Neighbor and tenant fence dispute

40 Replies

Hey guys, wanted your take on something. My neighbor next door is asking to split the cost of converting a wood fence to cylinder blocks due to my tenant hosing down the yard due to pets waste and water sloping into her side. My tenant brought 2 dogs although I never allowed them pets since the start. I'm in California and since they been paying rent i didn't want to stir things up. The cost of the conversion is $6k and the neighbor is willing to go in half. So 3k each. Should I ask tenant to split it with me since all this came from them having pets and needing to hose down the side yard everyday? I don't charge them a pet fee. Also to note the current wood fence is in pretty bad shape but was fine for it's purpose. This all came up from the neighbor side getting all the waste water due to cleaning up their pets waste.

First, that sounds pretty disgusting. There shouldn't be anything to hose down besides maybe a slight amount of leftover after waste is picked up and put in the trash, which is how it should be.

Beyond that, the offer doesn't sound too bad. A masonry wall should provide some value to you as well as the neighbor, and if the current fence is in bad shape it will probably be not long for replacement anyway.

Tenant isn't going to pay any of it, but the dog issue should have been addressed as soon as you became aware. That's a separate issue from paying for a masonry wall. On a side note, how will this wall affect the overall water drainage of your yard? You don't want to create an artificial dam for natural run-off. 

That tenant already broken your rules by bringing pets, they don't pay pet rent, and there was no repercussions for breaking rules, so if you think they're willing to help you out financially on something that is of no benefit to them, good luck with that. Nothing wrong with asking, but don't expect that conversation to last very long.

You can try establishing rules now but we all know that won't work as these people are clearly inconsiderate and probably won't follow them anyway. You can try enforcing whatever rules are your lease, but I'd send them a non-renewal notice when their lease is up. Split a cheaper fencing option and enforce your rules with your next tenant.

I'm originally from California and love my home town of San Diego, but it's gotten so hard for landlords to do anything these days. If anything, you should be praying the state doesn't make you pay the tenant just for inconveniencing them with such a request.

Are they just hosing down the waste instead of cleaning it up?  If the neighbor is getting liquid waste run off I can understand their frustration.  Is the yard is the same condition it was provided in?

Agree with @Bob Okenwa here.  As you stated nothing wrong with the fence.  The tenants breaking the rules is forcing you to fork over $3K to allow them to continue doing so.  The potential of an artificial damn issue could also be relevant.  

I would give them the option of covering your entire expense or remove the dogs.  If you choose to not charge pet rent I would at minimum require an additional security deposit to cover you from any future loses.  If you don't act on this now it very well could lead to civil action by the neighbors, damage to the property, or the tenants taking advantage in other ways.

Originally posted by @Michael Peters :

Are they just hosing down the waste instead of cleaning it up?  If the neighbor is getting liquid waste run off I can understand their frustration.  Is the yard is the same condition it was provided in?

Agree with @Bob Okenwa here.  As you stated nothing wrong with the fence.  The tenants breaking the rules is forcing you to fork over $3K to allow them to continue doing so.  The potential of an artificial damn issue could also be relevant.  

I would give them the option of covering your entire expense or remove the dogs.  If you choose to not charge pet rent I would at minimum require an additional security deposit to cover you from any future loses.  If you don't act on this now it very well could lead to civil action by the neighbors, damage to the property, or the tenants taking advantage in other ways.

 

So they have two dogs and they do clean up but they still have to hose off any remaining urine or #2 stains and I think that is what the issue is. They hose it down a lot weekly and the way the street is sloped it heads toward the neighbors side since it is just a wood fence. I did talk to the tenant in regards to it and Im leaning towards just forking it out. They seem to want to help but at same time not happy about it. The current wood fence is on its way out so that at least is a good part since it would be an upgrade all around. 

This all sounds a bit odd to be honest.  Unless no one is picking stuff up there should not be that much waste in that one spot.  They have the whole yard to use.  That aside, I would first get your tenant charged for their pets.  Get that under control.  They will never get rid of them so might as well charge for it.  As for the fence.  If you have thought about it you are never going to get a better deal.  Where I am from a cinder block fence is not consider a value add but might be in your area.  A wooden privacy fence has more value here.  But if the fence is in rough shape and you need to do something about it might not be a bad idea.  And while I tend to agree the odds of the tenant paying are low, not a bad thing to offer and see.  If not, recoup as much as you can through pet rent. 

If the pets are not permitted in the lease, you set bad precedent letting the tenant keep the pets.  I recognize in CA our hands were tied during the Pandemic restrictions.  The Pandemic restrictions end in a week.

What I would do is 

  1. Immediately charge pet rent starting Nov 1 if pets are not allowed as specified in the lease and you want to keep the tenant.  Note there is usually 60 day notice for rent increase if they have been in the unit over a year, but in this case they are in violation of the lease.  This will slowly help pay for the wall. If you do not want to keep the tenant, give them a 3 day notice to come compliant with the lease (i.e. get rid of the pets or get them re-classified).
  2. Immediately collect pet deposit.  This should be worded such that it is additional deposit and can be applied to anything that the current deposit can be used for (i.e. do not limit it to only pet damage).
  3. Indicate in the lease, tenant will be charged for placing unit back into a pre-animal state including Duct cleaning and carpet shampooing.
  4. Require the animal to be screened by PetScreening.com.  this will discourage bogus ESA claims, will provide vaccination records, will describe the animals.  Note if tenant can get ESA approval from PetScreening.com, you cannot charge pet rent or pet deposit, but you can still charge at tenant move-out to place unit back into a pre-animal state (there are many potential tenants with pet dander allergies and if the unit was a non-animal unit move-in then at move-out it is to be once again a non-animal unit).
  5. I would pay for the block wall (shared cost with neighbor) if you do not believe it will result in other issues.  Block wall will last decades, replace an old fence, keep the neighbor happy, provide some value all for half of the cost of the wall.

