Existing tenant - changing property types

15 Replies

Hey (first post here) I'm closing on a property that will be used as a vacation rental. However the previous owner had a long term tenant in the property. I have just received their contact information and I need to let her know we will not be offering long term rental services. Any suggestions? Should I send a certified letter? State: VA

Certified mail is typically necessary when you need to prove something in court, or the state law requires it. This is just a beginning conversation, so a standard letter will suffice. Just be honest, professional, and short. You don't need to spend a lot of time trying to justify your decision to them.

I’m asking this in all serious good faith—why do so many of you people do this? You buy something where someone has lived for years and then pull the floor out from under them and tell them they have to move in the middle of a pandemic.

And secondly when you turn housing stock into short term rentals you have just created an artificial scarcity in the market for that area. And you’re basically running an unlicensed and unregulated hotel. 
why wouldn’t you just let the person keep living there and rent the rest of the units as short term? The person could even help look after the place when someone does stay. Why is the answer always to throw someone out. 
and now of all the times to do it. During a pandemic when landlords are bragging and cheerfully planning ways to make it harder and more expensive for people to Rent? 
is there no other way to satisfy your craving for money? 
short term rentals displace people, remove good housing from the market and shut out anyone who could have lived there or bought the property themselves and they exacerbate gentrification and contribute to ruining neighborhoods because all the residents who may have had a sense of community are replaced by out of towners who don’t care or even bother usually to preserve any semblance of community because they have no ties to it. 
again I am genuinely curious as to the thought process that goes into this. I want to understand why you all do what you do and I’m willing to be persuaded but honestly it just seems incredibly exploitative, immoral, and greedy. Do you ever stop to think about the lives and communities you destroy? 

I would contact them and have a phone call before you send the letter. As this is their home for many years, I think it would be most humane to address it that way and then send a certified letter to verify the Notice to Quit. I would offer them 60 days if possible so that they will find the property, 30 days is often too short. 

You need to honor the lease they have now.  Hopefully you got a copy of that so you know when their lease ends.  If it is month to month be sure to check all local laws regarding ending tenancy especially now with the eviction moratorium happening. 

i do however agree with Eric that this is the exact thing that creates so much hate for landlords. So this can be added to the thread of "why do people hate LLs so much" 

@Amanda Welch thank you for posting your question. You didn't say whether you looked at the current lease beforehand or not, but this is something typically done before closing. You are going to be the property owner and you have a right to do anything you want with it within the confines of the law. Before sending your letter, the seller should be happy to let you have a conversation with the current tenant. If not, then consider not buying the property.

@Eric Weldon-Schilling thank you for posting a clearly-difficult comment. Landlords should always be considering how their actions affect their tenants. They should take the time to learn about the tenant's needs and expectations. Market conditions, taxes, expenses all change and for the landlord to be able to offer reasonable housing, he/she has to re-evaluate from time-to-time. I can't speak for everyone but I think it is rarely a craving for money, as you say. We are all looking for ways to secure our futures, even during a pandemic. 

I disagree entirely with the premise of @Eric Weldon-Schilling 's question posed as a statement. The person selling the home is ending the relationship with the tenant, not the new buyer. Despite being posted in "good faith" the question basically was "why are you all so evil"? With knowing nothing about the specifics of the situation it assumed an awful lot. Post a new question in a separate thread if you genuinely want to know what goes on in the minds of STR investors.

It was @Amanda Welch 's first post in our community and she deserves to know that she is not evil for working hard, saving a lot of money over a long period of time and risking it all on a potentially money-losing venture in an effort to secure her financial future and not be a burden on the rest of society.

Originally posted by @Eric Weldon-Schilling :

I’m asking this in all serious good faith—why do so many of you people do this? You buy something where someone has lived for years and then pull the floor out from under them and tell them they have to move in the middle of a pandemic.

