Losing My Tenant From Hell

I have purposely not updated you on my dealing with my tenant because I knew that this day would come. My tenant from hell is leaving my house. Let the celebrations begin! Usually I give you the long version of my dealing with my tenant, but this time I figured that I would give you the short, short version.

As you already know, my tenant has a habit of not paying the last portion of her rent on time. A program pays about 80% of her rent to me directly and she had to pay the balance. If she didn’t pay her rent by the 6th of the month she would incur a late fee. She had been on a decent clip for about 2 months with paying her rent on time and then she fell off the cliff.

In April she paid the rent on the 12th of the month after a three day notice and a phone call. She insisted that she couldn’t pay the late fee because her car was in the shop and she had been in the hospital and blah, blah, excuse. I’m immune to them since she always has some.

The end of April loomed and I realized that the lease would expire in May. I’m supposed to give her a thirty day notice if I was not going to renew her lease. I gleefully wrote out a notice of lease non-renewal (Word) and sent it certified mail with return receipt along with a bill for the late fee from April and the amount due in May. I checked the USPS site every day for delivery. Nothing. They left 2 notices and she didn’t pick up the envelop. Damn. What to do now?

So I sent her a second set of mail. This time it was priority mail with signature confirmation which was delivered on the 9th of May. I knew that she had received the notice plus my bill for her past due late fee, the current month’s rent, and since it was the 6th of May when I mailed the notice, another month’s late fee when I received an alert from my bank that payment had been made. Sexy! But somehow, it was short $50!

Then my phone began to ring. Egads! It was my tenant calling. Since I was at work, I decided to call her back when I could speak freely. I finally called her back with steel in my backbone, ready for the coming fight.

She first could not understand how she had incurred late charges. I told her to check the payment confirmations that I had sent with the letter demanding the balance of the rent. She then relented and admitted that she did owe the late fees. We then turned to the non-renewal notice. She finally admitted that she understood why I did not want to renew the lease with her, however she insisted on staying in the house until the end of June. I told her that there was no circumstance in which she would be in the house through the end of June, but I was prepared with a compromise.

I gave her through June 15 to move and told her that she would not have to pay me anything for the month of June, since the program paid 80% of her rent. If she was out on time and returned the home back in a decent condition (not even back to the way she found it), I would give her 100% of her security deposit back plus a portion of the rent that would have been paid on her behalf for June.

Money talks and her bullshit walked. With the carrot dangling in front of her eyes, she readily agreed. I sent off our agreement in writing and had still another carrot. My county will give an abatement to renters in the county if the landlord lives out of state and agrees to assign the benefit to the tenant. Since I can’t collect the abatement as an out-of-state resident, my tenant could, if I agreed. If she returned the house to the condition in which it was given to her, I would assign the abatement to her as well.

So here we are a little over one month to go. She’s happy, I’m happy and Cujo will have a new home. Hopefully, she’ll be gone on time with the house back into some decent condition. I fully expect to have to repaint the house, put in new flooring where Cujo ripped out the flooring, and rip out the new carpeting that was installed. I love dogs, but renting to people with BIG dogs causes major damage to your property. I will not rent to pet owners again. Sorry.

So what do you think about the situation? Do you think she’ll be out on time? Will I finally be rid of her and have some peace? Let me know in the comments.

This post was included in the carnival of Personal Finance #308 hosted by Control Your Cash.

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37 thoughts on “Losing My Tenant From Hell

  • As a former landlord, expect more problems! I would not relax until she is out. Are you going to be there on the day she moves out to collect the keys and check the condition of the house? I hate to sound so negative, but people don’t change! Good luck, I hope I am wrong.

    • Oh, I’ll be there! I’ve already scheduled time off with work and I will be there with my checklist in hand. Also, a rep from the program has to do a walkthrough as well to make sure she doesn’t leave the house trashed. #winning

  • I have to agree — till she’s finally gone, I wouldn’t bet against something happening. I was very lucky to have nothing by outstanding tenants for three years, and every time one of them left, I was stressed over what would come next.

    Best of luck!

  • Given her financial situation i’m going to bet against the rest and state she’ll be out on time. She has $$$ reasons to finally move her butt.

    Do change the locks in addition to the other work.

    • News locks have been purchased. I have a checklist that I am sending over to her on the 1st which includes carpet cleaning, changing utilities, etc. I want to make sure that we’re all set to roll on the 15th.

  • I enjoyed the variuos posts on this tenant but I have to agree with the other commenters who advise that you not count your chickens before they hatch.

    I bought my first rental property in 1980. Offering some cash incentive to get a tenant out can be effective but not always.

    No big dogs? No pets, period! And the key to good tenants is a good credit score and a steady job. Married military are great because if you have an issue you can go to his or her superiors.

    And always ask why they are leaving the place they are at now and check with their present landlord, although the landlord might be less than forth-coming if they want to get them out themselves.

    I’ll be interested to see if she leaves…

  • As a responsible pet owner, I’m sorry to hear you won’t rent to pet owners in the future. It’s really tough finding a place that accepts pets and, as someone who has always been a responsible tenant, it’s disappointing. But, in seeking future tenants, I will recommend that you talk to any potential tenant’s previous landlords at least three years back (when you’re an awesome tenant, there’s no reason to shy away from this), confirm employment in addition to credit checks, and require renter’s insurance. Of course, check with local privacy laws to see what you can inquire about.

