Author Topic: Massachusetts, Section 8 Eviction - anyone with experience?  (Read 8872 times)

Left Bank

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Massachusetts, Section 8 Eviction - anyone with experience?
« on: December 15, 2013, 12:58:16 PM »
Hello Mustachians,
I have a Section 8 tenant who came with my rental property when I bought it who was contributing nothing to the rent, Boston Housing paid all.  Late last year, BHA decided that she could pay a small amount and it has been worse than pulling teeth to get this money out of her.  She is TAW and ignored the second 14 day notice to quit.  She owes me 2 months, refuses to return my calls, is a PITA to the other tenants and told me today to go ahead and do whatever you have to do, referring to the eviction process.  It is not so much the amount of money that she owes me but it is the fact that she is squatting in my apartment and I am concerned that with the level of animosity between the two of us issues will not get reported to me in a timely manner.
One lawyer I spoke with told me most landlords just suck it up and are happy with the Section 8 payment because it is not worth it.  I would have a real tough time swallowing that one. 
I WANT HER OUT!

Advice? Personal experience? New lawyer?

The Money Monk

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Re: Massachusetts, Section 8 Eviction - anyone with experience?
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2013, 02:02:02 PM »
Just start anonymously calling the cops on her for a variety of reasons (saw drug use / selling, whatever). Maybe they will find something lol

But seriously, I'm not sure what you should do. I don't know enough about the laws. I have some ideas about how I would get rid of them, but they probably aren't legal.

I would just be a big pain in the ass to whatever government agent or office is responsible for getting them out. Call them every day, send letters, and just (legally) annoy the shit out of them until they can't stand it and do something about it.

KingCoin

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Re: Massachusetts, Section 8 Eviction - anyone with experience?
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2013, 07:07:51 PM »
Call them every day, send letters, and just (legally) annoy the shit out of them until they can't stand it and do something about it.

I'm sure the OP would lose that war. A tenant like that has probably been dodging seasoned bill collectors the better part of their adult life.

You're probably better off on Biggerpockets for specific advice. The lawyer couldn't give you a quick outline of what an eviction would take (even if it's the wrong route in his opinion)?

arebelspy

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Re: Massachusetts, Section 8 Eviction - anyone with experience?
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2013, 07:47:04 PM »
One lawyer I spoke with told me most landlords just suck it up and are happy with the Section 8 payment because it is not worth it.  I would have a real tough time swallowing that one. 

This is true for many, from what I understand, but if it's not okay with you, then it's not okay.  If a Section 8 tenant wasn't paying their portion to me, they'd be out.  It's a violation of their lease, and that's a slippery slope to allow.

In any case, the lawyer should do the eviction if you want to proceed, or find a new one who will.  He was likely just trying to offer you some friendly advice, but will do what you instruct.
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Left Bank

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Re: Massachusetts, Section 8 Eviction - anyone with experience?
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2013, 02:01:59 PM »
Thanks for the replies. 
After doing some digging around on CourtView (suggestion from DeeperPockets) I found she is not unfamiliar with the Housing court.  Been there numerous times for non-payment of rent.
I have a call in to the lawyer again as I write this.  This has got to stop.
Wish me luck.

Another Reader

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Re: Massachusetts, Section 8 Eviction - anyone with experience?
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2013, 02:09:15 PM »
Ah, the professional tenant.  You will drag her to court and she will pay her small portion at the last minute to avoid being thrown out.  You will be out a lot of money over nothing. 

Not sure what the rules are in Massachusetts, but I would probably look into removing the unit from the Section 8 program immediately.  She can't stay if the government won't pay.

AlexK

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Re: Massachusetts, Section 8 Eviction - anyone with experience?
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2013, 11:30:32 PM »
Doesn't section 8 require a property to pass some kind of inspection to qualify? What if something happened to the property so it didn't pass any more? Problem solved.

arebelspy

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Re: Massachusetts, Section 8 Eviction - anyone with experience?
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2013, 05:51:18 AM »
Doesn't section 8 require a property to pass some kind of inspection to qualify? What if something happened to the property so it didn't pass any more? Problem solved.

