Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

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savemorelivebetter
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Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by savemorelivebetter » Tue May 10, 2016 7:43 pm

Hello all,
I own a home in Ohio and rented my home out to a tenant last year when I moved out of state. The lease is till the end of June. The tenant moved out of the home without notice but found a friend to sublease it. They have paid rent till date but have refused to pay the rent for May asking that I deduct this from the security deposit though the rental agreement explicitly prohibits this. Fortunately, I had collected the last month's rent in advance. The bigger issue is that I had spoken to the current tenant who had agreed to showings of the home in exchange for some financial incentives. The person now refuses to answer phone calls or texts from me or my realtor and I'm unable to show the home unless the home is readies and the person is on board. The rental agreement I used is a template from legal zoom which asks for mutual arbitration to settle all disputes. If both parties cannot settle on an arbitrator, it asks that a judge choose one after 30 days. It states that all local state laws should be followed but does not explicitly state rules about eviction for non-payment. If I don't put the house on the market now, it will not sell this year. I have written to my lawyer and he has not given an appointment to discuss this yet. What are my options?
P.S For all owners of rental property, I strongly recommend NOT to use legal zoom.
Update: Thank you all for your thoughtful comments and help. The tenant did not pay the rent for May but I was able to convince them to allow showings of the house. We received offers within 24 hours of listing and the tenant has requested to allow to move out a month ahead of the end of the lease which I gladly agreed to. The bottomline: tenant leaves May 31st, I still have my security deposit and if all goes well, the home will be sold in the first week of July.
Lessons learned:
1. Do NOT use a legal zoom lease. Consult a real estate lawyer and make sure you include a clause for eviction if the tenant does not pay and incorporate late fees. The $200-250 fee to draw up a lease that YOU want is worth every penny.
2. Try to negotiate with tenant and offer incentives rather than threatening to sue-its almost never worth going to court for as the legal expenses will be high and you are pursuing a deadbeat.
3. Offer them flexibility to move out of the home, offering to waive penalties for early termination of lease.
Last edited by savemorelivebetter on Sun May 22, 2016 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mcraepat9
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by mcraepat9 » Tue May 10, 2016 7:46 pm

savemorelivebetter wrote:P.S For all owners of rental property, I strongly recommend NOT to use legalzoom.
Wise advice.
Amateur investors are not cool-headed logicians.

randomguy
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by randomguy » Tue May 10, 2016 7:47 pm

Your option is to get a better lawyer. There tends to be all sorts of local rental laws and you don't want to violate one. For example things like keeping security deposits for unpaid rent might be illegal in your area.

savemorelivebetter
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by savemorelivebetter » Tue May 10, 2016 7:53 pm

randomguy wrote:Your option is to get a better lawyer. There tends to be all sorts of local rental laws and you don't want to violate one. For example things like keeping security deposits for unpaid rent might be illegal in your area.
Yes, I am waiting to hear back from my current one who is slow to respond. The lease specifically states that the owner can enter the home to show the home to prospective tenants or buyers. But I can't show the home without the tenant's cooperation in that the home may be unkempt. Eviction would be the best option but may be onerous.

ResearchMed
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by ResearchMed » Tue May 10, 2016 8:21 pm

savemorelivebetter wrote:Hello all,
I own a home in Ohio and rented my home out to a tenant last year when I moved out of state. The lease is till the end of June. The tenant moved out of the home without notice but found a friend to sublease it. They have paid rent till date but have refused to pay the rent for May asking that I deduct this from the security deposit though the rental agreement explicitly prohibits this. Fortunately, I had collected the last month's rent in advance. The bigger issue is that I had spoken to the current tenant who had agreed to showings of the home in exchange for some financial incentives. The person now refuses to answer phone calls or texts from me or my realtor and I'm unable to show the home unless the home is readies and the person is on board. The rental agreement I used is a template from legal zoom which asks for mutual arbitration to settle all disputes. If both parties cannot settle on an arbitrator, it asks that a judge choose one after 30 days. It states that all local state laws should be followed but does not explicitly state rules about eviction for non-payment. If I don't put the house on the market now, it will not sell this year. I have written to my lawyer and he has not given an appointment to discuss this yet. What are my options?
P.S For all owners of rental property, I strongly recommend NOT to use legalzoom.
Did "the friend" actually sign a *new* lease, or just agree to keep going with the original renter's signed lease.
That is, is there a valid lease in play here or not?

