Do you Ever Feel “ Landlords guilt “ Evicting Someone?

151 Replies

Situation: My Tenant Stopped Paying and has violated my “ rent to own “ agreement. He is 20 days late, total violation, contract is now void. I have to evict as he said “ I do not have any funds to pay that rent “

- I feel as if I have no choice but to evict, can’t pay. Can’t stay. I hate making enemies though, especially because he was a year into the agreement already

- Have you ever evicted someone and felt a sense of Guilt?

- After eviction, have you ever ran into the person? Out in public, etc... just in general.

I have no feelings for anyone that owes me money and refuses to pay. If they are putting gas in their car, buying groceries or paying bills their priorities are wrong. As their landlord I expect to be paid first or they get evicted. I do not provide housing to freeloaders. No place in business for emotions.

Have I ever meet them in public, yes, and they scurry away like the roaches they are.

Listen to and read the following sentence I type. Read it a hundred times if you must. Ready?

"It's us or them. It's our money. It's our life. It's our families who count on us. It's our FUTURE" 

Repeat that to yourself as you look towards your goals, your family, your mirror, your future.

He was only a year in. He made his Non-Fundable deposit. This is his choice, circumstances or not. WE don't take these huge risks as Investors for nothing. 

Why be sorry for someone else’s problem.  The only problem you have is start evicting TODAY.  Do not wait do not mull it over, do not do anything other then hire a attorney and provide them the information for them to do it legally and as quickly as possible.  

If you have guilt about this it will be a long road ahead in real estate.  

Little story to leave you with, first property bought less then 72 hours later a tenant was arrested and placed into jail the day before rent was due.  I knew I needed to evict and waited a MONTH.  That month not only cost me a months rent but cost me the ability to retain their property to sell to bring me while again. If I had just done what I knew I should of I would of saved over 10,000 bucks.  

So next time you feel bad pull out your checkbook and write a check to someone you don’t like.  Better to burn it yourself on booze and bad choices then give it to a tenant.  

@Cameron Riley I've been there and it cost me $7,218.67.  I kept giving this one tenant a "break" and she broke the bank LOL!!!  This tenant was paying me partially for about 7 months.  My hours on my check were not right, waiting for my retirement benefits, i'll pay the full balance next month.....and on and on.  Finally she filed bankruptcy and I couldn't go after her for a nickel.  Had to wait 45 days  to evict with  federal court approval.  She owed me $4K and took the rest to rehab the unit and get it rented.  So the moral of the story is, everyday you wait will cost you more and more nickels.  Best of luck.  Always remember to persist and you will WIN!!!!

The first day I owned my first property one of my tenants did not pay rent. I served her notice first thing the next morning. I had studied our landlord tenant regulations for 6 months before I purchased and understood that was what was suppose to be done. 

That tenant set my business practices going forward, best thing that could have happened. I never have to think about what to do, its all in the codes. Been operating by the book ever since.

Guilt no.  Feel bad yes, but it is part of the biz and I accept it.  There are people who truly try, but come along a streak of bad luck that causes financial issues.  There is nothing worse then putting a kids toys on the curb, but again, part of the biz and you just move on. Now there have been some evictions that I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve I am so excited because the tenant has been a total jerk.

Do you feel guilty when:

1) The cashier says "Would you like to round your change up for XXX" when you are grabbing a burger?

2) The scout is outside the grocery store asking to buy cookies... and you don't have cash so you have to hit an ATM to get out a $20.00 bill with a $3.00 charge to buy a $4.00 box of cookies??

3) The cashier says "Would you like to donate $5.00 to Diabetes research? for the 5th time today?

4) When your neighbors kid got that first job selling knives for $935.00 but yours today for only $726.50?

5) You get invited to buy a table at your nieces High school graduation awards dinner for only $325.00?

6) An envelope shows up with a nickle asking for a $25.00 donation to plant a tree

7) You get to be a "Gold Level Partner" for only just a $750.00 donation to Furrypaws rescue?

For me it is "Yes to all" however I have to choose what charities I am able to help. Feel guilty or don't feel guilty make sure your business is able to continue. Plenty of people give every extra cent to someone else and never launch. 

@Cameron Riley I give zero thoughts to this because 1. Do you think the bank will care if I stop paying them because my tenant didn’t pay me? (Answer is no. My mortgage is still due).

And 2. Do you think my tenant feels bad they didn’t pay me rent?? Again likely no

@Cameron Riley

I just had to give a 30 day notice to vacate to an inherited tenant (aka my own uncle) last month. Been there 7 years rent free due to unfortunate circumstances, otherwise he would have been on the street.

But the time finally came when he needed to grow up and move out.

Let me just say that now I have to replace every single appliance that was in the house (missing/grew legs) and finish repairs that he was provided materials and paid to do 7 years ago.

Point is, if you’re own family will screw you over, imagine what will happen with people that barely know you.

Keep it kind and courteous, but also be professional and adhere to your business practices.

The lease, is the lease, is the lease. The law is the law. They understood and agreed when they signed it.

@Cameron Riley

This may sound self-serving, and perhaps it is, but I have some experience and this is what I think I've learned.

Every society has limits. When members of that society exceeds those limits and harms that society, they come up against some of the institutions that work to bring them back to within those limits or expel them completely.

I don't agree with all the precepts and treatments of the Alcoholics Anonymous program, but there is a psychological concept of "rock bottom" in the program that I do think has a lot of value. According to this theory, addicts can't really commit to getting better until they touch rock bottom in their lives, realize the harm they're doing to themselves and others, and consciously decide that that going on as they have in the past is not an option.

Also in addiction treatment, there is a concept of "enabling." An enabler is a figure in a troubled person's life who enables the addict to continue on in their troubled ways well past the point that they should have seen the error of their ways, shielding them from the full impact and consequences of their behavior. The enabler does this for a variety of reasons, many of them well-meaning.