Inspections tend to be annual.  That might be a long time to wait.

And purposefully damaging your own property sounds like a bad idea.

And if your property fails the inspection, they stop paying you until you fix it.

That doesn't magically remove the tenant. 

So now you have the tenant, no payment from section 8, and still have to evict.

And if you do something to make it uninhabitable (like shutting off utilities), look for a giant lawsuit with large damages.

All in all, please ignore the quoted post.  :)  I know it was hypothetical, but the answer is a clear: no.  Stay far, far away from this.

Heck, the great thing about the current situation is the OP is still getting MOST of the rent while trying to evict, that's rare. Shutting that off seems quite silly to me, all of the above legal issues aside.
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Left Bank

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Re: Massachusetts, Section 8 Eviction - anyone with experience?
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2013, 06:51:22 AM »
Arebelspy - Spot on, I could not have stated this better.  Thanks!

Another Reader

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Re: Massachusetts, Section 8 Eviction - anyone with experience?
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2013, 07:02:46 AM »
The most important reason to get this tenant out is not the small amount of rent she has not paid.  It's the problems she is causing all the other tenants and the damage potential.  Her behavior may cause your other tenants to give notice and move.  She could do thousands of dollars of damage that you will never recover from her. 

I understand in some states in the northeast you have to accept Section 8 tenants.  If that's the case, I would make friends with other local landlords facing the same problems and see how they deal with this.  Look at her record and see if you can figure out how the previous landlords were able to remove her.  I suspect BHA won't be of any help and won't pull her Section 8 voucher no matter what she does, but it's worth a call.

hoodedfalcon

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Re: Massachusetts, Section 8 Eviction - anyone with experience?
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2013, 07:52:51 AM »
Sounds like this is a housing choice voucher program tenant? There are usually multiple layers of contract/agreement in these cases. The tenant and the Housing Authority have an agreement. The Tenant and you have an agreement. The housing authority and you have an agreement. In this case, the breach is between you and the tenant. Unless your jurisdiction varies wildly from mine, your remedy would be to take her to court and evict her just like you would any other tenant. The HA would possibly join you as Plaintiff, but they may just wait and see what happens and then possibly terminate her voucher if she is found in violation of her lease with you.

It's usually not as simple as removing the unit from Section 8, at least not while there is a valid contract/HAP.

Calling the cops on her and hoping she gets arrested? Damaging your own property so it wouldn't pass inspection? Sheesh.


monarda

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Re: Massachusetts, Section 8 Eviction - anyone with experience?
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2013, 08:41:07 AM »
We had a section 8 problem tenant. Our best ally to get her to move was her assigned caseworker in the section 8 office. I talked to the caseworker all the time, as our tenant wasn't returning calls. Eventually our combined efforts got the tenant out of there.  Our situation was a bit different from yours- she qualified for our 4BR place when her kids were still at home in high school. They've since graduated and moved out, so Sec8 rightly reduced her subsidy, and consequently she was almost always late with rent. Also, she was violating the lease by having her boyfriend move in. That turned out to be the key in motivating her to move, the caseworker threatened dropping her from the entire program if she continued to violate.  It took a lot of effort but she finally moved out to a 2BR apt this summer. We didn't lose any money, but we are so relieved to be done with the hassle!

I hope you have as helpful a sec 8 caseworker in your county housing office as we did.

On edit- that's pretty much what hoodedfalcon just said. The agreement between you and the housing authority is the important relationship here.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2013, 08:48:18 AM by monarda »

CommonCents

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Re: Massachusetts, Section 8 Eviction - anyone with experience?
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2013, 11:26:32 AM »
Ah, the professional tenant.  You will drag her to court and she will pay her small portion at the last minute to avoid being thrown out.  You will be out a lot of money over nothing. 

Not sure what the rules are in Massachusetts, but I would probably look into removing the unit from the Section 8 program immediately.  She can't stay if the government won't pay.

In general, MA is *extremely* tenant friendly.  So assume whenever a break can be given to the tenant, it has been done.  It's one reason I'm reluctant to become a landlord here.