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

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JonnyDVM
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by JonnyDVM » Tue May 10, 2016 8:38 pm

Why not just wait until the lease is up in June? By the time any legal process plays out its going to be well past June anyway. I find it hard to believe it's easy to sell now but in a month it won't be.
Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. -Dr. Seuss

savemorelivebetter
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by savemorelivebetter » Tue May 10, 2016 8:47 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
savemorelivebetter wrote:Hello all,
I own a home in Ohio and rented my home out to a tenant last year when I moved out of state. The lease is till the end of June. The tenant moved out of the home without notice but found a friend to sublease it. They have paid rent till date but have refused to pay the rent for May asking that I deduct this from the security deposit though the rental agreement explicitly prohibits this. Fortunately, I had collected the last month's rent in advance. The bigger issue is that I had spoken to the current tenant who had agreed to showings of the home in exchange for some financial incentives. The person now refuses to answer phone calls or texts from me or my realtor and I'm unable to show the home unless the home is readies and the person is on board. The rental agreement I used is a template from legal zoom which asks for mutual arbitration to settle all disputes. If both parties cannot settle on an arbitrator, it asks that a judge choose one after 30 days. It states that all local state laws should be followed but does not explicitly state rules about eviction for non-payment. If I don't put the house on the market now, it will not sell this year. I have written to my lawyer and he has not given an appointment to discuss this yet. What are my options?
P.S For all owners of rental property, I strongly recommend NOT to use legalzoom.
Did "the friend" actually sign a *new* lease, or just agree to keep going with the original renter's signed lease.
That is, is there a valid lease in play here or not?

RM
The same lease-the original tenant was allowed to sub-lease and is the name on the lease.

savemorelivebetter
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by savemorelivebetter » Tue May 10, 2016 8:48 pm

JonnyDVM wrote:Why not just wait until the lease is up in June? By the time any legal process plays out its going to be well past June anyway. I find it hard to believe it's easy to sell now but in a month it won't be.
This is the peak two months for the season before school starts. Even if I wait till July, my concern is that there is no guarantee that the tenant will leave at then end of the lease...

Saving$
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by Saving$ » Tue May 10, 2016 9:30 pm

Quite a few things wrong here, but you need to start doing them correct.

You need a Landlord attorney and quick. Send notice to the tenant with whom you have the signed agreement at the last known address, which might be the house you are leasing, stating you are proceeding with eviction for non- payment of rent, and that deposits may not be used for rent. That MIGHT be enough to get them to pay or get their friend to pay. Payment of rent and cooperation with moving are probably about as much as you can ask for in this situation. If they don't respond, proceed with a local eviction attorney.

You need to start this process NOW, because if you have professional tenants, they are not going to move when the lease is up just because you want to show and/or sell the place. They wills stay as long as they can, so you need to start eviction NOW so you get them out by the end of June.

You also need to get someone to see what the place is like inside. Have your realtor set up a "fake" appointment. Give more than 24 hours notice - give about 3 days or so, and then have the realtor go in and take pics. That will let you know if they changed the locks, and if the place is trashed.

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JonnyDVM
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by JonnyDVM » Tue May 10, 2016 10:35 pm

I see. Well this is quite a pickle. I would have a no sub leasing clause in future contracts (you probably already decided this already). I always did. I mean, you have no idea who this person is. I would write a letter to the signed tenant outlining the issues and threatening to take legal action against them for non payment since their name is on the lease. I would imagine this will get the ball rolling. This is their dead beat "friend" after all.
Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. -Dr. Seuss

clacy
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by clacy » Tue May 10, 2016 10:43 pm

You're making a good case for REIT's over rental properties!

navyasw02
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by navyasw02 » Wed May 11, 2016 12:21 am

Saving$ wrote:Quite a few things wrong here, but you need to start doing them correct.

You need a Landlord attorney and quick. Send notice to the tenant with whom you have the signed agreement at the last known address, which might be the house you are leasing, stating you are proceeding with eviction for non- payment of rent, and that deposits may not be used for rent. That MIGHT be enough to get them to pay or get their friend to pay. Payment of rent and cooperation with moving are probably about as much as you can ask for in this situation. If they don't respond, proceed with a local eviction attorney.

