Tenants want out of lease because of roaches?

13 Replies

I have tenants living in a townhome in Georgia. From the very beginning they've been a headache and I should have walked away.. They started a lease and canceled it same day prior to moving out. I let them break the lease by forfeiting the security deposit. They call back later the same day and want to start a new lease.. again, shouldn't have done it but I did, and made them pay first and last up front. Anyway, they show up to move in and find a few dead bugs. I sprayed the home prior to move out so I assume that's why. The home is in front of a retention pond so we get occasional small red roaches/beetles from that. Not to mention hot humid summers in the south. They complained so I immediately had it professionally treated and I resealed the patio door. This was all within the second half of May. First full months rent (June 2019) took the entire month to collect. The man of the home is a total con artist. Tons of back and forth about the rent, and he would always bring up small issues like  the fridge wasn't cleaned or the towel holder is loose. I serve a pay or quit notice and they finally pay. The woman of the home occasionally text me saying she saw a dead bug and throwing around the word infestation, so I have them come out to spray again. Both times the technician said there was NO sign of infestation. August 1st rolls around and the man says rent will be late. He understands the late fee and we agree to meet 8/10 for the rent. He shows up with printed emails to prove he has a 20k check being deposited and will have it the next day 8/11. I never get the money... I text both of them like what's going on and they say they will have it monday but I should cut them a break since theres a roach infestation. They keep throwing this word around but I've spoken to the neighbors on both sides of the unit and they've had no issues. The woman even told the pest control guy that the issue was on the main level. I had the door PROFESSIONALLY resealed this time and the tree trimmed that might be helping them get in. Mind you the lease says tenants are responsible for pest control. We are meeting tomorrow for a mediation meeting and she's supposed to be bringing the rent with her. She claims they want out because of the roaches but I think it's because they can't afford the home. Can they sue for inhabitable conditions? They are saying the issue was preexisting since they aw dead ones but I lived there 2 years and never had a problem. I told her to break the lease they need to pay 50% of the remaining term as their lease states and now they want to get a "lawyer" which I think is a scare tactic. Also do 
I have more leverage due to their payment history? I'm new to this obviously.

I use to work as a health inspector I can tell you a simple way to get rid of roaches.  BORIC ACID. It is non toxic to humans you put it around baseboards in the area where roaches are located usually the kitchen. The great thing about it the roaches walk in the boric acid and then walk on top of other roaches and it eats through their shells killing them. Hope that helps. BORIC ACID can be bought online very cheaply.

@Tatiana O'Hara   Let them out of the lease AFTER they pay in the rent in full.  Tell them if they want, they can move Aug 31.  This will allow you to quickly rent it and they can go elsewhere.  Write in the document that this is final, so that they can't change their mind later.

Any home is going to have bugs.  If the guys who are spraying it, say there isn't a problem, then there isn't a problem. 

Originally posted by @Theresa Harris :

@Tatiana O'Hara  Let them out of the lease AFTER they pay in the rent in full.  Tell them if they want, they can move Aug 31.  This will allow you to quickly rent it and they can go elsewhere.  Write in the document that this is final, so that they can't change their mind later.

Any home is going to have bugs.  If the guys who are spraying it, say there isn't a problem, then there isn't a problem. 

 Should I not charge them an early termination fee? Like an extra month? If not, am I not basically admitting fault?

Just get them out, learn your lesson and move on. Don't be penny wise and pound foolish. Is the month of lost rent worth sleepless nights, stress, snapping at your spouse, kids, etc?

Lesson: Don't be too empathetic in this business and always trust your gut. Anytime someone starts giving sob stories it's basically an auto-rejection in my mind. I don't have time for them to drive me crazy.

@Tatiana O'Hara   It depends on how you look at it.  If they are going to break the lease, the longer you have them in there, the more likely you will have ongoing problems with them not paying rent on time, chasing them down for rent and getting more complaints.

The fact that the professionals addressed the problem and said there is no ongoing issues, is going to make it hard to show negligence on your part.  If it was me, I'd be happy they were gone and that you can get it rented soon, hopefully with no vacancy. Charging them an early termination fee is more likely to cause problems rather than a nice, clean break.

