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First deadbeat renter
Old 01-29-2008, 08:46 AM   #1
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First deadbeat renter


I recently purchased several rental properties. 1 is in Front Royal VA. Brand New 3/2.5 with a finished basement and a 1 car garage. 1500sq/ft.

I rented it to a young lady with a high 600s credit rating. She has lived there for 5 months.

All rents prior to January were on time. Rent is 1300 month. I have 1 month's rent in advance.

In late December she called and told me she had been ill and couldnt work, asked for an extension on rent. She told me she would send half by the 15th and catch up completely by Feb 1st.

She sent the promised check on the 15th...which bounced.

On hearing from my bank her check had bounced I prepared a pay or quit notice with the help of some online software I purchased. I drove over to the house deliver the pay or quit letter.

On arrival there were two persons not on the lease living in the house. Renter's brother and renter's brother's girlfriend. Girlfriend is literally so pregnant she is about to pop...due in 2 weeks.

I also noticed they were smoking inside which is also against the lease. Place was cluttered but not filthy.

Renter was not home. I identified myself and asked if it would be alright for me to come in and talk with them. The brother called sister (my renter) for me on his cell, and handed me the phone. I stepped outside to talk to her. She seemed surprised that the check had bounced, she asked me to let her make things right and not kick her out.

She said she would have both January and february to me by the 5th of Feb. I said if I had funds in my account by the 5th she could stay. I also told her this was her one chance.

After hanging up and going back inside. The brother told me that his check to the renter had bounced, but he would take care of it. At this point the Girlfriend's head snapped over to her boyfriend and she said "What check bounced?". She looked pissed.

Right about this time the brother's phone started blowing up...renter's mother called and started raising hell towards the brother. I have the feeling Renter called mom immediately about brother's check. My guess is she was surprised it had bounced. Girflfriend was also shooting eyeball daggers...

I was sitting there with a sense of wonderment thinking you dont get entertainment like this on TV.

Anyway to the point. As the clash song says...Should they stay or should they go...If i kick them out it will cost me, but would it be eaisier in the long run.

Also as a note, I may not be cut out to be a good slum lord because I have significant concerns over the amount of negative karma I will amass after kicking a pregnant lady out on the street.

Request recommendations from more seasoned owners.
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Old 01-29-2008, 08:59 AM   #2
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We aren't seasoned landlords (use a property management company and so far, knock on wood, no problem tenants), but I recommend you check out the forums at Welcome to MR LANDLORD for free rental forms, management software, real estate books and landlord advice to better manage and lease rental property. Plenty of seasoned landlords over there who deal with these kinds of issues all the time. Be prepared, however, for some to be a little harsh with their advice...gotta have some thick skin there!
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Old 01-29-2008, 09:05 AM   #3
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You aren't kicking the pregnant lady to the streets she is currently homeless, do you see her name on a lease? She can move back with her parents or baby's daddies parents. She isn't your problem.
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Old 01-29-2008, 09:21 AM   #4
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Perspectives may differ, but I think you're running a business, not a charity. My BIL rented a townhouse in Frederick, MD for ten years and it was more trouble than it was worth because of similar issues.

Therefore I'd begin eviction proceedings today.
When I was a kid I wanted to be older. This is not what I expected.
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Old 01-29-2008, 09:28 AM   #5
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If it were me, I would wait and see if she fixes the problem. It seems that the brother is the dead beat, not the sister...and everyone seems very concerned which probably means they will take care of it. Its not like they said "OK, you'll get your money" and laughed as you walked out the door.
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Old 01-29-2008, 09:35 AM   #6
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I have had one eviction over the past 25 years. The process was a learning experience to say the least. I had a sure enough deadbeat, but those types know the laws better than a supreme court judge. Took several months but after following all the steps it finally happened. The deadbeat has more excuses than any teenager trying to explain a D on the report card.
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Old 01-29-2008, 09:38 AM   #7
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I was sitting there with a sense of wonderment thinking you dont get entertainment like this on TV.
Apparently you haven't watched Cops.
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Old 01-29-2008, 09:40 AM   #8
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You have a lease and the lease sets the rules. I assume the lease provides no one else lives there? Plus, the smoking violates the lease and negatively effects the value of the property and will cost a lot to clean the smoke out. You have to think seriously whether you want to allow your tenant to unilaterally change the terms of the lease.

Trouble now, trouble later.

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Old 01-29-2008, 09:50 AM   #9
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I would say cut your losses....and why is the woman who is on the lease not living there? Why is her brother and his girlfriend there?
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Old 01-29-2008, 10:07 AM   #10
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This will sound harsh. But you asked for recommendation from a seasoned slumlord landlord.
You have to give notice the MINUTE the rent is late. If you don't, you will get further behind (i.e. 2 - 3 months ) with no rent in your hand. The bank will NOT understand about YOUR RENTER PROBLEM.
If it happens twice, I would evict them. You may need a lawyer for this.
If you don't do this, you will be repeating this scenario over and over again.

You are right... if you are trying to be a landlord and you use the term karma in your normal vocabulary, you probably shouldn't be a landlord. ... but maybe that's a CA thing.

