What can I do about this tenant?!?!?!? - Posted by Tim (CT)

Posted by Verve on July 05, 2002 at 14:58:39:


What can I do about this tenant?!?!?!? - Posted by Tim (CT)

Posted by Tim (CT) on July 04, 2002 at 10:12:13:

I just acquired a property and I’m having some trouble with the second floor tenant. I’ve been trying to get in contact with her for over a week. She won’t answer my phone calls and when I go and knock on her door she won’t answer (and, I know she’s home). I’m trying to either get her out through eviction or get her to sign a 1 month lease agreement. If I try to evict right away, my biggest problem is that I don’t know what to evict her for because she hasn’t technically breached any kind of agreement between us (she has with the previous seller, she never paid her rent - which is why the seller had to get out - debt relief). So, my next thought is to try and get a 1-month lease agreement at a fairly high (but, within range) rent. My thought was that she wouldn’t sign the agreement and then vacate the unit or she would and then breach it at some point down the line. In which case, I would have something to evict her on.

Sorry, I’m rambling here. Does anybody know what I can do? I have keys to her apartment from the previous owner and I thought about opening the door while she’s home and saying something like ‘Oh, I was worried about you because you didn’t answer any phone calls or me knocking on the door. So, I wanted to make sure you were O.K. Oh by the way, here’s my lease. I need you to sign right here.’ How off the wall is that? I definately don’t want to do anything illegal because then I’ll have a real big mess on my hands. I spoke with an attorney and he just told me to try and get a relationship going with her. Well, I tried and she’s not coorperating.

Does anybody have any thoughts?


Re: What can I do about this tenant?!?!?!? - Posted by DB

Posted by DB on July 04, 2002 at 15:11:37:

Tim, look around your area for any paralegals who deal with evictions. We use a company near Tampa,FL called: Evictions Plus The total for an eviction from start to finish is $426 + sheriff’s fees.

I am not sure about your state, but you might need to use a real estate attorney for evictions. Check out Mr.Landlord.com to find out the proper procedure for handling evictions in your state.

Either way, if the tenants didn’t pay last months rent to the seller, then why would they pay rent to you?! Its better to start out with a new tenant that YOU have screened and allowed to rent YOUR house!

Best of Luck, dave

One more thing … - Posted by Redline

Posted by Redline on July 04, 2002 at 11:33:07:

All the advice below is excellent, but since you’re new at this - If I were you - I’d be hiring myself an attorney experienced in this area. Let him do it for you, and learn the ropes. I would not go this alone, as it sounds like your first and this tenant sounds like a pro.


Re: What can I do about this tenant?!?!?!? - Posted by Joe

Posted by Joe on July 04, 2002 at 10:34:43:

Do you know your landlord/tenant laws? If not, now’s the time to learn them. Letting yourself into her apartment is not a very good idea, and makes me think you’re winging it. Don’t do that.

Did she sign any lease agreement with the seller? If she did, you have now stepped into the seller’s shoes and must honor the lease.

If not, she’s probably a default “month to month” tenant according to CT laws, and can be evicted by sending her a 5 day notice, etc. Or whatever CT laws states. In this case you’ve still stepped into the seller’s shoes, but you are evicting because of non-payment of rent.

Don’t putz around. Send her the correct notices, and if she wants to continue to ignore you, out she goes. This is a business. She’s living off YOUR dime!

Re: What can I do about this tenant?!?!?!? - Posted by Travis (Dallas)

Posted by Travis (Dallas) on July 04, 2002 at 10:31:35:

What State are you in?

Since she doesn’t appear to have a lease and hasn’t paid you or the former owner, it sounds like you can start proceedings to kick her out. Don’t wait!!!
I definitely wouldn’t sign a lease with this tenant. In most States, you’d be better off not having a lease and just allowing the tenant to stay, if she pays.
Call the clerk at the County Court and they will probably be very helpful and give you the forms to fill out.
Of course, if you can handle things in a friendly way it might be easier and keep the tenant from damaging your property…Even if you had to pay them to leave.
Also check MrLandlord.com
Good luck,
Travis (Dallas)

You evict her immediately . . . - Posted by JoeKaiser

Posted by JoeKaiser on July 04, 2002 at 10:28:38:

When you acquire a property with an existing tenant, you get an “assigment of lease” signed by the seller as part of the closing package.

With such an assignment, all that unpaid back rent, etc., becomes owed to you and her breach in the contract with the previous owner now becomes a breach in her contract with you.

