Author Topic: Tenants are in hospital-Edited tenant died  (Read 7107 times)

umterp1999

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Tenants are in hospital-Edited tenant died
« on: March 20, 2017, 02:57:34 PM »
My tenants are older, probably in late 60's.  they have been tenants of mine for 12 years and are good people.  They've fallen on some hard times health wise.  The husband has had a series of strokes over then past few years and she was recently diagnosed with lung cancer and has been in the hospital for the past two weeks.  She was already one month behind on the rent because she requested she had to pay her deductible.  She is currrently payment plan for that but has only paid back 1/3 of that and is now five days behind on this months rent. Spoke with her today and she sounded awful and is in the hospital again.  Her husband is in some sort of nursing facility because he can't be by himself.  Meanwhile I have a mortgage to pay.  I'm trying to be understanding but she's been chronically late with rent over the years, but she always paid.  When I spoke with her last week, she was supposed to put a check in the mail last Monday, as she was to be at home then.  Today she said her plan is to give her keys to a friend to go in the house and get her bills, including rent, paid.  Any ways I'm kind of freaking as is my wife.  We can't afford to carry two mortgages for all that long.  Anyone ever deal with a similar situation?  And advice/thoughts?
« Last Edit: March 26, 2017, 04:51:34 PM by umterp1999 »

Guizmo

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Re: Tenants are in hospital
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2017, 03:15:48 PM »
It sucks but you have to kick her out. Heck I'd even be understanding and not try to pursue what she owes in court. At the end of the day, you have to do what's right for you and yours, especially if you can't afford both mortgages.

hoodedfalcon

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Re: Tenants are in hospital
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2017, 03:24:27 PM »
There are a number of non-profits or churches that will step in to pay the rent in times like these. Before kicking her out, maybe give her some period of time to try to find rent money? Suggest some places she might approach? I know that would be above and beyond what is required of you but I personally would have a hard time making a sickly elderly couple homeless. Maybe she will soon be going into assisted living as well? I don't know. It's a tough spot. I am also sympathetic to you needing to pay your bills too. I am sorry. : /

former player

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Re: Tenants are in hospital
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2017, 04:08:05 PM »
Check out lung cancer survival rates: your tenant is very probably dying, and very probably pretty quickly.

As a small act of political resistance, perhaps you could ask your elected representatives what you should do?

Spork

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Re: Tenants are in hospital
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2017, 04:12:34 PM »
The short answer here is: You gotta do what you gotta do.  If your cash flow is so tight that a mortgage hinges on the rent check being on time: You have to force her hand.  Either pay or start the proceedings to set her out.

The longer thing to think about: This is me reading between the lines.  I might be misinterpreting you.  I hope I am.  But it almost sounds like you might be a little in over your head.  It is sort of like you are margin trading and suddenly got a margin call ... and you don't have the cash to pay it.  I might be looking at leveraging yourself a little less.  Any number of normal every day occurrences could put you in a position to be not collecting rent for several months in a row.  If you can't make your mortgage payments when that happens, you're likely over extended.

YttriumNitrate

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Re: Tenants are in hospital
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2017, 05:01:43 PM »
The longer thing to think about: This is me reading between the lines.  I might be misinterpreting you.  I hope I am.  But it almost sounds like you might be a little in over your head.  It is sort of like you are margin trading and suddenly got a margin call ... and you don't have the cash to pay it.
Unless it's a million dollar rental, umterp1999 has a fairly big safety net:

Quote from: umterp1999
NW increase of 48K in 2015 to just over 800K.  Not too shabby on a teacher's salary with a stay at home wife for the past two years (supplemented with a lot of stipend positions, such as coaching, and school clubs).

umterp1999

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Re: Tenants are in hospital
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2017, 05:12:26 PM »
Thanks for the replies. Yes I have probably six months to a year of reserves to ride this out.  Not to say it isn't anxiety producing, and I don't want to be uncaring but I also need to run my side business effectively.  That's where I am.  I have always tried to treat any of my tenants as I would like to be treated.  I feel I've been more than fair over the years, but I'm just one guy with a small real estate business, I'm not some big rental agency.
The other part is that this couple has struggled financially and has basically been pay check to paycheck for the past 12 years.  They certainly are a case study in why it's important to manage money wisely, especially as you age.

