HELP! First bad tenant! - Posted by Tim (ME)

Posted by Marsha on October 10, 2003 at 13:02:08:

I don’t know much, but you might want to send the pay-or-quit, both snail mail and certified mail or registered mail (whichever one it is that the mail person has to get a signature from when it is delivered). This will give you proof they received it, since they have to sign for it. Then I believe the seven day count starts. Good Luck.

HELP! First bad tenant! - Posted by Tim (ME)

Posted by Tim (ME) on October 09, 2003 at 19:33:15:

Hi Everyone,

I just bought a 3-unit building, and kept one of the tenants. The other 2 were evicted by the seller due to a clause I put in the contract, because they were total pigs who trashed the property. I am currently rehabbing the other 2 units. The 3rd tenant seemed to keep his unit clean, and he seemed like an honest guy who would always pay his rent on time. In fact, the seller told me the tenant was holding my rent money for when I take the property over.

WRONG! I had him sign a lease on October 1st (He had no prior lease, and no security deposit.), and in the lease it stated there is a $500 Sec Dep along with a rent of $575, so the Sec Dep and first month’s rent were due on oct 1st. He gave me $200 and said he would have the rest on Oct 14th, when his commission check comes in. I know, I know, I’m an idiot for taking partial rent payment, and for giving him until the 14th. I wrote him a letter stating that the remainder ($875) is due on the 14th, and not a day later, or there will be a real problem, and I’ve been EXTREMELY lenient with him up to now. Also, I reminded him that the monthly rent is due on the 1st, and the lease states that there is a $5 per day penalty for late rent.

I know I’ve already made some mistakes, not enforcing the lease right away, but I want to do something. If he doesn’t pay the FULL amount he owes me by the 14th, what are my options? I will not accept any more partial payments, because I think legally he is no longer late if I accept partial payment. Do I just give him an eviction notice right away?

Does anyone know Maine eviction laws? I haven’t researched it yet to find out the exact process in Maine.

Lessons learned:

  1. If you inherit tenants, you still need to do background checks, credit checks, etc.
  2. Never accept partial rent payment
  3. Enforce the lease right away, no exceptions.

Any help on how to proceed would be appreciated!

Tim (ME)

PS - My plan is to rehab the other 2 units, then sell in a few months for cash profit, but I still need my rent in the mean time!

Re: HELP! First bad tenant! - Posted by Dee-Texas

Posted by Dee-Texas on October 10, 2003 at 20:03:03:

Go to
They have all of the state landlording laws and many great ideas for landlords. Ask this question there.
Always be fair but firm…NEVER keep a bad tenant…it only gets worse.
Great $uccess,

Re: HELP! First bad tenant! - Posted by Pooky

Posted by Pooky on October 10, 2003 at 14:55:13:

Look at the bright side. At least you’re a landlord. Good luck with that.

Re: HELP! First bad tenant! - Posted by Erin (detroit)

Posted by Erin (detroit) on October 10, 2003 at 09:18:24:

I am going through my first eviction and will let you know what I am finding out.

First - if they do not pay when it is due, complete a 7 day notice (or the equivilent notice) immediately and say you are proceeding with an eviction if he (she) does not pay (with the late fee) within the next 7 days (or applicable timeframe).
Second - contact an attorney as I am not familiar with your state laws, but find an attorney that specializes in evictions in the area of your rental. It will be cheaper and the attorney “should” be more familiar with the laws as he specializes in evictions.
Third - get the hearing date set and move forward with the eviction if you do not receive a payment.

If you can, ask the tenant to leave and that you will help with moving expenses (or the like) to get them out.

I had one tenant that did not pay on time and I gave her a 7 day pay-or-quit. Magically, the money was available the next day. This other case, I have to go through with the full eviction.

Main lesson learned - Unless you really know your tenants and they have successfully paid in the past for a long period of time (thus you have an idea they will pay in the EARLY future), I will have the 7 day pay-or-quit ready when I go to collect rent. If they do not have it, they get the notice (this is business). If they pay, send a notice saying the eviction proceeding has been suspended. If they do not pay, you will have already started the process.

Hope this helps and good luck.