And secondly when you turn housing stock into short term rentals you have just created an artificial scarcity in the market for that area. And you’re basically running an unlicensed and unregulated hotel. 
why wouldn’t you just let the person keep living there and rent the rest of the units as short term? The person could even help look after the place when someone does stay. Why is the answer always to throw someone out. 
and now of all the times to do it. During a pandemic when landlords are bragging and cheerfully planning ways to make it harder and more expensive for people to Rent? 
is there no other way to satisfy your craving for money? 
short term rentals displace people, remove good housing from the market and shut out anyone who could have lived there or bought the property themselves and they exacerbate gentrification and contribute to ruining neighborhoods because all the residents who may have had a sense of community are replaced by out of towners who don’t care or even bother usually to preserve any semblance of community because they have no ties to it. 
again I am genuinely curious as to the thought process that goes into this. I want to understand why you all do what you do and I’m willing to be persuaded but honestly it just seems incredibly exploitative, immoral, and greedy. Do you ever stop to think about the lives and communities you destroy? 

 Because my job is to provide for my family.  

I have not personally done this but would have no problems doing so. 

as for hurting the community? My airbnbs help my community. I promote many local businesses and actually was just speaking to some of my guests who are going to be spending money tomorrow at our local soap company. If anything my airbnbs strengthen my community as my average stay is 2.3 days and no one cooks they all eat at local joints. 


I'm a bit curious though- if the tenant is paying significantly below market rent is it also immoral to raise the rate? 


at the end of the day signing a lease is good for that period of time. If at the end of that I want to turn my property into an airbnb that's my business. I put MY money down.


if you are so concerned please go build some low income apartments to help people during these hard times.

@Eric Weldon-Schilling , I have to agree, your comments are not in good faith and seem to be justified by your own opinions you state as facts.  If you approach it with an open mind, not suggesting folks are evil and destroy neighborhoods you would understand better, you may not agree, but you would not call them evil or greedy.

I own a vacation rental.  I bought and fixed up a property that was in bad shape.  It reeked of cigarette smoke so bad I had wash walls multiple times before I could even paint them.  The neighbor on one side offered me 1/3 of my purchase price and said it was the value of the land minus the cost of tearing the place down.  He wanted to make a large garage for himself on it.  That place is sweet now and beautiful.  The neighbors on one side love my VR.  I have often come by and see them having barbeques with my guests during the summer.  I have terminated renters before.  It does not make me evil.  Some places I wanted to fix up, some places I wanted to put to a different use.  I gave them plenty of notice.  I am currently moving one set of renters out in order to make another VR.  I gave 3 months notice.  Guess what?  They had planned to move out and had never given me even a weeks notice, when there new place place fell through I still let them stay for the remaining 2 months I had initially promised.  Is a tenant evil for moving out of a rental into a cheaper or nicer one?  No, and neither is a landlord.  Is a grocery store owner evil for not giving free or cheap food to poor people?  No.  Is he evil for marking food prices up 100 or 150% over his cost?  No.  Is a lumberjack evil for cutting down trees to provide lumber to build houses with or to make toiler paper with?  No.  There are some folks who get ahead by being evil, but the vast majority of folks are honest and hard working.  The ones taking the risk and doing the work deserve to profit from it.  Most are considerate of others.  There are shortages and higher prices of houses in some areas exacerbated by VRs, there are also some areas where poorly run VRs might add to problems in neighborhoods, but those are the exception not the rule.  80% of the properties I buy are distressed, or I couldn't afford them.  I put new roofs on, I paint, add siding, update furnaces, replace windows, fix weed problems, kick out drug dealers or even addicts.  Nearly every property I own is an improvement to the neighborhood.  It is in my own financial interest to act this way, and I prefer it.  I actually had a town clerk in a neighboring town say she was glad that I just bought another property there because I fix them up and get rid of bad folks.  Try seeing this through the eyes of folks who do this, don't assume evil and greed to motives.  Think about folks who grew up poor trying make sure they can send kids and grandkids to safe schools and even college.  Think about the folks who do it for love of family and a good work ethic.

I apologize for the tone of my post earlier. I did not intend to insult everyone here and I was asking in good faith but I do tend to get passionate about this kind of thing.

