Evicting for Noise- Mental Illness...

30 Replies

Hello BP Community. I have a real doozy going on here. I just moved in a few weeks ago a new section 8 tenant into a duplex with the other side occupied by another section 8 tenant. I am getting great rent per side. Anyway, the new tenant has a gov’t caseworker, I knew that when I signed his voucher and went over the lease. I didn’t ask about his illness, nor is it legal (I’ve been told) to ask. He seemed chill. Since moving in, he’s had two psychotic episodes where he screams vulgarities and makes a big scene; the cops came last night. I’m in a one year lease and we have had two episodes where he has completely disturbed my other tenant, and the neighbors (whom I adore). Is not providing a peaceful place to live for others grounds for eviction? Section 8 is involved too, as I signed their paperwork, this is a doozy I know... Any advice?

Contact his handler. Then, when he causes disrubances call the police. Be sure to write him up for disturbing peaceful enjoyment. 

You need to follow the process step by step 

I would personally also  get my attorney involved. 

Originally posted by @Mary Mitchell :

Contact his handler. Then, when he causes disrubances call the police. Be sure to write him up for disturbing peaceful enjoyment. 

You need to follow the process step by step 

I would personally also  get my attorney involved. 

Thank you for your reply. Not sure what needs to be followed step by step though, and I work too hard to give my $ to lawyers... If I have to pay to find the step by step, I’d rather ride the seat of my pants like usual.

@Jonathan R. to evict someone for breaking the lease you need to document it, post notices, etc. 

If you want to fly by the seat of your pants you will probably get sued. 

This is not a time to make it up as you go. At the very least find and contact your local rental owners association and learn your local tenant/landlord laws. 

I would reach out to a lawyer and ask them for a quick 30 minute phone call. May cost a bit but I think it's worth it. It's a thin line and some rental laws are very serious (Especially here in CA) I would confirm with a lawyer and see what your options are. 

@Mel Anic

If the peaceful enjoyment clause of your lease is being violated and you have proof (police reports) than your ONLY recourse is to start the eviction process for lease violation. I process evictions on my properties myself (Cook County, Illinois).

Notwithstanding the advice of the others as to contacting their caseworker (handler), which is all correct, there are other considerations. You need legal help in this case.

You said this person appears to have a mental disability and if so, be very careful. If their outbursts are the result of this disability and you act on that, you may be running afoul of the federal Fair Housing Act which prohibits:

Terminate a tenancy for a discriminatory reason.

Federal law prohibits discrimination against people who:

  • have a physical or mental disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities—including, but not limited to, hearing, mobility and visual impairments; chronic alcoholism (but only if it is being addressed through a recovery program); mental illness; mental retardation; being HIV-positive, having AIDS or AIDS-Related Complex
  • have a history or record of such a disability, or are regarded by others to have such a disability.

Originally posted by @Jeff Willis :

Notwithstanding the advice of the others as to contacting their caseworker (handler), which is all correct, there are other considerations. You need legal help in this case.

You said this person appears to have a mental disability and if so, be very careful. If their outbursts are the result of this disability and you act on that, you may be running afoul of the federal Fair Housing Act which prohibits:

Terminate a tenancy for a discriminatory reason.

Federal law prohibits discrimination against people who:

  • have a physical or mental disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities—including, but not limited to, hearing, mobility and visual impairments; chronic alcoholism (but only if it is being addressed through a recovery program); mental illness; mental retardation; being HIV-positive, having AIDS or AIDS-Related Complex
  • have a history or record of such a disability, or are regarded by others to have such a disability.

Bingo! Yes, his outburst I do expect are a direct result of his disability. If I had to guess, I think he’s schizophrenic. My dream scenario is he gets the help he needs, because he’ll just do this whereever he goes. Ideally, he’ll stay. But these outbursts are very bad, long (the can last 30 minutes to an hour). 

 

@Jeff Willis Let’s say I decide to permanently continue to ignore his now once a week hour long outbursts that other tenants and neighbors think are worthy of calling the police. Am I being fair and kind to the others around him by letting him stay? I pride myself on not being a slumlord... Am I being a slumlord if I do nothing and let him stay (keep in mind he and the gov’t are still paying me-which I like), or am I a bad guy for wanting to kick him out? Not seeing the win win here... Thanks for your in-site.

Any yes, his case worker/s are aware of his disability, I believe they do their best. Everyone but me seems to be knowledgeable about what to expect from him.

@Jonathan R.  

I agree 100% in what you are saying and it can create a problem You need to work with their placement officer or the responsible person (family, etc) and get it resolved. May they need to go to a care facility. What I am saying is that you need to aware of the Fair Housing Act and how it applies. If you are found in violation, in addition to being sued, you can kiss your Section 8 authorization goodbye. I saw this happen to an S8 landlord in Redding, CA. He evicted someone because they were autistic. He was sued and can no longer participate in S8.