Blindsquirrel

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Re: Tenants are in hospital
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2017, 05:51:20 PM »
   The Salvation army also helps folks in this situation (they have helped former tenants), and if they are Masons or Eastern Star those organizations also help members out) and that is worth a shot also. Maybe she qualifies for Section 8 but they are slow and often have long waiting lists but worth a shot. At the end of the day, you have to decide if you would write them a check for their rent out of your personal account. Them not paying while occupying an asset worth tens of thousands of dollars is exactly the same thing. Also, she has chosen to place paying a multi-million dollar medical company ahead of paying you so there is that.  After 12 years I myself would be slower on the trigger to evict rather than super quick but at the end of the day, you have to make the call.

lizzzi

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Re: Tenants are in hospital
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2017, 06:18:55 PM »
Do you have any idea who their relatives are? Is there a good adult son or daughter who can step in and help them with the bill-paying while they are laid up? If not, perhaps she is going to use that friend you mentioned, and if so, you should be getting your money if the friend is reliable. I don't think it's as mean and heartless as it sounds to evict them. It sounds like neither one of them is really appropriate anymore for living in your apartment. It sounds to me as if they need a higher level of care. Perhaps the husband needs to stay in the facility, and the wife needs to be referred from the hospital to a nursing facility or perhaps a Hospice. So in a way, you are shoring up a shaky situation by trying to continue to carry them...and evicting them will actually serve to force them into more appropriate and safer living conditions. Sometimes it is just time to turn off the lights, lock the door, and move on. (I'm speaking as a public health nurse here--not as a landlord type of person.)

Kroaler

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Re: Tenants are in hospital
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2017, 03:41:50 PM »
Unfortunately, if your not careful the media can make you look like the devil.

http://articles.latimes.com/2001/mar/17/local/me-39067

Heres this on bigger pockets dealing with a similar issue.
https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/52/topics/354635-my-tenant-has-cancer-rent-is-latenow-what-do-i-do

rachael talcott

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Re: Tenants are in hospital
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2017, 07:21:16 PM »
You should look up the rules for evictions in your state. In mine (TN) it takes 3 months to evict.  Many landlords will just pay tenants to leave because it's cheaper in the long run.  That might help your tenants get situated somewhere else. 

Ocinfo

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Re: Tenants are in hospital
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2017, 07:48:19 PM »
Unfortunately, if your not careful the media can make you look like the devil.

http://articles.latimes.com/2001/mar/17/local/me-39067

Heres this on bigger pockets dealing with a similar issue.
https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/52/topics/354635-my-tenant-has-cancer-rent-is-latenow-what-do-i-do

I was going to post pretty much the same thing regarding media so glad to someone else thinking that way.

Lung cancer sucks, having seen it first hand with 2 grandparents. There's a very real chance that she is not going to get better and likely to get worse very quickly. Talk with the friend or any family to either keep up with the rent or hasten a move.

You've been patient and it sounds like a just a little more patience might be needed. Money isn't everything, I know I wouldn't be happy with myself evicting an elderly person with lung cancer unless it was an absolute last resort.


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Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Tenants are in hospital
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2017, 07:56:05 PM »
If she is in the hospital, she might not have the physical logistics, like her check book to pay the rent.  Cut her some slack. Give her a few weeks to pay up.  I have a very wealthy client that was just in the hospital.  He had a similar issue.  He had money but he couldn't access it. Pro-tip, if you pay all your bills online, make sure someone has access to that info so if you are incapacitated, they can pay your bills for you. 

Another Reader

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Re: Tenants are in hospital
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2017, 08:07:23 PM »
They should have given you family or friends as references and/or contacts when they filled out the rental application.  A friendly concerned phone call to a child or other relative may get things moving.  If not, ask your tenants directly if they have family, church, or friends helping them.  If they are completely alone, you may need to contact Adult Protective Services. Find out who makes welfare checks in your jurisdiction.  Sometimes they can take action when it is clear the person can't be left alone in the property.

I'm going through this with my elderly tenants right now.  They have no children but their "church family" is handling everything for them.  They have moved to assisted living, and the church handled the Medicaid application, the move, and cleaning the house out and disposing of the unneeded possessions.  They are doing a much better job helping these folks than a lot of children of parents in this situation I have seen.

Blatant

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Re: Tenants are in hospital
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2017, 08:22:36 PM »
I'm not a landlord, so take it for what it's worth. But I am a human being.

This situation certainly sucks. Were I in your shoes -- and assuming it would not literally be taking food out of my children's mouths -- I would not want to go to bed at night knowing I made the lives of two elderly folks coming to their end even more terrible and scary.  If you can, be a better human than that.

