Author Topic: how to get rid of tenants  (Read 2171 times)

sol

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how to get rid of tenants
« on: April 24, 2018, 10:42:38 AM »
I have nightmare tenants.  They call me at least once a week, usually with silly stuff like "I saw a bug!" and then insist I book an exterminator to have the house fumigated.  They have cost me over a thousand dollars in service calls in less than six months.  Their lease is up in about six more months.

They are not paying me enough to deal with this amount of hassle.  They pay their rent late occasionally, but only due to forgetfulness.  I don't think I really have cause to evict them, but once their lease is up I want new tenants. 

So do I have to start an eviction process, or can I just send them a letter saying I won't be renewing their lease for unspecified reasons?  If I wanted to sell the house, for example, I should just be able to tell them that their lease is expiring and they need to plan to move out, right?

At this point, I'm considering just notifying them of a stupidly high rent increase (like an extra $500/month) and then hoping they take the hint.  Or if they don't, trying to convince myself that I can deal with the hassle for the extra money.  Is there a better way to handle this situation?


PoutineLover

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Re: how to get rid of tenants
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2018, 10:52:04 AM »
It really depends on your jurisdiction. Where I live, rent increases are limited to a formula, so you can't increase it by a ridiculous amount. Leases are renewed automatically unless the tenants cancel or the owner is moving someone in their family into the unit, so you can't unilaterally end it just because you want to. You are allowed to charge a late fee, so maybe you should start imposing that to at least encourage them to pay on time? But otherwise, you'll have to look into the rental laws where you live and see how you can legally evict.

CheapskateWife

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Re: how to get rid of tenants
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2018, 10:54:51 AM »
Contracts exist at the pleasure of both parties...you are no longer pleased, and therefore have no requirement to renew.  However, I would give them 60 days notice (or whatever your contract states) that you do not intend to renew the lease at the end of the contract term.  I would be concerned with retaliation, so perhaps an inspection of the property prior to formal notification is in order.  You can simply state that you intend to renovate the property and the required renovations require the house to be empty.

sol

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Re: how to get rid of tenants
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2018, 10:57:02 AM »
It really depends on your jurisdiction. Where I live, rent increases are limited to a formula, so you can't increase it by a ridiculous amount.

Google says "There is NO rent control in Washington State, therefore there is not a cap or limit to the number of times a landlord can raise the rent in a year (RCW 35.21.830). Similarly, there is no maximum dollar amount or percent increase limit for a rent increase."

ysette9

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Re: how to get rid of tenants
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2018, 11:00:20 AM »
It comes down to what your laws are in your area. Some areas put a cap on how much you can increase rents, so make sure you are within the bounds of the laws in your area. I don’t have experience with this, but you should be very strict with every Kate payment. Enforce late fees and start the eviction process rolling immediately once late. I once lived in an apartment complex that operated that way; as soon as you were one day Late they put a notice on your door stating the eviction process had started. I always paid early, and was of course shocked when that first showed up. After it happened several more times I realized that their management couldn’t keep track of rent payments. That said, it was instructive to see how the big machines work when it comes to dealing with bad tenets- i.e. no mercy, no slack, only business.

ePalmtrees

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Re: how to get rid of tenants
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2018, 11:09:06 AM »
Pretty sure you can't raise rent in the middle of a lease. You are in a contract for the next six months to rent to them for whatever the price is. Read your lease, what does it say about renewing/not renewing the lease?

What other kinds of things are they bothering you about? You can refuse their requests if they are ridiculous.

MaikoTsumi

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Re: how to get rid of tenants
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2018, 12:27:03 PM »
You don't have to renew.  Just send them a notice when the time comes as to your state laws specifically stating you will not be renewing.  You need no reason.

Pest control. My lease states that it is the tenants responsibility.  If there are signs that previous tenant did not maintain pest control, I will deduct it from the SD and treat.  If it isn't noticeable until a new tenant comes in, I'll offer payment(reasonable price) for one treatment and point them back to the clause where it's their responsibility. My notice last time this happened said, "In consideration that the previous tenants may not have maintained pest control as required in the lease, I will pay up to $60 for a onetime treatment. See lease clause number 31".

