Need advice about my renter

hello. I hope you can give me some good advice on my issue. For a brief back history. I have a detached mother in law apartment that I have been renting out to a man for the past 2 1/2 years. His very good paying job had transferred him about 150 miles to my town. He had connections, family, house and friends that he couldn’t just pull up and move. He has been trying to get transferred back.
I rented the apartment furnished and he payed a deposit and first month. I can say about this renter is that he pays on time every month and is very quiet. We can’t hardly tell he is there. He goes home every weekend taking most of his personal stuff with him.
This is the issue. Although we live next to each other we don’t see him much or go into the apartment except to get the rent check. Things have come up in the last few months. Although he has never been one to clean stuff like tub, sinks, walls, doors( some how they are brown and greasy), things have started to get damaged. First in the middle of last year the water bill climbed slowly up about 100 dollars. In the course of trying to find the issue I asked him if he noticed any water leaks or water running in the toilet. He said no. When we finally looked at the apartment the toilet had a constant run and there was mold around the toilet and on the walls around it. We eventually found the main water issue was in the apartment. In addition to the high water bill we had repair costs to fix the mold problem. This also happened when we were also not living in the main house.
The next issue happened last fall. The apartment has a window unit in the wall for cooling. Last fall it died. When looking at the unit it looks like the filter has never been cleaned. It was caked in dust. We think that killed the unit. This is a additional repair cost.
The final problem is something we found while in the house. We were looking around and noticed the stove. It was caked in stuff that was burnt. My repair guy said that it was a major fire hazard.
Perhaps I should have done inspections of the apartment but between work, schools and general life I didn’t give it much thought. He payed on time and never cause problems.

I need advice. He is causing damage with his neglect. Should I ask him to leave? Things have changed with my finances to were I can go with out that rent. If I did get him to leave I would need to give him 30 days notice? How? He doesn’t have a mail box that he checks. He never gets mail. If he by chance got any we would be handing it to him. Also about the deposit, what would I be able to deduct from it? The bathroom repairs? air conditioner? cleaning? The place was in great condition and was cleaned before he moved in. I realize that there is some damage that you have to take in account but this?
I am in MS.

First of all, he is not causing damage. When people rent, they usually don’t take care of cleaning the place up. But that is not damage. It’s the usual wear and tear. Now, he may be sloppy and not clean up, but that is no reason to evict him. It sounds like the mold issue could be your issue. Tenant’s don’t cause mold. Mold is caused by poor ventilation, or a leak.

A lot of tenants don’t tell the landlord about leaky toilets or other things as long as it’s working. He’s paying rent on time, and that’s what matters. Maybe you should just schedule a once a year routine visit to check the air filter and such.

Maybe I am not explaining it right. Its not sloppyness. There is nothing there except for a tv, some change in a bowl on the end table, food in the fridge and stuff on the week end. He doesn’t keep much there. Unless I don’t understand the meaning of sloppy. Its actually fairly neat in side. The only thing is that we can’t touch anything with out it having a brown greasy film on it. the floors are covered in the kitchen in something that gets tracked into the carpet in the living room. There is a black section on the carpet the edge of the kitchen. The sinks and shower are brown.
I am worried about caked on food on the stove that my maintenance guy says is a fire hazard. If there is a fire am I responsible? He isn’t cleaning it.
How is not cleaning the filter for the air and killing the air conditioner not damage? I have to buy a new one.
How is not telling me about a problem when it clearly states in his rental agreement that he is required to tell me( he is the one living there) there is a issue and even when asked says there isn’t one. That it causes several hundred dollars of damage that I have to fix.

Also about tenants not telling about leaks if it work, They usually pay their own water bill and are affected if there is a leak. His water is wrapp.ed up in his rent

As a novice landlord there are plenty of things to learn about the business you are in. First it is the responsibility of a landlord to do regular inspections of their properties. It may be in the lease for tenants to report issues to the landlord but bottom line is it is solely your responsibility to insure the property is properly maintained. Tenants rarely give a darn.
As far as the issues mentioned the air conditioner is solely your responsibility to maintain and insure the filters are changed not the tenant. You can ask them to do it but they are not ultimately responsible.

As for the grease situation again this is your responsibility during inspections to point out the problem and request he clean up as a fire safety issue and to protect the carpet. Otherwise this is simply normal ware a tear on a rental property.

Sorry to say but as you have not been doing inspections and staying on top of your tenant and the property there is nothing you can do.
At this point ask him to clean, maybe ask he have the carpets shampooed but don’t expect any change.

It isn’t damage it is tenant ware and tear and ultimately neglect of your business responsibilities as a landlord.

Need advice about my renter

Well, your renter looks a lazy and very careless person. Things you mentioned in the thread do not come in damage. Its just a routine wear n tear of a house. And i think it does not come in agreement. So must talk to the renter about these things. if he does not response or act in a psotive way against your request then give him a notice or warning… i hope this will work for you.

You don’t say if he is on a lease. If not raise the rent and put it towards a repair fund. If he doesn’t move, wait and tell him its been awhile since you really inspected the unit, and do a good inspection job with him. I might even say you know what, maybe I can have someone come in once a month for a general clean up, free to you (the rent increase pays, if your able to raise that much)

I have in leas agreement with my tenants the clause that they have to keep property reasonably clean and in sanitary condition. I don’t understand how it maybe otherwise. And they ARE clean.

If you have LA with your tenant maybe it makes sense when you renew it to restructure it with this clause. If you don’t have LA, then he is on a month to month basis and you don’t have to keep him if you don’t want to.

Advice about renter…

I am going to be the dissenter and say that the tenant is responsible for keeping/returning the property to you in similar condition to how you gave it to them - clean. Normal wear and tear is things wearing out from age, carpet having a wear pattern, toilet starting to leak, etc. However, here is my advice on best way to handle the situation… Keep the tenant - they pay and they aren’t tearing up the place. Begin a new policy of changing the air filter yourself every month when you pick up the rent (which also gives you access for inspection). Discuss the expected level of cleanliness with the tenant, especially regarding the stove/oven, being careful not to trample on their feelings, and get things back on track. If tenant is not open to the new rules, may be time to ask him to move. Hope that helps.

Best wishes,
Chris in FL

The good: You have a tenant, that’s been there long-term, pays his rent and doesn’t bother you. - That’s huge, as far as tenants go

The bad: He’s not clean and doesn’t pay attention to little things, like water leaking etc.

Ok, so if you have to turnover tenants, clean everything, maybe repaint etc, you’ll likely have the place empty for a month or longer. Chances are that that will cost you more than the high water bill etc.

I think the positives are really good and the negatives can be worked on: Talk to him, explain to him what is expected of him. I doubt that he’s doing it to bug you, but he’s just not paying attention. Tell him about the fire hazard. It seems to me as if the good outweighs the bad and that sometimes it’s good to not look for perfection. Your next tenant might be a compulsive cleaner, but a horrible person, who constantly threatens and cusses you out (which is what I’m dealing with and I’d love to trade tenants with you :wink: )