problem tenants in Baltimore County

17 Replies | Baltimore, Maryland

Hey All, 

Has anyone else been having problems with no matter what tenant they get (no section 8) they are always late on rent? I have 4 tenants currently that are constantly about a month behind. I haven't evicted yet because I have the funds to cover and I get the 5% late fee from each every month, but it is frustrating having to chase them every time for rent. 

All of these are 3 bed 2 bath Dundalk townhomes very nicely remodeled with pretty much everything new. The rent for each one is around $1500 but always the same case with the late rent. None of them have evictions, they make 3 x the rent they all have low credit scores though (seems very hard to find people with a score higher than 600 in this area) 

I would love to hear other people's opinions who rent in Dundalk (pretty good cash flowing properties)

Hey Daniel,

I'm in the city- But with my business that's my full-time endeavor (and my RE investments), we use an app called PaySimple. 

It sets up automatic transfers, so all the tenant has to do is fill it out once, and it's good to go. Automatically pulling on the day you set it up to. You can do CC or bank-bank transfer (CC has a slight fee though). It's been incredibly helpful simplifying billing for us. 

Hope that helps! 

i understate your issue - you need some professional help - glad to refer you to a lawyer who works on thes problems.

call anytime.

@Connor Corkrin, Thanks yeah I use Cozy for this and has the same implementation. They have the option to choose direct withdrawal or pay manually. All of them choose manually because they live paycheck to paycheck. The one who chose automatic always gets his bank account drafted because he never has enough money in the bank to pay it at the time

@Charles Parris. Thanks! You mean eviction lawyer? Are they really necessary? Seems like evicting in the county is not as complicated as in other places (no notice given, have all of the papers and conversations in order) Maybe I'm mistaken though. 

Hey @Daniel Suarez ,

How long is it taking you to place a tenant at $1500/mo? 

The highest monthly rent I've charged for any of my properties in Dundalk (County) is $1395 and that's for a 3 bed, 2 bath single-family detached cape cod (renovated / in good condition) with a somewhat awkward layout (hence the lower rent for a single-family). I charge $1350/mo for my renovated 3 bed, 1.5 bath row/townhome.

These numbers seem to attract decent tenants for me so far. Anytime I've tried to push it higher it seems like I attract lower quality tenants (they can't compete for the more competitively priced properties?).

My single-family property tenants in Dundalk pay on time the majority of the time.

Some of my multi-unit tenants in Dundalk are more consistently late with their rent, but I do have some of those that are also good about paying on time (when the unit is priced right).

I don't know for sure, but you may be working harder for that additional monthly rent--which, maybe it's worth your time and the additional frustration. As long as you can keep them paying every month (regardless of whether or not they are late).

You mentioned that you haven't evicted yet--are you at least filing for eviction monthly as soon as they're late? I have my management company do this systematically for any tenant that is late. This is good practice for several reasons.

Rob

Thanks @Rob Poole . It doesn't take more than 2 weeks to rent them during the summer with more than 1 applicant. I was thinking that that was actually the problem (renting them high) but just seeing everywhere in Dundalk all of these homes rent for a min of $1500 ($1700 or more for section 8) They are completly remodeled with laminate floors, stainless steel applicances and granite counter tops and new bathrooms thoug.

It's cool to know you have multi families in Dundalk, I didn't even know those existed there. 

Yes I havent' evicted yet, I haven't started an eviction either that's a very interesting aproach though. So what happens in those cases? You file the eviction and if they pay it automatically gets canceled or you have to cancel? Did you have to go to court for any of those? Also, do you know if someone else is allowed to file the eviction in your name?

No problem, @Daniel Suarez .

It looks like my PM company uses a company called eWrit Filings (https://www.ewritfiling.com/our-services). There are other similar companies that do this service, too (electronic rent court filings). I believe we used a service called ClickNotices (https://www.clicknotices.com) when I worked for a PM company several years ago.

It looks like a filing costs $35 through eWrit Filings from what I can see on my accounting statements--this is charged to the tenant as an additional fee on top of the late fee.

They explain their process pretty well at the link I posted above (for eWrit).

A court date gets set, but it usually gets canceled since the tenant pays. If not, it goes to court and eWrit goes to court on your behalf.

I have never had to go to court myself and have had to follow through on evictions in the past. These were all initiated and filed by my PM company through eWrit Filings.

Note: I have no affiliation with the companies listed above. I have not dealt with them directly and therefore cannot recommend them (not claiming they are good or bad).

Sometimes it's not worth it to over-renovate a place in order to charge high rent.  That's why NYS recently passed the laws preventing Landlords from highly increasing rent after improving houses.  Catch 22 for sure. I would require 4X income for that amount of rent. I've never paid more than $900 for rent :)

@Daniel Suarez if you allow them to be late, they will continue to be late. If they are a month behind they most likely will never catch up. Talk to them and figure out a plan on how they will pay that back. Possibly an additional $100 per month. Make sure that they make paying a priority or serve notices.

@Meg K. $1500 seems to be the going rate (even lower for section 8) in the area according to rentometer and other sources, also zillow and craiglist. But maybe yes, the problem is bigger than how much I'm renting the property for but an overall overpriceness of things. 

@David 

@David Stumpf That's the thing. They have been consistently late for more than a year but paying before the next month's rent and adding the late fee. Question, do you invest in the Dundalk area? Interested to know if it is different in other counties.

From my experience, being late on rent only gets worse, as time passes by. For me renter were late on rent for 4 months, and then all kinds of excuses. We ended up in court, and it got really nasty, with wild accusations and threats on my person. I did all the prep work for court, and went to court as well 2 times. It can really eat your time up, and you better have your rental licenses and papers in order or the judge will not help you at all. Oh and be fast with responses and proof to the judge, it goes real fast.

@Rob Poole You stated there were several beneficial reasons why you send out eviction notices automatically, if you don't mind, could you give us reasons why doing this would be in our best interest.

Hey @Daniel Suarez ! I agree with @Soren Ager . Tenants who get behind for more than a few months rarely improve. Whenever I feel I've lost the ability to be strict with a tenant, I'll outsource rent collection to a third party. That person (a friend, a PM, etc) should make the expectations clear about when rent is due. Once the expectations are clear, enforce them with the Failure-to-Pay-Rent notice (FTPR). Previous posters mentioned a few vendors that do this. That should fix the problem.

In the past I thought I was being nice to tenants by giving them extra time to pay. It's not nice. It allows them to get deeper in the hole, and can possibly lead to an eviction that will stay on their record forever.

Be firm and fair.

Thanks @Matt Schelberg . Finally filed my first FTPR notice. Let's see how it goes. My only concern is, if they pay partial rent (even $10) the eviction gets canceled right? I wonder how people do with direct deposit to bank accounts. 

@Daniel Suarez No, a tenant's partial payment will not stop the eviction. The following is copied & pasted from a City eviction notice. Wish I had a County form handy, but the payment rules are nearly identical (except in Baltimore County it is the constable that conducts the eviction). 

"The tenant has the right to pay the amount ordered by the Court in the WARRANT OF RESTITUTION to the LANDLORD to stop the eviction, unless the court checked box on the WARRANT OF RESTITUTION that says "Without Right of Redemption". (The landlord may NOT add additional amounts to the court ordered amount to stop the eviction.) The Tenant has the right to pay the redemption amount to the landlord and or landlord's agent in cash, certified check or money order at any time before the actual execution of the eviction order. On the day of eviction, the payment shall be made to the landlord and or landlord's agent in the presence of the Sheriff to stop the eviction."