I live in a neighborhood where there a number of new developments going up where old houses once were and the developments are all for short term rentals. It’s effectively pushing out thousands of good hardworking people in favor of out of towners who do not wish to interact with the community at all.

No I do not think it’s always immoral or evil to raise rent. But to throw people out just because you can slap on some paint and change someone else $400 more kind of is.

I can understand wanting to provide for your family and for your and their future but in my mind it just seems incredibly immoral to do so at the expense of another family’s shelter and stability. There are other ways to make money and other things to invest in that don’t require doing the damage that real estate investing does.

To the poster who buys old blighted property and gets rid of the criminals and troublemakers—that is actually a good thing to do. If you market the property to the right kind of people who are willing to participate and continue to the area that’s great. But it still doesn’t negate the fact that you’ve just removed that much housing stock from the area. People on vacation and who need short term rentals should stick to hotels and corporate housing. Actual homes and apartments should be for people to live in.

Additionally, it is always so easy for someone to say “it’s my property and I’ll do what I want. Buy your own if you don’t like it.” That statement is rather out of touch with the reality for most people which is:

1. It may be your property but you don’t live in it and usually have no plans or desire to. Someone else is living in it, and it is their home. The most important thing for a human to be able to survive and function in society. People should have as much stability in that as possible.

2. The people who pay you rent are paying your mortgage. That’s why everyone always says they are zero tolerance when someone is late or has financial difficulties—“rent pays my mortgage and bills.” So the person who is actually paying for “your property” should have much more of a stake in what happens to it.

3. It is difficult for the average American worker to buy a house, especially in many neighborhoods here they might want to live. Banks have made it harder to qualify for loans, and the flippers and investors essentially usurp the ability of anyone else to buy anyway. A person can have a 800 credit score, $20,000 down payment a make $100,000 a year but none of it matters when someone who watches too much HGtV and reads too many articles about how real estate is going to make you rich waltzes in and offers $50,000 above the asking price in cash. Cash they often got from the other homes they already own and for which someone has paid yet gotten absolutely no equity or benefit from. Someone who cannot buy their own home because investors snap them up from under people and then charge higher and higher rents which prevents millions of people from ever even beginning to save up for a down payment.

@Eric Weldon-Schilling Your posts make a lot of assumptions. For example, you don't know the OP intends to operate an "unlicensed and unregulated hotel". In many areas, STR's require a license and are regulated.

You also assume her STR will "destroy the community". Have you ever seen an owner-occupied house or a long term rental destroy a community? I have, plenty of times. Run down properties, properties that drugs are being sold out of, etc. Who's to say she isn't turning something like that around and actually improving the community?

Point is, you’re jumping to a lot of conclusions. On that note, you’re also way off-topic with your posts and frankly completely out of line. No one appointed you the arbiter of what is good/evil, right/wrong, moral/immoral, etc etc etc. 

It was her first post on here and you basically jump in and call her “exploitative, immoral, and greedy”. To those of us who are familiar with your posting history, it seems obvious you’re not real fond of landlords and real estate investing in general, likely because your own landlord is currently in the process of evicting you.

But for a brand new member like the OP who came on here with her first post looking for help, I imagine posts like yours could be a real turn off and make them not want to return.

So perhaps in the future, instead of hijacking someone else’s thread with your disparaging comments, you do as @Joe C. suggested and start a new/separate thread of your own to share your thoughts. 

To get back on topic, the fact that you are turning the unit into a short term rental is irrelevant to the situation. You have a tenant, and you wish to end the tenancy. You will have to honor current lease, and provide notice of non-renewal in accordance with local laws and your lease with the tenant, (yes its your lease now, even with the old owners name on it).

I recommend being honest and giving as much notice as possible though, as this will make it easier for tenant to leave (its also the right thing to do). 

OP—I apologize for any comments i made that may insult or disparage you. It really was not my intention. Your post made me start thinking and I should have posed my question in another separate post. I did not mean to attack or hiJack your question and i apologize.