Renter, First Time Not Paying

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NoVa Lurker
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Renter, First Time Not Paying

Post by NoVa Lurker »

When we bought our home last year, we inherited a renter, in the apartment unit over the garage. It has a separate entrance on the side of the house. We hardly ever see him, and he never has anyone over besides his girlfriend.

He lived there for two years before we bought the house, and the sellers told us they barely talked to him for the entire two years, but they never had any problems with him.

He is quiet, never complains, and always paid the rent on time, until May 1.

He sent us an e-mail yesterday (May 3) to say he lost his job a couple of months ago (we didn't know that) and his training for his new job starts soon. He said he was supposed to get "scholarship money" for the training but hadn't received it on time, so he can't pay the rent for this month. He said he will definitely pay it "by June at the latest."

We are not desperate for the money, but we certainly wouldn't rent out the unit over the garage for free..... (It's about $800/month, which is a nice stream of relatively passive income.) The rent includes utilities, so basically we are paying his utilities while he is not paying us rent.

He is a good guy, and I want to be understanding. At the same time, we want to be careful. We've never been landlords before, so I am just hoping that everything works out okay.

Suggestions for how to handle this? And what if he doesn't pay anything on June 1, putting him two months' behind?

The lease (which I drafted last year by basically pulling a form lease for our state from a website) is month-to-month, with a 10% penalty for payment more than 3 business days late. I'd be inclined to waive the penalty under the circumstances, but what do people think about that?

Thanks.
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Majormajor78
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Post by Majormajor78 »

The terms of the lease just outline the rights and obligations of the two parties. If you want to cut the guy a break that is perfectly fine, especially if he's been an almost ideal tennant for almost three years. That being said, be upfront about how much slack you will cut. After 30 days late send/give him a letter stating that he is 30 days late and a timeline of what will happen if he doesn't begin paying. Evict after 60? 90? The call is yours but I'd definately start putting things in writting. Make the notice unambigious and as generous as you feel appropriate.

Print out hardcopies of all communications from both parties.
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natureexplorer
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Post by natureexplorer »

Ask him to leave and file for eviction at the same time. In many counties eviction proceedings take only about couple weeks and have nominal costs. If he pays up including late fees before the move-out, you can always change your mind. Once he has moved, also make sure to get small claims court judgement for the past-due rent.

In my opinion, he is stalling trying to see for how long he can live rent-free. Otherwise, he would have offered or at least agreed to pay partial rent immediately.

$800 for a garage apartment sounds high. Must be a nice place or neighborhood.
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Post by slug »

Sounds like a good tenant with this one exception. I too would be inclined to cut him a break, but heavily document the break and be very clear on the timeline if things don't go according to plan.
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sscritic
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Post by sscritic »

Hmm. You didn't use the word "security" or "deposit" anywhere in your post. Did you leave them out of your lease agreement as well?
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Post by Easy Rhino »

I don't know anything about being a landlord, but I'd try to both cut him a break AND begin eviction proceedings at the same time.
Oneanddone
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Post by Oneanddone »

Immediately start the eviction process, but do it very nicely.

"Mr. Renter, you've been a great tenant and we want to see you continue to live here. However, we can't afford for you not to pay rent, so we need to start the eviction process.

The good news is that it does not mean that we are trying to kick you out. The process takes a little time. As long as you are able to pay by June 1st, we will be able to stop the process. We just need to do this to protect ourselves just in case things don't work out with the new job. This is nothing personal and hope that you can put yourself in our shoes and understand. Thanks for being proactive in telling us."
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Post by SpaceCommander »

Majormajor78 wrote:The terms of the lease just outline the rights and obligations of the two parties. If you want to cut the guy a break that is perfectly fine, especially if he's been an almost ideal tennant for almost three years. That being said, be upfront about how much slack you will cut. After 30 days late send/give him a letter stating that he is 30 days late and a timeline of what will happen if he doesn't begin paying. Evict after 60? 90? The call is yours but I'd definately start putting things in writting. Make the notice unambigious and as generous as you feel appropriate.

Print out hardcopies of all communications from both parties.
I would agree with this. If he's been a steady, stable tenant for years, always paid and always took care of your property, then I'd want to work with him. Just make sure your terms are clear.

If you evict and get a new tenant, you don't know what you'll get... Don't be pennywise & pound foolish. Tenants that stay for years and take care of your property are very valuable.

On the other hand: I just evicted a tenant from a property that I own. But she didn't fit the profile of your tenant either. Always paid late and didn't communicate with me. Good riddance.

