I have a tenant who is generally a great guy, except that he won't keep the yard clean of cigarette butts or dog waste. No matter how many times I ask it's gotten to a point where I just go over daily and clean up the yard. At this point in his lease (it's up on December 31st, 2017) it's easier to simply not renew his lease than it is to evict him. Because his lease is 372 days, the State of Wisconsin requires I give him a 30 day violation notice and then we could start the eviction process. I've opted to just let him stay through the term of his lease.
My question is for any other landlords out there about how and when to tell him I won't be renewing his lease. I have two fears:
1. When I tell him that I'm not renewing his lease, he may stop paying rent, especially for the last month as he'll just assume I'll take it out of his security deposit. I've never agreed to allow this, but I fear he may just rely on it and there's not much I can do.
2. His lease is up 12/31/17 which is a really difficult time for him to move, especially to find a place with his dogs. I fear it may turn into a holdover situation if he doesn't vacate.
Any advice on when and how to notify him? My current thought is to tell him after his November 1st rent deposits which means he'll have slightly less than 60 days to find a new place. That way the most I'd be out is his December rent if he decides not to pay.
If you have put up with him this long... I would wait a few more months till march or april and let him go then. I am assuming his lease will go month to month.
New here and just realized this thread is probably in the wrong forum - sorry! If a moderator could please move it I'd appreciate it.
@Jim Adrian his lease is up 12/31/17, so it's nearly over. I intend to put up with it until his lease is up but my question is looking for advice on how to give him notice that I'm not renewing and when to give that notice.
But remember... who wants to move when its 10 degrees out side ins Wisconsin? Be prepared for a longer vacancy. Here is my "end of lease" letter. Modify to fit your lease. If you choose to keep him around a few more months then modify this again to let him know you are not renewing his month to month lease effective on this date and his last day in the place is "blank". But give them the required time per state laws.
Tenant 1 Name:
Tenant 2 Name:
Thank you for choosing to rent your home from us.We have appreciated doing business with you for the length of your stay.As you have seen we have worked hard to respond to your requests while living in your home and to make your stay as comfortable as possible.Your agreed Lease Period has been fulfilled.At this time you are reaching the end of your “Lease Period” and now will be on a “Month-to-Month” lease option as stated in the Lease Agreement under item 4. If you wish to move out, a written thirty (30) day notice is required by the first of any month per Item 27 of the Lease Agreement. At that point we can talk through to Move out process together.
If you wish to sign a new lease we can discuss options.Please let me know what your future plans are.You are welcome to call this home for as long as you like as you have been good tenants!
Sincerely the Landlord,
So if your lease has a 60 day notice,, you'd have to give him notice of non-renewal prior to 60 days of lease end.. That's all of Dec, All of Nov.. so I usually give notices out on the 15th of the month, so by Oct 15th let him know.... If you give him another lease term option he has until the 31st of Oct to accept or submit notice he will vacate per the terms of the non-renewal.
If you choose you can say your not going to renew for 12 month term any longer,, it will be month to month or what ever 4 month.. 6 months.. if you decided you want to let him stay for any lenght of time longer.,, .. if you can accept a earlier notice to vacate say that also..
@Jeff Walden it seems to me you are thinking in the wrong direction.
There are a couple of angles to this. First of all, when you rent properties, you have to expect that not everyone will keep the property as neat and clean as you would like them to. Some people keep dirty dishes in their sink, others don't. You have to draw a line in the sand somewhere, but please understand that you can't micromanage everything. If the yard belongs to the unit, you may choose to be just okay with some dog poop. It's good for the grass.
We use the following rule of thumb - if it does not do permanent damage to the property, if it does not cause neighbors to complain and if it's not a legal issue - it's probably okay. Just for reference - we rent fully updated SFs and charge above market rents, so I am not suggesting slumlord conditions. Think of it as a car rental business - some people will return a nice rental car with fastfood trash all over the back seat: that's generally fine, as long as it can be cleaned up. If you damage the seats - they will charge your credit card..