SwordGuy

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Re: Tenants are in hospital
« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2017, 09:39:00 PM »
Luckily, we could handle this for a goodly while if we had to.  I would hate to be in your shoes because there simply aren't any good answers.

It sounds like a month or two's grace would not break the bank, and being a decent human being is it's own reward.  You'll sleep better for delaying FIRE for a month or three.  Decide what you can afford, double check that against the local laws so you don't get a multi-month delay as a surprise, and communicate that clearly to them, in writing.  They aren't going to be at their best, so take pains to be extra clear.

If it comes time for them to move out, help them move.  If they're both in the hospital or nursing home, rent them a storage unit and help them by moving their stuff to storage instead of tossing it out to the street.   You can hire folks to help move via UHaul.

Now, if these folks were just scum-sucking grifters who were in the habit and mindset to cheat their landlords (and anyone else), I would say file the paperwork to evict first thing in the morning.

Best of luck.


Another Reader

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Re: Tenants are in hospital
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2017, 05:42:04 AM »
Luckily, we could handle this for a goodly while if we had to.  I would hate to be in your shoes because there simply aren't any good answers.

It sounds like a month or two's grace would not break the bank, and being a decent human being is it's own reward.  You'll sleep better for delaying FIRE for a month or three.  Decide what you can afford, double check that against the local laws so you don't get a multi-month delay as a surprise, and communicate that clearly to them, in writing.  They aren't going to be at their best, so take pains to be extra clear.

If it comes time for them to move out, help them move.  If they're both in the hospital or nursing home, rent them a storage unit and help them by moving their stuff to storage instead of tossing it out to the street.   You can hire folks to help move via UHaul.

Now, if these folks were just scum-sucking grifters who were in the habit and mindset to cheat their landlords (and anyone else), I would say file the paperwork to evict first thing in the morning.

Best of luck.

I agree with you in theory.  There may even be a legal basis that as part of the eviction process, you can move their personal property into storage.  However, I would want to make sure that I was doing everything according to the rules of your jurisdiction.  Ultimately someone is responsible  for these folks and their welfare.  If there is no family or legally assigned representative, you may be held liable for your actions by the County Guardian or other public agency. 

I would probably go to the hospital and ask them both what they want to do.  Try to convince them to appoint a personal representative to handle their property and the lease obligations. If they do not return to the property, you may have to go through the abandonment eviction process if no one is appointed.

umterp1999

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Re: Tenants are in hospital
« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2017, 06:12:35 AM »
Update...after not returning phone calls for about a week, i was literally losing sleep, mostly out of concern for their well being.  I decided to have the police do a welfare check, and a neighbor ended up calling me back, saying she passed away on Wednesday.  A neice of hers is supposed to be at the home this afternoon, and I will meet with them.  Her husband is at some sort of full time nursing facility.  I guess probably at the cost of the state.  So now there is back rent, utilities etc.  I don't know if they had any money.  Any thoughts?

rachael talcott

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Re: Tenants are in hospital
« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2017, 06:37:04 AM »
Update...after not returning phone calls for about a week, i was literally losing sleep, mostly out of concern for their well being.  I decided to have the police do a welfare check, and a neighbor ended up calling me back, saying she passed away on Wednesday.  A neice of hers is supposed to be at the home this afternoon, and I will meet with them.  Her husband is at some sort of full time nursing facility.  I guess probably at the cost of the state.  So now there is back rent, utilities etc.  I don't know if they had any money.  Any thoughts?

Assuming the lease gives the tenants responsibility for utilities, you should not have to pay back utilities. But it sounds like you're out the rent.  Best you can do is move on.  Have the niece arrange to move the stuff out.

umterp1999

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Re: Tenants are in hospital
« Reply #19 on: March 26, 2017, 04:36:57 PM »
Just got back from the house, there were no documents pertaining to wills, directives, family members or anything. The neice and neighbor that came by the house today said she basically was estranged from her family.   Apparantly the body is still at the city morgue b/c no one listed as having ability to tend to remains.  I got the keys back from the neighbor and will go by there every once in a while to get mail and all.  In the morning I will call the county probate offices and see what the next steps are.  The house is full of stuff.  I guess I have to find out what my next steps are so that I get the property turned around.  In all I'm out the 2200 she owes in rent and late fees.  I can put in a claim against the estate, if there is any money.  But I doubt it.  Ugh what a mess.  It's sad on so many levels.  I feel bad for her and the situation.

