Landlord rights? - Posted by Jane

Posted by Jim Locker on December 23, 2000 at 19:09:59:

>>. I pretty much knew I didn’t have a leg to stand on but actually the biggest reasons I changed the lock was because the former tenants(friends of the recent tenants) still had a key and were somehow coming in and cyphening the oil from the oil tank!!!

So, if I understand you correctly, you did NOT change the locks prior to renting to the last set of tenants?


What if someone with a key shows up and rips off your tenants? Or worse, rapes your tenant? Guess who gets sued because the intruder had a key. Uh huh. You guessed it.

Now, you don’t have to tolerate former tenants stealing the oil. That is theft and if they don’t live there they have no right to be there. Call the cops. Set up a security camera (hidden) and get a picture.

Change the locks and give the current tenant (who you will now evict) a key.

Landlord rights? - Posted by Jane

Posted by Jane on December 23, 2000 at 07:41:22:

Hi all,

I am a landlady in a bad situation. My tenants stuck me for about $1000 and abandoned the place with no heat about 3 weeks ago. I went in to check on it the other night as I had potential new tenants interested. All of their stuff is still in the house. While I was there the woman came to get some clothes and told me her boyfriend is in jail and she is staying with her parents and working.

I got oil and had the heat turned back on but the kitchen pipes burst and left me with a big mess not to mention plumbing bill. I changed the locks on the house and am going to tell her that when she gives me the money she can have her stuff back. Do I have the right to sell the furniture, tv’s etc. if she refuses to pay?
And the potential new tenants decided not to take it so now I’m stuck with no income right now.

An ounce of prevention - Posted by Bud Branstetter

Posted by Bud Branstetter on December 23, 2000 at 19:32:32:

First, you need to screen tenants through a source like National Tenant Network. You also need to file a report with them on your present tenants after you do the eviction. Please don’t let it happen to the next landlord if they try to be diligent.

Second, get a hold of a good lease that has the protective clauses. One that allows you to enter and re-rent after so many days if rent is over due.

Third, learn how to be a landlord. Do not wait for weeks before starting the process. Learn how to do the eviction yourself. There are a number of good sites and books.

Re: Landlord rights? - Posted by Jim Locker

Posted by Jim Locker on December 23, 2000 at 16:32:54:

You have already established that the tenant is still coming and going. As others here have said, you run the risk of being sued, and losing.

Do it by the numbers. First and foremost, change the locks back so the tenant has access. Do this now.

Then, post a statutorially suitable notice on the front door demanding that the tenant pay the rent OR vacate the premises within the legally required time (varies from state to state).

When that time elapses, file an eviction proceeding in your local court, and go through it by the numbers. You cannot claim the property is abandoned since the tenant’s very valuable (and undoubtedly antique family heirloom worth many tens of thousands of $$$) stuff is still there and the tenant - to your certain knowledge - is still coming and going.

When you get your eviction, proceed strictly in accordance with your local laws for regaining possession of the property. Then pursue the tenants for money. File collections. Garnishee wages.

If the tenants rent another place AND the LL doesn’t call you for a reference, then when you find where they are garnishee the deposit from the new LL. Some consider this to be a cold thing to do, but my position is that if a LL rents to someone without checking with me first, they deserve what they get - and I’ll get them.

If the tenant is a welfare rat, then next year, forgive the debt owed and issue them a 1099 for income received (the forgiven debt is income to them). This will cost them their welfare, and might cause them to have to pay taxes. Great fun to do to the one who screwed you.

Good luck.

Re: Landlord rights? - Posted by phil fernandez

Posted by phil fernandez on December 23, 2000 at 08:13:31:

I’d read your states landlord/ tenant law and perhaps ask these questions to a local attorney that works with landlords and evictions.

In my state you just can’t change the locks. I’d get something in writing from the tenant that they have voluntarily abandoned the property and agree to let you rerent it. Have this statement notarized.

In my state you can not just sell the tenants personal property. We have to store it in a secure place until eviction and back rent issues are resolved.

But do talk to your local attorney. I am neither an attorney nor do I live in your state.

Re: Landlord rights? - Posted by Ed Copp (OH)

Posted by Ed Copp (OH) on December 23, 2000 at 10:27:21:

NOT much (your rights)…

Depends a little on what state your in but, you can expect to have the current tenant show up with a lawyer (or several) provided by the welfare department at taxpayer expense (you and me). You will be charged with invading the privacy of this poor defensless, helpless tenant, when you broke into her place and changed the locks.

You can"t sell anything that was left behind, because it is not yours it is still hers, and she is just not home today. Never mind the fact that she let the place freeze up. That is your problem not hers. After all you are the rich landlord here with the deep pockets. She has all the rights that she ever had, because you have not evicted her (so the court will assume that you are happy with her).

Now when the complaints start, like eviction etc. you can expect her to call in the local health department to complain about the frozen pipis and the unlivable conditions that you the rich landlord should have taken care of for her, the helpless tenant.

Get a lawyer, and hold onto your checkbook. You are about to take a rather pricey seminer that we call
real life".

Re: Landlord rights? - Posted by Jane

Posted by Jane on December 23, 2000 at 18:39:33:

Thanks for all you knowledgeable replys. I pretty much knew I didn’t have a leg to stand on but actually the biggest reasons I changed the lock was because the former tenants(friends of the recent tenants) still had a key and were somehow coming in and cyphening the oil from the oil tank!!! And since I just paid to put oil in there was no way I wanted to risk that!

Yes they are welfare rats…you know its pretty difficult to get a job when you are a young healty 25 year old. They had jobs when they moved in. I know I should have known better but you live and learn. It’s something that I WON’T allow to happen so easily again.

Thanks again. Besides, there probably isn’t anything in there worth a total of $1000. I will do it by the book to cover my …self.