If you let the tenants break the rules, they will come to believe the rules do not apply.  It sets a bad precedent.

Also if you do not want to manager your unit (not enforcing the lease qualifies as not managing the unit), consider paying a professional to manage your unit.

Good luck

Originally posted by @Dan Heuschele :

If the pets are not permitted in the lease, you set bad precedent letting the tenant keep the pets.  I recognize in CA our hands were tied during the Pandemic restrictions.  The Pandemic restrictions end in a week.

What I would do is 

  1. Immediately charge pet rent starting Nov 1 if pets are not allowed as specified in the lease and you want to keep the tenant.  Note there is usually 60 day notice for rent increase if they have been in the unit over a year, but in this case they are in violation of the lease.  This will slowly help pay for the wall. If you do not want to keep the tenant, give them a 3 day notice to come compliant with the lease (i.e. get rid of the pets or get them re-classified).
  2. Immediately collect pet deposit.  This should be worded such that it is additional deposit and can be applied to anything that the current deposit can be used for (i.e. do not limit it to only pet damage).
  3. Indicate in the lease, tenant will be charged for placing unit back into a pre-animal state including Duct cleaning and carpet shampooing.
  4. Require the animal to be screened by PetScreening.com.  this will discourage bogus ESA claims, will provide vaccination records, will describe the animals.  Note if tenant can get ESA approval from PetScreening.com, you cannot charge pet rent or pet deposit, but you can still charge at tenant move-out to place unit back into a pre-animal state (there are many potential tenants with pet dander allergies and if the unit was a non-animal unit move-in then at move-out it is to be once again a non-animal unit).
  5. I would pay for the block wall (shared cost with neighbor) if you do not believe it will result in other issues.  Block wall will last decades, replace an old fence, keep the neighbor happy, provide some value all for half of the cost of the wall.

If you let the tenants break the rules, they will come to believe the rules do not apply.  It sets a bad precedent.

Also if you do not want to manager your unit (not enforcing the lease qualifies as not managing the unit), consider paying a professional to manage your unit.

Good luck

Totally agree with you in terms of putting the foot down and setting boundaries but I still think it is dangerous times to be a landlord in California even with restrictions lifting. You never know if it will get extended last minute or have local restrictions. On top of that were talking back log in cases once things are lifted. Could go months or a a year if a tenant decides to just not cooperate. The monthly rent for the house is $4k/month so it not an insignificant amount and will add up as a huge loss if things were to go south. I expressed my concern and told them that they can chip in if they feel like but at least i expressed to them that I am basically doing them a favor for a problem that they are causing so hopefully they will be more considerate in future before making decisions. 

Originally posted by @Scott M. :

This all sounds a bit odd to be honest.  Unless no one is picking stuff up there should not be that much waste in that one spot.  They have the whole yard to use.  That aside, I would first get your tenant charged for their pets.  Get that under control.  They will never get rid of them so might as well charge for it.  As for the fence.  If you have thought about it you are never going to get a better deal.  Where I am from a cinder block fence is not consider a value add but might be in your area.  A wooden privacy fence has more value here.  But if the fence is in rough shape and you need to do something about it might not be a bad idea.  And while I tend to agree the odds of the tenant paying are low, not a bad thing to offer and see.  If not, recoup as much as you can through pet rent. 

The layout of the yard is really just a side yard with a long strip about 5 feet wide that is all concreate so no where for the waste to absorb. The fence is in dirt so when they hose it down it get into the middle section and down towards the neighbors side. 

Originally posted by @David Pai :
Originally posted by @Dan Heuschele:

If the pets are not permitted in the lease, you set bad precedent letting the tenant keep the pets.  I recognize in CA our hands were tied during the Pandemic restrictions.  The Pandemic restrictions end in a week.

What I would do is 

  1. Immediately charge pet rent starting Nov 1 if pets are not allowed as specified in the lease and you want to keep the tenant.  Note there is usually 60 day notice for rent increase if they have been in the unit over a year, but in this case they are in violation of the lease.  This will slowly help pay for the wall. If you do not want to keep the tenant, give them a 3 day notice to come compliant with the lease (i.e. get rid of the pets or get them re-classified).
  2. Immediately collect pet deposit.  This should be worded such that it is additional deposit and can be applied to anything that the current deposit can be used for (i.e. do not limit it to only pet damage).
  3. Indicate in the lease, tenant will be charged for placing unit back into a pre-animal state including Duct cleaning and carpet shampooing.
  4. Require the animal to be screened by PetScreening.com.  this will discourage bogus ESA claims, will provide vaccination records, will describe the animals.  Note if tenant can get ESA approval from PetScreening.com, you cannot charge pet rent or pet deposit, but you can still charge at tenant move-out to place unit back into a pre-animal state (there are many potential tenants with pet dander allergies and if the unit was a non-animal unit move-in then at move-out it is to be once again a non-animal unit).
  5. I would pay for the block wall (shared cost with neighbor) if you do not believe it will result in other issues.  Block wall will last decades, replace an old fence, keep the neighbor happy, provide some value all for half of the cost of the wall.

