Month to Month lease 1 Tenant Activist 0

4 Replies

I hope none of you have experienced this, but in my four plex, I had a tenant give notice who was trying to dictate terms to us.  Constantly difficult and really exhausting....the kind of tenant that can wear you out.   We replaced her with a great incoming tenant, and I thought all is well.  Turns out another tenant in the building has suddenly started with the same type of behavior, trying to push lease terms, and trying to dictate when we can send our service guys in, always on their terms, never meeting half way.  I'm wondering if recent court cases in Minneapolis against landlords has fostered tenants thinking they can push us too hard.  After a week of grief, and expenses, I looked over my lease, and cited where my tenant had fallen short of it.  I set a meeting for Saturday, sent a letter citing her violations, and a second letter to make my point clear.  The notice to vacate letter.  The lease is month to month.  So I'm giving her notice.   If she comes around and sees the light, we may be willing to vacate the 'vacate' letter.  I don't like vacancies in the winter, but I really don't like this tenant activism.  Wondering if anyone else has noticed this.  

@David Moore not yet, but I suspect it could be generational as that is a more common trait of younger tenants.  It could also be a result of the current tenant talking to the last tenant and having the notion spread like cancer.

I suspect it relates to tenants talking.  When I purchased my 4 plex I inherited some tenant drama.  Heard many times that "we were like family" until XXX moved in.  Lucky for me one of the dramatic tenants decided to leave and the house became calm again.  In a small building people seem to talk quite a bit, for better or worse.  

@David Moore I too have noticed growing tenant push back on notice.  In practice, landlords start by having a good lease, then stick to the lease and the law with access.  If unit access is not granted with reasonable notice, issue a Notice of Material Breach.  Material breach is not an exact science in caselaw, but I recommend you practice a general maintenance 3 strikes you are out policy.  Courts will balance the equities.  If a landlord presents a material breach eviction based upon 1 denial of access, they may not be too impressed.  If a Court sees a landlord provided the tenant notice of breach, did not evict, then only did so based upon subsequent behavior, landlords have a stronger case to terminate the lease and evict.  As is always, consult an attorney with your fact specific case.  

In my practice, I have noticed  a new one page form with sole purpose of authorizing a tenant to re-define "reasonable access" to 24 hours.  This is not the law or supported by caselaw in Minnesota.  Don't fall into this trap.  

I am a big, big fan of improved, beefed up, yet lawful landlord notices.  These notices  cite the specific law (statute/case law) to help stop unnecessary back and forth.  

Lastly, stick to declaratory sentences with tenants and avoid dialogue.  The law is notice, not a conversation to figure out what time works best for the tenant in a given week.  

@Brad Schaeppi

Why would there need to be an eviction on a month to month lease?  In this case, I'm fortunate, as this tenant is on 100% public assistance.  She will go where the assistance goes.  I have actually learned my current practice from Homeline Attorney Landlord training, here in Minneapolis.  With month to month leases, I don't even have to give a reason for telling the tenant to vacate.

I will use your strategy for fixed term leases.   Thanks for the idea.    

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