How do I tell my tenant she has to stay out for 4 more days?

I had a river of shit in one of my rentals. Exacerbated by the fact that the tenant is a hoarder. So, the shit river was not her fault (roots in the line and a broken pipe). However, the year’s worth of garbage, neatly bagged and on a tarp-honestly, if it smelled I couldn’t tell, since her cats (long deceased) had used the back room, the entire back room, as a litter box. She also had a room full of recycling, again, neatly bagged. She is well and truly a hoarder, however, just like that TV show, if you’ve seen it. She was afraid to tell me she was having problems at home–leaking kitchen faucet, broken toilet tank cover, broken window, a hole in the damn tub (not her fault, poor installation of the tile let it rust from beneath, and she was afraid to tell me and get kicked out) and of course the sewage got on the carpet, so…long story as short as I can make it.

I had to tell her to vacate for a week, to demo and replace the fixtures in the bathroom, tear out carpet, etc. On her dime. She understood this.

However, the week is up Sat. and we need until Tuesday. We found old termite damage in the bathroom, the exterminator has said, yes, it’s not an active infestation, but we had to replace a lot of wood, which of course has delayed the tiling.

So, do I offer to pay the extra days? I am out about $8k from this whole thing, and it all would have had to be done had she ever moved out, but I wouldn’t have had to do it in one fell swoop, and I certainly wouldn’t have had to keep hiring guys to move her stuff from one room to another. I am inclined to take the hard road of “nope, you can’t come home yet.” And BTW, I am not pro-rating the rent, and she knows this.

No, I won’t kick her out. She is older, with multiple health issues, and honestly, she would have no where to go.

Just do it man. You’re doing the right thing.

Part of me wants to say, “The termites aren’t her fault and you should pay.”

Another part of me says, “Yeah, but you could’ve already dealt with the termites within the given time frame, had you not had to spend so much time with her junk, and she should just be grateful you didn’t evict her. So, sucks to be her.”

No part of me knows anything about whose side the law would take, but you might want to consider finding out.

If it were me, I’d tell her the extra time is necessary because of her junk, so it’s her own problem. And maybe remind her about how generous and understanding and co-operative I’m being by not kicking her out. I’d consider splitting the cost of the extra days, if I had a good relationship with her and I knew she truly could not afford it and would be on the street.

Fellow landlord here. Assuming you have insurance, it may cover her expenses related to having to temporarily move. Either way, I would offer to at least split the cost seeing as you are most definitely in the wrong legally speaking. She doesn’t have to leave, and a court woud likely order you to pay her expenses and damages if she ever sued you. Consider yourself lucky if she is not the litigious type.

Also, you cannot just “kick her out”. A formal eviction is long, expensive, and stressful. You need to recognize that in most places, landlords are at a severe disadvantage legally, largely powerless to unilateral decisions. That said, part of being a good landlord is knowing the law, protecting your property (seriously, how did you let the hording get that bad?), and most importantly, owing up to your responsibilities. Don’t make the lady pay for something that is not her fault. It’s wrong and almost certainly illegal.

offer to scab it back together in the allotted time if she’s OK with it and fix it proper when she moves. By this I mean screw in sheets of painted 1/4 in particle board instead of wallboard. It wouldn’t look great but it would be up and painted.

I don’t understand why you would let her back at all.

Her apartment is uninhabitable due to issues that aren’t her fault and you’re not pro-rating the rent? That seems kinda sketchy.

Wait, none of this stuff is her fault but you’re making her pay for the repairs? Or are you just saying you’re not pro-rating the rent or paying for her to stay elsewhere? Either way, you’d better have a good look at what the law (and the lease) says in fine print. There are usually rules about what a landlord is required to do, and I’d be surprised if you were allowed to charge her for rent on days the unit is uninhabitable due to repair projects.

And that’s why I’ll never ever take renters. I’m too scared to get stuck with that kind of person.

I’m pretty sure at least the damage to the back room that she used as a giant cat litter box is her fault, but yeah, you need to look into what you can legally charge her for.

That being said, I might also look into what you’re legally allowed to let happen. I wonder what would the city do if one of your workers was (say) horrified by the hoard or disgruntled by the pay afterwards, and decided to call the health department or fire department about the hoard. Besides the woman probably having to clean up or GTFO, I kind of wonder if there are any consequences for a landlord who knew and didn’t do anything.