If you let the tenants break the rules, they will come to believe the rules do not apply.  It sets a bad precedent.

Also if you do not want to manager your unit (not enforcing the lease qualifies as not managing the unit), consider paying a professional to manage your unit.

Good luck

Totally agree with you in terms of putting the foot down and setting boundaries but I still think it is dangerous times to be a landlord in California even with restrictions lifting. You never know if it will get extended last minute or have local restrictions. On top of that were talking back log in cases once things are lifted. Could go months or a a year if a tenant decides to just not cooperate. The monthly rent for the house is $4k/month so it not an insignificant amount and will add up as a huge loss if things were to go south. I expressed my concern and told them that they can chip in if they feel like but at least i expressed to them that I am basically doing them a favor for a problem that they are causing so hopefully they will be more considerate in future before making decisions. 

 I have given 4 move-out notices for the end of the month.  None are Covid related, but I waited until post COVID restrictions because you know each would claim COVID impact (even though there has been brick through a window and the police called multiple times in a B+ area - market rent per unit is ~$3800).  I also had another tenant give notice and move out (she moved out end of last month) in large part due to the issues with the tenants I have given the vacate notice.  

We will know in a week how successful the move-out notices will be.  I have discussed it with a lawyer (who suggested cash for keys, we do not do cash for keys for bad tenants) and we will proceed with eviction if they are not out by end of next week.  I half expect one to be a problem.  The problem one knows I do not put up with BS, and recognizes I will fight rather than settle (she has seen me do it before).  The fact she has seen I do not tolerate BS could be what results in her moving out (at least I hope, but I will be going hard after her if she is not out) rather than try to fight it.  Three seem that they are not going to be an issue (i.e. two have already started moving).

I felt with the various Covid restrictions I likely made the correct choice to wait, but it likely ended up costing me a tenant. I hate to say it but losing a good tenant is probably preferred to having occupants not paying their rent for multiple months because of the increased difficulty of evicting during the Covid restrictions.

I understand your concern about missed rent.  I am not thrilled with the prospect of having multiple units empty.  We virtually never have turnover.  Our last turn over prior to this month was 2 units that caught fire almost 2 years ago and were uninhabitable.  

However, I am also concerned about the precedent you are setting.  You are not setting a precedent that you do not tolerate BS.

Good luck

Tell your tenants to pick up the pet poop, not to use a garden hose to break it up.  If the lease didn't allow for pets, you should have told them to get rid of them as soon as you found out they were violating the lease.  There shouldn't be anything to wash off if they pick it up. Is the back yard completely paved?  That would be the only reason I can think of for urine not to soak into the ground. If that is the case, they should be taking the dogs out on the grass to do their business.

Start charging them pet rent which will help offset the cost of the fence.

Originally posted by @Dan Heuschele :
Originally posted by @David Pai:
Originally posted by @Dan Heuschele:

If the pets are not permitted in the lease, you set bad precedent letting the tenant keep the pets.  I recognize in CA our hands were tied during the Pandemic restrictions.  The Pandemic restrictions end in a week.

What I would do is 

  1. Immediately charge pet rent starting Nov 1 if pets are not allowed as specified in the lease and you want to keep the tenant.  Note there is usually 60 day notice for rent increase if they have been in the unit over a year, but in this case they are in violation of the lease.  This will slowly help pay for the wall. If you do not want to keep the tenant, give them a 3 day notice to come compliant with the lease (i.e. get rid of the pets or get them re-classified).
  2. Immediately collect pet deposit.  This should be worded such that it is additional deposit and can be applied to anything that the current deposit can be used for (i.e. do not limit it to only pet damage).
  3. Indicate in the lease, tenant will be charged for placing unit back into a pre-animal state including Duct cleaning and carpet shampooing.
  4. Require the animal to be screened by PetScreening.com.  this will discourage bogus ESA claims, will provide vaccination records, will describe the animals.  Note if tenant can get ESA approval from PetScreening.com, you cannot charge pet rent or pet deposit, but you can still charge at tenant move-out to place unit back into a pre-animal state (there are many potential tenants with pet dander allergies and if the unit was a non-animal unit move-in then at move-out it is to be once again a non-animal unit).
  5. I would pay for the block wall (shared cost with neighbor) if you do not believe it will result in other issues.  Block wall will last decades, replace an old fence, keep the neighbor happy, provide some value all for half of the cost of the wall.

If you let the tenants break the rules, they will come to believe the rules do not apply.  It sets a bad precedent.

Also if you do not want to manager your unit (not enforcing the lease qualifies as not managing the unit), consider paying a professional to manage your unit.

Good luck

Totally agree with you in terms of putting the foot down and setting boundaries but I still think it is dangerous times to be a landlord in California even with restrictions lifting. You never know if it will get extended last minute or have local restrictions. On top of that were talking back log in cases once things are lifted. Could go months or a a year if a tenant decides to just not cooperate. The monthly rent for the house is $4k/month so it not an insignificant amount and will add up as a huge loss if things were to go south. I expressed my concern and told them that they can chip in if they feel like but at least i expressed to them that I am basically doing them a favor for a problem that they are causing so hopefully they will be more considerate in future before making decisions. 

 I have given 4 move-out notices for the end of the month.  None are Covid related, but I waited until post COVID restrictions because you know each would claim COVID impact (even though there has been brick through a window and the police called multiple times in a B+ area - market rent per unit is ~$3800).  I also had another tenant give notice and move out (she moved out end of last month) in large part due to the issues with the tenants I have given the vacate notice.  