Choose your tenants carefully, and when you get a good one, be sure to keep them happy and work with them if necessary. My 2 cents...

JC
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hand
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Post by hand »

What worked well for us with a longer term tenant who took care of the property but had an issue paying for one month was to get their agreement (in writing) to use a portion of the security deposit against current month's rent and then agree to a timeframe for them to re-fund their security deposit.

This solution prevented us from taking a cash flow hit and losing a decent tenant, but at the obvious risk of limiting our protection against renter damages.
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Post by HardKnocker »

I'd talk personally with the guy about it and feel him out.

If he says he has a job lined up tell him you'd like to call his employer and verify it.

If he won't go for that pull the trigger and give him the boot.

He deserves the effort of checking it out.

Trust but verify.
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Post by Honobob »

I believe Hand and Hardknocker have given good solutions.

The tenant should have come to you before the first AND should have talked to you in person.

I would verify the "scholarship money". How late can it be if he expected it by the first? I would also verify the job and the current apartment condition. He should be approaching you with solutions. It does kinda sound like he's just trying to leave and guaantee that he has all his security deposit. What you do will set the tone for you business relationship for the rest of his tenancy.
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ann_l
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Post by ann_l »

I think you should waive the penalty this month. I don't think you can start eviction proceedings until he is 30 days late.
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Post by NoVa Lurker »

Thanks everyone.

I think every response above has merit.

He did pay a security deposit of one month's rent. I should have mentioned that. The lease specifically says the security deposit can be applied to unpaid rent; not sure if that provision is actually legal in Virginia, but it seems useful that it was in the form lease.

Tonight, I will send him a letter incorporating many of the suggestions above. My plan would be to word it very clearly, without using the actual terms "evict" or "eviction." But the substance will be that, if he doesn't pay by June 1, we will need him to immediately move out and find a paying tenant.

I will tell him that, notwithstanding the letter, we should be able to work this out, and we appreciate having him as a tenant.

At the same time, I will clarify the job situation with him. First, I want to ask the name of his new employer. If he won't even tell us that, then there's no reason to ask to call the new employer - I will assume there's no new job.

It honestly did not occur to me that he might be lying about the new job, but the "scholarship money" seemed strange to me. I thought maybe it was a euphemism for a training stipend or something. In any case, I guess I agree with the idea of "trust but verify" here.

Further advice is definitely welcome!
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Post by NoVa Lurker »

Honobob wrote:I believe Hand and Hardknocker have given good solutions.

The tenant should have come to you before the first AND should have talked to you in person.

I would verify the "scholarship money". How late can it be if he expected it by the first? I would also verify the job and the current apartment condition. He should be approaching you with solutions. It does kinda sound like he's just trying to leave and guaantee that he has all his security deposit. What you do will set the tone for you business relationship for the rest of his tenancy.
Yes, my wife specifically mentioned that it bothered her that he didn't say anything until _after_ not paying on time.

It didn't bother me as much. I figured he was probably scrambling to get the money and didn't e-mail until he was sure he wouldn't have it.... But who knows.
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Post by NoVa Lurker »

ann_l wrote:I think you should waive the penalty this month. I don't think you can start eviction proceedings until he is 30 days late.
Good point, although I think the penalty and eviction proceedings are two separate things.

You got me to do a Google search on Virginia landlord-tenant law, which I should have done in the first place.

Looks like eviction has to be done through the courts. It appears we could start the proceedings today, but it will probably take a lot longer than 30 days.

I really, really hope it doesn't come to that.
Last edited by NoVa Lurker on Wed May 04, 2011 4:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by NoVa Lurker »

Easy Rhino wrote:I don't know anything about being a landlord, but I'd try to both cut him a break AND begin eviction proceedings at the same time.
Thanks - this is pretty much the plan now.
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Post by mikep »

10% penalty for being 3 days late is steep. I can pay my mortgage 15 days late without penalty, and on the 16th day there's a 5% late charge.
Would you want your bank foreclosing on you for being 3 days late? However, a contract is a contract and that's what he agreed to.

I agree with other suggestions.. in general give a second chance, but not a third. Modify the contract to what you will actually do.. for example: waive the first penalty, and charge late fee for XX days late (10-15?) etc.
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Post by empb »

Nothing to add except that for some reason I'm rather curious how this turns out. Will you keep us posted?
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Post by NoVa Lurker »

empb wrote:Nothing to add except that for some reason I'm rather curious how this turns out. Will you keep us posted?
Will do.

mikep - Tenant signed the lease without complaining about the 10% late fee. It was just in the form I pulled down; I'm sure I would've changed it to 5% if he had asked, but 15 days' grace period seems like too much.
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Post by KyleAAA »

I would just let the tenant know you are charging him the 10% late fee per the lease and that so long as he pays both the penalty and the rent next month, there won't be any problems. Otherwise, you'll have to evict.

