My tenant is not paying me...

7 Replies

Hello my BP fellows,

I am a fairly new landlord in WA and they are my very first tenants. I have to say that I did not have much luck as my first tenants in my first rent is not paying me....

Here is the story -

They signed the lease in June, starting from September, they are always late to pay the rent. 

Around Xmas, the guy called me saying that his wife is sick, they suspect it is the mold. I stopped by immediately. the mold they said is just some small black spot on the corner of the windows in master bedroom. with baseboard heated, and they never open the window or pull up the blinder, i guess it is hard to avoid that...I said that we can remove that for them. I have also mentioned that we lived in the house for years with my son born there, no one is sick... the lady would like to do a swab test on the mold and i agreed. There then was not any update in that regard. the only interesting thing is my neighbor told me that the lady used drug before.... (my neighbor's brother is the guy's friend.)

After new year, the guy called me saying that they have no money and will have to move....

I have asked them to sign the mutual termination of tenancy and it says very clearly that if they dont move by Jan 31, the eviction will be kicked off immediately. They are not paying for rent...even though i made it very clear that he is still responsible for Jan. I have been sending emails and calls, but the guy cannot give a certain date to pay. 

My concerns - 

1. what i can do to let them pay for Jan?

2. usually how long does it take to evict the tenants and are they still responsible for rent during the eviction?

3. if things get really worse, they play it really nasty and sue me about the mold. how could i defense myself.

Answers and experience are highly appreciated. Thanks guys for reading this post!!

@Xia Zhao  

1.)More than likely you won't be able to get rent.  You will be able to recover some money with the security deposit but the eviction costs, months of unpaid rent, taxes, mortgage (if any), will force you to take a bit of a hit.

I never let people pay late or not pay fees if they are a new tenant.  Tenants that have been with me for many years without issues I will sometimes provide a little grace period of sorts.  I would have filed eviction right away. This is a business not a hobby. Treat it like one.  They are living in your property and effectively stealing from you if you let them stay without rent. 

2.) How long an eviction takes depends on your state and county.  Every state is different. Every county is different.  Here in Chicagoland it can take anywhere from 1-3 months.  Sometimes longer if the tenant knows  how to play the system.  Ask your attorney or investors specific to your state/county. They should be able to provide a better timetable. 

3.) I am not an attorney ....As long as you show that you took proactive actions you should be okay. Did you followup on the mold/swab test? Did the tenant say they were going to do it themselves? Unless it is obvious tenant misuse that caused the mold, I would of done the testing myself as a landlord and eaten the cost. 

And as always.. have insurance...lots and lots of insurance. 

Good luck to you.  You get better at being a landlord as you go so this is a valuable experience that most landlords go through at some point.