You need to start this process NOW, because if you have professional tenants, they are not going to move when the lease is up just because you want to show and/or sell the place. They wills stay as long as they can, so you need to start eviction NOW so you get them out by the end of June.

You also need to get someone to see what the place is like inside. Have your realtor set up a "fake" appointment. Give more than 24 hours notice - give about 3 days or so, and then have the realtor go in and take pics. That will let you know if they changed the locks, and if the place is trashed.
I'm not a lawyer, but if the lease ends on say June 30th and the tenants are still there July 1st, isn't it trespassing and the cops can arrest them?

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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by jalbert » Wed May 11, 2016 12:26 am

JonnyDVM wrote:I see. Well this is quite a pickle. I would have a no sub leasing clause in future contracts (you probably already decided this already). I always did. I mean, you have no idea who this person is. I would write a letter to the signed tenant outlining the issues and threatening to take legal action against them for non payment since their name is on the lease. I would imagine this will get the ball rolling. This is their dead beat "friend" after all.
No disrespect intended, but landlord-tenant law varies from state to state. The best advice for the OP is to find an attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant law in the OP's state to review the rental agreement and facts in the case and/or find an attorney who specializes in evictions in the OP's state. If the goal is to sell the house, paying the tenant to move is also an option to evaluate.

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Sheepdog
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by Sheepdog » Wed May 11, 2016 12:40 am

navyasw02 wrote:
I'm not a lawyer, but if the lease ends on say June 30th and the tenants are still there July 1st, isn't it trespassing and the cops can arrest them?

In my state the police will only become involved under a court order and that takes time...months in my area. A close friend tried to have a non-paying tenant evicted who would not even allow the owner to enter the property (put up no trespassing signs and put in new locks). This was the friends home before moving out of state. The "small claim" court case was 3 years ago. It took at least 6 months to get the eviction notice after going through 2 or 3 court hearings (the tenant fought it), then 2 months to get it enforced. It may be surprising to you that courts can act slowly in this matter.
It's not what you gather, but what you scatter which tells what kind of life you have lived---Helen Walton

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hand
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by hand » Wed May 11, 2016 7:41 am

You need a new, engaged landlord/tenant lawyer based in Ohio NOW.

Good news is that non-payment of rent is probably the easiest way to get rid of an unwanted tenant.
Bad news is that in order to evict, you likely need to serve proper notice of non-payment, notice of eviction due to non-payment, wait X number of days, get court ordered eviction, have sheriff evict, and deal with a bunch of unpleasantness (e.g. junk left over, damages etc.). Depending on Ohio landlord/tenant law, it is possible eviction wouldn't occur until July, and would come at a significant cost. There is no way there would be a positive showing to perspective buyers during this period.

Landlords are often admonished that they can be right or they can be rich...

While I would be tempted to fight tooth an nail no matter the cost, there is a big difference between a tenant who wants (or needs) to pay second to last month's rent out of the security deposit, and one who refuses to leave at end of lease. It may be pragmatic to accept the current indignities, resign yourself to a small claims case for unpaid rent, and move on with life.

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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by Da5id » Wed May 11, 2016 7:48 am

I have a co-worker whose father is a landlord. He is very pragmatic about these things, and doesn't always try to extract every last penny from the non-paying tenants he is having issues with. He just wants them gone. As a carrot he offers them a cash "bribe" to leave at once, and as a stick tells them that he is retired, has plenty of time, and is happy to sit all day in court and do what it takes to win there too, and will take great pains to damage their credit score in the process. Somehow folks mostly end up leaving. Not a lawyer, so not sure if the preceding is all legit in your state, but it seems to work for this guy...

Being a landlord can be painless with good tenants. They pay on time and maintain the property and stay for years. It can be hell with bad ones, who in many places have lots of laws to protect them while they stay in your property, damage it, and don't pay rent. You hear lots of stories about the bad ones, I'd not personally want to deal with it.

mouses
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by mouses » Wed May 11, 2016 7:51 am

You need an active knowledgeable aggressive attorney. Good luck finding one. Most attorneys move at the speed of molasses.

I was a landlady once and would never be again.

Try not to stress out. Adjust to the fact that this is going to cost you money. Hope the house is not trashed when you finally get them out. If there is someway to give feedback to other landlords or credit agencies, do it.

