House-hacking off to a rocky start..

4 Replies

My wife and I have done a couple live-in flips and really loved it, but with the arrival of our daughter we decided maybe it wouldn't be a great idea to have an infant in a construction zone. So, we decided to buy a duplex, live in one of the units and just flip houses like normal people. The duplex we bought had one of the units occupied by a woman and her son and they had been there for a couple years. When we moved in we met with her and told her we would continue charging the same amount of rent she was being charged previously (which is about half of what other units bring in the area) but we wanted her to move out by April 1, which was about 2.5 months away. Things haven't went smoothly since. She was two weeks late with the rent, she won't quit smoking inside though we've asked her to, a few other annoying issues and a lot of lying. When I tried to collect the rent for the last month she wouldn't answer the phone or the door for a couple weeks. We also had a pretty ugly run in one night when I asked her to stop smoking weed downstairs (all her smoke comes right into our unit). I finally caught her outside and told her that as long as she's out by the first we won't worry about the last months rent. She said she wouldn't pay it anyway because her deposit is the last months rent (we never received a deposit). I'm not really worried about the money, but I am worried she's not going to leave. What should I do if she doesn't? I'm very new to land-lording and there was never any kind of a lease with her previous landlord. We did have her sign a statement when we moved in just saying she would leave by April 1st. and the rent would remain the same as before.. in hindsight we should have done a better job with that.

If she doesn’t move out you have three main options:

1. Do nothing: not a great option, particularly if she isn’t paying rent.

2. Forceful removal (evict): I’m hoping you have her on a lease. If so, on April 3rd (or 5th or 10th, or whatever it says in your lease) serve her with an eviction notice for non-payment and breaking lease rules (smoking inside).

3. Peaceful removal: offer her cash-for-keys.

Hopefully it doesn’t come to that and she moves out on March 31 and leaves the unit sparkling clean!

Post an update next week and let us know how it goes!

If she’s not out you need to move for an eviction

That's a pretty rough situation, but you should come to terms with the fact you'll probably need to evict her. It can be a nightmare if you let your emotions get involved, but a lot of folks on bp evict tenants regularly and it's a pretty straightforward process at the end of the day. Just find an attorney who's been doing it a while and let them handle the whole thing. Sure, it will still take time, money, and you'll have to deal with her drama for a month or two, but let the pros do what they do. 

Doing evictions is just part of the price you pay as a real estate investor. 

On the morning of the 31st a handful of guys showed up and helped her move all of her stuff out! She made a few unfriendly comments when she had the opportunity and left some junk behind, but it all went pretty well! Thanks for the tips! So glad I didn't have to resort to an eviction. 

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