Landlords...share with me your (resolved) tenant disputes

We’re having a problem with our tenant. I will not go into details because this is technically an ongoing legal issue and I don’t know how it will turn out. I’m fretting, because, well, that’s what I do, and I’m busy imagining scenarios and forming game plans to deal with those scenarios. Ivylad is more laid back and shrugging the whole thing off until we have to deal with it again.

This is the first time we’ve dealt with a tenant on our own…we’ve had property managers up until now. I guess I’m looking for some tea and sympathy. Don’t worry, we’ve accessed all the legal info we can find online and I’m sure we’re taking the right steps so far and I’m not asking for legal advice. I’d just like to know what, if any, problems you ran into and how you resolved them.

Fortunately, I know where this tenant works, so if he skips, I can find him again.

I had some tenants once who broke practically every rule on the lease. They kept a cat (not allowed), loud parties until the wee hours (the neighbors called me), drugs (I found a crack pipe on the front steps. No kidding), paid late, paid partial,or didn’t pay at all.

It took five trips to court to evict them, and I was never able to collect the judgement against them. I don’t imagine that they care about the hit to their credit record.

They were the ones who got me out of the landlord business.

Well, I think we put the fear of God into them. There’s something about warning someone in writing that if they do not fix the noncompliance within seven days, the lease will be terminated. (I got the wording straight from the Florida statute.) We inspected the property and it looks fine, except from some normal wear and tear.

I was really nervous about this, because I don’t like confrontations, whereas Ivylad could care less. I need to get more confident…the tenants are clearly in the wrong, and we are fully entitled to evict them if they don’t follow the lease agreement. So why the hell am I fretting about this?

I’m interested in knowing how you “pick” a tenant, and what rights you have in choosing someone to rent to. I know you can’t base the choice on race, but if you have a wild-looking kid and a middle aged woman both vying for the place, and they both make the same amount of money, can you choose one over the other? I’m thinking if I’m looking at Hell’s Angels vs. an old retired couple, I’m going to assume the retirees are going to be less trouble. But what are the laws in that respect?

The laws here basically state that you can’t refuse to rent based on “race, religion, family setup, sexual orientation, or source of legal income.” If you have a Hell’s Angels vs. old retired couple, you can just state you thought the ORC had better credit or could pay the rent better. This law is so easy to get around I’m surprised it’s on the book.

There’s an exception for two-famillies where the landlord lives in the building–they can reject for any reason or no reason.

can i just ask the OP and other landlords in the thread, do you get the feeling tennants in general will try and take advantage and screw you over if they have the opportunity, or do you feel on average the tennants youve had are/were generally decent honest people? also do you think its different depending on where geographically you are?

(im not a landlord myself by the way)

Thanks. I see no way this could be enforced. Even the race one. I see a need for it, but WTF. How could you tell? My ex-roommate used to not bring her 1/2 Mexican children with when she applied for apartments or rental houses. She said she knew she’d be excluded because of them.

We haven’t had much experience with renting on our own, because before we’ve had a property manager who screened the applicants. Our renter up in SC left the place filthy, swarming with roaches, and we found out later owned neither a vacuum cleaner nor lawnmower. The property management got an earful, let me tell you.

I’ve rented before, and I took care to leave the place as I found it. I even paid to have the carpet professionally cleaned and provided proof to the landlord when I moved out. It was still my home, even though I wasn’t paying taxes on it, and I liked to keep it neat (plus I wanted my deposit back :smiley: )

YMMV, of course. This is why Ivylad and I decided not to own rental property out of state. I go by every month to pick up the rent check, and this allows me to keep an eye out for anything egregious.

Most tenants, and most landlords, are decent people. It’s the small number of rotten apples on both sides who discredit the whole business. Of course, where you live and what kind of property you are renting are factors as well.

Ivylass, how did you come by these tenants? Did they give you any bad vibes at the beginning, or did they seem perfectly normal and upstanding? The latter, I have to admit, are the people who scare me, because they’d fly under the radar. For what it’s worth, we’ve had good luck over the years with our tenants. The one tenant who came with the house has been an intermittent pain in the ass, but overall not too bad. We haven’t had to kick anybody out, and given the pro-tenant slant of the rules here in Massachusetts, I’m glad of that.

We advertised in the paper, they answered, and we met at the condo and showed it to them. They seemed like very nice people, a family that had fallen on hard times and was working to get back on their feet. We must have spent an hour chatting with them. Then we found out last week they flat-out deceived us on a point in their lease agreement, and we called them on it. Considering their financial situation, I don’t think they can get another place to live, even if we agree to let them out of their lease, so I think we scared them straight.

Good luck with your situation. It’s a tough thing – you might, as a matter of charity, want to give somebody a helping hand, but the penalty for doing so can be severe. It’s one of the perverse effects of strong tenant-protection laws that landlords are less likely to take a chance on a marginal tenant.

My grandparents have been landlords for nigh on to forty years. I’ve seen them go through such hell with trashed houses, struggling to get rent money and the pain-in-the-ass of evictions that I swore I would never do it. Even when my grandfather offered to buy me my first house to get me started in the family business, I refused. It’s just not worth all the headaches.

I could write a book detailing all the outrageous and ridiculous crap they’ve been through. Generally, it seemed good tenants were the exception.

Well, part of the situation is there are HOA guidelines where the condo is. Even if we wanted to allow them a concession on their lease agreement, the rules would not allow it. Plus, if something happened as a result of this non-compliance and we had decided to let it slide because we were just “trying to help the tenant out” we could get sued. Sorry, but no tenant is worth that.

I owned rental property for 15 years. For the first 12, I had three different renters–all good. One left to take an out of state job, and the other two got engaged/married, so they moved out to live with their spouses.

The last three years were pure hell. Druggies, drunks and general dumbasses that didn’t know what a sweet deal they had. I have so many stories about idiotic tenants that I’d wear out the hampsters telling you about them.

Suffice it to say that, as soon as I evicted the last deadbeat, I sold that place and never looked back.

Geographically, my property was in a nice part of town. I don’t know what it’d be like in a rougher neighborhood, but I have zero desire to find out.

We have to evict the tenant. He’s become so much of a problem the other people living in the complex are beginning to complain. He’s been rude and belligerent to the property manager.

We’ve hired an attorney to write a letter telling them to be out by 5pm on Tuesday or we will take them to court. If they are out by 5pm Tuesday we will not seek the money owed to us (late fees, utilities, pro-rated rent.)

My biggest fear is retaliation, that he and his family will deliberately destroy the property. The attorney says we can sue for damages if that happens, and I realized if the damage is extensive enough, we will have him arrested for vandalism.

The joys of trying to own investment property…

You’ve got a significant deposit, right?

Anyway, are there conditions in the lease which are grounds for immediate eviction? i.e. Can you and Ivylad can turn up with some (suitably large) friends and simply throw them out?

No, in Florida only the courts can evict. We’ve downloaded the info, given them the proper notice, and have hired an attorney to write a suitably stern letter.

Hopefully, that will do it. The best thing is for him to be gone and the condo in fairly good condition so we can get it rented again.

We have learned from this experience, I can tell you.