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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by 4nursebee » Wed May 11, 2016 7:59 am

Follow the law
Follow the lease.
It is business. Eliminate the emotion.

It seems like the OP is paying tuition in the university of rentals.
4nursebee

smackboy1
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by smackboy1 » Wed May 11, 2016 8:02 am

savemorelivebetter wrote:The lease is till the end of June. The tenant moved out of the home without notice but found a friend to sublease it. They have paid rent till date but have refused to pay the rent for May asking that I deduct this from the security deposit though the rental agreement explicitly prohibits this. Fortunately, I had collected the last month's rent in advance. The bigger issue is that I had spoken to the current tenant who had agreed to showings of the home in exchange for some financial incentives. The person now refuses to answer phone calls or texts from me or my realtor and I'm unable to show the home unless the home is readies and the person is on board. The rental agreement I used is a template from legal zoom which asks for mutual arbitration to settle all disputes. If both parties cannot settle on an arbitrator, it asks that a judge choose one after 30 days. It states that all local state laws should be followed but does not explicitly state rules about eviction for non-payment. If I don't put the house on the market now, it will not sell this year. I have written to my lawyer and he has not given an appointment to discuss this yet. What are my options?
Being a landlord is not for the "nice guys". If you have knowledgeable and determined tenant you are probably not going to be able to get them out without spending $ or time. Landlord-Tenant law is full of traps for the unwary amateur landlord which can cost even more $ (penalties) and time (months). If there is cause to evict under the lease, start eviction and do not let up until the tenant is gone.
Disclaimer: nothing written here should be taken as legal advice, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

sls239
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by sls239 » Wed May 11, 2016 8:10 am

Write up an offer that involves them moving out by the end of the month and make it an offer that is hard to refuse.

Otherwise, you could find yourself trying to extract blood from a turnip.

Keep your eye on the important goal - protecting the value of your asset and selling it with a minimum of expenses.

savemorelivebetter
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by savemorelivebetter » Wed May 11, 2016 8:24 am

Saving$ wrote:Quite a few things wrong here, but you need to start doing them correct.

You need a Landlord attorney and quick. Send notice to the tenant with whom you have the signed agreement at the last known address, which might be the house you are leasing, stating you are proceeding with eviction for non- payment of rent, and that deposits may not be used for rent. That MIGHT be enough to get them to pay or get their friend to pay. Payment of rent and cooperation with moving are probably about as much as you can ask for in this situation. If they don't respond, proceed with a local eviction attorney.

You need to start this process NOW, because if you have professional tenants, they are not going to move when the lease is up just because you want to show and/or sell the place. They wills stay as long as they can, so you need to start eviction NOW so you get them out by the end of June.

You also need to get someone to see what the place is like inside. Have your realtor set up a "fake" appointment. Give more than 24 hours notice - give about 3 days or so, and then have the realtor go in and take pics. That will let you know if they changed the locks, and if the place is trashed.
Good suggestions. I am waiting to hear back from my attorney who I consulted once before when the original tenant moved out. If I don't hear back today, I will look for someone new.
Agree with starting the process now. I also like the idea of the realtor getting an appointment. But they are not responding to emails and we don't have a key.

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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by goingup » Wed May 11, 2016 8:27 am

savemorelivebetter wrote:Fortunately, I had collected the last month's rent in advance. The bigger issue is that I had spoken to the current tenant who had agreed to showings of the home in exchange for some financial incentives. The person now refuses to answer phone calls or texts from me or my realtor and I'm unable to show the home unless the home is readies and the person is on board.
savemorelivebetter-
Out-of-state rental property owner here. (Although we use a prop mgmt co.) Since your only leverage with your tenant right now is legal, I might try to employ patience. In his mind he has paid the last month's rent and is leaving at the end of June. What financial inducements have you offered for showing the house? When you say he has not responded to emails and texts, how many days have you been ignored?

Getting legal and nasty may not bring about the result you want. You're certainly not in an eviction or non-payment scenario yet. You can't make somebody clean up the place and make it presentable for showing, so being a "hammer" about this is not the answer.

jumppilot
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by jumppilot » Wed May 11, 2016 8:29 am

Can't help you in your current situation, but your case is why I use a good property management company.

People say that they take money off the top but, in times like this, it is moey well spent - they've been there before, know how to negotiate the eviction process and, most importantly, take your emotion out of the picture.