Whatever you do, don't bluff. Do what you say you're going to do when you say you're going to do it.
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Post by Honobob »

KyleAAA wrote:I would just let the tenant know you are charging him the 10% late fee per the lease and that so long as he pays both the penalty and the rent next month, there won't be any problems. Otherwise, you'll have to evict.

Whatever you do, don't bluff. Do what you say you're going to do when you say you're going to do it.
Follow thru is very important.
So, Kyle AAA, what happens on June first when the tenant does not have May or June rent or the 10% penalty? Plus even if he comes up with the rent you have trained him what is acceptable to you when he does decide to end the tenancy. That's not a call a good landlord should make.
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Post by Zippy01 »

The fact that he sent an email as opposed to coming to talk to you displays a lack of something -- courage, character, who knows, but it's what a mature person would do.

I'd definitely go knock on his door and have a face-to-face conversation with him, something along the lines of, "Hey, I'm sorry to hear you're having financial trouble. I know times are tough, and you've certainly been a great tenant for a long time now. I do have a mortgage to pay, though, and I can't wait 30 days to receive money you owe me because I use that to pay my own mortgage. Maybe you have a relative or friend who can loan you the money? Because I really can't. If you can pay me by XX (no more than 3 days out), I'll waive the 10% penalty this time, but I also can't do that on a regular basis. Will you be able to pay the full amount by XX?"

Get him to agree, then say, "Just to keep things clear and to get this in writing, which is what I need to do for business purposes, will you sign this note stating what we've agreed, and that failure by you to pay by XX means you will have vacated the premises by XX?" And then just hand him a pen and the document and wait for him to sign it. Any problems, say, "So it looks like you may be needing to move out. Again, you've been a great tenant and I want to make it easy for you. Do you want this to serve as your official notice of intent to terminate your lease and be out by May 31?"

Having been a landlord for a long time, I can tell you 30 days is too long. This is a business for you; he needs to borrow money from someone, but not you, which is in effect what is happening. He's saying, "Hey, I have decided you will loan me $800 for 30 days." Nope. That's not your business. You're in the rental property business.
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Post by Uninvested »

All good suggestions. I have a twist on it. Don't be a landlord again in the future. Its a hassle.
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Post by redarmymembe »

If I had a tenant in a garage apartment paying 800 a month without a hiccup for three years that suddenly lost his job I would give him some time.. maybe as long as three months before I evicted him.
As someone posted above, a good tenant that pays good, does not tear things up and makes no noise is a valuable thing. Especially in a garage apt where you sorta share space.

But you do need a face to face (even though he seems to be avoiding that), he needs to hear and understand that you are counting on that rent to pay your bills and you can't afford to let his misfortune become yours.
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Post by Honobob »

Uninvested wrote:All good suggestions. I have a twist on it. Don't be a landlord again in the future. Its a hassle.
And give up the $9,600 a year income for your garage because you don't have the b*lls to go over and say "honor your legal commitment"? Shoot, send yer girlfriend over and cut her in for half! Hassle resolved!
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Post by rustyjim »

A landlord can help himself and his tenant by having a couple contacts at community agencies that provide rental assistance. I have had good luck with Volunteers of America. When one of my tenants informs me that they are not going to be able to pay, I give them the VOA number and the name of the contact person. VOA is usually able to help them for a month or two to get them through the crisis.
Some might say the tenant should take the initiative to do this and of course they should. However, losing your job, possibly be evicted and a host of related problems does not always lead to the best decisions. It is easy to provide a bit of help.
Sounds like he has been a pretty reasonable tenant. I would try the idea above. A little effort can lead to a real win/win outcome.

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Post by tetractys »

I would ask the renter to pay with a cash advance on his credit card, or get a short term loan. An agreement is an agreement, so no feelings should be hurt. This is simple amiable business. -- Tet
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Post by epilnk »

You have the perfect tenant - responsible and no trouble at all. He is 3 days late, for the first time ever, claiming job loss but also claiming to have a new job lined up, and promises the rent before next month.

