Tenant Threatening to Kill Me.

31 Replies

I have a tenant that has frankly lost it. Like the title says she has threatened to kill me on two occasions. One is a voicemail that I still have. She texts me at all hours of the night and calls at all hours of the night. She has been informed that her month to month lease will end this month. Her capacity is such that I can’t even tell what is real and what is in her mind. 

Of course this was an inherited tenant, but I’ve had no issues until now. (Section 8 of course) She has three kids. Two boys and a girl. I think when the girl moved out things fell apart. Some friends of mine are police officers and they said they think she got into bath salts.

Anyway I’m wondering if this allows me to move an eviction any faster. She has said she’s not leaving...

Also, my eviction attorney says its best to give her a good standing report for section 8 or else I’ll never get rid of her. What if I don’t follow that advice?

Thanks for any help or advice. 

 

Making death threats (in a recording, no less) is a good way to receive a different type of subsidized living arrangement.. 

This tenant obviously has some mental health/anger issues. Most police departments have a Crisis Intervention Officer who works with de-escalating volatile situations/people.  I would recommend reporting the incidents to them and asking them to intervene on a wellness check; do it for you - and for her children.  Then issue a Notice To Quit for Non-Payment of Rent (if in fact she's paying you her portion on time).  Note that she has repeatedly threatened you with violence, such threats have been reported to the authorities, and will not be tolerated.  Do not allow her to contact you directly. Block her number and restrict her to emailing you only (then you have a written account of her threats).  I would also let Section 8 know that this is not a good placement for her and ask for their assistance in relocating her in lieu of an eviction.  

First of foremost, protect yourself.  Document everything and report the incidents to the police and housing authority so you have the muscle to stop her, get her out of your life/property, get her the help she needs, and save her children from living in chaos.

Thanks for posting this issue. I'm sorry you're having to go through it but please know that it is more common than not. (And, you're attorney might have meant well but what a coward. Maybe he would be okay if you have the tenant email him going forward).  Stay safe.

At this point, I would recommend following the appropriate steps towards evicting. Make sure you have your bases covered and the fact that the person included a threat like that... they definitely should have thought about that prior to leaving you a voicemail. As for how you should proceed, I'd make sure to report it to the Housing Authorities and please stay safe and make sure that you document everything. @Michael Healy

Originally posted by @Michael Healy :

Also, my eviction attorney says its best to give her a good standing report for section 8 or else I’ll never get rid of her. What if I don’t follow that advice?

 

I find this advice to be revolting. It's kicking the can down the street and potentially screwing some other landlord instead of having the tenant deal with the consequences of negative behavior. Please don't do that to another investor. Hire an attorney who can successfully evict without asking you to lie.

@Michael Healy "my eviction attorney says its best to give her a good standing report for section 8 or else I’ll never get rid of her". They are just assuming that your tenant will take their voucher and voluntarily leave if you give them a good reference. Some other unexpecting landlord will get stuck with your problem. Worse, she gets to keep living off tax payer money, even though there is a line of people waiting for Section 8 vouchers, many of which who would follow the rules and be appreciative of the program. Very sad situation.

Have you filed a complaint with the police, so you can document this for court? To win this eviction will require proof of some lease violation. That is probably your attorney's concern, that this one will be hard to win.

Threatening to kill the landlord is grounds for Eviction.

1. Notify police to prepare a police report (signed by DT) but don't press charges (this is evidence)

2. Notify her CASE WORKER at Section 8

3. Have attorney file for eviction

4. Have police presence when they evict

Somewhere in that order

@Michael Healy read your lease to see if there’s any provisions that will allow you to evict her off those grounds alone. (If not, be sure to add it in there for next time)

But, if someone is threatening to kill you, you need to file a police report in general. You may even be able to file a restraining order as well. 

It's interesting that she's threatened to kill you twice and you're still trying to decide what to do.

Certain behaviors should not fall under a three-strikes policy. She threatens to kill you once, you file for eviction and don't look back.

Get an attorney, get rid of her, and you'll be much happier (and alive).