Spork

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Re: Tenants are in hospital-Edited tenant died
« Reply #20 on: March 26, 2017, 05:42:34 PM »
Having seen both situations fairly recently (probably in a different state, though).

With a will and everything in order: it will be a month before there is someone with letters testamentary that could potentially do anything.
With no will and dying intestate: Lord only knows... 2-3 months *if* someone is pushing it through.

Yeah, I'd think I would start down the eviction path since (it seems) no one is coming back.  If you're especially nice, you could rent a storage unit and move stuff into it... but I suspect that would just mean you're out the cost of the movers and the storage unit.


Cannot Wait!

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Re: Tenants are in hospital-Edited tenant died
« Reply #21 on: March 26, 2017, 07:02:29 PM »
It's a business not a charity.  I'd bill them for rent including April, give notice to the niece to have the place emptied by April 15th.  Empty it myself on that date if she hasn't and repair/repaint for a May 1st renter.
I wouldn't necessarily expect to see the money but it's not like the bank is going to write off the mortgage payments because it feels sorry for someone. 
I would also be thankful for having one tenant for that long; no vacant months are worth something.

SwordGuy

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Re: Tenants are in hospital-Edited tenant died
« Reply #22 on: March 26, 2017, 08:21:05 PM »
At this point, if you can't get them to agree to vacate by a date that's acceptable to you, file for eviction.

You're not going to cause them any harm at this point.   

You've been a kind and considerate person - and that's worth more than the $2200 you will probably never see.

Best of luck!

former player

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Re: Tenants are in hospital-Edited tenant died
« Reply #23 on: March 27, 2017, 01:03:12 AM »
OP says that the husband is still alive, although in a nursing facility.  The house is still his legal home, and all the possessions in it belongs to him.  If it is possible to communicate with him, that is what OP should do.  If it isn't, he needs someone appointed to act on his behalf - possibly the niece, but very probably that will have to go through the courts to be legally enforceable.  In the meantime, all OP can do is start eviction proceedings.  Until the husband either gives up the property or gets evicted OP does not have the right to access the property without the husband's permission and does not have the right to do anything with the possessions in it.

NoNonsenseLandlord

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Re: Tenants are in hospital-Edited tenant died
« Reply #24 on: March 27, 2017, 06:25:17 AM »
I have had tenants die, and others that were terminally ill.  Evict them the same as anyone else.  You mortgage company will do the same after they take the property from you if you do not pay.

You can do it in a nice way, but do not let it linger.  There are friends, family and emergency assistance options for them to pay.  I wrote a post about my situation a while back.

http://www.nononsenselandlord.com/2014/06/when-your-tenant-dies/

Capt j-rod

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Re: Tenants are in hospital-Edited tenant died
« Reply #25 on: March 27, 2017, 06:33:03 AM »
You never know about their financials... There's a tax return for this year? Maybe a small life insurance policy? Draw a date on the wall and stick to it.  Be polite and ask the niece if she would rent a storage unit that you'd help clean it out into that unit. Then she can deal with it as time allows. Don't damage anything. File the papers asap and start working. If they were there for 12 years then it's gonna need a lot of paint and work.

JoJoP

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Re: Tenants are in hospital-Edited tenant died
« Reply #26 on: March 29, 2017, 09:19:47 AM »
At this point, if you can't get them to agree to vacate by a date that's acceptable to you, file for eviction.

You're not going to cause them any harm at this point.   

You've been a kind and considerate person - and that's worth more than the $2200 you will probably never see.


I agree with SwordGuy, you'll most likely never see the money, so take the high road and help the man pack up and vacate.  In the long run, it will probably be quicker and easier to be helpful than it will be to come down on him.  I'd issue the 3 day notice to pay or quit, so that you've legally got things lining up in case you need to evict, but I'd ask the man to get a storage locker and his niece to come help pack up his stuff and get him moved out. 

 I've actually helped 2 people in this type of situation (not dead, though...).  One was a ranch caretaker on a neighbor's property who moved into my ranch property, bringing himself,  4 horses and a big dog.  The property got sold and this fellow wouldn't vacate.   He basically had no where to go.  We actually brought boxes,  packed him up, loaded up his horses, brought/set up horse fencing, and set him and his newly corralled horses at a very surprised friend's house. 