We will know in a week how successful the move-out notices will be.  I have discussed it with a lawyer (who suggested cash for keys, we do not do cash for keys for bad tenants) and we will proceed with eviction if they are not out by end of next week.  I half expect one to be a problem.  The problem one knows I do not put up with BS, and recognizes I will fight rather than settle (she has seen me do it before).  The fact she has seen I do not tolerate BS could be what results in her moving out (at least I hope, but I will be going hard after her if she is not out) rather than try to fight it.  Three seem that they are not going to be an issue (i.e. two have already started moving).

I felt with the various Covid restrictions I likely made the correct choice to wait, but it likely ended up costing me a tenant. I hate to say it but losing a good tenant is probably preferred to having occupants not paying their rent for multiple months because of the increased difficulty of evicting during the Covid restrictions.

I understand your concern about missed rent.  I am not thrilled with the prospect of having multiple units empty.  We virtually never have turnover.  Our last turn over prior to this month was 2 units that caught fire almost 2 years ago and were uninhabitable.  

However, I am also concerned about the precedent you are setting.  You are not setting a precedent that you do not tolerate BS.

Good luck

My current rule of thumb is as long as they keep paying rent I will bend the rules a bit as long as they are not destroying my property. Currently they got 9 people living there and 2 dogs. I also did all the proper screening prior...application fee...everything and it still slip through the cracks. Even looked through all the family members facebook page but it is hard to spot how many kids are there.


 Besides that they seem like a nice family. My plan is to stay in good relationship until things subsides in regards to covid/courts backlogs. Really the last thing we want is a tenant not paying rent for months on end without any power. 

Originally posted by @Theresa Harris :

Tell your tenants to pick up the pet poop, not to use a garden hose to break it up.  If the lease didn't allow for pets, you should have told them to get rid of them as soon as you found out they were violating the lease.  There shouldn't be anything to wash off if they pick it up. Is the back yard completely paved?  That would be the only reason I can think of for urine not to soak into the ground. If that is the case, they should be taking the dogs out on the grass to do their business.

Start charging them pet rent which will help offset the cost of the fence.

Correct, It is more just a side narrow corridor that is concrete and nothing else. Not a true backyard with any grass or dirt. They do pick up but still the urine and etc stains will just stay on the concrete unless hosed regularly. 

Originally posted by @David Pai :
Originally posted by @Dan Heuschele:
Originally posted by @David Pai:
Originally posted by @Dan Heuschele:

If the pets are not permitted in the lease, you set bad precedent letting the tenant keep the pets.  I recognize in CA our hands were tied during the Pandemic restrictions.  The Pandemic restrictions end in a week.

What I would do is 

  1. Immediately charge pet rent starting Nov 1 if pets are not allowed as specified in the lease and you want to keep the tenant.  Note there is usually 60 day notice for rent increase if they have been in the unit over a year, but in this case they are in violation of the lease.  This will slowly help pay for the wall. If you do not want to keep the tenant, give them a 3 day notice to come compliant with the lease (i.e. get rid of the pets or get them re-classified).
  2. Immediately collect pet deposit.  This should be worded such that it is additional deposit and can be applied to anything that the current deposit can be used for (i.e. do not limit it to only pet damage).
  3. Indicate in the lease, tenant will be charged for placing unit back into a pre-animal state including Duct cleaning and carpet shampooing.
  4. Require the animal to be screened by PetScreening.com.  this will discourage bogus ESA claims, will provide vaccination records, will describe the animals.  Note if tenant can get ESA approval from PetScreening.com, you cannot charge pet rent or pet deposit, but you can still charge at tenant move-out to place unit back into a pre-animal state (there are many potential tenants with pet dander allergies and if the unit was a non-animal unit move-in then at move-out it is to be once again a non-animal unit).
  5. I would pay for the block wall (shared cost with neighbor) if you do not believe it will result in other issues.  Block wall will last decades, replace an old fence, keep the neighbor happy, provide some value all for half of the cost of the wall.

If you let the tenants break the rules, they will come to believe the rules do not apply.  It sets a bad precedent.

Also if you do not want to manager your unit (not enforcing the lease qualifies as not managing the unit), consider paying a professional to manage your unit.

Good luck

Totally agree with you in terms of putting the foot down and setting boundaries but I still think it is dangerous times to be a landlord in California even with restrictions lifting. You never know if it will get extended last minute or have local restrictions. On top of that were talking back log in cases once things are lifted. Could go months or a a year if a tenant decides to just not cooperate. The monthly rent for the house is $4k/month so it not an insignificant amount and will add up as a huge loss if things were to go south. I expressed my concern and told them that they can chip in if they feel like but at least i expressed to them that I am basically doing them a favor for a problem that they are causing so hopefully they will be more considerate in future before making decisions. 

 I have given 4 move-out notices for the end of the month.  None are Covid related, but I waited until post COVID restrictions because you know each would claim COVID impact (even though there has been brick through a window and the police called multiple times in a B+ area - market rent per unit is ~$3800).  I also had another tenant give notice and move out (she moved out end of last month) in large part due to the issues with the tenants I have given the vacate notice.  

We will know in a week how successful the move-out notices will be.  I have discussed it with a lawyer (who suggested cash for keys, we do not do cash for keys for bad tenants) and we will proceed with eviction if they are not out by end of next week.  I half expect one to be a problem.  The problem one knows I do not put up with BS, and recognizes I will fight rather than settle (she has seen me do it before).  The fact she has seen I do not tolerate BS could be what results in her moving out (at least I hope, but I will be going hard after her if she is not out) rather than try to fight it.  Three seem that they are not going to be an issue (i.e. two have already started moving).