Please make sure you have a police report.  Print out any text messages, emails, and voicemails.  Take them with you to the magistrate's office to swear out a warrant.  Hire another attorney.  No landlord should have to deal with this.  This is one reason why when people try to haggle on management fees, I do not budge.  

In most jurisdictions, threats of violence are no lesser an act than actually committing the violent act.  Threats require immediate and substantial mitigation.  This is what the police are for.

Your lease should have 'behaviors' not acceptable contained within your section on quiet enjoyment. These behaviors such as loud noise, illegal acts etc. are lease violations and will rarely be set aside by a magistrate during an eviction.  In my experience they accelerate the end result.  I don't do section 8, but I'm certain there are behavior standards that when violated are an immediate action to be taken by the HUD people managing the program.  Get them on it immediately, as others have stated, get the authorities involved immediately.
As a suggestion: get a recording app for your phone.  I rarely have telephone or in person conversations with tenants after the lease is signed unless a recording app is on.  I also use Google Voice since it allows me to press a digit on the phone keypad and record both sides of the call.  Voicemail by definition is a public message and not subject to any privacy laws.  I know, someone will jump in and tell me that this recording is illegal unless I tell them first.  No, it's not.  Recordings made without the knowledge of all parties to the recording are perfectly legal as evidence within judicial and quasi judicial arenas when presented to counter a lie.

@Michael Healy . Once a section 8 tenant gets an eviction on their record they are no longer eligible for sec 8 assistance and lose their housing voucher. So watch out for the backlash from that because one that tenant finds that out it will be your worst nightmare prepare to file an insurance claim as the tenant is probably going to or already has destroyed your place. When you evict her don’t even show your face at the property they can be desperate and furious.

I want so badly to say something sarcastic...

But, it's probably better to wish you good luck  and good health.

hey at least,  death threats are usually only 50% sincere(ok sarcasm won)

Originally posted by @Nathan G. :

It's interesting that she's threatened to kill you twice and you're still trying to decide what to do.

Certain behaviors should not fall under a three-strikes policy. She threatens to kill you once, you file for eviction and don't look back.

Get an attorney, get rid of her, and you'll be much happier (and alive).

 I agree with this 100%.  Rip the bandaid off, start the eviction process immediately and don't wait hoping things will change.  

Originally posted by @Nathan G. :

It's interesting that she's threatened to kill you twice and you're still trying to decide what to do.

Certain behaviors should not fall under a three-strikes policy. She threatens to kill you once, you file for eviction and don't look back.

Get an attorney, get rid of her, and you'll be much happier (and alive).

I could not agree more bro! Safety is our 1st priority and plenty of better tenants out there to even sit and think about this witch

State of NJ Law (We are a TENANT friendly state)

Conviction of Assaulting or Threatening the Landlord, His Family or Employees

A landlord can evict a tenant who has assaulted or made terrorist threats against the landlord, his family or an employee of the landlord.

Requires the tenant to have been convicted of, or pleaded guilty to such an offense
Can evict a tenant for allowing some as described above to stay in the residence
Applies to juveniles as well
No eviction suit may be brought more than two years after the later of the following:
the juvenile was found to be delinquent;
conviction of the person; or
after the person’s release from incarceration
Requires 3 day Notice to Quit before prior to filing for eviction

Many thanks everybody! Very helpful. I have since made a police report and spoke briefly to an attorney that said I should try an emergency eviction given the threat and harassment. I’m going to go to the courthouse and try that tomorrow. I’ll follow up. (Famous last words that kill every interesting forum post)

Still... Involving the housing authority worries me. I agree with the person that said once she know she’s losing her voucher she’s likely to really get bad. Thoughts?

Originally posted by @Jermell Shavers :

@Michael Healy. Once a section 8 tenant gets an eviction on their record they are no longer eligible for sec 8 assistance and lose their housing voucher. So watch out for the backlash from that because one that tenant finds that out it will be your worst nightmare prepare to file an insurance claim as the tenant is probably going to or already has destroyed your place. When you evict her don’t even show your face at the property they can be desperate and furious. 

the other stuff death threats evict etc. is all just common sense.. to deal with the reality is though. this could be a situation were it cost you tons of dough by the time you get to that house.. and insurance wont cover most of it..  tough game this landlording..