Dirty tenants that pay on time

10 Replies

My tenants are filthy.

The back yard has toys all over the place- and just clutter throughout.

Yesterday I went in there unit- I had to snake a bathroom sink line that was clogged ( sediment build up not their fault). But I had to walk through there unit to get upstairs.

Literally piles of toys for their two kids and just a mess. Not sure how you could even live like this right?

I got in the bathroom also a mess- diapers and stuff throw about. Just not orderly at all. The walls have crayon writing on them from the children and what not.

Here’s where I’m torn.

They pay rent on time every time. I inherited these tenants when I bought the duplex 8 months ago. And I live on the other side.

What do I do? What can I do legally. I’m in CT, pretty tenant friendly place. The lease we had just expired. And honestly I just want them out- and replaced with some tenants of my choice. It’s an 800 sqft 2 bed 1 bath unit. It’s not fit for 2 adults and 2 children.

I’m coming here first to get some insight- if the general consensus is to speak with a lawyer I will. But I just want to get a feel for what others might do in this situation.

you can talk to lawyer, but you'll still wind up doing the following:

Take pictures of the yard, and send first cure or quit notice and give a week to resolve. repeat 2 -3 more times.

Perform annual or housekeeping inspection, take pics and give cure or quit notice and give a week to resolve. Highlight the fact that obstruction to pathways are also a fire hazard and needs to be resolved. repeat 2-3 more times.

@Michael Junior Everyone is different, but my first reaction is to say “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” Money talks.

Then, I see three options:

1. My next step would be to have a conversation with the leader of the house. Explain your predicament. Put onus on your township / municipality and say that they are clamping down on you to keep the exterior more orderly. Use the BP standard lease which explicitly calls out keeping yards clear of any debris, broken down cars, etc. You may find that the tenant is looking for motivation to change these habits. Maybe you can be the catalyst.

2. Is the rent below market? Tell them you’ll be raising it to meet the market, and see if they balk and decide to move on their own. Could be simpler than getting lawyers involved.

3. Get lawyers involved.

Good luck! Update us with what you end up doing.

Jamestown Invest
Build a well-balanced portfolio with CRE
Considering CRE Investing?
Download this whitepaper and learn about CRE investing from a manager with a 38 year track record
Learn More

A friend had the same issue & FINALLY when the place was over run with cockroaches he made the decision to evict. Trouble is the cockroaches ignored the eviction notice & stayed for another couple of years so the fact the rents were on-time was moot.

Filth attracts vermin & you are living next door to it!!!

@Pat L. makes a good point.  I still think #1 is the best first step - always try to resolve an issue with your tenant before choosing the nuclear option.  Having a conversation is free; evictions are not.

My wife and I chatted about this while walking the dog. We concluded we are both softies and would not evict the tenants. After watching a couple thousand People's Court shows where the judge counsels the landlords to cut their tenants some slack. "The carpets are ten years old and your tenants have been paying rent for ten years. You don't charge them for carpet cleaning, you install new carpet". That makes sense in light of normal wear and tear yet we too understand your running a business and have to keep track of all the paper clips.

I have a lot of respect for trailer trash; hard working people for the most part that didn't get the same start in life as most middle class others. So if it were me, and note I'm a total newbie that might get spanked, I'd be very tolerant of their messy yard and home. Figure on paint and carpet if and when they leave and just keep collecting rent. Now since you live next door, maybe you don't want them for neighbors and I can understand that too. That would change the equation IHMO.

Not sure how to process the 'vermin' comment. We just had a bought of mouse encroachment; couple traps solved the problem, but if the tenant is so unkempt as to attract vermin then something would have to be done.

Good luck and I look forward to learning what you do :)

You wont change them....PERIOD. You can talk to them all you want, and they may comply for awhile, but it wont last...... people that are comfortable living this way will not change.....don't waste your time. Go through the steps as a formality and documentation but don't expect it to work...... do it anyway.

Your lease is expired....its M2M now........ you can give notice at any time for 30-60 days "non renewal" (depends on state). IF you want to have them sign YOUR lease with more explicit details about how the property is to be maintained, I would still do it as a M2M....gives YOU way more flexibility ....DO NOT sign them up for another year If you do that, its WAY harder to evict them early for noncompliance of terms of the lease.

People can be slobs...... bottom lime to me is if their lifestyle is damaging my property, then they are out...... if its just clutter etc and there is no real damage, then ok..... I'm not living in it, so I don't care. But most will eventually cause damage.

Protect your asset....... yes you may be getting rent, but if in the long run it cost you in damages then its not worth it.

Could you get a worse tenant next time? Yes.... but don't live in fear of that. Especially if they aren't paying market rent.

Some landlords will overlook everything as long as the check shows up...... in my opinion that is a long term way to fail.

You described almost every tenant I’ve ever had . Normally I’d say “ let them marinate in their own filth if they are paying “ but in this case being it’s literally your next door neighbor and there’s a concern for health and sanitation of your unit , you might want to get rid of them now that the lease is up and see if the next guy coming In is cleaner . You need to realize Most lower income c class tenants are just plain absolute slobs .that being said ,if you are in a decent b class neighborhood then I would not put up with this . Neeexxxxttt

Good input on this overall.

I would not ignore the issue. Your property will have smells and pests that will make an impact on its rentability.

The diaper thing got me. Honestly if a house is filthy enough, at some point child protective services need to be contacted because they are not properly taking care of their children. That's a whole separate mess.

Be direct with the tenants that they aren't meeting your standards for care of the property.

And all this has happened in the last 8 months that you have owned it? What did it look like before?

Thank you all for the insights. I just want to get back to you all, i used a bit of everyones advice. I talked to them- explained my concerns and let them know id be raising the rent. I kindly asked them that they clean the back yard and maintain the interior of their unit as well. It went smooth- yard is clean. Unit is cleaner and my tenant even started mowing his side of the lawn and he was even out there today raking the leaves ! Again thank you all- i advice anyone who has an issue with tenants to kindly just talk about it !