I felt with the various Covid restrictions I likely made the correct choice to wait, but it likely ended up costing me a tenant. I hate to say it but losing a good tenant is probably preferred to having occupants not paying their rent for multiple months because of the increased difficulty of evicting during the Covid restrictions.

I understand your concern about missed rent.  I am not thrilled with the prospect of having multiple units empty.  We virtually never have turnover.  Our last turn over prior to this month was 2 units that caught fire almost 2 years ago and were uninhabitable.  

However, I am also concerned about the precedent you are setting.  You are not setting a precedent that you do not tolerate BS.

Good luck

My current rule of thumb is as long as they keep paying rent I will bend the rules a bit as long as they are not destroying my property. Currently they got 9 people living there and 2 dogs. I also did all the proper screening prior...application fee...everything and it still slip through the cracks. Even looked through all the family members facebook page but it is hard to spot how many kids are there.


 Besides that they seem like a nice family. My plan is to stay in good relationship until things subsides in regards to covid/courts backlogs. Really the last thing we want is a tenant not paying rent for months on end without any power. 

Are you indicating that in addition to having pets in the against the lease they also have people that are not on the lease in the unit and higher occupancy than indicated by the lease?  You are OK with this because they pay their rent?  

Tenants should pay their rent and abide by the terms of the lease.

I will make a prediction now that these two items will not be the last issues you have with these tenants.  You have basically established a precedent that ignoring the lease terms have no consequences.

I understand not wanting to not get paid rent, but you have a tenant that is ignoring the terms of the lease.  Doing nothing should not be an option.  If you are unwilling to properly manage the unit consider paying someone who will properly manage the unit.

Good luck

Originally posted by @Dan Heuschele :
Originally posted by @David Pai:
Originally posted by @Dan Heuschele:

If the pets are not permitted in the lease, you set bad precedent letting the tenant keep the pets.  I recognize in CA our hands were tied during the Pandemic restrictions.  The Pandemic restrictions end in a week.

What I would do is 

  1. Immediately charge pet rent starting Nov 1 if pets are not allowed as specified in the lease and you want to keep the tenant.  Note there is usually 60 day notice for rent increase if they have been in the unit over a year, but in this case they are in violation of the lease.  This will slowly help pay for the wall. If you do not want to keep the tenant, give them a 3 day notice to come compliant with the lease (i.e. get rid of the pets or get them re-classified).
  2. Immediately collect pet deposit.  This should be worded such that it is additional deposit and can be applied to anything that the current deposit can be used for (i.e. do not limit it to only pet damage).
  3. Indicate in the lease, tenant will be charged for placing unit back into a pre-animal state including Duct cleaning and carpet shampooing.
  4. Require the animal to be screened by PetScreening.com.  this will discourage bogus ESA claims, will provide vaccination records, will describe the animals.  Note if tenant can get ESA approval from PetScreening.com, you cannot charge pet rent or pet deposit, but you can still charge at tenant move-out to place unit back into a pre-animal state (there are many potential tenants with pet dander allergies and if the unit was a non-animal unit move-in then at move-out it is to be once again a non-animal unit).
  5. I would pay for the block wall (shared cost with neighbor) if you do not believe it will result in other issues.  Block wall will last decades, replace an old fence, keep the neighbor happy, provide some value all for half of the cost of the wall.

If you let the tenants break the rules, they will come to believe the rules do not apply.  It sets a bad precedent.

Also if you do not want to manager your unit (not enforcing the lease qualifies as not managing the unit), consider paying a professional to manage your unit.

Good luck

Totally agree with you in terms of putting the foot down and setting boundaries but I still think it is dangerous times to be a landlord in California even with restrictions lifting. You never know if it will get extended last minute or have local restrictions. On top of that were talking back log in cases once things are lifted. Could go months or a a year if a tenant decides to just not cooperate. The monthly rent for the house is $4k/month so it not an insignificant amount and will add up as a huge loss if things were to go south. I expressed my concern and told them that they can chip in if they feel like but at least i expressed to them that I am basically doing them a favor for a problem that they are causing so hopefully they will be more considerate in future before making decisions. 

 I have given 4 move-out notices for the end of the month.  None are Covid related, but I waited until post COVID restrictions because you know each would claim COVID impact (even though there has been brick through a window and the police called multiple times in a B+ area - market rent per unit is ~$3800).  I also had another tenant give notice and move out (she moved out end of last month) in large part due to the issues with the tenants I have given the vacate notice.  

We will know in a week how successful the move-out notices will be.  I have discussed it with a lawyer (who suggested cash for keys, we do not do cash for keys for bad tenants) and we will proceed with eviction if they are not out by end of next week.  I half expect one to be a problem.  The problem one knows I do not put up with BS, and recognizes I will fight rather than settle (she has seen me do it before).  The fact she has seen I do not tolerate BS could be what results in her moving out (at least I hope, but I will be going hard after her if she is not out) rather than try to fight it.  Three seem that they are not going to be an issue (i.e. two have already started moving).

I felt with the various Covid restrictions I likely made the correct choice to wait, but it likely ended up costing me a tenant. I hate to say it but losing a good tenant is probably preferred to having occupants not paying their rent for multiple months because of the increased difficulty of evicting during the Covid restrictions.