I also have several nuisance clauses in the lease.  A minor repairs clause(Anything under $175 is the tenants responsibility) among others stating tenants responsibility.   I usually make any repairs, however minor, at the beginning of the lease, but a nuisance tenant gets shutdown and shown the agreement again.

kaizen soze

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Re: how to get rid of tenants
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2018, 01:11:56 PM »
I'm not sure I'd play a rent hike game. They might just agree to the increased rent and use the extra money as a reason to make even more demands. As a tenant myself, that's how I would think." I wouldn't normally complain about X, but they just raised my rent 30%!"

Kierun

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Re: how to get rid of tenants
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2018, 01:24:56 PM »
I have about 4 months left on a lease with my current problem tenants and 30 days out I'll be notifying them that I will not be renewing their lease.  There's no obligation or requirement to renew the lease at the end of the term.  Does your lease have a nuisance clause similar to MT?  I've used it to get the tenants to shape up their behavior and have been less of a nuisance to the association and myself.

sol

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Re: how to get rid of tenants
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2018, 02:55:48 PM »
I spoke to the tenants today, and they are not planning to renew their lease.  Crisis averted.

ysette9

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Re: how to get rid of tenants
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2018, 04:23:54 PM »
Phew

Lmoot

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Re: how to get rid of tenants
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2018, 06:41:56 PM »
I made my last 3 tenants “partner”  property managers. It’s a month to month lease, (current tenants there over a year). I told them upfront I am not a professional property manager and need someone who is willing to pitch in with minor stuff (in exchange for below market rent). Call me for the major stuff. They pay for pest control, maintain the yard, they alerted me about termite activity (which I paid for since it was a major expense), but as my “property managers”, they took care of clearing 3 ft of foliage from the foundation (for tenting), and coordinated with the service people. They are the point of contact for most  service providers. The providers call me for billing and to go over the work order....depending how big the job I may or may not show up to the property, but mostly they work directly with the tenants in terms of scheduling and what needs to prepared for ahead of time.

Sometimes I’ll go out if they can’t figure an issue out, and we’ve worked on things like minor plumbing together, and figuring it out together. I have been really lucky to have awesome tenants. A combo of low rent, and flexibility in terms of painting and decorating (adding shelves and a small sand-leveled paver patio at their own expense), imbibes in them a feeling of ownership and respect for the property. I was honest about my expectations upfront.

tralfamadorian

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Re: how to get rid of tenants
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2018, 07:29:01 PM »
I have nightmare tenants.  They call me at least once a week, usually with silly stuff like "I saw a bug!" and then insist I book an exterminator to have the house fumigated.  They have cost me over a thousand dollars in service calls in less than six months.  Their lease is up in about six more months.

Your tenants are training you instead of the other way around. Since you have another six months left and the amount of money they are costing you, it's worth a try to reverse the situation.


sol

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Re: how to get rid of tenants
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2018, 07:56:19 PM »
Your tenants are training you instead of the other way around.

Yea, I'm not so interested in the mind games.  The lease has a per day late fee, and they pay it when they're late. 

Some of their problems are legitimate, like the furnace stopped working a few months back.  The problem is the way that they deal with these problems.  When the furnace went out, it was a 60 degree Saturday, and the house also has a gas fireplace and electric baseboards so I gave them a space heater and told them to wait until Monday (when the service call fee is $90 instead of $298), and they absolutely insisted I have someone there immediately.  And why not, they're not the ones paying for it.  (The thermostat wire was loose on the furnace end, but they also got a new thermostat out of the deal.)


tralfamadorian

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Re: how to get rid of tenants
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2018, 08:43:25 PM »
Your tenants are training you instead of the other way around.

Yea, I'm not so interested in the mind games.  The lease has a per day late fee, and they pay it when they're late. 