You have no justification at this time to treat him like a deadbeat, and no reason to believe his promise is worthless. Starting eviction process after 3 days is harsh - he'd be justified in concluding that this new landlord was a disaster waiting to happen. So don't overreact, and don't antagonize him needlessly. You most likely will not lose any money if you treat him like a decent person who hit an unexpected rough patch. You most likely will lose money if you have to find a new tenant. Who might turn out to be an actual deadbeat. It's best for both of you if this works out smoothly.

It's probably a good thing he didn't opt for a face to face, since every detail of your interaction is in writing if you stick with email. Which means everything you "say" can be carefully phrased. So make your next email be a good faith effort to accomodate him, expressing understanding while explicitly stating that you are making an exception because he's been so reliable. Offer to waive the 10% penalty if he can get you the money within a maybe a week, and consider the matter settled (and yourself lucky). Take the penalty if he is a month late. After your first positive, understanding "good landlord" email you can start ramping up if necessary.
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Post by verygoodthings »

I'm just going to throw my inexperienced suggestion into the mix.

The guy has been a solid tenant for three years as I understand it, and hasn't done damage to your property. Give him slack this one time (waiting until he makes or breaks his "June at the latest" commitment), but just be clear that you are doing this once and only once based on his history here at the property. After that, you will stand strong by whatever contract is in place, no ifs ands or buts.

Oh please do not charge a late fee, that is just silly.
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Post by rasputin »

epilnk wrote:You have the perfect tenant - responsible and no trouble at all. He is 3 days late, for the first time ever, claiming job loss but also claiming to have a new job lined up, and promises the rent before next month.

You have no justification at this time to treat him like a deadbeat, and no reason to believe his promise is worthless.
What he said.

You're clearly inexperienced in the landlord profession. You were handed a good tenant who never asks for a thing. Cut him some slack.

For comparison, consider kicking him out -

1) Repaint the apt and other misc fixes
2) time spent showing the apt, likely taking at least a month.
3) the possibility that the apt would stay on the market for a while.

Its expensive to get a new tenant.
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Re: Renter, First Time Not Paying

Post by Dagwood »

NoVa Lurker wrote:When we bought our home last year, we inherited a renter, in the apartment unit over the garage. It has a separate entrance on the side of the house. We hardly ever see him, and he never has anyone over besides his girlfriend.

He lived there for two years before we bought the house, and the sellers told us they barely talked to him for the entire two years, but they never had any problems with him.

He is quiet, never complains, and always paid the rent on time, until May 1.

He sent us an e-mail yesterday (May 3) to say he lost his job a couple of months ago (we didn't know that) and his training for his new job starts soon. He said he was supposed to get "scholarship money" for the training but hadn't received it on time, so he can't pay the rent for this month. He said he will definitely pay it "by June at the latest."

We are not desperate for the money, but we certainly wouldn't rent out the unit over the garage for free..... (It's about $800/month, which is a nice stream of relatively passive income.) The rent includes utilities, so basically we are paying his utilities while he is not paying us rent.

He is a good guy, and I want to be understanding. At the same time, we want to be careful. We've never been landlords before, so I am just hoping that everything works out okay.

Suggestions for how to handle this? And what if he doesn't pay anything on June 1, putting him two months' behind?

The lease (which I drafted last year by basically pulling a form lease for our state from a website) is month-to-month, with a 10% penalty for payment more than 3 business days late. I'd be inclined to waive the penalty under the circumstances, but what do people think about that?

Thanks.
Hire an attorney to outline to you what your options are, and the ramifications of those options. In many jurisdictions it has gotten quite difficult to evict, and there are certain steps that must be taken. This is an area where, while the advice given here is not bad, you need to speak to a professional and you should do so in short order. At least then you fully understand the pros and cons of being strict or lenient.
SP-diceman
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Post by SP-diceman »

If this all turns out positive, over the holidays get the tenant a Boglehead book.
(so he can learn about emergency funds) :)


Thanks
SP-diceman
arthurb999
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Post by arthurb999 »

I;d work with him. Sounds like a great tenant (except this month) and I wouldn't want to lose him.
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Post by expat »

I'd evict him.
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touchdowntodd
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Post by touchdowntodd »

good tenants that A) pay and B) dont destroy the place arent easy to find

remember. imho long term renters would rather never move.. you could make a break your relationship here, and by making it you could gain a friend, and a loyal tenant for life.. if you break it, and evict him, it could be months before someone else moves in, and who knows what you will get...

we all need help sometimes, and karma comes full circle.. why throw the guy in the streets?

id help him and maybe even waive 1/2 of the owed month interest in exchange for him signing on to a 1yr lease ..
tryin to do this right... thanks guys
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Post by CassiusKing »

My first thought is: I could never rent out a place on my personal property to someone I don't know extremely well.
I assume you have a family, and having "some guy" whom you rarely see and have no idea what he does living above your garage is un-nerving to me.
This may be the opportunity to change this situation.
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HardKnocker
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Post by HardKnocker »

None of us can know the exact situation you have here.