@Tatiana O'Hara ,

Get them out!  The sooner the better.  You already made 4 months rent payments in the first 2 months: security/last month.  Chalk that up as a win and move on.  These tenants will not give up and only cause you more stress and money.

Originally posted by @Kenny Dahill :

@Tatiana O'Hara,

Get them out!  The sooner the better.  You already made 4 months rent payments in the first 2 months: security/last month.  Chalk that up as a win and move on.  These tenants will not give up and only cause you more stress and money.

 Yes you are all very right!! How soon do you think I should tell them to be out by? If I can have them out by the 26th I can potentially have it cleaned up and ready to relist by 9/1. Also, because they forfeited the security deposit and there technically isn’t one on this new lease, should I just give them a move out checklist and invoice them for any repairs needed? 

Originally posted by @Tatiana O'Hara :
Originally posted by @Kenny Dahill:

@Tatiana O'Hara,

Get them out!  The sooner the better.  You already made 4 months rent payments in the first 2 months: security/last month.  Chalk that up as a win and move on.  These tenants will not give up and only cause you more stress and money.

 Yes you are all very right!! How soon do you think I should tell them to be out by? If I can have them out by the 26th I can potentially have it cleaned up and ready to relist by 9/1. Also, because they forfeited the security deposit and there technically isn’t one on this new lease, should I just give them a move out checklist and invoice them for any repairs needed? 

 Do you not have a security deposit from them?  You still need to give them proper notice as per the terms of the lease.  Give them the option of getting out early (Aug 31), but if they don't agree to that date, then it is whatever the lease states.  

For the move out check list, if you have one, then give it to them.  Any repairs come after they move out.  Similarly any invoice for repairs (which should come from the security deposit), AFTER they are out and you have the keys.  You don't want them damaging anything because they are mad.

Originally posted by @Theresa Harris :
Originally posted by @Tatiana O'Hara:
Originally posted by @Kenny Dahill:

@Tatiana O'Hara,

Get them out!  The sooner the better.  You already made 4 months rent payments in the first 2 months: security/last month.  Chalk that up as a win and move on.  These tenants will not give up and only cause you more stress and money.

 Yes you are all very right!! How soon do you think I should tell them to be out by? If I can have them out by the 26th I can potentially have it cleaned up and ready to relist by 9/1. Also, because they forfeited the security deposit and there technically isn’t one on this new lease, should I just give them a move out checklist and invoice them for any repairs needed? 

 Do you not have a security deposit from them?  You still need to give them proper notice as per the terms of the lease.  Give them the option of getting out early (Aug 31), but if they don't agree to that date, then it is whatever the lease states.  

For the move out check list, if you have one, then give it to them.  Any repairs come after they move out.  Similarly any invoice for repairs (which should come from the security deposit), AFTER they are out and you have the keys.  You don't want them damaging anything because they are mad.

 Well the first lease they canceled last minute included the deposit but they forfeited that when they broke that lease. I wrote a new lease when they decided to come back and it didn’t include a security deposit, just first and last. So I suppose I would just give them two options: be out by the end of the month and not give them any money back or allow them to give 60 notice and be out by the end of that but still pay rent until then. I’d also include a clause that they have to allow me to show the house to new potentials with a 48 hour notice. 

@Tatiana O'Hara , I would leave the move out date to them.  However, make it very clear that if they stay into September then you will charge rent for that month.

You can also consider prorating their rent for whenever they move out.  But you need to quickly send out any late/eviction notices as soon as their next rent is late.  You don't want them to squander and drag this out.  If they want out, they need to make the decision now for the date.

Really think about what they will do if you give them 60 days or more to move out.  You will not see a penny in rent in whatever amount of time you give them.  They also will not likely leave on time.  

I would suggest you tell them that if they leave by Aug 25 and let you show the house in the mean time, all money due for leaving early under the lease is forgiven.  If they are not gone by Sept 1 and do not pay rent by Sept 5, you will start eviction proceedings and that will be on their record.

They are scammers and will keep scamming you.  Get someone who will pay rent for living in the house, not give you grief and games!

Here’s the deal if they want out you already said, “ you shouldn’t of leased to them.” 

They probably brought the roaches with them ;(