Some of their problems are legitimate, like the furnace stopped working a few months back.  The problem is the way that they deal with these problems.  When the furnace went out, it was a 60 degree Saturday, and the house also has a gas fireplace and electric baseboards so I gave them a space heater and told them to wait until Monday (when the service call fee is $90 instead of $298), and they absolutely insisted I have someone there immediately.  And why not, they're not the ones paying for it.  (The thermostat wire was loose on the furnace end, but they also got a new thermostat out of the deal.)

It's not mind games. It's having a business system that works to your advantage. If you don't have the systems set up ahead of time, then the tenants are going to go about managing their relationship with their landlord how they want, which as you have learned, is not necessary to your best advantage.

Text vs email vs phone calls. Response times. And perhaps most importantly for your situation, learning how to say no. "There have been x exterminator requests for your property. Additional requests will be added to your next month's rent bill." "A gas fireplace, electric baseboards and space heater are sufficient to heat the home to habitable levels over the weekend. A technician is scheduled for Monday."

This is the not fun part of managing your own properties and there's no harm in making the decision that paying 9-11%/mo to a property manager is the way to go for you.

aasdfadsf

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Re: how to get rid of tenants
« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2018, 01:21:06 AM »
sol, I feel your pain.

While compiling the required California disclosures to sell my rental condo, I was reminded of some "great" service calls due to my last tenants. The top 2 are:

1. Complaint: The heat pump doesn't work; it's not cooling. Write-up by service technician. "Upstairs window wide open with heat pump running. (Outside temp 101*) and heat pump iced up. Shut the window, cleared the ice, cooling checked fine."

Man, I've had that one.

Them: "Can you do something about how hot it keeps getting in here?"

Me: "I've noticed you keep the windows open when it's really hot out. Have you tried closing them?"

Them: "But we leave them open because it's so hot!"

Me: pointless attempt to explain the basics of heat transfer, yadda yadda.

SeaWA

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Re: how to get rid of tenants
« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2018, 10:53:33 AM »
It really depends on your jurisdiction. Where I live, rent increases are limited to a formula, so you can't increase it by a ridiculous amount.

Google says "There is NO rent control in Washington State, therefore there is not a cap or limit to the number of times a landlord can raise the rent in a year (RCW 35.21.830). Similarly, there is no maximum dollar amount or percent increase limit for a rent increase."

From your post, and questions, it would appear that you have a rental, but don't know the laws governing rentals.

When I first became a landlord I joined the RHAWA (Rental Housing Association of Washington) to educate myself. This was probably the best $100 I spent. I was able to use their lease agreements, written by lawyers familiar with the state and local law. This expertise resulted in a contract that anticipated common problems and provided the landlord with remedies.

I was also provided with summaries of the relevant laws. You may consider reading these summaries:
https://www.seattle.gov/dpd/cs/groups/pan/@pan/documents/web_informational/dpdd016420.pdf
http://www.seattle.gov/DPD/Publications/CAM/cam604.pdf

If you are not in Seattle, then I would suggest you find the equivalent documents for your city/town/county.

For example, the RCW may not have a limit on rental increases, but if you are in Seattle, then you have local laws in addition to the RCW. For example, in Seattle you may not increase the rent more than 10%. If you do, then you are subject to a relocation fee payable to the tennents.

therethere

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Re: how to get rid of tenants
« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2018, 11:19:22 AM »
2. Complaint: Dishwasher is leaking all the time even when not running. Tech's write-up. "Dishwasher is fine. The ice maker line from the refrigerator was not connected properly." The kicker here is that it was the tenants' own refrigerator.

There was something similar about every other month. I wish I'd pushed harder to have the property management company charge the tenants for ridiculous calls. Whole experience reinforced that I'm not cut out to be a long-distance landlord.

So you'd rather they NOT call you about a mysterious water leak? Sure they might have been able to figure it out but they also could have made it worse. Most leases actually have written that it is the tenants responsibility to notify the owner of water leaks in a short amount of time to prevent damage.