Landlord question - very long. Short version in comments

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So I own rental property, am a landlord. I rent to lower-income people usually, who qualify for Section 8 (gov't assistance with rent). I have one rental in an affluent neighborhood but the rest are in working class neighborhoods and all my houses are nice...well, they are when I rent them. My tenants love my houses and never want to move; they move only if their family size changes dramatically or they can no longer pay or I evict them.


OK so I have this one particular house that became vacant last year. Long story. The tenant was filthy and vile and trashed the place. If we are FB friends, you might have seen the pics. But she left bloody tampons, garbage, rotten food all over when she left and tore the new carpet I'd just had installed at her request 4 months earlier. Doors were pulled off the hinges, there were BB gun holes in the appliances, big craters in the walls, everything bad. And she left owing me $1700 in rent and stuck me with $1200 in utility bills. It took me forever to get the place inhabitable again and cost me a TON.


So this past fall I was in the process of getting the house all fixed up for a new tenant. I had not advertised it yet on the Section 8 website (or anywhere) as there was still work to do. But then I was approached by this woman who had heard from a friend of a friend that I was getting this house ready to rent and she really wanted to see it. I told her it was not ready yet and I would post it on the Section 8 website after the first of the year. She told me she didn't have a Section 8 voucher but asked me if I would consider renting to her. Normally I don't. But she kept calling me. So I said OK. She came over and loved it and wanted to move in asap. I told her there was work still left to be done and it wouldn't be ready until Jan 1. She came with this sad story about her aunt dying and yada yada had to move immediately. I told her to fill out the application and provide me references and pay stubs etc and I would see.


I was hoping she would find something else in the meantime so I took my time checking. But in so doing, I caught her in a big lie. That normally would have been a dealbreaker but she was calling me constantly, almost begging. She has three kids and one is special needs (typical with this population) and I just couldn't say no. It appeared she had the income to pay the rent, esp since she was ticking up a lot of overtime.


Anyway, long story short........I let her move in Dec.1. She wound up getting gov't assistance to pay for her security deposit and first month. Typical of my tenants but should not have been needed with her. And I had to wait TWO MONTHS to receive it. Ok so in February, she calls me and says that a relative died and se feels she needs to help pay for the funeral and asks if I would give her $200 off her rent. Idiot that I am, I said OK.


At the same time, she started nagging me to replace the kitchen cabinets. I told her no bc we had dome a walk-thru prior to signing and she OK'd them. But after repeated nagging, I said OK, I'd get someone out to measure for them in March. Also in Jan, she flooded the basement. She tried to blame it on me (bad plumbing) but repair guy discovered she had not hooked her washing machine up properly (no little rubber rings) and water had been leaking for over a month. The basement was so cluttered and nasty, she just hadn't noticed until then. I did not charger for it to be hooked up correctly or water removal.


So now it's March. March 14th to be exact. All my other tenants had paid Mach. Except her. No call, nothing. (Rent is due on the 1st of every month, late fee if not received by 5th.) So I call her and she asks if she can pay the following Friday. I say OK and waive the late fee but remind her the rent is due ON THE FIRST and the appropriate thing to do if she will be late is to call me. So...another 10 days pass and still no rent. It's getting near the end of March. I call her again and ask if she has sent it. She says yes. I ask to which address. (The address is included in her lease and I had texted it to her before.) And she tells me the wrong address, off one number. Obviously another lie, bc how would you realize you wrote the wrong number after you mailed it. She told me it would be returned (how would she know?) and again started nagging me about replacing the kitchen cabinets. I told her I'm not replacing anything until I receive her rent and she needs to focus on that.


So on March 29, I still had not received March's rent or heard from her, so I slapped a 3 day notice on her door (that actually means I can begin the eviction procedure in 3 business days). So she called me up crying and mad and yelling. Telling me she is waiting for the March rent to be returned to sender and she has the April rent ready to go. I told her to show me a money order stub. And she couldn't. I told her I would give her another week, but I was losing my patience. She also was running up a high gas and water bill and was lying about having already switched it over. And I told her that if she didn't switch them to her name within a week, they would be turned off.


The next day (April 3 ) she told me that the March and April's rent were in the mail.


So after no further contact, I slapped another 3 day notice on her door on April 9, siting nonpayment of March and April.


Again, I receive another nasty call and the assurance the March rent was in the mail. I told her it takes two days to receive local mail. And I ask her where the April rent is.


Then I get another story about how she is having a "personal situation" and can I help her fill out an application to the welfare office, requesting help for April rent. I told her I was not willing to wait two months for that.