This is why I am no longer a slumlord landlord. MY DW did not like the stress of landlord/tenet relations. Personally I think the investment was worth the problems (like a phone call in middle of the night becasue the heat just went out). But DW was not of the same mind.

Best of luck to you ... you'll need it .. and a thick skin and a set of brass ones.
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Old 01-29-2008, 10:25 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Buku View Post
Girlfriend is literally so pregnant she is about to pop...due in 2 weeks.

I also noticed they were smoking inside
Smoking around a pregnant lady - sounds like you've got a real bunch of geniuses there.

In all fairness though, it sounds like it was the brother that screwed up, not your renter, and she sincerely wants to make it right. I'd give her the benefit of the doubt this time. But if the money's not there on Feb. 5, I'd start the eviction paperwork. Any further visits to the property would just be awkward.
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Old 01-29-2008, 10:43 AM   #12
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The people in your home are squatters, correct? You didn't know they were there, never signed a lease with them, etc. I don't know what law squatters falll under, but I've seen cops take them out of a building near here -- it didn't seem to take much.

But... if you now let these folks stay, KNOWINGLY, does that turn them into tenants? Does it confer rights upon them which will cause you to have to go through a drawn-out eviction process down the line?

Last I heard, if a person had been in the house a certain amount of time, whether they paid rent or not (ie, you had a down-on-his-luck "guest" staying with you), then you couldn't just throw that person out, you had to give notice, go through official processes, etc.

I'm no lawyer and I'm out of the rental business, but it might be worth a phone call or two to find out.

As regards smoking -- I'd never be a tenant in a place that had smoking odors, and a lot of other people feel the same way. So you've got to get that smell out after they leave, or live with a reduced pool of renters. Either way, your business has been affected.

Finally, was mom-to-be smoking also, or just breathing in second-hand fumes and sharing them with her unborn child? That's truly ignorant behavior in this day and age and indicative of an overall "I don't give a damn" attitude.

I say evict them. You need the practice anyway.
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Old 01-29-2008, 11:04 AM   #13
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I truly feel for your situation.... No one (at least normal people) do not want to be intentioanlly mean spirited to anyone. But you have to start asking yourself some tough questions. If you were late by a month on a mortgage payment, would the bank care? Would the bank find it "inhuman" to kick you out at anytime, even on Christmas day? I am thinking probably not. Bad things happen to good people everyday. And I agree with you that in this case it sounds like maybe they deserve a second chance.
Obviously the couple that is now living there are there because of poor choices that they made. And now you personally are helping to prop them up.
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not a deadbeat
Old 01-29-2008, 11:12 AM   #14
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not a deadbeat

if you think she is a deadbeat renter, sell out now!

She is trying to work with you and was depending on someone who (probably) IS a real deadbeat. I would definitely giver her the 2nd shot. I'm not sure what the eviction rules are in your state, but it can take a while, and it is not something you will enjoy doing.
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Old 01-29-2008, 11:27 AM   #15
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Reminds me of the joke from Jeff Foxworthy.... (and I will screw it up badly....)...

The guy came to reposses something... and he was giving all kinds of excuses.. trying to keep the item... when the guy said "we have to take it unless we receive a check for the full amount owed".... He said "OH, I thought you wanted REAL money"...

It is difficult to say... up to you...
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Old 01-29-2008, 11:32 AM   #16
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My guess is you'll get your rent ("Mom" is involved) and things will drag on ... the real mess will be cleaning the place after they decide to leave.

In MA it's virtually impossible to evict a paying tenant ... don't know about VA. Just be happy they pay and learn a better way to screen so it doesn't happen again.
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Old 01-29-2008, 12:00 PM   #17
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You may be able to do both at the same time... start the "pay or quit" proceedings with a due date of Feb 5, so that if it's not received they are evicted Feb 6. Of course I don't know the eviction procedure in your area. The one thing I do know is you should start early.
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Old 01-29-2008, 12:22 PM   #18
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You mentioned the tenant's credit rating, but nothing about her job or income at the time you rented to her.

Her in the Midwest, a single person renting a nice 3/2.5, 1400 sq ft home would typically be someone with a good job and higher income. Is this the case with your tenant? Or, in retrospect, did you rent to someone who was destined to need roommate(s) in order to pay the rent?

I'm just wondering if the lease calling for a single occupant and tenant's personal circumstances regarding employment and income are an oxymoron.

What did you know about tenant's prospects for an ongoing substantial (say $50k or so to afford your place) income at the time you made the decision to rent to her?
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Old 01-29-2008, 12:47 PM   #19
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Start proceedings right now. Some deadbeats know very well how to play the system time and time again.

Better you evict a pregnant woman than a woman with a newborn.
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Old 01-29-2008, 03:47 PM   #20
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I owned a couple of rental properties a few years ago. I found that I simply did not have what it takes to be a landlord. I second guessed myself too many times. Therefore, no more rentals for me.

I have not had any experience with paying someone to manage my properties, but that might be an option for you.
There's no need to complicate, our time is short..
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