Anonymous asked in Business & FinanceRenting & Real Estate · 1 decade ago

Need urgent help...with tenant(s) not paying, guys I really need some help, I don't know what to do?

Here's is my issue, me and my brother started or got into real estate about 6-9 months ago, so far 14 apartments/house rented out. My brother is actually more into this, knows more about real estate than I do but the problem is he is out of the country and is having issues coming back, something about him loosing his passport in germany. We're Americans, he was on a business trip. Our communication is very limited and I believe the tenants are taking advantaged of the fact that I took over. For the most part the tenants are paying 2-3 days late but they pay. 2-3 are behind but I have talked to them and they are getting there slowly. This question regards 2 of the tenants,

1) She has payed her first month ahead of time in full when we signed the lease but only agreed on the lease that payments towards the deposit was going to be included with the rent until the deposit was completed, so she started off with a partial deposit. But for the past 2 months, I haven't seen a penny, I call and go the apartment almost everyday, she either avoids me or says I'm going to to be pick up the money right now, and I never hear from her again that day. I have listed in the lease that after the 5th fee of $50 bucks. I want my money from this lady. The rent includes utilities, and for a lady that hasn't payed rent when I'm paying utilities for her, I decided to cut off the air conditioning/heat on her. Haven't hit the elec yet. I told her that I'm not here to play games, I was never rude, never yelled, never threatened anything to her. I want to do something tomorrow morning, I'm fed up with her. But at the same time I want the rent money before she is evicted, I don't want her to stay in the apartment another month for free( if that happens can i then hit the elec?). To put things in perspective, her deposit money is gone, so is her month in advance is gone. I'm in NC. I have track of everything she has gave us, but we don't do receipts (we are going to start though, so are we going to get a complete deposit before anything). I want all my money and I want her out. As I read in other question posts I can't change the locks. What kind of certified paper do I need to put on her door? Where can I get it? I was reading the lease , can someone explain this to me... "ATTORNEY FEES: If any legal action or proceedings be brought by either party of this Agreement, the prevailing party shall be reimbursed for all reasonable attorney's fees and costs in addition to other damages awarded. " Thanks, I need this answer urgently.

2) Long story short, guy1 moves in with a partial deposit/partial first month rent, and agreed to add deposit to the rent until deposit is complete. guy1 moves in October. guy2 moves in with him in mid October so they can split the rent. Only guy1's name is in the lease. January comes and I go to the apartment and here is guy2 saying that guy1 doesn't have the money and is packing/ packed and leaving/left. So I told guy2 you need to make up the rent if you want to stay, he said he was going to call social services to see if they can help. Now guy1 has been out of the house for over 10 days now, and guy2 is not responding to phone calls. I gave guy2 a paper with my Signature and how much thre rent was so he can give it to the social services. Now guy2 has no rights as a that correct? So can I get in there and throw his stuff out? Would that be legal? Thanks guys, Its 2am here and I'm going to try to stay awake for a response...Thanks, any contribution appreciated. Message me for questions please.

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    First, NEVER let a property to anyone unless they can pay their full deposit and first month's rent in advance. If they can't afford to cover these, they are unlikely to be able to cover their rent when it is due. Have all rents due on the first of the month. If you must prorate the rent do so for the second month not the first, otherwise you end up with someone who can't pay the rent.

    If someone is not complying with the contract, serve them a "Three Days to Pay Rent or Quit" notice. This should be titled just that way. In the body of the notice repeat that they have three days to pay what is due or vacate the premises. Stipulate the full amount that is due, this includes the full amount of the deposit. Since they have failed to abide by the terms of their occupancy, that of paying extra to catch up on the deposit, they get to pay it all in full NOW. Have the service date at the head, name the tenants specifically, where the rent should be paid, and a contact phone number where you can be reached. This doesn't do much, but often you have to serve this to proceed with an eviction. You may also be able to buffalo them out of the premises.

    The same notice would apply to this shell game of of the two tenants playing catch me if you can. Often they need this notice to help them get emergency help with their rent. I would suggest that you give them a thirty notice to vacate the premises after they catch up their rent. Usually such tenants are never going to be reliable, and the headaches involved are not worth it.

    Second, DO NOT TURN OFF ANY UTILITY OR APPLIANCE AT ALL! This is called "constructive eviction" which is exactly as the name implies. You are using construction as a way to coerce a tenant to vacate the premises. The courts take a very dim view of this. They can actually find on behalf of the tenant, award them triple damages of what you say is due you and in the end they get to stay in the property and screw you all over again. DON'T DO IT!

    Use the three days to hunt up a lawyer. It really doesn't take much to get a tenant out if you have crossed all of your Ts and dotted your Is. Find a lawyer who owns property as they will know exactly what to do. It shouldn't cost much either as there is usually very little time involved, though your court costs can run $100 or so.

    As previously mentioned, you can buffalo your tenant out, but you do not know what is legal and what isn't I'd avoid this if I were you. You are likely to get your tail in a bind.

    First rule of landlords, chase the good tenants not the money. If someone shows up with money saying they want a place and you don't make them fill out a rental/credit application you are just too naive to be a landlord. If you can't turn an applicant down because you need their money, your landlording experience will be bad.

    When your brother gets back, you need to sit down and draw up rules for how you are going to conduct the business, so that you are both on the same page.

    Finally, legal fees are boilerplate. Basically it says if you sue them and win, they owe your legal fees, or if they sue you and win, you owe their legal fees. This is normal whether it is stated or not.

    Why you would stipulate that you would be liable for thier legal fees because of your omissions is beyond me.

    Source(s): Landlord and real estate investor
  • 1 decade ago

    On the first lady you are asking for a heap of trouble by cutting off her utilities. That is against the law. Better turn those back on and do not think about that as a way to drive the tenant out. She could sue you and get a judgement because you did that.

    You need to give her a 3 day notice to pay or quit. You need to follow the law, not just make it up as you go along and hope to scare her out of the place. If she does not pay in 3 days, then you need to go to the courthouse and file eviction papers and get a court date. Then go to court, get your eviction on her, there will be a date and a judgement that the judge will sign and then you can serve her with that. If she is not out or doesn't come to a good solution with you, you can get the Sheriff or police involved and show them the court order to evict her and they will put her and her stuff out on the curb. NEVER SHUT OFF UTILITIES OR CHANGE LOCKS UNLESS YOU HAVE GONE TO COURT AND GOTTEN A JUDGEMENT TO EVICT!!! Not sure if your brother seems to know more about this, but if he advised you to do this, you guys need remedial landlord class.

    As for Guy 2, you in some ways agreed to let him be there as you didn't force him to sign a lease etc...time might be your enemy there and you may not be able to call him a trespasser and just move his things out and change locks.

    Do you and your brother have an attorney that you can run this 2nd scenario by?

    It sounds like you get yourself into pickles by letting people who have no business moving in move in. STOP letting people who can't come up with the deposit and first months rent move in! They see that as a weakness they can exploit!

  • 1 decade ago

    1) You are looking for a three day notice to vacate. You can post it on her door. If she is not out within the 3 days, you can start formal eviction proceedings. Call the State's Attorney general's office - they can help you with this.

    2) Guy number 2 should not be there. However, since you allowed it, he has established residence and most likely you need to begin eviction proceedings on him. When you call the AG's office on lady in #1, ask about this guy too (see if you can get him for trespassing, though since you knew he was there and have allowed him to stay, this will likely not fly).

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