Author Topic: Brother in a coma, I guess I'm a brand new landlord.  (Read 3952 times)

SarahMD428

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Brother in a coma, I guess I'm a brand new landlord.
« on: July 14, 2015, 08:34:39 AM »
My brother was in a car accident and has been in a coma since June 13th.  He owns 2 properties: his primary residence in a nice town (no mortgage, he just paid off his HELOC) and a 2 family tenement in a not so nice town (with a mortgage). He was a bachelor who lived alone, and while very Mustachian, not big on paperwork. His rental is fully occupied with rent being collected by a friend of his (he has an amazing "band of brothers" that would do anything for each other, so we're not concerned about his friend pocketing the $). However we need to rent out his primary residence to cover his COBRA health insurance and property taxes. His primary residence has some in-progress projects he was in the middle of, namely he was making a large closet in one of the bedrooms so there is a huge cutout that opens up into an insulated area. There are some little things too, like missing molding around a window and missing baseboard trim.
I have a possible tenant willing to rent for a reduced rate in exchange for completion of the closet and other minor projects. However the renter is not a guarantee.
What do I need to do? Obviously clear his stuff out. I've been told I have to find out if he has house insurance, not sure how to do that. But I'm sure there is way more that I don't even know I don't know. We are located in Rhode Island, if that helps.

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Brother in a coma, I guess I'm a brand new landlord.
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2015, 09:19:03 AM »
First, I'm very sorry to hear your brother is in this situation.  This is not at all legal advice (not my area of law anyway) just life advice.  Make sure you have the legal authority to do the things you are going to do.  Did your brother have power of attorney in place for you? If not, you may need to go to probate court to get it.  Contracts you sign on your brother's behalf may otherwise be void.

srob

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Re: Brother in a coma, I guess I'm a brand new landlord.
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2015, 12:55:28 PM »
That is a tough situation and I am very sorry.

Maybe you could find a bank statement or cc statement that has the payee for property insurance? Also, I would be wary of relying on the tenant to do much for you. I tried an arrangement like that once and nothing got done. My bro-in -law tried it and the tenant sold the material for drug money, trashed the place, and skipped town! Not that I expect it to happen to you, but just be prepared for the possibility that nothing will get done and then you can be pleasantly surprised if it does.
Make sure you call references, verify employment, check credit (there are websites for this) and get your deposit and rent before you hand over the keys. And get a good rental contract specific to your state. You may be better off just paying someone to finish his place and then renting it out.

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: Brother in a coma, I guess I'm a brand new landlord.
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2015, 02:43:52 PM »
I recommend looking over the book: (from this sub-forum's recommended reading list)
"Landlording: A Handy manual for Scrupulous Landlords and Landladies Who Do It Themselves" by Leigh Robinson. 
Check it out from your local library.  It's printed on 8-1/2 x 11 paper, and has lots of forms, contracts, etc.  that you can photocopy right out of the book.

sammybiker

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Re: Brother in a coma, I guess I'm a brand new landlord.
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2015, 05:20:21 PM »
I'm really sorry to hear about your brother - any hopes for him to pull out?  That's tough.

All that said - pay a few bucks to have someone finish out the closet and get that home 100% rent ready before anyone moves in.  Never do deals of the "I'll discount rent, you do work" sort...especially in this situation, absolutely not.  Get that home rent ready, screen diligently for a quality tenant and rent it at market rates.

I'd also roll those tenants in the 2-family over to electronic billing/direct deposit for rent and manage it yourself.  I have some very good friends that I would trust with anything in the world - some of them have even been money partners on past deals - I still wouldn't ever let them get involved, at least long term, on something like rent collection.

- Keep good documents of all monies and personal hours spent managing this work

- Good luck!

Zamboni

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Re: Brother in a coma, I guess I'm a brand new landlord.
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2015, 06:11:50 PM »
Sarah, that is terrible news about your brother and I wish the best for you and your family in working through this.

It sounds like you are getting good advice so far. The recommendations to get the work done before renting seems sound to me, and be sure to do your due diligence.

^^An excellent book. Well worth your time.

SarahMD428

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Re: Brother in a coma, I guess I'm a brand new landlord.
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2015, 09:04:58 AM »
Thank you to everyone who responded! My mom has temporary legal guardianship and will be awarded permanent guardianship in August - so technically she is the brand new landlord; this is just so far out of her league. My parents, now divorced, are so bad with money I've been handling the main household finances since they separated in 2012.
I will check that book out of the library today.
Thank you also for the condolences. My brother has slowly been progressing from full-blown coma (6 days) to vegetative state (12 days) to minimally conscious (14 and counting). Progress is positive, minimally conscious 31 days post injury is not the best. We're trying to stay hopeful. He has always loved hard work and at 31 he has too much life to live.

sammybiker

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Re: Brother in a coma, I guess I'm a brand new landlord.
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2015, 09:28:50 AM »
Keep us posted and keep asking questions, Sarah.  Best of luck.

SarahMD428

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Re: Brother in a coma, I guess I'm a brand new landlord.
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2015, 10:06:48 PM »
My brother, Eric, is making progress.  He is now up to a 21/23 on his Coma Recovery Scale.  He is starting to be able to say his name, and bend his left leg a little bit (not sure how volitional).  He can move his left hand fairly well - he folded a small piece of sandpaper up so small I had a hard time finding it.  He is able to answer yes/no questions with seemingly good accuracy, by nodding.  He even participated in some speech therapy with me (I'm a speech-language pathologist) working on voicing (did well) and combining 2 sounds (eh...).

His jaw, which was wired shut because 2 fractures, should be unwired within the next 2 weeks.  He went for a CAT scan to see how his broken neck is healing, hoping we can ditch the cervical collar which is causing skin wounds. We haven't gotten the results yet though.

He has miraculously good health insurance, something a fellow Mustachian would appreciate.  He is 100% covered at this facility/level of care!  Such a blessing. The therapists about fell over when they heard this.

I got too overwhelmed and just hired a realtor to rent out his house - a process which we didn't even start until last week (the renting that is).  Ug, where did the time go!?!

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Brother in a coma, I guess I'm a brand new landlord.
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2015, 10:11:59 PM »
My brother, Eric, is making progress.  He is now up to a 21/23 on his Coma Recovery Scale.  He is starting to be able to say his name, and bend his left leg a little bit (not sure how volitional).  He can move his left hand fairly well - he folded a small piece of sandpaper up so small I had a hard time finding it.  He is able to answer yes/no questions with seemingly good accuracy, by nodding.  He even participated in some speech therapy with me (I'm a speech-language pathologist) working on voicing (did well) and combining 2 sounds (eh...).

His jaw, which was wired shut because 2 fractures, should be unwired within the next 2 weeks.  He went for a CAT scan to see how his broken neck is healing, hoping we can ditch the cervical collar which is causing skin wounds. We haven't gotten the results yet though.

He has miraculously good health insurance, something a fellow Mustachian would appreciate.  He is 100% covered at this facility/level of care!  Such a blessing. The therapists about fell over when they heard this.

I got too overwhelmed and just hired a realtor to rent out his house - a process which we didn't even start until last week (the renting that is).  Ug, where did the time go!?!

Glad to hear of the improvement! I noticed that is on COBRA health insurance.  Make sure you know how many months of eligibility he has left with that.  I think typically you get 18 months total but there was a time period where that was extended.

MissStache

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Re: Brother in a coma, I guess I'm a brand new landlord.
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2015, 11:11:53 AM »
Hey, that's GREAT news about your brother!  Sounds like he's making excellent progress.  Hoping for the best for all of you!