Should I kick them out at the end of the lease???

56 Replies

Good morning Bigger Pockets family,
I wanted to ask a question on what should I do with this one specific tenant. This tenant is a mother of 4 that works 2.5 jobs, home schools, and takes care of her family by herself.  During the COVID I knew things were taking a toll on her because I noted odd things broken in the house when performing my quarterly inspections, such as, broken medicine cabinet mirrors, master bedroom door cracked on the side, and a cracked vanity sink. (How in the heck do you do that???) I figured it was her acting out due to stress from being overwhelmed with everything which she communicated on different occasions.  In most cases she paid someone to come out to make the repairs which is in violation of the agreement or I charged her for the repairs/replacements which she paid. She's even replaced their kitchen's double oven with a better double oven without consent which she is currently paying the replacement costs.  The last instance was that she recently told me that she had switched her renter's insurance which I thought was odd because I was not notified as the "party of interest."  When I called her former insurance company I realized that she didn't give them my correct email address and when I followed up with her new insurer the agent told me I was just added as the "party of interest" yesterday, 7.2.2021. I am having a hard time trying to determine my next steps with this tenant because on one hand if she breaks something she pays for proper repairs or replacementpays on time, responsive to requests, and very easy to work with. I guess my problem is the lack of communication and transparency.  In typing this post I believe I have my answer but I still want to get the group's thoughts? 

Unless I misread your post the tenant is current on rent and has been.  They have paid for all of the repairs either by paying you or getting their own contractors (yes, a violation).  Even if there was an insurance issue sounds like it is correct now.

I get you may want things not to be broken in the first place, who wouldn't.  But why do you want to get rid of her?  She even upgraded your oven lol.  

Red flags everywhere.

The only way she can work 2.5 jobs and homeschool children is if she's working low-paying, part-time jobs. If someone's working two part-time jobs to make ends meet, that's a high risk.

Medicine cabinet mirrors don't break easily since they're out of the way. Cracked vanity sink is even more difficult.

She pays on time and she pays to repair the things she breaks. That sounds good . . . until she stops. What if she breaks a few things, gets overwhelmed, and decides to leave without making the repairs, paying the last month of rent, cleaning, etc? You could lose thousands. She WILL put her children and personal interests above yours. Every. Single. Time.

I would cut your losses now and get her out. You can be generous by giving her 60 days or something, but I wouldn't wait to find out if she's going to screw you over.

Originally posted by @Nathan G. :

Red flags everywhere.

The only way she can work 2.5 jobs and homeschool children is if she's working low-paying, part-time jobs. If someone's working two part-time jobs to make ends meet, that's a high risk.

Medicine cabinet mirrors don't break easily since they're out of the way. Cracked vanity sink is even more difficult.

She pays on time and she pays to repair the things she breaks. That sounds good . . . until she stops. What if she breaks a few things, gets overwhelmed, and decides to leave without making the repairs, paying the last month of rent, cleaning, etc? You could lose thousands. She WILL put her children and personal interests above yours. Every. Single. Time.

I would cut your losses now and get her out. You can be generous by giving her 60 days or something, but I wouldn't wait to find out if she's going to screw you over.

Some things Nathan and I disagree on completely. But some things, like this, are human nature. There's no agreeing or disagreeing, there's just experience involved.

So here's what's going to happen, @Michael J. This tenant is trying to juggle too many balls. To date, she's kept them up them up in the air. But the day's going to come when they all fall. Some event is going to come along and break this tenant down into little brittle bits. She's going to end up behind, with no way to catch up, and that's going to be a catastrophe for you, and turnover's going to be very expensive.

The psychology behind how a mother of four ends up alone with her kids is often pretty straightforward. I notice that you're black, and I'm not going to presume to know how this works in the black community, but this is a pattern I've seen in the poor white community. It often starts with the girl getting pregnant quickly in her late teens while living at home. The parents for various reasons decide against abortion and try to raise the girl and her child. The girl enrolls for additional education in a field that pays better than the usual "woman job." Here in the 'Burgh, that's often medical in nature.

Out of guilt and shame, the girl then tries to find another man to take the pressure off her parents. She comes up pregnant again with another student in the same field, this second guy also bails. The parents take on more responsibility and help the girl with her education and raising the two kids. There's an interlude, the girl finishes the education she needs to start making reasonable money and then it seems the girl has found The Right Man. She finally takes her kids out of her parents house, starts living with the No. 3 guy, and the No. 3 guy, in this girl's first real relationship, gets her pregnant again "to give him a child of his own."

The Right Man turns out not to be The Right Man. She's only really had one long-term adult relationship. What does she know about finding a husband? The parents refuse to help, she's making enough money to get her own place, she ends up alone, isolated, ostracized, and in a very brittle place.

