Sorry or the long post. TLDR at the bottom.
I am by no means a professional landlord. My wife and I have one rental property in Baltimore, MD, which we only decided to rent out because we bought in 2006 at the height of the bubble and we needed to move, and selling would have meant taking a substantial loss. We rented it out successfully for quite a few years while we were still in MD, but a couple years ago we moved to TX, making it much more difficult to manage. We wanted to sell when we moved away, but it would have been a 5 figure loss that we didn’t want to take, so we thought we would try to continue renting it. We had a handyman that we trusted who took care of a lot, and we would use craigslist to find tenants. In July of last year, our tenants leases (we rented rooms individually, with separate leases) were all up at the same time and we were having a really hard time finding tenants. We looked into selling again, but we were still underwater and would have lost probably 10k. At that point our handyman, Angel, came to us with seemingly great deal. He said he would take over the payments and management of the house until the mortgage was completely paid off at which point we would sign the title over to him. If at any point he failed to make a payment, the house would be ours again. We figured what the hell, sounds good to us.
So Angel finds a couple tenants and begins to pay the mortgage. All seems to be going well. Cut to the middle of last month, Angel calls us out of the blue and says he wants out of the deal and that April will be the last mortgage payment he will make, because managing the house is too big a pain for him. We’re like ok, the housing market is red hot, we can probably just sell it and at minimum break even, probably even make a small profit. He had even repainted the whole house and remodeled the bathroom. The tenants are on month to month leases, so we reach out and tell them we are selling the house and they have 30 days. One of them is like cool, and he finds a new place and moved out after a week. The second one, I’ll call her Sharon, stops communicating with us and blocks our phone numbers. We then find out that she has moved her girlfriend and her gf’s kid into the house and has put locks on the interior doors (so far I don’t think she has changed the lock on the exterior doors, but that may have changed by now). She still hasn’t paid her April rent, and I am pretty sure she has no intentions of vacating or paying any rent anytime soon. We did a background check and she has a ****ing INSANE police record. Charges like kidnapping and assault on a police officer among many many others. Like, we’re talking legit sociopath here. Real scary stuff.
Meanwhile, my wife made some calls to friends and found out that Baltimore has apparently recently passed a bunch of bills because of Covid, limiting a landlord’s ability to evict their tenants. So the process will likely take many many months. Making it more difficult is that the house is not registered as a rental, and in order to register it, we have to get an inspection, but we can’t get into the rooms to do the inspection because of the locks. My wife and I cannot afford to pay the mortgage on the house for more than a month or two, and the bank has denied our request for forbearance.
So my question is: is there anything else I can do? Any way I can expedite the eviction? Has anyone been in a situation like this before? We are stressing the f out. Please help.
TLDR; we have a tenant in Baltimore who is refusing to move or pay rent and we won’t be able to evict her any time soon. What can we do?
The federal eviction moratorium ends in 2.5 months. There are a couple ways to proceed in Maryland. One is failure to pay and another is tenant holdover. Tenant holdover you need to start by mailing them a certified letter. Beyond that the process takes linger. The other is failure to pay. In normal times you would have court in 2 weeks. Once you obtain a judgement you can get a warrant then proceed with an eviction.
i stopped dealing with low grade properties before covid and screen well so I haven't had issues during it but righg now the website says cases are being heard dont know if thats true. I can im you for further info as its a lot to explain here.
There is a lease in place and you can consult a lawyer to draft a case based on the situation. You should be able to apply for eviction if its a month to month lease and you have not renewed it. You can evict based on them overstaying the lease. Good luck!!
@Stephen Beckwith definitely reach out to a local lawyer. The folks here will be able to help, but you’ll want a lawyer to deal with the notification and eviction process to make sure it goes as well as it can. It’s not something you want to DIY at least the first time or two.
They may have other suggestions if there are warrants or anything for this individual. Might be worth looking into.
You can evict her as she's in violation of the lease since she moved in her girlfriend and the girlfriend's kid. Hopefully your handyman used a start lease that says no subleasing or moving in other people. Talk to an eviction lawyer. The eviction ban is only for non-payment of rent, you can evict for any other lease violations.
You dont need a lawyer in Maryland for this. If you go with a pm or someone more contractor oriented they can help fix issues if it goes to escrow. Also they might get the warrant but you will need someone else for attending the eviction and posting notices if in Baltimore city.
What no one has brought up is while you can file for eviction, you will lose the case because your property is not registered as a rental. No rental license number in counties that require them is an automatic loss in Maryland.
Assuming the property is built prior to 1978, are you registered for lead pain with the Maryland Department of the Environment?
Yes thats true to get the license you will need the inspections. You will need to make nice with the tenant to do that. Then the inspections for both lead and the city or county based on where it is. Lead is getting harder so hopefully you dont have dirty carpets. Might need to do some work for passing lead as well like eliminating and repainting flaky peeling paint.
If I were in your position I would brainstorm and do one of the following:
A. probably list the property for sale with or without a realtor
B. Send a notice to enter the unit and change locks (of course you will still have to provide them with a copy, but at least you will have a set when you send inspection notice
C. Read the lease with a highlighter to look for any loopholes
Just my thoughts..
Also, you can sell with tenants in place so you may want to get that other side rented again...you need money until someone else take it over legally.
Alot of investors are attracted to buying with tenants in place. I happen to have started out buying real estate with tenants because I was 1.5 hours away.
The first thing to know is, this will take time, there is no way around it.
The second thing, if you are not registered, start registration process asap, even that will take time, getting a lead inspection will be a hassle, but it is what it is, we all have to deal with it. It looks like you are looking at min 6 months.
Also, you can sell it with the tenant in, reach out to one of the investor/agents and they might help you out with the whole process, it will be less money that you might hope for ( may be not, market is crazy) but sometimes less stress is more important then more money.