I understand your concern about missed rent.  I am not thrilled with the prospect of having multiple units empty.  We virtually never have turnover.  Our last turn over prior to this month was 2 units that caught fire almost 2 years ago and were uninhabitable.  

However, I am also concerned about the precedent you are setting.  You are not setting a precedent that you do not tolerate BS.

Good luck

The four tenants you gave notices to was that because they stop paying rent or some other reason? 

Originally posted by @Dan Heuschele :
Originally posted by @David Pai:
Originally posted by @Dan Heuschele:
Originally posted by @David Pai:
Originally posted by @Dan Heuschele:

If the pets are not permitted in the lease, you set bad precedent letting the tenant keep the pets.  I recognize in CA our hands were tied during the Pandemic restrictions.  The Pandemic restrictions end in a week.

What I would do is 

  1. Immediately charge pet rent starting Nov 1 if pets are not allowed as specified in the lease and you want to keep the tenant.  Note there is usually 60 day notice for rent increase if they have been in the unit over a year, but in this case they are in violation of the lease.  This will slowly help pay for the wall. If you do not want to keep the tenant, give them a 3 day notice to come compliant with the lease (i.e. get rid of the pets or get them re-classified).
  2. Immediately collect pet deposit.  This should be worded such that it is additional deposit and can be applied to anything that the current deposit can be used for (i.e. do not limit it to only pet damage).
  3. Indicate in the lease, tenant will be charged for placing unit back into a pre-animal state including Duct cleaning and carpet shampooing.
  4. Require the animal to be screened by PetScreening.com.  this will discourage bogus ESA claims, will provide vaccination records, will describe the animals.  Note if tenant can get ESA approval from PetScreening.com, you cannot charge pet rent or pet deposit, but you can still charge at tenant move-out to place unit back into a pre-animal state (there are many potential tenants with pet dander allergies and if the unit was a non-animal unit move-in then at move-out it is to be once again a non-animal unit).
  5. I would pay for the block wall (shared cost with neighbor) if you do not believe it will result in other issues.  Block wall will last decades, replace an old fence, keep the neighbor happy, provide some value all for half of the cost of the wall.

If you let the tenants break the rules, they will come to believe the rules do not apply.  It sets a bad precedent.

Also if you do not want to manager your unit (not enforcing the lease qualifies as not managing the unit), consider paying a professional to manage your unit.

Good luck

Totally agree with you in terms of putting the foot down and setting boundaries but I still think it is dangerous times to be a landlord in California even with restrictions lifting. You never know if it will get extended last minute or have local restrictions. On top of that were talking back log in cases once things are lifted. Could go months or a a year if a tenant decides to just not cooperate. The monthly rent for the house is $4k/month so it not an insignificant amount and will add up as a huge loss if things were to go south. I expressed my concern and told them that they can chip in if they feel like but at least i expressed to them that I am basically doing them a favor for a problem that they are causing so hopefully they will be more considerate in future before making decisions. 

 I have given 4 move-out notices for the end of the month.  None are Covid related, but I waited until post COVID restrictions because you know each would claim COVID impact (even though there has been brick through a window and the police called multiple times in a B+ area - market rent per unit is ~$3800).  I also had another tenant give notice and move out (she moved out end of last month) in large part due to the issues with the tenants I have given the vacate notice.  

We will know in a week how successful the move-out notices will be.  I have discussed it with a lawyer (who suggested cash for keys, we do not do cash for keys for bad tenants) and we will proceed with eviction if they are not out by end of next week.  I half expect one to be a problem.  The problem one knows I do not put up with BS, and recognizes I will fight rather than settle (she has seen me do it before).  The fact she has seen I do not tolerate BS could be what results in her moving out (at least I hope, but I will be going hard after her if she is not out) rather than try to fight it.  Three seem that they are not going to be an issue (i.e. two have already started moving).

I felt with the various Covid restrictions I likely made the correct choice to wait, but it likely ended up costing me a tenant. I hate to say it but losing a good tenant is probably preferred to having occupants not paying their rent for multiple months because of the increased difficulty of evicting during the Covid restrictions.

I understand your concern about missed rent.  I am not thrilled with the prospect of having multiple units empty.  We virtually never have turnover.  Our last turn over prior to this month was 2 units that caught fire almost 2 years ago and were uninhabitable.  

However, I am also concerned about the precedent you are setting.  You are not setting a precedent that you do not tolerate BS.

Good luck

My current rule of thumb is as long as they keep paying rent I will bend the rules a bit as long as they are not destroying my property. Currently they got 9 people living there and 2 dogs. I also did all the proper screening prior...application fee...everything and it still slip through the cracks. Even looked through all the family members facebook page but it is hard to spot how many kids are there.


 Besides that they seem like a nice family. My plan is to stay in good relationship until things subsides in regards to covid/courts backlogs. Really the last thing we want is a tenant not paying rent for months on end without any power. 

Are you indicating that in addition to having pets in the against the lease they also have people that are not on the lease in the unit and higher occupancy than indicated by the lease?  You are OK with this because they pay their rent?  

Tenants should pay their rent and abide by the terms of the lease.

I will make a prediction now that these two items will not be the last issues you have with these tenants.  You have basically established a precedent that ignoring the lease terms have no consequences.

I understand not wanting to not get paid rent, but you have a tenant that is ignoring the terms of the lease.  Doing nothing should not be an option.  If you are unwilling to properly manage the unit consider paying someone who will properly manage the unit.