All I am saying is be careful.

Originally posted by @Jeff Willis :

@Jonathan R. 

I agree 100% in what you are saying and it can create a problem You need to work with their placement officer or the responsible person (family, etc) and get it resolved. May they need to go to a care facility. What I am saying is that you need to aware of the Fair Housing Act and how it applies. If you are found in violation, in addition to being sued, you can kiss your Section 8 authorization goodbye. I saw this happen to an S8 landlord in Redding, CA. He evicted someone because they were autistic. He was sued and can no longer participate in S8.

All I am saying is be careful.

 Thank you for that.

Call section 8 and inform them he’s disturbing the peace and quiet enjoyment . I’d send him a formal notice too to cover your butt . You may need to formally evict this idiot . I hope your section 8 is better than mine is . Absolutely make no mention of his illness or his mental conniption fits even though this is common sense ,the law protects this moron from ever being held accountable to his actions .

I guess you could say I have a similiar situation going on but the guy plays his stereo loud at eleven and talks to himself . He does pay rent though ! Mental illness is no joke in these low income areas it’s very prevalent and you gotta dance around this being he’s a protected class . Where is the landlord protection ? Are we not a protected class for all the crap and drama we put up with to house the community misfits no one wants ?

Originally posted by @Dennis M. :

Call section 8 and inform them he’s disturbing the peace and quiet enjoyment . I’d send him a formal notice too to cover your butt . You may need to formally evict this idiot . I hope your section 8 is better than mine is . Absolutely make no mention of his illness or his mental conniption fits even though this is common sense ,the law protects this moron from ever being held accountable to his actions .

I guess you could say I have a similiar situation going on but the guy plays his stereo loud at eleven and talks to himself . He does pay rent though ! Mental illness is no joke in these low income areas it’s very prevalent and you gotta dance around this being he’s a protected class . Where is the landlord protection ? Are we not a protected class for all the crap and drama we put up with to house the community misfits no one wants ?

 We know our tenants all too well, Dennis. I’m pretty sure you and I could trade portfolios and we wouldn’t miss a beat. 

Originally posted by @Jonathan R. :
Originally posted by @Dennis M.:

Call section 8 and inform them he’s disturbing the peace and quiet enjoyment . I’d send him a formal notice too to cover your butt . You may need to formally evict this idiot . I hope your section 8 is better than mine is . Absolutely make no mention of his illness or his mental conniption fits even though this is common sense ,the law protects this moron from ever being held accountable to his actions .

I guess you could say I have a similiar situation going on but the guy plays his stereo loud at eleven and talks to himself . He does pay rent though ! Mental illness is no joke in these low income areas it’s very prevalent and you gotta dance around this being he’s a protected class . Where is the landlord protection ? Are we not a protected class for all the crap and drama we put up with to house the community misfits no one wants ?

 We know our tenants all too well, Dennis. I’m pretty sure you and I could trade portfolios and we wouldn’t miss a beat. 


Ok 👌 I could use a pay raise lol I like you too much to put you through that 

 

I had a similar case  where the head of household passed. The remaining tenants were mentally ill and  the neighbor would constantly complain about strange noises coming from their unit. I had to get their caseworker involved. There was no way I could communicate with them well eventually it was determined by the case worker that they needed to be house in an assisted living facility due to their condition and they were later housed at a facility 

Originally posted by @Felicia Elliott :

I had a similar case  where the head of household passed. The remaining tenants were mentally ill and  the neighbor would constantly complain about strange noises coming from their unit. I had to get their caseworker involved. There was no way I could communicate with them well eventually it was determined by the case worker that they needed to be house in an assisted living facility due to their condition and they were later housed at a facility 

 Thank you for posting! I do actually like the guy, my preference is he stays.

I had almost this exact scenario in a 4 plex. I took on a building that was owned by a disabled vet who was soft on one of the tenants who was also 
a disabled Vet.  We ended up turning all three other units right after taking over. The new tenants were all threatened by this guy, and they and each of the neighbors on either side of our building all got restraining orders against this guy. He ended up going to jail, during which time he failed to pay rent, which was how we were able to evict him.





