Author Topic: Tenant got arrested, now what?  (Read 4005 times)

Beaker

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Tenant got arrested, now what?
« on: July 13, 2016, 12:20:54 PM »
One of my properties is a duplex. The guy in the upper unit has been there since before I bought it two years ago. I don't know him real well, but he seems generally decent & likable, has been easy to deal with, and takes good care of the unit.

Yesterday the downstairs tenant called to let me know that the county sheriffs and SWAT showed up and arrested him. I couldn't get much information out of the sheriff since it's an ongoing investigation, but there is some public information on their website. Looks like he's been charged with sexual exploitation of children! At this point he's not guilty of anything, just charged. From what I know of him I find it hard to believe, but I guess that's what bystanders always say.

He will probably be out on bond in a day or two, so he would probably still need somewhere to live and could conceivably continue working & paying the rent. I have no idea how long any trial might take or what the outcome would be. I'm guessing weeks-to-months, but my knowledge of criminal law is mostly from Law & Order reruns.

Thankfully the other tenants don't have kids, so that awkward situation is avoided for the moment. The sheriff & SWAT didn't bust down the door or chuck any flashbangs around, so there's no damage to be dealt with.

So... what do I do about this, if anything? Does anyone has relevant experience or thoughts about what could/should be done, or things to watch out for?

Bobberth

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Re: Tenant got arrested, now what?
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2016, 02:20:50 PM »
I'm not sure you can do anything since he has just been charged and not convicted-assuming he has paid and continues to pay the rent. You may need to contact a lawyer to confirm in your area. You may approach him about 'closest relative' type questions in case he does go to jail and still has stuff in the apartment. I have a 10 days = abandonment in my lease. Hopefully you have something like that in your lease. Follow the case and if he goes to jail, if there is nothing left behind, change the locks and move on. If there is stuff, wait the 10 days or whatever and DOCUMENT it. Then follow proper procedure for abandoned property and move on.

beltim

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Re: Tenant got arrested, now what?
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2016, 03:51:09 PM »
I'm not sure you can do anything since he has just been charged and not convicted-assuming he has paid and continues to pay the rent. You may need to contact a lawyer to confirm in your area. You may approach him about 'closest relative' type questions in case he does go to jail and still has stuff in the apartment. I have a 10 days = abandonment in my lease. Hopefully you have something like that in your lease. Follow the case and if he goes to jail, if there is nothing left behind, change the locks and move on. If there is stuff, wait the 10 days or whatever and DOCUMENT it. Then follow proper procedure for abandoned property and move on.

Wait, what?  I agree with the rest of what you said, but if I rented an apartment from you and went on vacation for two weeks and didn't tell you, you'd take possession and sell my stuff even though I paid rent for that time?

That seems like a non-enforceable clause to me.

Choices

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Re: Tenant got arrested, now what?
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2016, 11:41:13 PM »
I'm not sure you can do anything since he has just been charged and not convicted-assuming he has paid and continues to pay the rent. You may need to contact a lawyer to confirm in your area. You may approach him about 'closest relative' type questions in case he does go to jail and still has stuff in the apartment. I have a 10 days = abandonment in my lease. Hopefully you have something like that in your lease. Follow the case and if he goes to jail, if there is nothing left behind, change the locks and move on. If there is stuff, wait the 10 days or whatever and DOCUMENT it. Then follow proper procedure for abandoned property and move on.

Wait, what?  I agree with the rest of what you said, but if I rented an apartment from you and went on vacation for two weeks and didn't tell you, you'd take possession and sell my stuff even though I paid rent for that time?


That seems like a non-enforceable clause to me.
I think Bobberth is saying that if the rent is 10 days late with no contact, that would be abandonment.

NoNonsenseLandlord

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Re: Tenant got arrested, now what?
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2016, 07:58:31 AM »
Keep renting to him, assuming he pays.

If the downstairs renter is not going to move because of him living there, do not worry about it.  If he becomes a category 3 offender, and notifications are going to happen, get rid of him.

Kroaler

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Re: Tenant got arrested, now what?
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2016, 09:18:28 AM »
I didnt know this guy was on MMM!   I love his blog!.     

Jim2001

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Re: Tenant got arrested, now what?
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2016, 11:13:22 AM »
Read your lease agreement and follow it to the letter so you don't end up in court. 

You may or may not have grounds to evict him, but remember, your are equal parties to that contract and tenants have rights beyond what you may or may not include in the contract (if you include a clause that is against the law, it is not enforceable). 

If he's innocent, no problem (remember "innocent until proven guilty"). 

If he's convicted and ends up in jail. No problem, he either moves his stuff out, or you follow the guidelines to evict because he probably wont' be paying rent from prison.

If he's convicted and doesn't go to prison, unfortunately, you may not have any valid grounds for eviction.

NoNonsenseLandlord

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Re: Tenant got arrested, now what?
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2016, 06:56:35 AM »
I didnt know this guy was on MMM!   I love his blog!.   

Assuming you were talking about my blog, THANK YOU!

Beaker

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Re: Tenant got arrested, now what?
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2016, 11:36:43 AM »
Thanks everyone. This all pretty much confirms what I had been thinking. I was concerned that there would be some big pitfalls that I wasn't aware of ("unknown unknowns"), but that doesn't seem to be the case.


Daleth

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Re: Tenant got arrested, now what?
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2016, 12:22:02 PM »
If he's convicted and doesn't go to prison, unfortunately, you may not have any valid grounds for eviction.

That's why my leases say that criminal convictions for certain types of crimes (basically any violent crime, serious property crime, or illegal gun use; also, possessing drugs on my property) represents a breach of the lease. I can evict for that.

arebelspy

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Re: Tenant got arrested, now what?
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2016, 05:55:55 AM »
Read your lease agreement and follow it to the letter so you don't end up in court. 

You may or may not have grounds to evict him, but remember, your are equal parties to that contract and tenants have rights beyond what you may or may not include in the contract (if you include a clause that is against the law, it is not enforceable). 

If he's innocent, no problem (remember "innocent until proven guilty"). 

If he's convicted and ends up in jail. No problem, he either moves his stuff out, or you follow the guidelines to evict because he probably wont' be paying rent from prison.

If he's convicted and doesn't go to prison, unfortunately, you may not have any valid grounds for eviction.

Good post.

Follow the lease. Follow the law.

Good luck!  :)
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Cassie

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Re: Tenant got arrested, now what?
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2016, 01:00:53 PM »
WE had a situation once in Wi where the woman was convicted of a crime and was going to jail for 6 months. I called a lawyer who said to evict her because if we put her stuff in our basement while she was in jail we would be in trouble. Once she went to jail we would be required to wait for her to get out to get her stuff out of the apartment and we would not be allowed to move it.  This was about 25 years ago.  I would talk to a lawyer in your state.

BAMxi

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Re: Tenant got arrested, now what?
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2016, 10:21:39 AM »
Yep, not much you can/should do here. If he becomes convicted of a felony and your lease/rental criteria do not allow for felons, then you could likely remove him from the property. Side note: HUD just released new guidelines for dealing with people with felonies. It is now no longer acceptable to do a blanket denial of all felons. You must consider each denial on a case by case basis, and the burden is on the applicant to provide proof that the crime was nonviolent, etc.