    And, if you ever reconsider pets, make sure to get a veterinary reference/confirm vaccinations, make sure the pet is licensed (if applicable), and think about restricting it to dogs over one year old and under 25 lbs. Since our small dog is 10 years old, he pretty much just sleeps and eats. Then again, we’re responsible enough that we’d fix any damage caused by our dog anyway, whether it’s intermittent carpet steam cleaning or replacing something when the lease ends (and with owner approval).

    • I love dogs! I have to share some more photos of my own baby. The problem with her particular dog is that he is over 100 pounds and unfriendly. He’s also been ripping away at the flooring and SHE is an irresponsible pet owner since she does not clean up after him and allows him to just poop all over the deck instead of walking him.

      I couldn’t get homeowner’s insurance for the house when I disclosed the breed (pitbull mix) because of its size. I also have a pitbull so I don’t discriminate against breeds since my dog is the sweetest bowl of mush ever and is less than half the size of the current dog.

      You’re right though. I will reconsider having a smaller dog. I know how much pets can improve the lives of their owners.

      • People who don’t pick up after their dogs are probably my least favorite pet owners — it’s a total health hazard, gross, and unsightly (and smelly!). The worst part is that since she doesn’t take the dog out for walks, it probably frustrates the poor dog even more who then takes it out on your property.

        And I totally agree about breeds (I grew up around all kinds of dogs from chihuahuas to cocker spaniels to bully breeds like my French bulldog) — bad dogs only become that way when they have irresponsible owners who don’t train them well and establish clear boundaries. Glad to hear you’re a proud owner of a pit — they’re great dogs if people take the time to train and love them! Would love to see some more pics of your pooch. 🙂

        • She’s so shy. She runs away every time I pick up the camera. I’ve converted my entire family and BF’s family with this dog. She is absolutely an awesome dog and an ambassador for her breed. But that’s because she takes after her mama!

  • Keeping my finger crossed for you! Only a few more weeks and you’ll know…I know you can’t always protect yourself 100%, but do you usually do extensive background checks? Could help in the future. Good luck! Keep the champagne cold….you’ll get to celebrate soon 🙂

    • I inherited this tenant when I bought the house. I’m all set up for background and financial checks. If there are any problems with the next tenant it will be my fault. On the other hand, I did call a management service. Reminds me to cal him back.

  • Hope for the best and prepare for the worst. It sounds like you have done just that. As a landlord for the last 10 years and a pet owner for 20, I do rent to tenants who own pets. In fact, I have all of my rentals except one with a fenced back yard expressly for dogs since I know that many have dogs. I simply expect to have to replace carpet or flooring on a more frequent schedule than if someone didn’t have pets. However, I do tend to have some longer term tenants. My first vacancy in almost 2 years has happened this month.

    • Oh I would NEVER rent to ANYONE in New York City. The house is in PA. 🙂 They’re 1000x more owner friendly that New York is. I wanted to purchase an FHA 2 or 3 family home. live in the basement and rent the top two floors but since the laws are not landlord friendly in New York, I never will.

  • I have the opposite problem–landlords from hell. I asked for them to send pest control since I hear something crawling in the walls. A week later I come home and there’s a bag of mouse tr1ps on my door. The kind that leave the mouse alive. They have more compassion for the mouse than they do for their tenant.

    • Oh I’m a good landlord. I pay for pest control even though she insists that she doesn’t need it, I’ve upgraded appliances, I change the batteries in the alarms every 6 months, put in outlet covers since she babysits her grandkids, etc. That’s why she didn’t want to leave.

  • I have the opposite problem–landlords from hell. I asked for them to send pest control since I hear something crawling in the walls. A week later I come home and there’s a bag of mouse tr1ps on my door. The kind that leave the mouse alive. They have more compassion for the mouse than they do for their tenant.

    • Oh I’m a good landlord. I pay for pest control even though she insists that she doesn’t need it, I’ve upgraded appliances, I change the batteries in the alarms every 6 months, put in outlet covers since she babysits her grandkids, etc. That’s why she didn’t want to leave.

  • I wish you the very best for the mid-June departure of this tenant. I can’t wait to read about it.

    This story actually scares the c$&@ out of me. We may have to find tenants for our house next year, and learn how to be landlords. I can live without tenants like this, and pets.

    • If you do decent background checks and brush up on the laws in your area you’ll be fine. Just don’t be a landlord in New York City. Tenants can get away with no paying rent for 6 months at a time.

  • I wish you the very best for the mid-June departure of this tenant. I can’t wait to read about it.

    This story actually scares the c$&@ out of me. We may have to find tenants for our house next year, and learn how to be landlords. I can live without tenants like this, and pets.

    • If you do decent background checks and brush up on the laws in your area you’ll be fine. Just don’t be a landlord in New York City. Tenants can get away with no paying rent for 6 months at a time.

    • I have the same feeling, but do hope that she willingly leaves. Just have the eviction notice ready and sheriff’s office number ready.

  • My fingers are crossed that the removal goes well!

    I do hate that it’s hard to screen for good pet owners because I know that it was really hard for us to find a good rental as pet owners and we took good care of our pets and the homes we lived in with respect to the pets and cleaning up after them.

    I understand your position as a landlord but it sucked that I knew I couldn’t rescue any pits because it would make it basically impossible for us to find a new house to move to if we were going to keep renting because of the problems with perception about the breed.

    They’re such good dogs when they’re well trained and well cared for. And other large dogs are the same way.

    Just a general lament.

    • LOL! He eats like 4 chinese girls! 12 cups of dry food a day! So the piles are big! You can’t over look them! LOL!

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