You can't evict someone for being mentally ill, but you can evict for behavior that violates the terms of the lease. We had a tenant's son start texting maintenance in the middle of the night that "they were on the roof trying to get in" or they were next door spying. We told his mom and blocked his number. We had another girl threaten to break out all the windows and set the building on fire because we couldn't get a part and she had to walk up one flight of stairs to a bathroom for one night. She had to go (but she also had an unauthorized dog that *never* went out). We had another guy (I'm guessing his diagnosis was anti-social personality disorder with the jealous subtype). He got jealous over the neighbor getting more work hours and killed her children's cat. smh. He had to go. We had a narcissist (The (self-described) best tenant we ever had- lol). He kept making threats every time he wanted something. He was the tenant I disliked the most. He had to go. Stuff like this is why we prefer month-to-month leases. These were ALL inherited tenants. Lots of cray-cray out there.

Originally posted by @Patti Robertson :

I had almost this exact scenario in a 4 plex. I took on a building that was owned by a disabled vet who was soft on one of the tenants who was also 
a disabled Vet.  We ended up turning all three other units right after taking over. The new tenants were all threatened by this guy, and they and each of the neighbors on either side of our building all got restraining orders against this guy. He ended up going to jail, during which time he failed to pay rent, which was how we were able to evict him.


I’m sure it comes with little surprise that you were exactly who I had in mind that I wanted to reply to this question, as this very much is an advanced Section 8 landlording question/situation. 

If you were me, would you deal with once a week loud outbursts (30 minutes or more or till the cops come) for the next year and then not renew potentially. Can I even choose not to renew with him after a year? For what reason can I say I won’t renew- I of course have the intention to list it again in search of another Section 8 tenant...?

@Jonathan R. Eviciting someone with any kind of handicap, metal or physical, for something other than non-payment of rent is very difficult. Your grounds for eviciton would basically be the "quiet enjoyment" section of your lease. This is a tough one. I'd contact a local landlord/tenant lawyer and see how they recommend handling if you decide to go the eviction route. 

It's not his mental illness that is a problem. The CAUSE of the issue is immaterial - it's the noise and harassment issues that are lease violation.  Do exactly what you do if this were any tenant - regardless of Section 8 - and that's issue a Notice To Quit for Reason Other Than Non-Payment of Rent. Send a copy to the Section 8 case manager.  Refuse to be baited into any conversation on mental illness. Your only concern is the behavior which is disrupted to other tenants/neighbors and not in keeping with the legal mandate that tenants have the right to the peaceful use of the property.  Should it occur again during the notice period, call the police so you have a record of the disturbances.  Be sure you document the past ones with details, dates, time - no diagnosis.

With that Notice, the tenant will be given time to Quit/stop and correct before eviction starts. You won't need an attorney (unless you in any way reference mental illness). You'll want to be factually pushy with the case manager on the removal of the tenant and follow your state's court filing procedure for eviction if it comes to that (forms to fill out, a fee).

Again, focus on the behavior, serve the notice, be factually pushy with the case manager - and be done with this chaos.  Always entertaining, huh?!!

Originally posted by @Jonathan R. :
Originally posted by @Patti Robertson:

I’m sure it comes with little surprise that you were exactly who I had in mind that I wanted to reply to this question, as this very much is an advanced Section 8 landlording question/situation. 

If you were me, would you deal with once a week loud outbursts (30 minutes or more or till the cops come) for the next year and then not renew potentially. Can I even choose not to renew with him after a year? For what reason can I say I won’t renew- I of course have the intention to list it again in search of another Section 8 tenant...?

Just wait it out. You really can’t do anything.  If the neighbors call, just say you can’t get involved in civil issues and tell them they need to call the cops. Frequently check your court websites to see if he gets any criminal charges.  If he is ever behind, take him to court to get possession so you can file the WRIT if you need to. Eventually the right opportunity will present itself that will allow you to act based on a lease violation, and not the disability.

 

@Jonathan R.

Discuss it with a very knowledgeable advisor. I would not address any illnesses or other areas that could even come close to being discriminatory, but your lease must have rules about disturbing other tenants. Check your areas rules about evicting for cause when the lease agreement is not followed. Normally, you need to give written warnings first and give the tenant the opportunity to comply before evicting. I don’t believe it’s any different with section 8.

The people telling you to wait it out are nuts. Wait it out until your other tenant breaks the lease and leaves? Wait it out until your neighbor makes enough noise with city officials that you catch their attention? Wait it out until you've lost a lot of money and time and have nothing but a giant headache? 

Send notice to the tenant, S8, and the caseworker about the lease violation. Next violation start the eviction process. Just because the guy has some sort of disability doesn't mean he is above the lease or above the law. 

@Greg M. -Noise is VERY difficult to evict for.  In most municipalities you have to meet a certain noise level, which has to be measured. If the cops are called and the tenant gets a disturbing the peace charge, you have some ammunition, but they generally won’t arrest for that without many, complaints.  You could then probably get possession for a law violation, but only if a Judge agrees. Sorry, but you can’t just evict someone because of noise. You need to wait until there is a concrete lease violation that is presentable to a Judge.

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