Second: I prefer not to be the guy who fixes a clogged toilet (or clean up dog poop). You put yourself in a position where you look like a servant to your tenant. This will cause them to respect you less. Try to run your business as if you would manage 300 units. Have you ever rented in a large complex with on site office? Will the office staff (or the owner!!) come and deal with issues? No, of course not. They will dispatch a service to fix the problem and then one of three things happens: it was either a free courtesty service, or: they will charge your account (and deduct it for next months rent, not from the sec dep, so if they don't pay, the rent is short, which will trigger a late notice that can lead to eviction), or: they will give you a written notice and enforce the rules and regulations you have signed. If the tenant does not comply they will serve a termination notice. So the question is: do you have something in your lease about dog poop and cigarett buds? (We use the documents from legal blanks, they have standard blanked language for these issues).
Hope this helps - good luck!
Great points @Marcus Auerbach .
@Marcus Auerbach - I didn't mention in my initial post that the other tenant in this duplex, whom shares a yard, complains about the dog waste and cigarette butts on a regular basis, a few times weekly. Candidly, I feel like she's a tattle tale and he's a slob, but put them together and it's a nightmare. Both could use to put in a little more effort, but I can't ignore the complaints. As he simply won't clean up the yard and I need to field complaints, I'm left with a choice to either do the work or to risk losing an otherwise great tenant. Could the waste be in the yard rather than be cleaned up immediately? Of course. But as it's a shared yard and has already been called to my attention as being unacceptable by the other tenant, I need to enforce the rules.
His lease does include clear language and responsibility of cleaning up dog waste. It's even specified as never being allowed in the yard and must be cleaned up immediately. The cigarette butt disposal and smoking are detailed in the lease as well. This is more a serious concern of mine because the cigarette butts are being left in the grass/plants at the edge of the wooden deck. He could easily start a fire, not to mention that he needs to smoke further away from the house.
@Deanna McCormick - perfect, I like your logic of giving him the same amount of time I require him to give me. Seems that it's logical and fair.
@marcusauerbach had the absolutely right idea here.
I do have a qurstion on this. Do you live there also? How do you know what status his back yard is in on a weekly basis? Are you allowing him the right to privacy?
@Jeff Walden one rotten appel spoils the entire bushel. On bad tenant will drive good tenants nuts and run them off. Having two tenants under one roof changes the dynamic a little. You certainly don't have to accept violations of the lease agreement - serve a Notice to Comply or Vacate. If he does not comply he gets evicted, it's very simple and straight forward. And it avoids you having to pick up after him. You are a good person for doing that, but don't let him take advantage of you. By the way I never had problems finding tenants in the winter - there is much less supply which you would have to compete with.
@Christine Kankowski I'm aware of the status on a daily basis because I'm there daily to clean the dog waste out of the yard. Privacy isn't a concern given that the yard is shared common space. I don't visit any of my other units on a daily or even weekly basis because the tenants don't cause issues. I've been forced to visit daily to clean the yard or else risk running off the other good tenant I have in the duplex.
@Marcus Auerbach Great point about the lack of inventory in the winter. At this point, it's going to take longer to evict him than it will to simply let his lease expire at the end of December.
Which all brings me back to my original question. How much notice do I give the tenant that I will not be renewing his lease? My fear is that if I give him too much notice, he'll simply not pay rent for the last month and I'll have to chase him down for that. At the same time, I need to give him enough notice to find a new place. Does anyone have experience with this that can offer practical advice?
From a legal perspective, I don't see anything about how much notice I'm required to give a tenant: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/704 or https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/code/admin_code/atcp/090/134
@Jeff Walden I think you are too concerned about your tenant and what he might do or not do. The sooner you tell him, the longer he has to find a new place. This is business, not personal. Remind him that the new landlord will call you for references. Your lease should state that the security deposit cannot be used as last months rent. If you don't have rent on the 5th you serve him a notice. You can still file for eviction based on the non-payment of rent - still 3 weeks left to go. Plus you have every right to go after him. The law is really very clear and if you know your tools you should not have a reason to be concerned. If you need more details just download "The Wisconsin Way - Landlord Tenant Guide". Comes as a pdf, just google it.