Good luck

 That is correct. I don't think a property manager would make any difference. It is not like they will pack up their things and leave peacefully or boot a family member out of the family. The point is to keep stalling and keep good relationships until courts are more back to normal. I been in touch with a biggerpockets member here in Los Angeles who posted here and she is going on 1 year without rent or rental assistance and she already filed an eviction 6 months ago and it keeps getting pushed back. It is better to pick the right time to pick your battles. Once things operate more smoothly then landlords can have some power to push back. 

Originally posted by @David Pai :
Originally posted by @Dan Heuschele:
Originally posted by @David Pai:
Originally posted by @Dan Heuschele:

If the pets are not permitted in the lease, you set bad precedent letting the tenant keep the pets.  I recognize in CA our hands were tied during the Pandemic restrictions.  The Pandemic restrictions end in a week.

What I would do is 

  1. Immediately charge pet rent starting Nov 1 if pets are not allowed as specified in the lease and you want to keep the tenant.  Note there is usually 60 day notice for rent increase if they have been in the unit over a year, but in this case they are in violation of the lease.  This will slowly help pay for the wall. If you do not want to keep the tenant, give them a 3 day notice to come compliant with the lease (i.e. get rid of the pets or get them re-classified).
  2. Immediately collect pet deposit.  This should be worded such that it is additional deposit and can be applied to anything that the current deposit can be used for (i.e. do not limit it to only pet damage).
  3. Indicate in the lease, tenant will be charged for placing unit back into a pre-animal state including Duct cleaning and carpet shampooing.
  4. Require the animal to be screened by PetScreening.com.  this will discourage bogus ESA claims, will provide vaccination records, will describe the animals.  Note if tenant can get ESA approval from PetScreening.com, you cannot charge pet rent or pet deposit, but you can still charge at tenant move-out to place unit back into a pre-animal state (there are many potential tenants with pet dander allergies and if the unit was a non-animal unit move-in then at move-out it is to be once again a non-animal unit).
  5. I would pay for the block wall (shared cost with neighbor) if you do not believe it will result in other issues.  Block wall will last decades, replace an old fence, keep the neighbor happy, provide some value all for half of the cost of the wall.

If you let the tenants break the rules, they will come to believe the rules do not apply.  It sets a bad precedent.

Also if you do not want to manager your unit (not enforcing the lease qualifies as not managing the unit), consider paying a professional to manage your unit.

Good luck

Totally agree with you in terms of putting the foot down and setting boundaries but I still think it is dangerous times to be a landlord in California even with restrictions lifting. You never know if it will get extended last minute or have local restrictions. On top of that were talking back log in cases once things are lifted. Could go months or a a year if a tenant decides to just not cooperate. The monthly rent for the house is $4k/month so it not an insignificant amount and will add up as a huge loss if things were to go south. I expressed my concern and told them that they can chip in if they feel like but at least i expressed to them that I am basically doing them a favor for a problem that they are causing so hopefully they will be more considerate in future before making decisions. 

 I have given 4 move-out notices for the end of the month.  None are Covid related, but I waited until post COVID restrictions because you know each would claim COVID impact (even though there has been brick through a window and the police called multiple times in a B+ area - market rent per unit is ~$3800).  I also had another tenant give notice and move out (she moved out end of last month) in large part due to the issues with the tenants I have given the vacate notice.  

We will know in a week how successful the move-out notices will be.  I have discussed it with a lawyer (who suggested cash for keys, we do not do cash for keys for bad tenants) and we will proceed with eviction if they are not out by end of next week.  I half expect one to be a problem.  The problem one knows I do not put up with BS, and recognizes I will fight rather than settle (she has seen me do it before).  The fact she has seen I do not tolerate BS could be what results in her moving out (at least I hope, but I will be going hard after her if she is not out) rather than try to fight it.  Three seem that they are not going to be an issue (i.e. two have already started moving).

I felt with the various Covid restrictions I likely made the correct choice to wait, but it likely ended up costing me a tenant. I hate to say it but losing a good tenant is probably preferred to having occupants not paying their rent for multiple months because of the increased difficulty of evicting during the Covid restrictions.

I understand your concern about missed rent.  I am not thrilled with the prospect of having multiple units empty.  We virtually never have turnover.  Our last turn over prior to this month was 2 units that caught fire almost 2 years ago and were uninhabitable.  

However, I am also concerned about the precedent you are setting.  You are not setting a precedent that you do not tolerate BS.

Good luck

The four tenants you gave notices to was that because they stop paying rent or some other reason?  

They were given notice because of arguments that have resulted in the police having to be called multiple times and the resulting impact to the other tenants.  This includes shouting and one tenant throwing a brick through a window and biting and scratching another tenant.  Basically they are being evicted for domestic issues that are impacting the other tenants.

Two of the other units indicated they are/were afraid because of the extent of these arguments.  You would think this is class D area, but it is B+ area (Pt Loma).  I have units in class C areas that have not had the issues of these tenants.  

I will say domestic issues can happen in any class property. 

So far none of our tenants have not paid their rent, but I do expect if they (I am only really concerned about one) do not move out by the move-out day that they will no longer pay rent.  I do think the biggest issue tenant, because she has seen me not tolerate BS before, is less likely to resist than she otherwise would be.  I do not know if it will be enough for her to not try to stay after the move-out date.  I think she is hoping for cash for keys.  She is dreaming.  I will know for sure in just over a week.  If she is not out by next weekend, the eviction process will start on Monday.  She will loose, but it may take a little time. 