You need to be a jerk (when needed, of course) to be a landlord on your own. I simply don't have the temperament.

savemorelivebetter
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by savemorelivebetter » Wed May 11, 2016 8:38 am

goingup wrote:
savemorelivebetter wrote:Fortunately, I had collected the last month's rent in advance. The bigger issue is that I had spoken to the current tenant who had agreed to showings of the home in exchange for some financial incentives. The person now refuses to answer phone calls or texts from me or my realtor and I'm unable to show the home unless the home is readies and the person is on board.
savemorelivebetter-
Out-of-state rental property owner here. (Although we use a prop mgmt co.) Since your only leverage with your tenant right now is legal, I might try to employ patience. In his mind he has paid the last month's rent and is leaving at the end of June. What financial inducements have you offered for showing the house? When you say he has not responded to emails and texts, how many days have you been ignored?

Getting legal and nasty may not bring about the result you want. You're certainly not in an eviction or non-payment scenario yet. You can't make somebody clean up the place and make it presentable for showing, so being a "hammer" about this is not the answer.
Good points. I offered $200 a month basic to show and additional $200 a month if the home shows well. So total $400 a month for two months.

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hand
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by hand » Wed May 11, 2016 8:44 am

savemorelivebetter wrote:
goingup wrote:
savemorelivebetter wrote:Fortunately, I had collected the last month's rent in advance. The bigger issue is that I had spoken to the current tenant who had agreed to showings of the home in exchange for some financial incentives. The person now refuses to answer phone calls or texts from me or my realtor and I'm unable to show the home unless the home is readies and the person is on board.
savemorelivebetter-
Out-of-state rental property owner here. (Although we use a prop mgmt co.) Since your only leverage with your tenant right now is legal, I might try to employ patience. In his mind he has paid the last month's rent and is leaving at the end of June. What financial inducements have you offered for showing the house? When you say he has not responded to emails and texts, how many days have you been ignored?

Getting legal and nasty may not bring about the result you want. You're certainly not in an eviction or non-payment scenario yet. You can't make somebody clean up the place and make it presentable for showing, so being a "hammer" about this is not the answer.
Good points. I offered $200 a month basic to show and additional $200 a month if the home shows well. So total $400 a month for two months.
Consider better aligning your reward with your goals - as a tenant for $200 / month, I'd make sure the house shows well enough, but do my best to ensure it didn't sell.

You might be better served by offering $1k if the house sells - that way tenant is more focused on making the house sellable, and you're not out any money if your goals aren't met.

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goingup
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by goingup » Wed May 11, 2016 9:01 am

savemorelivebetter wrote:
goingup wrote:
savemorelivebetter wrote:Fortunately, I had collected the last month's rent in advance. The bigger issue is that I had spoken to the current tenant who had agreed to showings of the home in exchange for some financial incentives. The person now refuses to answer phone calls or texts from me or my realtor and I'm unable to show the home unless the home is readies and the person is on board.
savemorelivebetter-
Out-of-state rental property owner here. (Although we use a prop mgmt co.) Since your only leverage with your tenant right now is legal, I might try to employ patience. In his mind he has paid the last month's rent and is leaving at the end of June. What financial inducements have you offered for showing the house? When you say he has not responded to emails and texts, how many days have you been ignored?

Getting legal and nasty may not bring about the result you want. You're certainly not in an eviction or non-payment scenario yet. You can't make somebody clean up the place and make it presentable for showing, so being a "hammer" about this is not the answer.
Good points. I offered $200 a month basic to show and additional $200 a month if the home shows well. So total $400 a month for two months.
Seems like a good inducement to me. Maybe ask the realtor to go in person to negotiate. I'd be prepared to pay that $200 cash up front and trust he'll fulfill his part of the bargain.

I agree with you that these are the critical months to list and show your house. I wonder if you think it might have been better, in hindsight, to have left the house go unrented when the last guy left in order to list/show the house. If your priority is to sell it, I'd put my sights and energy into that.

