First-time poster and long long-time reader. Appreciate everyone's efforts in helping others!
QUESTION: I purchased a home in November 2020 from the seller that showed the tenant was there for 2 years and paying on time. They supplied a rent roll from the property management company. Unfortunately, soon as we took over the tenant claimed they did not have a lease with us nor did they have to pay because of covid. So fast forward to today, she has been staying in the home free and clear from November to April with no intentions of leaving. We filed an eviction with Fulton County (Atlanta, GA) court but haven't received a court date still. (It's been a month now) We filed with no payback on rent required just eviction due to holding premise beyond the term. Still waiting on court systems probably be waiting for a while. We tried to offer her CASH. 3,000 if she moved on the 1st 2,000 if she moved on the 15th etc, but no bites. She mentioned she would look for a family member to stay with but that went nowhere.
Can anyone please please recommend anything I can do to reclaim the property?
It usually takes 4-8 weeks to get a court date. Have they signed a CDC letter? Personally, I would probably offer them more if they left within 7 days. You have a long battle ahead of you and they might trash your house before the end of it. If market rent is $1,500; maybe offer them $4,500 cash to leave within 7 days. If they agree, try to walk the house to see if there is damage. If there is no damage and they agree to leave it in that shape, offer them more. You probably won't get possession of the unit for months down the road. I would just pay them to leave, repair, repaint, clean and rent.
@Jaimin Patel , if you think it will be months before this is resolved raise the rent! If your state does not have a limit on how much rent can be raised, raise it an extreme amount. Make it $10k per month. If the tenant says there is no lease, then they they are apparently month to month. So, you can raise the rent with 30 days notice.
This may incentivize them to leave or at least get you a larger judgment later that will dog them for a long time even if they don't pay it.
Typical Class C or D tenant claim!
Investigate how GA handles squatters and then tell the tenant if they don't have a lease, they are squatters and you can legally do "x".
Otherwise, move forward with the eviction process and perhaps consider the cash-for-keys advice others have given above.
One last thing, amazing how many investors buy a rental without getting a Lease Transfer Letter from the seller, introducing you as the new owner. It's probably way too late in this scenario, but don't make this mistake in the future!
You can wait on the court date and then get your property back but that will be another 3 months.
As far as rent goes, you can check with your county if they have any landlord assistance programs that you can apply for. Keep in mind, the assistance wouldn't apply if the tenant is getting evicted so I would apply right away before the court gives you an eviction date. Also, if you have a lease in place that the tenants signed, then you have a case to go after the tenants and collect the rent money. I would ask your lawyer what your options are.
If none of these work, you can always go to rentrecoveryservice.com and give them the tenant's information. They are a debt collection agency recommended on BP a lot and they can be of assistance. Good luck with everything. Don't you love real estate investing :)