Don't be a softie. Don't be stupid. Charge for the dogs, or don't complain when the tenant moves out and it costs you a lot of money. Your tenants know better than to bring dogs onto the property without your blessing and they are being dishonest.

Send your tenant  a 7-Day Notice To Comply. The note states that they remove the dogs from the property, or pay $50 per month for each dog. Then, if your tenants don't comply you send them an eviction notice.

You can bet your buns that the dogs will do a lot more damage than just to the yard. We just cleaned a house where a dog destroyed the house and an apartment where the dog did a lot of damage. In the house, the dog urinated on every wall on the first floor, on the walls on the hallway on the 2nd floor and in the master bedroom. The urine caused all the particle baseboards to bubble and they had to be replaced. The urine went through all the carpets and the place smelled bad even after we mopped all the concrete floors with a garden hose and chlorine. For the apartment unit, the urine went through the laminate floors in the entire apartment and even after we removed all the floors and painted them the urine still smelled.

We had another apartment where the dog odor was so bad we washed all the walls and ceilings, painted them, took all the lights, switches, wall receptacle and even took the furnace out. All the floors were ceramic tile. We washed them several times with chlorine, waxed them and the place still smelled bad. We even washed the windows and installed all new blinds. When we showed the apartment to rent we left the windows partially open. Strangely, the odor remained in the apartment until after the new tenant moved in and it went away. I think the furniture and throw rugs acted like a filter.

We charge a $400 non-refundable fee for each dog and a high percent of landlords charge $50 per month for each pet.

Put the fence up and charge the tenant another $50 per month for improving the property. Most landlords increase rent every time they make some sort of improvement to a property. Your tenant will probably like the block wall much better since the wood fence is deteriorated and the dogs may escape. Nothing should be free!

Here is a picture of the wooden fence. It is pretty beat up. My side is the grey house. She wants to continue the cinder block wall to the end. It is about 50 feet in length and her best quote so far is 6k for material and labor to remove the wooden fence and continue the cinder block wall all the way. Does anyone know if that is about right? The neighbor is using the guys that her dad works with because he is in construction. I will get some estimates myself but she wants a decision asap since they are ready to start by next week. 

Neighbor is hustling me. She told me her dads crew is charging 6k with day laborers and wanted to split half while I got a quote from licensed and insured concrete company that quoted only $3300.

@David Pai

So your concrete pad is raised above the neighbors yard and your tenant washes pet waste off the edge into their yard? Honestly if thats the case its a gift if they split it with you. There must be some sort of zoning or nuisance ordinance to cover this. I have multiple dogs, I hate zoning and nuisance laws. I would complain about this too. Lol

As for what they want to charge, i would have had it quoted myself from the start. My opinion, if youre unwilling to make the tenant stop doing what theyre doing, i would get the wall built however it needs to be done.

Originally posted by @Shane H. :

@David Pai

So your concrete pad is raised above the neighbors yard and your tenant washes pet waste off the edge into their yard? Honestly if thats the case its a gift if they split it with you. There must be some sort of zoning or nuisance ordinance to cover this. I have multiple dogs, I hate zoning and nuisance laws. I would complain about this too. Lol

As for what they want to charge, i would have had it quoted myself from the start. My opinion, if youre unwilling to make the tenant stop doing what theyre doing, i would get the wall built however it needs to be done.

 That is correct. My side is raised about a foot and waste water ends up going on her side was they hose it down. Now the odd part after I got this written estimate that is half the cost versus her dad's crew is that she doesn't want to sign the contract with me to start work. She told me to go ahead with it. I told her since it's a project on our shared property line we should both sign the job proposal so we're both on the hook for it in terms of liability and payment. Very shady on her end. She said she searched for a week for estimates and end up choosing her dad's laborer crew while I searched one afternoon on Yelp and the first estimate I got was half the cost. My theory is that her side is marking it up close to double and telling me that and trying get me to cover majority of the entire cost since she is using her dad's people.

Originally posted by @David Pai :

Neighbor is hustling me. She told me her dads crew is charging 6k with day laborers and wanted to split half while I got a quote from licensed and insured concrete company that quoted only $3300.

 Wow!  Maybe Dad's crew is looking for work!  Make sure you go with licensed and insured, and decent price.  Also, you should think about what will happen once the block wall is up.  If the renters still hose the waste material it has no where to go but soak into the cement and blocks, so that will smell horrid and ruin fresh cement.  Can they get the artificial dog grass and make a set up for their dogs to use that?  You need some sort of a plan for how they manage the waste since the water now has no where to go with a block wall.  There are several dog waste systems with a tray that collects the urine and artificial grass for the dog to use.

Just an update- The block wall is now finished in replacement of the wooden fence. I get a text yesterday from the neighbor saying the urine smelling dirty water is still ending up on her property from the front (My house is the grey one and her is the concrete front patio). She says we should of built the block wall 5-10 feet further past the side gates. Basically the water is flowing out the front now instead of the side and some of the dirty water is draining to her side. 

Im not sure what to tell her at this point. The entire block wall project was her plan and she had just as much say with the contractor as I did. I think with her property being lower it is just the natural flow of water to drain out to lowest point. I understand her part not liking dirty water get on her property but at same time it is unfair to restrict the tenant from cleaning their own backyard.

Is there anything she can actually do legally or just pound sand? I went along with her plan and it didn't solve 100% of the problem. I could offer to go in half again to have a contractor come out again and built the wall further along the front but in my eye that would actually be a bit of an eye sore. Any suggestions?