However, the worst thing you can do in a situation like this is sit on your hands hoping for the best. You have to approach this guy.

Have a face to face with this guy. He's in financial difficulty so don't be aggressive with him or threatening. He's under stress.

Get the skinny on his situation. Let him know you are sorry he is having problems. Also tell him you know what it's like to have monthly obligations because you do too (mortgage, bills, etc.). The bank wants your money too!

Tell him you really like him as a tenant and want him to stay but can't afford to let him stay if he is unable to pay.

Investigate his claims of a pending job/income. If it looks legit give him a break but keep on top of it. If it looks like a pipe dream (and he will know if it is) tell him it doesn't look good and he should find another place to go as soon as possible. Tell him you don't want to evict him, which is true.

Ask him when he can move out. Tell him you'd like him out by the 15th, if he's not out you will file eviction papers on him but you don't want to do that. Follow through if he's not out.

Don't be a chump, but don't be a jerk either. Empathy my friend.
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modal
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Post by modal »

A co-worker of mine (who recently was recently rehired) was in a similar situation as a renter (lives in a place above a detached garage). He ran out of money and gave his landlord several of his valuables to hold in lieu of his rent payment.
esetter
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Post by esetter »

If you decide to evict him, I suggest you avoid the expense and delay of court proceedings and waive 30 days overdue rent if he moves out promptly and leaves the apartment in good repair. You might also consider allowing him to do some maintenance - painting, lawn care, etc - in exchange for all or part of his rent.
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Post by Lumpr »

Being a landlord, the posts of hand, HardKnocker and Zippy01 resonate with me as being the best general way to approach the situation.
ann_l
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Post by ann_l »

I think people are being too harsh here. He says he'll have the money. He's now 5 days late. And he's been a good tenant. And emailing instead of seeing the OP in person? Most people don't want to be bothered at home. I would see an email as more respectful.

I assume the OP simply doesn't want to be landlord? That 10K/year isn't anything to scoff at.
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Watty
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Post by Watty »

One thing that I was wondering about the situation.

Are you sure that having the apartment over the garage is legal and up to building code?

I am not a building code expert but I recall reading that there are special requirements to have a room over a garage because of the dangers of the gasoline and car fumes. If you were using it for your personal use you might be grandfathered in if it was built to the old code standards decades ago, but many local building codes require that rental properties meet higher standards.

One of the issues is that if there is something like a fire and lawsuit, then your insurance company might try to deny coverage if the rental was not up to code.

Greg
arthurb999
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Post by arthurb999 »

I would ignore the advice of almost everyone on this post and cut the guy a break. If he pays the rent by June, you're golden. What you want is a long term tenant... and this will build the relationship.

Clearly, these people have no experience in being a landlord.
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Post by jmbkb4 »

Getting a lawyer involved at this point will cost many hundreds of dollars. I'd try good old fashioned communication and then kick his ass out if he screws up again.
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Post by HardKnocker »

Lumpr wrote:Being a landlord, the posts of hand, HardKnocker and Zippy01 resonate with me as being the best general way to approach the situation.
I was a landlord for 20+ years and have evicted scores of tenants. I did all my own evictions in court and employed City Marshalls to serve papers and physically evict tenants if necessary. It usually was not necessary. Every situation can be unique.

Some people are not emotionally equipped to be landlords. They are weak. If you are weak they will eat you.

Being an effective landlord does not mean you have to be cruel but you have to be assertive. It's them or you.
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Post by tim1999 »

I used to be a landlord of numerous low-end apartment houses. A few thoughts:

-You don't have a "perfect" tenant as some have suggested. "Perfect" tenants pay on time every time, the checks never bounce, they take care of the place, and they don't give excuses. The excuses the late- or non-payers give will get weirder and less believeable as time without them paying goes on.

-Being late on one month's rent is one thing. Once they are two months behind, the excuses will abound, and you will pretty much have zero chance of getting whole on what you are owed. You are a sucker at that point.

-Being a landlord means you are running a BUSINESS, not a charity. Run it as a charity (letting freeloaders stay, or saying "oh has just fallen on hard times, he will get a new job and pay me soon") and you will lose money bigtime.

