping things would work out even though I'm quickly learning that was a mistake.

@Dylan Meeker - You should've received copies of documents at closing. If you don't have them, your agent's brokerage is likely required to retain documents for a certain number of years after closing. 

Everyone on here talking about eviction is correct. If you haven't yet, you should get a copy of your state's landlord tenant act and stay awake reading it. This will guide you on everything you can and can't do. 

Btw, if you're paperwork doesn't show you own the washer, you don't. Let them keep it or throw it away when they leave, but don't fix it.

Originally posted by @Dylan Meeker :
@Matt K. Ah, I'm honestly not sure, I know this is a real amateur question, but is that something I would have a copy of? I'm guessing so. I'm not home at the moment, I'm at work until 6am unfortunately.

 IF you used a standard contract it should look something like this (if not identical)

(page 7 of the document).

At the beginning of next month Do not accept anything other than full payment + back rent + any late fees as provided for in current lease unless the tenant is willing to sign a new month-to-month rental agreement with you. As a carrot, I would offer to forgive late fees from the previous month for a signature on my month-to-month rental agreement. I have found that it is possible to get most inherited tenants on board with my policies-- you just have to offer the incentives that get you the behavior that you want. Are these properties in B-B+ neighborhoods where you can attract high-credit score tenants? or are they in more B- / C- areas? This is going to determine your best course of action.

You can read up on Iowa landlord-tenant law here:

On the plus side if it's not his he doesn't have to fix it. If it ends up it is his, you can typically find refurnished one cheap at used appliance store