I agree with @Scott M. . This sounds like a great tenant who goes above what might be expected of her. If you are concerned about the lack of communication, bring it up with her and ask her to be more forthcoming. 

@Michael J. ..... she sounds like a good and conscientious tenant. I have a horrible tenant right now, rent free for ten months, refused to leave after her lease was up said she didn’t have to because of COVID, she doesn’t communicate with me, makes no effort in trying to pay rent.... all she says is “take me to court” but of course I can not. Her husband left when the lease was up but she stayed because she knows there are no evictions right now. I’m owed $14,000 in rent. Trust me you have a decent tenant.

First you don't know that she's breaking things, it could be one of the kids.  I'd talk to her and remind her she needs to let you know if things are broken and together you will arrange to get them fixed.  It is frustrating when you have tenant that for whatever reason doesn't take care of the place, but she does pay the rent on time and for the repairs.  

If you know she's struggling, as a person-not as a landlord, why not give her the numbers of a few places that help single mothers or people who need to talk to someone?

Originally posted by @Michael J. :

Good morning Bigger Pockets family,
I wanted to ask a question on what should I do with this one specific tenant. This tenant is a mother of 4 that works 2.5 jobs, home schools, and takes care of her family by herself.  During the COVID I knew things were taking a toll on her because I noted odd things broken in the house when performing my quarterly inspections, such as, broken medicine cabinet mirrors, master bedroom door cracked on the side, and a cracked vanity sink. (How in the heck do you do that???) I figured it was her acting out due to stress from being overwhelmed with everything which she communicated on different occasions.  In most cases she paid someone to come out to make the repairs which is in violation of the agreement or I charged her for the repairs/replacements which she paid. She's even replaced their kitchen's double oven with a better double oven without consent which she is currently paying the replacement costs.  The last instance was that she recently told me that she had switched her renter's insurance which I thought was odd because I was not notified as the "party of interest."  When I called her former insurance company I realized that she didn't give them my correct email address and when I followed up with her new insurer the agent told me I was just added as the "party of interest" yesterday, 7.2.2021. I am having a hard time trying to determine my next steps with this tenant because on one hand if she breaks something she pays for proper repairs or replacementpays on time, responsive to requests, and very easy to work with. I guess my problem is the lack of communication and transparency.  In typing this post I believe I have my answer but I still want to get the group's thoughts? 

She pays on time. She fixes things. She homeschools. She is teaching 4 young kids to be responsible. What more do you want?

Our country would be in far less trouble if more parents took that much interest in their kids. If you boot them out and they can't find a place to stay, it splinters the family and you have 4 more trouble makers in your neighborhood. Congratulations. There is a gang around the block that will take those little rascals in and provide a kind of stability you don't want in the neighborhood.

I spent 5 years volunteer tutoring the afore mentioned type of families. Allow what little stability they have put together. Stability in general, is fleeting and she (so far) is keeping things together. No need to change that if she is paying rent on time.

Originally posted by @Michael Plante :

Pays on time 

Pays for broken items 

good to go 

Let me add the most important thing:

Accident waiting to happen

This is a business for the OP, not a feel good charity thing. The warning signs are all there! There is a huge likelyhood that everything she's juggling will come crashing down.

Originally posted by @Mike Hern :

She pays on time. She fixes things. She homeschools. She is teaching 4 young kids to be responsible. What more do you want? 

He should want stability and security for his business

No need to change that if she is paying rent on time.

Paying rent on time is a fleeting variable on which to judge this situation. That could end next month.

yea i dont see a problem there. A tenant that pays on time and repairs things on their own are two qualities we love as landlords. Majority of all tenants out there are not going be perfect. You could fair much worse

Originally posted by @Bruce Woodruff :
Originally posted by @Mike Hern:

She pays on time. She fixes things. She homeschools. She is teaching 4 young kids to be responsible. What more do you want? 

He should want stability and security for his business

No need to change that if she is paying rent on time.

Paying rent on time is a fleeting variable on which to judge this situation. That could end next month.

 And you could get knocked on the noggin by a falling meteorite next month, so do you run around saying the sky is falling this month?

Originally posted by @David Pai :

yea i dont see a problem there. A tenant that pays on time and repairs things on their own are two qualities we love as landlords. Majority of all tenants out there are not going be perfect. You could fair much worse

Agreed 

Originally posted by @Michael J.

You have very different opinions on this, so let me add a little more background. I manage 400 rentals and have 12 years experience. This tenant may be OK for the remainder of their time, but my real-world experience tells me she's likely to cost you money down the road, not to mention the additional aggravation.

if there is a 75% chance that everything will work out, is that worth it to you? I think that's where you are. It will probably work out, but there's a strong possibility that it won't.