Clearlym she can't afford to the rent and needs to leave. But to make matters worse, when she was begging to move in, she volunteered that she has no boyfriend and lives only with ther three kids. But since the first day she moved in, this lazy, ugly, trifling man has been laying up (literally, in pajamas!) in the house everyday. Why can't HE HELP YOU???? My plan was to make a trip down to the courthouse on April 12 (today) and file for an expedited eviction hearing.)


But yesterday I receive a PARTIAL payment for the March rent.


She's trying, I guess.


So what should I do?


Deposit it and give her more time and hope she gets it together?


Deposit it and continue with the eviction - she will never be able to afford the rent and will fall further and further behind?


Return it to her so she can use it for her next place, and continue the eviction, even though I will be out two months rent, and another month waiting for the court to put her out and all the expense of having to fix it up again?


She has three kids and they just moved in. I hate to yank the rug out from under them. Plus, if she truly has no money, they could wind up in a homeless shelter.


I always try to be kind and understanding as a landlord. But at the end of the day, this is a business and I count on the rent as income. I am a single mother, too, after all. I have let tenants slide in the past...and currently am owed about $20K that I know I will never get back. I just don't want to keep putting myself through this. But I don't want to be a heartless jerk, either.


Last edited by spiderlashes5000; 04-13-2017 at 10:49 AM.
This is the short version.


Up until yesterday, one of my tenants (not section owed me March and April rent. She was making up all these lies and excuses, telling me she had sent it already.


Finally yesterday, I received a partial payment (about 75%) for March. And she admitted she does not have April but would like for me to assist her in applying for help thru public assistance.


Frankly, I am fed up with her lies and her attitude and I am realizing the house is simply too expensive for. I feel I need to go forward with an eviction. Should I return her partial payment of March back to her to help her in her search for a new place to live? Or keep it, knowing she may wind up in a shelter with her three kids? I will not be able to get her completely out until mid May and won't be able to re-rent until June or july at the earliest. So I will have lost a significant amount of money.

Call me heartless, continue the eviction, do not return the partial March payment.

I feel badly for her children, but you are not responsible for them.
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Gosh, spider. What a mess. And when you're trying to do the right thing...

Is there some kind of county worker that you could have her talk to? Maybe she would be up front with the county worker about her finances and the county worker could come up with a plan of action. If she wants help getting on public assistance, and can indeed get it (I'm guessing she will qualify), would that work out best for both of you in the end? I know you said that it would take a couple of months to get the public assistance going, but it would also take you a couple of months to evict her and clean up and check over tenant applications.
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Gosh, spider. What a mess. And when you're trying to do the right thing...

Is there some kind of county worker that you could have her talk to? Maybe she would be up front with the county worker about her finances and the county worker could come up with a plan of action. If she wants help getting on public assistance, and can indeed get it (I'm guessing she will qualify), would that work out best for both of you in the end? I know you said that it would take a couple of months to get the public assistance going, but it would also take you a couple of months to evict her and clean up and check over tenant applications.
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I think you should continue with the eviction - it was only three months and she already couldn't find the rent, I don't see this situation improving tbh. I would feel bad too, but TRBL's right, the kids aren't your responsibility and nor is she.
3b in South Australia.
Gosh, spider. What a mess. And when you're trying to do the right thing...

Is there some kind of county worker that you could have her talk to? Maybe she would be up front with the county worker about her finances and the county worker could come up with a plan of action. If she wants help getting on public assistance, and can indeed get it (I'm guessing she will qualify), would that work out best for both of you in the end? I know you said that it would take a couple of months to get the public assistance going, but it would also take you a couple of months to evict her and clean up and check over tenant applications.
Originally Posted by Therese1


Ppl like her know the system backwards and forwards. If she were eligible for monthly public assistance, she'd be getting it. She knows what she's eligible for and claims every penny of it. She's eligible for some public assistance services but nothing that's going to help her with the rent (ie., no cash assistance or rent assistance...tho I'm sure she gets medical and other things.) She was eligible for the county to pay her first month's rent and security deposit. And now she may be eligible to receive one-time, emergency help with the back rent she owes me...assuming, she has not exhausted her annual maximum. But it's clear to me that she can't afford the rent at this house. So unless her assistance is re-evaluated and drastically increased, she will fall behind again.