You shouldn’t be. Assuming your rental is one that attracts professional people, a lot of these things are foreseeable with due diligence. Renting is a great way to make money so long as you treat it like the job that it is, and don’t try to dick around your tenants.

It is sketchy, and almost assuredly illegal.

From what the OP says it sounds like the apartment might not have been uninhabitable if she had reported the issues right away instead of letting them pile up. That may fall under failure to mitigate damages.

I don’t read the OP that way. The issues he listed as unreported are pretty minor and not particularly likely to cause further damage, (though I guess a hole in the window could cause water damage if she didn’t cover it with anything). The big deal problems that require her out of the house seem to be the sewage leak and the termite damage.

This is the kind of thing that’ll wind up on Judge Judy.

I’ve seen hoarder apartments, and I’ve seen the aftermath of ignored plumbing leaks. You’ve got an apartment stuffed full of crap (figurative and literal) that’s got a lot of damage. Sucks to be you.

You’d be replacing the carpet whether or not the cats did their business on it, so that’s yours to fix.

The termites are yours. The badly-installed and leaky tub are yours. By “yours” take that to mean “it’s between you and your insurance company.”

The broken window and toilet tank lid are probably her fault. IMHO, she owes you for the window and toilet lid. Not the carpet, or the tub. Personally, I’d absorb those costs as they’re tiny relative to the plumbing catastrophe.

You’ll need to check with an attorney in your jurisdiction if you want to try pinning blame for the termites on her. IME, tenants can be held liable if they maintain conditions favorable to roaches, ants, mice or rats, but termites are usually considered a structural problem, and tenants aren’t usually liable for them.

Be VERY careful with what you try to charge her for. Got an attorney? Read and re-read her lease with them. Don’t have an attorney? Get one. Be absolutely sure that she agreed to whatever charges for damages she may have caused. You’re already going through a lot of emotional and financial turmoil here. The last thing you want is to be sued for elder abuse.

Arrrgghh, I should know better than to try and do an abridged version of anything here :slight_smile:

She was living on a pallet in one room, all of the rest of the place was filled with trash bags of either trash or recycling. I paid for a 40 yd. dumpster to get rid of it; did you know the recycle yards will specifically NOT take things from the home of a hoarder? At least not one I found.
The toilet was covered inside and out with feces, and not just fresh. Now, I was down with my guys the day the problem happened, but apparently she had been having issues which I didn’t know about, and had been using diapers. Which were, guess where? I paid to have 1.17 TONS of crap moved out of there.

Trust me, nothing sketchy going on here, she has agreed to everything that I’ve done or asked her to do in full, and gratefully. No family, no one, I’m it.

Oh, and as for professional person for your rentals-she’s a pyschiatrist. Truly. Highly thought of, works in forensic pyschiatry, has students, run conferences, speaks 4 languages, yep.
You just never know.

Adding: I haven’t charged her for one thing, and don’t intend doing so. She will pay for her hotel, and when I find her a maid, she has agreed to pay for that.

Unless I misunderstood, the issue isn’t about who pays for the repairs. It’s about the fact that because so many things had to be taken care of at once (that would have already been taken care of had they been reported instead of hidden them from the landlord) it’s going to take four days longer than originally anticipated.


Moved MPSIMS --> IMHO, home of legal, financial, and other advice.

I think the “On her dime” part was referring to the cost of the week in a hotel. I would think her renter’s insurance would cover that anyway.

I would believe that if you both have been working together over this very embarrassing issue for her she should understand the need for some more time. Just tell her the truth as to why the time is needed and you should be able to work it out.

After all, the result of the work will be improved living conditions for her, right? It’s not like she isn’t gaining anything from the deal, she benefits from the effort.

Ah, makes more sense now. You’re paying (a lot!) to rehab the apartment, and she’s paying for temporary living at a hotel, and then ongoing for a maid. With any luck, this will be the mental kick in the butt she needs to realize she nearly became one of her own case studies.

Hopefully she will able to negotiate a weekly rate with the hotel, (you may be able to do this on her behalf) and the difference between four days or a week may be minor. That extra three days would be very useful to you so your workers don’t have to rush anything, and the new paint and carpet will have had that much more time to ‘offgas’ so the place will stink less of fresh paint and carpet when she comes back.

No promises that the maid will be able to successfully rein in the hoarding behaviors, but they’ll at least be able to keep up with cleanliness and sanitation.