umterp1999

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Re: Tenants are in hospital-Edited tenant died
« Reply #27 on: March 29, 2017, 11:00:25 AM »
I appreciate everyone's thoughts.  I confirmed with the husband's nursing home that he is basically in a non-communicative state, and will never live on his own.  I am not even sure he is aware his wife passed away.  I consulted a local real estate attorney who specializes in tenant-landlord affairs.  In my state we have to provide a 30 day move out notice.  Legally I have to mail that to the last known address.  At the end of 30 days, if I the belongings are moved out to my satisfaction, I can proceed to ready the house for new tenants, including disposing of the belongings.  The state sees it as he is voluntarily leaving his belongings behind.  If I am not satisfied he is out, I can file for eviction.  But that takes months, and is a lot more hassle.  He did suggest I communicate with the only known relative about the contents of the home, and give them the 30 day notice as well, which I have done.  So the game plan is after 30 days, I just dispose of the contents, whether I sell, donate or junk.  If there is anything I can sell, it will go toward recouping some of my costs.  In the meantime, I am already in there starting on some of renovations, cleaning out old food, changing utilities to me, etc.
Again, I can't reiterate enough how sad of a situation this was.  Make sure you have your end of life affairs in order.   

umterp1999

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Re: Tenants are in hospital-Edited tenant died
« Reply #28 on: May 01, 2017, 11:07:01 AM »
Just an update for those who are interested.  The 30 day vacate window passed last week.  We did meet with the only known relative at the house, who took everything she was interested in.  We had an Estate sale and freecycled the rest.  We collected enough to almost make up a full month's rent.  There are a number of repairs that we need to take care of now (carpeting, bathroom renos) which will run about 10,000.  We already have had one couple express a lot of interest in renting.  Our target date is June 1st.  Obviously still a lot to do, but things are moving along.

On a somewhat morbid detail, my tenants body is still at the state morgue.  Since she had no power of attorney, and only one know family member, they won't release her body for burial.  Her niece has applied for executor, but it is unlikely that will come through before the state just cremates the body and disposes of the ashes. 

yyc-phil

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Re: Tenants are in hospital-Edited tenant died
« Reply #29 on: May 01, 2017, 11:25:27 AM »
This was very sad but you did the right thing and I admire how you handled the whole situation. All the best.

redrocker

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Re: Tenants are in hospital-Edited tenant died
« Reply #30 on: May 01, 2017, 03:31:37 PM »
Just an update for those who are interested. 

This thread has been a good teaching moment for me with some older/poor health tenants of my own. Thanks for posting the update.

sequoia

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Re: Tenants are in hospital-Edited tenant died
« Reply #31 on: May 01, 2017, 03:52:29 PM »
This thread has been a good teaching moment for me with some older/poor health tenants of my own. Thanks for posting the update.

Same here. Thank you for sharing!

clarkfan1979

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Re: Tenants are in hospital
« Reply #32 on: May 03, 2017, 03:32:59 PM »
Thanks for the replies. Yes I have probably six months to a year of reserves to ride this out.  Not to say it isn't anxiety producing, and I don't want to be uncaring but I also need to run my side business effectively.  That's where I am.  I have always tried to treat any of my tenants as I would like to be treated.  I feel I've been more than fair over the years, but I'm just one guy with a small real estate business, I'm not some big rental agency.
The other part is that this couple has struggled financially and has basically been pay check to paycheck for the past 12 years.  They certainly are a case study in why it's important to manage money wisely, especially as you age.

If you got to keep their deposit and got almost one months rent in the estate sale, how much are you out? 2 months rent? It's a sad story, but it doesn't need to be stressful.

You mentioned that you have $10,000 in repairs. However, if you had the same tenant for 12 years, that is a likely scenario.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2017, 03:41:30 PM by clarkfan1979 »

umterp1999

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Re: Tenants are in hospital-Edited tenant died
« Reply #33 on: June 09, 2017, 05:57:27 AM »
And just to bring this officially to a close...New tenants moved in on Tuesday.  All in all it was about 12,000 in renovations and lost rents.  We were able to offset some of that by selling the leftover stuff that the family didn't want.  My goal was to have nbew tenants in by July 1.  Instead, the new tenants moved in on June 7th. 

Dicey

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Re: Tenants are in hospital-Edited tenant died
« Reply #34 on: June 09, 2017, 07:09:02 AM »
And just to bring this officially to a close...New tenants moved in on Tuesday.  All in all it was about 12,000 in renovations and lost rents.  We were able to offset some of that by selling the leftover stuff that the family didn't want.  My goal was to have nbew tenants in by July 1.  Instead, the new tenants moved in on June 7th.
Hooray! That was a lot of stress, glad it's resolved. Thanks for posting an update.