But you do make a good point. I can tell her that if she will speak with her case worker and get her benefits increased to include rental or cash assistance, and get a letter to me BEFORE our eviction hearing, I will consider letting her stay. Thank you


Thanks, everyone. I didn't want to feel like a coldhearted butthole.
I went to the courthouse and we are scheduled for our eviction hearing in two weeks. She could request a continuance, I suppose but hopefully it wouldn't drag the process out too much longer. I've been in this situation (tenant's not paying and I'm allowing them to stay, hoping things improve) and it is stressful and demoralizing. Like working for months at a job and not getting paid

I would think cashing or depositing her check would mean you are accepting to giving her more time & you may not be able to go forward with the eviction. I don't consider myself heartless, but I would get her out of there. I think the problems will continue. You are a business woman & not her friend. I live in an apt complex & if I can't pay my rent, they don't care the reason. I will be evicted.
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How would cashing the check mean that she's giving her more time? That's money that's owed.

I would evict, you have no choice unless you want to donate specifically to her.
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How would cashing the check mean that she's giving her more time? That's money that's owed.

I would evict, you have no choice unless you want to donate specifically to her.
Originally Posted by Josephine


I have actually heard that ^^^ before, and more than once or twice. But, like you, I can't understand why it would mean that. It's rightfully mine and I should take what I can get now instead of being out the money or trying to sue her for it later on.


So she received the summons for the hearing. And as soon as she got it, she started blowing my phone up. Like 20 calls per hour from her number, plus other calls from other numbers. And then ishtty VMs and texts.


Don't get me wrong; I don't mind waiting for late rent...if I believe it's coming and if it's a tenant that has a history of paying. But she just moved in and I have already caught her in numerous lies. There has never been a month where I have felt paying the rent was easy for her. IDK what she's doing w/ her money; she says she's going thru a "personal situation."


So she is going to the County for this once-a-year public assistance benefit that some ppl are eligible for. I told her to have them send me a commitment letter stating how much and when. If I get it before the hearing, I will wait. But if not, I'm going thru with the eviction.


Early on I told her I would replace the kitchen cabinets. But now, I don't want to. I don't want to invest that much money into the house when it could be...vacant again soon. Plus, you never know if they will vandalize stuff in the house if they are evicted. So now I think I'm going to tell her I'm not replacing the cabinets, until she establishes a consistent pattern of timely rent payment. But I feel so uncomfortable doing that; I NEVER go back on my word like that. That's just something I never do! I will tell her she can cover the shelves in contact paper. I might even pay for it to be done. Or not. Some of them are a little raggedy on the inside but they aren't that bad. Nothing that some shelf paper won't fix.

I don't think it's unreasonable to say that if you're not getting the income from the rent then unfortunately you can't really afford to get new cupboards for her at this stage. She doesn't need to know whether that's actually true or not.
She's treating you badly, don't feel guilty about it all.
3b in South Australia.
I don't think it's unreasonable to say that if you're not getting the income from the rent then unfortunately you can't really afford to get new cupboards for her at this stage. She doesn't need to know whether that's actually true or not.
She's treating you badly, don't feel guilty about it all.
Originally Posted by Starmie
This is perfect!
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^^ exactly.. this is YOUR house, you totally have the right to determine if and when you make renovations.

how someone could possibly think they were owed new cabinets in a house they are failing to make the rent on is beyond me.
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When I grow up, I wanna be a Jiujitsu Turtle!

My british name, courtesy of Ninja Dog Shade Haven-Staffordshire: TRBL Hough Jewelstone Turtleneck

Its chaos a few hairs at a time. ~Minxy

"Dispute not with her: she is lunatic." -Richard III
She will want the new cabinets as soon as she is caught up on rent (which will happy only with the help of public assistance). But I do not want to replace them right away...bc she may (likely) fall behind again and I would incur a lot of expense. If I replace them for her, I want to do it only after she has established a consistent history of paying (maybe 6 months). If I put her out, then I would replace them immediately for the new tenant bc the tenants I would consider would be Section 8 (gov't housing voucher) and I will have guaranteed payment


So she will think bc she is caught up on her rent, she will get the cabinets immediately. And at this point, her being merely caught up is not sufficient to justify the new cabinets. (Cabinets are expensive!)
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Ms. Cynical here.. she wants the cabinets so she can rip 'em out & sell 'em before she leaves you in the lurch... again..

Don't do it (until as you say she has a CONSISTENT track record of making her rent)
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When I grow up, I wanna be a Jiujitsu Turtle!

My british name, courtesy of Ninja Dog Shade Haven-Staffordshire: TRBL Hough Jewelstone Turtleneck

Its chaos a few hairs at a time. ~Minxy

"Dispute not with her: she is lunatic." -Richard III
Ms. Cynical here.. she wants the cabinets so she can rip 'em out & sell 'em before she leaves you in the lurch... again..



Don't do it (until as you say she has a CONSISTENT track record of making her rent)
Originally Posted by TRBL


Ahhhhh......didn't even think of that 😳


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
spiderlashes5000 likes this.
I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.
Audrey Hepburn

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