Originally posted by @Mike Hern :
Originally posted by @Bruce Woodruff:
Originally posted by @Mike Hern:

She pays on time. She fixes things. She homeschools. She is teaching 4 young kids to be responsible. What more do you want? 

He should want stability and security for his business

No need to change that if she is paying rent on time.

Paying rent on time is a fleeting variable on which to judge this situation. That could end next month.

 And you could get knocked on the noggin by a falling meteorite next month, so do you run around saying the sky is falling this month?

1. The probability of getting hit in the head by a meteorite is not comparable to the probability of a single mother of four screwing her landlord on the rent. This is a false equivalency.

2. A district magistrate judge here in western PA will likely take A LOT LONGER about evicting a single mother of four for nonpayment due to various personal crises than many other types of tenants.

3. I know I sound heartless and cruel, but you cannot seriously expect someone with such a history of making consistently bad decisions to do a perfect volte-face and start making consistently good decisions. Especially when you're left holding the bag when "things just didn't work out."

Read my profile. I'm not talking about a world I don't live, work, and make my money in. I've paid more than my fair share of involuntary compassion tax to host single mothers of four in my rentals.

@Michael J.

Come on man as a landlord you don’t have the right to be in her business and or judge her, she pays rent and it’s on time, reading your complaint I still don’t know what your complaint is, if anything them kids are the reason your still getting paid. When something else arises you handle it than, not before. Getting her out your going to lose a month of rent or possible more if she decides to make you evict her, than you gone have to do repairs find another tenant.

I also agree you don't  have grounds to evict her. We had some simular experiences- lifelong tenants who didnt know how to take care of things or how to save to get a down payment.  We've been surprised to find large holes in the wallboard,  surprisingly husband had a good job and was a pt pastor. . the rest were females in the house.  Go figure.  We were happy to see them go but we didn't evict them in spite of annoying us a lot.   .   For us it was the annoyance factor balancing the tax benefits and income  to have the rental...At some point a rent increase will get them out without the stress of an eviction.  It's not your job to counsel them.  If you are planning on selling the house you'll want to fix it up anyway, if you want to continue to rent its going to be tough to show it until they get totally out.   I would assume the major damage is caused by one of her kids or a bf who is there.  I vote you keep doing what you are doing.   The family is managing, they do what they are supposed to most of the time. Be a role model, show the mom how to be a better tenant if you can.The kids are soaking it in. Our tenants were always  older than us. When we were younger the ones closer to our age were trying a bit to maybe buy a place some day. I'd like to think they watched us... The older ones went through life never saving and didn't seem interested to actually take care of anything. 

For me it would really depend on the quality of the rental to start with.  

I had a single mother of 6 kids view one of my 120 year old historic houses.  Her kids were sliding down the handrail on the historic staircase and broke the fireplace insert (artificial gas log set) during the open house viewing of the property.  I was so glad that they did not qualify!  That house I do not want destroyed!  

But my apartments and 1970's house are rented to single mothers and married couples with active kids.  In those properties, we already replaced pretty much everything, so if the renters want to break it, its not that big of a deal to replace it again.  

I do stay on top of the properties that have the active kids so that they can pay as the destroy...sadly!

With 4 kids and a single mom who works a lot, my guess is that it is the kids fighting over stuff and throwing things, pushing and shoving each other, that is causing the breakage, not the mom.  Homeschooled kids can be so isolated that they have not developed coping skills and can be bossy/strong army to others in their peer group that are younger.  (I say that having homeschooled 3 out of my 5 kids, it takes planning for kids that are homeschooled to develop age appropriate social skills.)  Also with the insurance switch, she may be claiming the fixes on her insurance, maybe even a little kickback to herself too.  She may have changed companies because she was cancelled for too many claims (totally a guess on my part).

@Michael J. I've had a very similar situation. Tenant was rough on unit, but would pay on time and paid for what she broke.  However it started to get worse a couple years in.  She started paying late(but still paid and communicated when she would pay) and started being a little more careless with unit.  I decided to renew because she had been on my property for a while. Then she lost her job. I had to pay her to leave and fix up the unit.   In hindsight I should have not renewed lease once she started paying late consistently.  As long she pays on time and fixes stuff that she breaks keep her.  But the first sign of trouble bail out.

Interesting how you have about a 50/50 split on this.  As the FAA advises, put on your own oxygen mask before trying to help others.  What you do once your mask is on is strictly your business.  There are more important and less important things than making money.  

@Jim K. I’m currently hosting two tenants similar to the ones you described. The first hasn’t paid since March due to Covid. The second moved in back in April, paid a security deposit and first month rent and hasn’t paid since. Fortunately, I received some rental relief assistance a few days ago. It is very disappointing to have such irresponsible adults as tenants.