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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by coachz » Wed May 11, 2016 9:08 am

I remember my landlord from when I was in my 20's. He would come to your door with his 3 sons, they would have a truck and ask you where you wanted to go and they would 'move' you. There was no question, you were moving. You didn't pay rent, you moved. I really liked that guy. He built the post office too and many other city buildings so the city was his friend. :-)

cpw84
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by cpw84 » Wed May 11, 2016 10:31 am

It looks like the Ohio law requires you to give 24 hours notice to enter and they should not refuse entry without reason. It's not clear to me what actions are allowable to the landlord if they do not grant access. Is there any clear evidence of them violating any Ohio drug laws? That looks like a clear path to eviction, per state law.

michaeljc70
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by michaeljc70 » Wed May 11, 2016 10:36 am

I didn't read through many of the responses, but by the time you resolve this through any legal action (even arbitration), the lease will be over. You still have most of the summer to sell. It is an unfortunate situation and I would be pissed, but reality is reality.

Of course, you can try and show the property by giving the tenant proper notice. This probably will be bad. I have a realtor friend that had a similar situation and the tenant stayed there, made noise, didn't clean, and without getting graphic, made it undesirable to show.

Another option, and I know this is undesirable, is to pay off the tenant to leave early. Or make an agreement like they can stay for free until you sell it. Since they seem uncooperative, this seems unlikely.

cjhud32
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by cjhud32 » Wed May 11, 2016 10:40 am

Get a lawyer who specializes in the state where the property is located. Based on similar experience, once this is resolved my advice is to hire a property management company moving forward. Being an out of state landlord is a beast. With my arrangement the property manager receives 1/2 monthly rent for securing a tenant and then 10% per month. My check is less, but well worth the hassle and legalities as they specialize in background screening and leases.

Jackson12
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by Jackson12 » Wed May 11, 2016 11:14 am

savemorelivebetter wrote:Hello all,
I own a home in Ohio and rented my home out to a tenant last year when I moved out of state. The lease is till the end of June. The tenant moved out of the home without notice ... What are my options?
P.S For all owners of rental property, I strongly recommend NOT to use legalzoom.
I have a bit of experience in this or I wouldn't pipe up. A small bit- just enough to convince me I don't want to be a landlord again.

Situation: inherited a home, housing market not great, decided to rent. First tenant great, kept home clean, etc. was a dream tenant but had to relocate due to a job promotion.

Second tenant: awful, pretty much did what your tenant did. Moved out, leased to someone else. I wanted to sell the house since it was now a sellers's market. I didn't feel as rushed as you, however, figured I had some time.

I made the mistake of asking the tenant to leave a few month's early - with financial incentives ( seemed worthwhile since the house price had soared). He seemed friendly enough.

But the tenant ( actually the tenant who took over the lease) not only dug in his heels but when he moved out he essentially trashed the place...and then skipped town. He left without warning, about a week shy of the end of the rental agreement, leaving all his furniture, much clothing, etc..behind.

I've had other friends who say that waiting till a kease expires may cause less friction.

I should have done that..because if the guy was going to trash the place anyway, a few months might not have made much difference and maybe he wouldn't have been angry enough to leave burn marks on the counters, walls, and rugs.

I still got a decent price for the house, even after the necessary repairs. But it was a lot of work, lots of elbow grease, plus some expert help at times.

Can you wait it out?
Last edited by Jackson12 on Wed May 11, 2016 5:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mouses
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by mouses » Wed May 11, 2016 5:07 pm

savemorelivebetter wrote:But they are not responding to emails and we don't have a key.
Does the lease allow them to change the locks and not give you a key? If not, bring a locksmith.

leonard
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by leonard » Wed May 11, 2016 7:07 pm

What has changed since this post?

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=176465&p=2668587#p2668587

This seems like the same question. Did the old advice not work?
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rooms222
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by rooms222 » Wed May 11, 2016 9:33 pm

mouses wrote:
savemorelivebetter wrote:But they are not responding to emails and we don't have a key.
Does the lease allow them to change the locks and not give you a key? If not, bring a locksmith.
In Ohio it appears that the lease must explicitly prohibit changing the locks.....

http://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/r ... 21_privacy

But you could go to court to argue your access has been impinged.

https://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/as-a ... 25994.html

I don't know that any of this is getting you to where you want to go.

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JonnyDVM
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by JonnyDVM » Wed May 11, 2016 9:40 pm

I've been thinking about this one. I'm just waiting it out, holding the security deposit and hoping hard they are out without any damage to the premises when the lease is up in June. I dont know what part of Ohio your rental is in but mine was near Cleveland and was super easy to rent out. Just lower the rent to slightly below market average to attract a good tenant quickly and make sure to thoroughly check prospective tenant out so this doesnt happen again. Credit check, background check. It costs $25 and it's worth every penny.

If you're going through with selling it I don't see how waiting two months makes any difference. Sell it with a good tenant in it already. People buying rental property like that. They don't like buying a house that looks like crap courtesy of the terrible tenant currently living in it when the realtor shows it to them.
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savemorelivebetter
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by savemorelivebetter » Thu May 12, 2016 9:40 am

leonard wrote:What has changed since this post?

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=176465&p=2668587#p2668587

This seems like the same question. Did the old advice not work?
This was two months into the lease. That tenant walked out but found a friend to sub-lease to complete the rest of the lease period. They paid the rent this far but stopped in May.

savemorelivebetter
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by savemorelivebetter » Sun May 22, 2016 3:53 pm

Update: Thank you all for your thoughtful comments and help.
The tenant did not pay the rent for May but I was able to convince them to allow showings of the house. We received offers within 24 hours of listing and the tenant has requested that we allow them to move out one month ahead of the lease termination without penalty (which I gladly agreed to). The bottomline: tenant leaves May 31st, I still have my security deposit and if all goes well, the home will be sold in the first week of July.
Lessons learned:
1. Do NOT use a legal zoom lease. Consult a real estate lawyer and make sure you include a clause for eviction if the tenant does not pay and include late fees for leverage. The $200-250 fee to draw up a lease that YOU want is worth every penny.
2. Try to negotiate with tenant and offer incentives rather than threatening to sue-its almost never worth going to court for as the legal expenses will be high and you are pursuing a deadbeat.
3. Always rent after reviewing credit score AND rent/income ratio. Do not let emotions or pity for the tenant influence our decision. This is a business transaction and treat it as such.
3. Offer them flexibility to move out of the home, offering to waive penalties for early termination of lease and incentives if the home sells.
4. If you're moving out of state, its better to take a one time loss as soon as you move out and price aggressively to sell than hang on to it and hoping to recoup your investment when the market improves.

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dm200
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by dm200 » Sun May 22, 2016 4:18 pm

savemorelivebetter wrote:Update: Thank you all for your thoughtful comments and help.
The tenant did not pay the rent for May but I was able to convince them to allow showings of the house. We received offers within 24 hours of listing and the tenant has requested that we allow them to move out one month ahead of the lease termination without penalty (which I gladly agreed to). The bottomline: tenant leaves May 31st, I still have my security deposit and if all goes well, the home will be sold in the first week of July.
Lessons learned:
1. Do NOT use a legal zoom lease. Consult a real estate lawyer and make sure you include a clause for eviction if the tenant does not pay and include late fees for leverage. The $200-250 fee to draw up a lease that YOU want is worth every penny.
2. Try to negotiate with tenant and offer incentives rather than threatening to sue-its almost never worth going to court for as the legal expenses will be high and you are pursuing a deadbeat.
3. Always rent after reviewing credit score AND rent/income ratio. Do not let emotions or pity for the tenant influence our decision. This is a business transaction and treat it as such.
3. Offer them flexibility to move out of the home, offering to waive penalties for early termination of lease and incentives if the home sells.
4. If you're moving out of state, its better to take a one time loss as soon as you move out and price aggressively to sell than hang on to it and hoping to recoup your investment when the market improves.
I have never been a landlord, but was a renter (of single family homes) several times. I agree with your "Lessons learned". On #3, I agree that the renter must demonstrate an ability to pay the rent, but I would recommend some consideration of all such factors and not just a 100% rigid x% of obligations to monthly income. I don't see it mentioned in this list, but I would suggest only allowing a sublease with the full and complete concurrence of the landlord. The landlord, IMO, must apply the same standards to the person subleasing as to the person leasing.

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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by Liberty1100 » Sun May 22, 2016 4:38 pm

savemorelivebetter wrote: 1. Do NOT use a legal zoom lease. Consult a real estate lawyer and make sure you include a clause for eviction if the tenant does not pay and include late fees for leverage. The $200-250 fee to draw up a lease that YOU want is worth every penny.
I just want to point out, state laws for things like late fees and security deposits vary from state to state.

For example:
"A landlord cannot charge interest or a penalty on late rent until 30 days after the due date. However, the landlord can begin the eviction process immediately, even if the rent is only one day overdue. The landlord also cannot use a reverse penalty clause to encourage you to pay early. For example, it is illegal for a landlord to reduce the rent by 10% if the rent is paid within the first five days of the month." - A Massachusetts Consumer Guide to Tenant Rights and Responsibilities produced by the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation.

savemorelivebetter
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by savemorelivebetter » Mon May 23, 2016 7:55 am

dm200 wrote:
savemorelivebetter wrote:Update: Thank you all for your thoughtful comments and help.
The tenant did not pay the rent for May but I was able to convince them to allow showings of the house. We received offers within 24 hours of listing and the tenant has requested that we allow them to move out one month ahead of the lease termination without penalty (which I gladly agreed to). The bottomline: tenant leaves May 31st, I still have my security deposit and if all goes well, the home will be sold in the first week of July.
Lessons learned:
1. Do NOT use a legal zoom lease. Consult a real estate lawyer and make sure you include a clause for eviction if the tenant does not pay and include late fees for leverage. The $200-250 fee to draw up a lease that YOU want is worth every penny.
2. Try to negotiate with tenant and offer incentives rather than threatening to sue-its almost never worth going to court for as the legal expenses will be high and you are pursuing a deadbeat.
3. Always rent after reviewing credit score AND rent/income ratio. Do not let emotions or pity for the tenant influence our decision. This is a business transaction and treat it as such.
3. Offer them flexibility to move out of the home, offering to waive penalties for early termination of lease and incentives if the home sells.
4. If you're moving out of state, its better to take a one time loss as soon as you move out and price aggressively to sell than hang on to it and hoping to recoup your investment when the market improves.
I have never been a landlord, but was a renter (of single family homes) several times. I agree with your "Lessons learned". On #3, I agree that the renter must demonstrate an ability to pay the rent, but I would recommend some consideration of all such factors and not just a 100% rigid x% of obligations to monthly income. I don't see it mentioned in this list, but I would suggest only allowing a sublease with the full and complete concurrence of the landlord. The landlord, IMO, must apply the same standards to the person subleasing as to the person leasing.
The person who sub-leased also had sub-par credit but the original tenant continued to pay part of the rent and had the sub-leasee pay the rest. Though I checked the credit of sub-leasee, I either had to accept the person the original tenant brought which was her friend or go through the process of finding a new tenant for six months-in the end, it was easier to go with the original lease since the first tenant took some responsibility.
Things may be different if I lived in-state.

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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by randomguy » Mon May 23, 2016 8:44 am

savemorelivebetter wrote: 4. If you're moving out of state, its better to take a one time loss as soon as you move out and price aggressively to sell than hang on to it and hoping to recoup your investment when the market improves.
I am told the problem comes when you can't afford to take the loss (i.e you would need to show up with a 50k check at closing):) But yeah I have heard of very few of those cases ending well.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon May 23, 2016 9:10 am

Does the original lease allow a sublet? Did you approve the new tenant? If not on both cases, I would think the present occupier is simply a tresspasser with no right to be there. That said, I'm no lawyer although I remember Perry Mason.
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by SimonJester » Mon May 23, 2016 9:38 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:Does the original lease allow a sublet? Did you approve the new tenant? If not on both cases, I would think the present occupier is simply a tresspasser with no right to be there. That said, I'm no lawyer although I remember Perry Mason.

Not that simple and in my city the police would not treat this is a trespassing issue as the new tenant has permission to be in the premises from the original tenant. The police would tell you to start eviction proceedings and come back with a court order.
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

savemorelivebetter
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Re: Tenant stops paying rent and refuses to show the house for prospective buyers

Post by savemorelivebetter » Mon May 23, 2016 7:01 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:Does the original lease allow a sublet? Did you approve the new tenant? If not on both cases, I would think the present occupier is simply a tresspasser with no right to be there. That said, I'm no lawyer although I remember Perry Mason.
The original lease said no sub-lease without approval of the owner. When the original tenant brought her friend and offered to off set part of the rent, I allowed the sub-lease as I thought it was easier than looking for a new tenant.
Fortunately, I had asked for a security deposit AND last month's rent before hey moved in so the most she could default was 4 months-or so I thought. Of course, they could've over stayed beyond the lease which would have been a problem.

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