For me, every eviction I have been involved in has been more than anything else a process of stepping away from enabling and clearing the way to rock bottom for a tenant who needs to seek help or treatment but refuses to do so because they're terrified, they're proud, or they're blind to the consequences of their ways.

You have to decide, as a landlord, if you're dealing with a person who will seize on an opportunity to change their behavior if you give it to them, or whether you're dealing with a person who will not change until they hit rock bottom. If you decide on the latter, you're not doing them any favors standing in their way, and enabling them is ultimately harming them.

An eviction triggers a whole host of social services and safety mechanisms that are there to help the troubled tenant. That notice on the door may be the only way the tenant will ever actually first reach out for help from the people who are there to help them.

Now let's look at this case and what you've told us. Your tenant is 20 days late on the rent and he doesn't have the money to pay. He has been there for a year. How did he end up in this situation? It didn't happen yesterday. It took a series of bad breaks to get where he is, I'm sure, but it also took some bad decisions on his part, and he is responsible for those. If you DON'T evict here, you're offering one of two things -- an opportunity for this person to radically change their behavior or an opportunity to keep on as they have been keeping on.

Which opportunity do you think you're offering? If it's not the first, then you evict. Because ultimately, it's the kindest thing you can do. You evict because that's the only message that will really get through the psychological blinders this guy has been living with. Do it decisively, do it according to the law, give this person every opportunity to get the help he needs to change his life.

I don't feel guilty today about the evictions I have initiated and seen through. I did not make the decision to evict in anger or out of spite, or based on what would financially benefit me the most. I stepped away from enabling an adult not to hit the rock bottom they needed to hit in order to make their decision to change.

One has to get away from this feeling. I was burnt by it - the tenant kept sweet talking and appeal to my sympathy, eventually burning a hole in my pocket, and later found he had lied on many things he used as reasons.

Lesson learned, stick to your contract.

Determining your own 'stomach' for this business is really important. The fact that this is a post should tell you about yourself.  There is no right or wrong but there is only what you can tolerate as a person and then being able to work around that.  Low pain tolerance means hire a great management company and likely buy in decent neighborhoods.  High pain tolerance means you can stomach your own management and handling pretty rough areas if you want.  There isn't a hero in either of these descriptions.  There is only an investment that makes money or doesn't.  

No, I feel no guilt.  They are STEALING from me by not paying rent and I am losing money every day they don't pay

Nope, no guilt.  No squishy feel bad thoughts.  Pick your battles, select your charities, and FEAR NO TENANT!

I had a wonderful Section 8 tenant. She'd had a baby at 17 but worked and was going to nursing school. Then she hooked up with a real loser, moved him in, quit her job and school, stopped managing her diabetes. She denied he was living there. I didn't want her to lose her Section 8 but I didn't renew her lease. (Classic enabling move, I am an ACOA.) On the day she moved out, I gave her the entire deposit back despite the carpet being ruined. (It was an FHA rehab and very low quality carpet).. Her daughter at this point was 7, they'd been there 4 years. It was almost midnight when they were finished. The daughter, no doubt coached, said "You are the reason I have to change schools". I leaned over, looked her in the eye, gently touched her arm, and said: "I'm so sorry, but your mommy is the reason you can't live here anymore." As I was leaving, the tenant chased me down the this point it's after midnight. I stopped and she said in front of her daughter "Mrs. P is right. I made bad choices and they led to this. It's not her fault we have to leave". I thanked her, hugged her, went home. She went on to have another baby with the loser, and never finish school AFAIK...we have friends in common so I know a little about her. I thought that revelation that night would turn her around. But no. People make stupid choices, and I do feel bad FOR them but work hard not to enable them. That helps no one.

I forget where I first got this piece, but it was a blessing from Day 1 of land lording.  


Ten Reasons Why Landlords Should Not Feel Guilty About Evictions

1. Always start evictions immediately. If the tenants need extra time, the court will give it to them.

2. You don't make a profit from evictions. You only cut your loses.

3. You've already supplied the "needy" tenant with free housing. You've done your charity work. Give someone else a chance.

4. If the tenant doesn't have a friend or relative to help him out, doesn't that say a lot about the tenant's character?

5. If someone asks you how you could put someone out on the street, ask them to pay the rent and you won't evict them.

6. The tenant has kept possession of your house and is stealing from you. He has stolen your home, utilities, and your services. The tenant is a thief. Do other businesses let your tenant go in and take from them?

7. Letting a tenant stay in your house who is not paying rent is like giving your tenant your debit card and telling him, "Feel free to spend. I like giving out money interest free without knowing I'll be paid back".

8. How would you feel if you worked all week and your employer said, “I don't have a paycheck for you?” Guess what, your tenant has just told you that! Do you work for nothing?

9. If you want to maintain your apartment or house and let the occupants live rent free, you should decide who the occupants will be, not your tenant. There are lots of people you may find more deserving.

10. Your tenant is taking money, time and energy from you, which you could use to provide for your family's needs. Picture yourself trying to tell your child that you could not buy him or her an item or send him or her to college because you had to pay a stranger's rent so the stranger could buy gifts for his or her child.

I feel a sense of elation when a violator leaves. I wish I could make them leave so it's inconvenient for them, but in Chicago it's ALWAYS inconvenient for the landlord! I wish we could bring back the days when you could put their stuff out on the street without going through court! OR, I wish there was a court process that took a week!

@Jim K.    WOW!  

   Jim I am cutting and pasting that into my personal RE investing notes if you don't mind.  We do the short-term vacation rental thing but your post , I feel, has some "Stay strong and on the path" wisdom in it and I want to reference it going forward.   Thanks for the insight!!

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