-In many areas, eviction takes at least 3-4 weeks from filing, and that's if everything goes smoothly. I had an eviction delayed for 2 weeks just because the tenant cried to the judge that I wanted to throw him out during the week of Christmas. Yes, the tenant was a dirtbag, and I really did want to throw him out then.

-To be a successful landlord, you have to basically be able to stand face-to-face with another adult and tell them "no' they cannot have what they want or have your sympathy, and it's your way or the highway.

-I had a tenant who had been the most peaceful man I had ever met, until he stopped paying and I evicted him. He fought with the sheriff who was trying to physically remove him from the apartment (after he ignored every deadline to leave as per the eviction) and got arrested. And I had to rent a dumpster to get rid of his accumulation of useless crap.

-In your situation, I would file for eviction now and agree to eat the court filing costs (about $100 in my area) myself and waive the late fee if he pays up before the court date and is not late the following month.

-In many states, even if you get a successful eviction and judgment for past due rent, it is almost impossible to collect on the judgement. Deadbeats often don't have assets or W-2 wages to collect against. Not worth spending $1,000 in legal fees to collect $1,000.
Lumpr
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Post by Lumpr »

HardKnocker wrote:
Lumpr wrote:Being a landlord, the posts of hand, HardKnocker and Zippy01 resonate with me as being the best general way to approach the situation.
I was a landlord for 20+ years and have evicted scores of tenants. I did all my own evictions in court and employed City Marshalls to serve papers and physically evict tenants if necessary. It usually was not necessary. Every situation can be unique.

Some people are not emotionally equipped to be landlords. They are weak. If you are weak they will eat you.

Being an effective landlord does not mean you have to be cruel but you have to be assertive. It's them or you.
Couldn't agree more.

P.s. The bold part also applies to raising children I've noticed :D .
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HardKnocker
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Post by HardKnocker »

Cherokee8215 wrote: -In many states, even if you get a successful eviction and judgment for past due rent, it is almost impossible to collect on the judgement. Deadbeats often don't have assets or W-2 wages to collect against. Not worth spending $1,000 in legal fees to collect $1,000.
So true.

You can't get water from a rock (unless you are Moses).
“Gold gets dug out of the ground, then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility.”--Warren Buffett
smackboy1
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Post by smackboy1 »

HardKnocker wrote:
Lumpr wrote:Being a landlord, the posts of hand, HardKnocker and Zippy01 resonate with me as being the best general way to approach the situation.
I was a landlord for 20+ years and have evicted scores of tenants. I did all my own evictions in court and employed City Marshalls to serve papers and physically evict tenants if necessary. It usually was not necessary. Every situation can be unique.

Some people are not emotionally equipped to be landlords. They are weak. If you are weak they will eat you.

Being an effective landlord does not mean you have to be cruel but you have to be assertive. It's them or you.
+1

I've been in those shoes too and I agree with the advice given. I am not familiar with your jurisdiction, but in most states the laws are very favorable to residential tenants (at the landlord's expense). There are many ways a savvy tenant can take advantage of the law and essentially live rent free for months. This tenant seems like a good tenant fallen on hard times but it is imperative that you read your lease and follow the landlord-tenant laws precisely to protect your rights. Make sure all the proper notices are given and any side agreements are in writing. Be nice, but take control of the situation and establish firm limits - and enforce the limits.

As an example, in some jurisdictions the law allows "pay and stay". If after months of non-payment a delinquent tenant pays up, the eviction stops and the tenant can stay. Then next month, the tenant stops paying again and repeats the whole process. This can go on and on and is a landlord's nightmare in wasted time and costs.

BTW as an aside, those form leases are usually crap. If you want to continue being a landlord, I recommend obtaining a pro-landlord lease.
Disclaimer: nothing written here should be taken as legal advice, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
Minot
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Post by Minot »

rustyjim wrote:A landlord can help himself and his tenant by having a couple contacts at community agencies that provide rental assistance. I have had good luck with Volunteers of America. When one of my tenants informs me that they are not going to be able to pay, I give them the VOA number and the name of the contact person. VOA is usually able to help them for a month or two to get them through the crisis.
Some might say the tenant should take the initiative to do this and of course they should. However, losing your job, possibly be evicted and a host of related problems does not always lead to the best decisions. It is easy to provide a bit of help.
Sounds like he has been a pretty reasonable tenant. I would try the idea above. A little effort can lead to a real win/win outcome.

rustyjim
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