Sue for eviction immediately, and make sure ALL the unpaid rent from before you even owned the place is included in the complaint.

Situations like these never improve. Sometimes we hope we can make them see the light and offer things like a chance to sign a new rental agreement. Trust me, it’s a waste of time. At some point, you’ll be pulling the trigger on this eviction so you might as well bite the bullet and get it over with right now while it is still early. Otherwise, the numbers only go up from here.

Forget your attorney’s advise, forget trying to sign something new and instead go straight into court and end this thing.


Re: One more thing … - Posted by Tim (CT)

Posted by Tim (CT) on July 04, 2002 at 21:46:13:

I am relatively new to this side of the landlording business. I’ve had rental properties for over a year now and have had good luck (knock on wood). This is my first issue. Your advice is definately good. I’m going to go back to my attorney and tell him ‘the relationship thing just aint workin’…I want her out, NOW!!’ I’m just not sure what I can evict her for? She hasn’t breached any agreement that I have with her. When you get down to it the biggest problem is that we just haven’t been able to get face to face and discuss it. But, I think my next communication with her is going to be a 3-day notice to quit drawn up by my attorney.

Thanks again.

Re: What can I do about this tenant?!?!?!? - Posted by Tim (CT)

Posted by Tim (CT) on July 04, 2002 at 21:53:28:

I do know some Connecticut laws but not nearly enough to do this on my own. And, I certainly won’t try. But, as far as going into her apartment, I don’t think I’m winging it. There’s a very high probability that I won’t go into her apartment so it’s somewhat of a moot point. But, all of my leases’ state that if I feel there’s any kind of evidence that someone’s in danger or the apartment is being damaged in anyway, I can entire the apartment without a 24 or 48 hour notice. I’m 99% sure, this is accurate for Connecticut. Again, I probably won’t do it because I’m not that desparate. I would evict her before I did that. But, technically, I could go into her apartment to make sure she’s O.K.

As far as the lease with the previous owner goes, no, there was no written lease. It was a verbal agreement where she said she would pay the seller $400/mo rent. She has breached that agreement.

I appreciate the sound advice.

Thanks for the reply.

Re: You evict her immediately . . . - Posted by Tim (CT)

Posted by Tim (CT) on July 04, 2002 at 21:40:51:

Joe, thanks for the advice. I posted this on Mr.Landlord.com and got, basically, the same response. I’m certainly going to go in that direction.

As far as the “assignment of Lease” doc. goes, this tenant never had a written lease. It was a verbal agreement. I think that makes it a little tougher. Not impossible, just tougher.

Thanks again.

Truer words were never spoken. - Posted by GL(ON)

Posted by GL(ON) on July 04, 2002 at 17:58:24:

Joe you are so right.

If I could give one piece of advice to newbie landlords it would be “We have all trusted tenants and we have all paid”

When that no longer sounds mean and cynical you are a seasoned landlord.

Re: You evict her immediately . . . - Posted by Al - So Cal

Posted by Al - So Cal on July 04, 2002 at 11:42:41:

Advice to live by-----A BAD TENANT NEVER GETS BETTER!!
Get it over with quick. Use a RE eviction attorney.

Tim Get An Attorney… - Posted by phil fernandez

Posted by phil fernandez on July 05, 2002 at 15:51:16:

whose done evictions in your area before. Thought I mentioned that to you about this situation a couple of weeks ago.

This tenant isn’t answering the door or phone cause she doesn’t want to pay you rent. PERIOD. And she’s had a track record of not paying rent by not paying the previuos owner.

Right now your shuffling your feet making yourself think you can establish a relationship with her. Stop that and get her out legally through a good eviction attorney.

Re: One more thing … - Posted by JoeKaiser

Posted by JoeKaiser on July 05, 2002 at 01:56:48:


As I said before, the breach in the contract to the seller is a breach in the contract to you. Whether or not it was in writing doesn’t matter in the least. THAT’S WHAT YOU EVICT HER FOR.

Seriously think about a new attorney. This one isn’t giving you good advise, not just from a legal standpoint, but from a business standpoint. It’s a people business, and he/she don’t know people.


Re: One more thing … - Posted by Redline

Posted by Redline on July 04, 2002 at 23:46:55:

Ask your attorney how many evictions they’ve done. Make sure they’re good at it - you don’t want to pay them to learn how to do them.

Good luck,

Is that gas I smell? (nt) - Posted by JoeKaiser

Posted by JoeKaiser on July 05, 2002 at 02:21:23: