Inhabited tenants - when is the time for eviction?

8 Replies

Hello everyone,

I recently (09.18.18) purchased a two family house in Buffalo NY and this is my first real land-lording experience (I don't count my house hack). 

The rent is way below market value (450$ instead of 700-800$). I sent the upper tenant a 30 days money for keys letter as he said that he cannot afford paying 750$. He did not pay rent for October (450$) and after a 3 days pay or quite letter he called and said that his niece will move in with him so he will be able to afford the rent and that he will pay me the rent by Monday 10.08.18 .

He didn't pay (Surprise) by that date so i sent him a text message and he reply with "no need to do eviction, i will be gone by the 25th"

My question is what do you guys think i should do? start an eviction process anyway? (It will cost at least 450$ and it will take almost a month anyway) or wait for the 25th and if he doesn't leave start the process?

P.S i don't have a security deposit.

Thanks in advanced for any help :) 

 A gradual increase may have been a more successful approach.  Imagine your rent or mortgage doubling?

Anyway, here’s the thing.  If you evict now, it will be a pay or quit.  So, if he shows up to court and pays then he can stay.

I’m assuming his notice to vacate is for Nov.1? If that’s the case, staying past that is considered holdover and with this type of hearing, he cannot show up and pay.  

Assuming you did everything by the book? An eviction lawyer would be a great idea at this point.  Run everything by them now as 1st consult is typically free.  Show them the inherited lease and your notice of new lease terms you know if you’ve done everything properly or if you need to start over. 

@Denice S.

Thank you for your post. I did offer him a gradual increase and even offer to repaint the apartment, install new flooring, and add a dishwasher but his reply was "I don't want any changes, just leave me on the same price that i'm paying in the last 35 years".

His 30 days notice was for Nov 1st. and was served on 09.28.18.

@Matthew Irish-Jones

Thank you for your post. 
Are you talking about a 72 hour notice to pay or quite? 

I served him on 09.28.18 a 30 days notice keys for $ and on 10.06.18 a 3 days pay or quite.

Yes, that is what I was talking about.  Sounds like you have your ducks in a row.  You need to get market rent... everyone always has a good story as to why they can't, shouldn't or are going to pay.... Serve them notice, evict them and move on.

Your life will get really easy when you have quality tenants that pay on time. 

Good luck!

In the future don’t try to work out deals with non paying tenants . Just file forveviction on the 15 th . They rarely catch up or follow through once they get too far behind and break promises

File for eviction even if he promises to pay or move out. Many tenants will promise to be out by a certain date but then that day comes and they sit tight. You can always cancel the eviction if he gets out on time.

Lesson learned: don't negotiate with tenants that far below the rent. Don't offer them incentives, don't wiggle on the rent, don't give them a long period of time to adjust. Those are all recipes for disaster and make  you look weak.

Give the tenant 30 - 60 days notice that they are going to market rate. They can accept it or not. If not, you can rent it at market rate to the next person that has been screened and meets your standard.

I also wouldn't offer new flooring and paint for a tenant that is so far below market. If they live in a dump now, do you honestly think they will take care of your new flooring and paint?

I also wouldn't allow the tenant to move in a friend or relative in order to afford the unit. What happens if the new person moves in but decides to leave in three months? You're right back to square one.

@Jo W. I would start the process because you can’t trust that he will move out on the 25th. He has already lied to you before about the 8th so he has shown you that he can’t be trusted. If you do not start now and he does not move out on the 25, you will lose another month rent starting the process on the 26th. I would wait to make any repairs or modifications until he moves out.
@Jo W. . I would start the eviction right away. Don’t trust tenants whose late on rent payment. They’ll come up with all sort of excuses and reasons.