Having been a landlord for about 8 years, I have never dealt with what many landlords called, a 'tenant from hell', until just recently. Of course, over the years, I get some tenants who are a little on the difficult side to deal with, but they are not what you would consider a 'tenant from hell'. I have been pretty fortunate to have great, long-term tenants. But with the good, you will eventually encounter those that are terrible, I mean 'f#$%ing terrible'. Sorry for my french, but you will see what I mean by that.
So, let's get started and see what a 'tenant from hell' is like and how to deal with them
If you are a landlord reading this article, I hope you are smarter than I am and do not have a tenant from hell. If you are a tenant reading this article, I hope that you are remotely far from being classified as a 'tenant from hell', in other words, a major pain-in-the-ass.
You are a 'tenant from hell' and a major pain-in-the-ass if:
- You 'high' text (get it...'high'?) the landlord at 3am in the morning several times with a message that makes no effing sense
- You burn candles all over the property to get rid of the pot smell, but the candle smell is so strong that it suffocates anyone that enters the property
- You think that midnight of 1/1/2017 is after 2pm of 1/1/2017
- The landlord hears nagging from you more than you hear from your nagging mother-in-law, meaning she hears complaints from you every week, sometimes every other day and you have only occupied the property for two months
- You complain about the same issues that have been repaired a few days ago, or minor things like tightening the toilet tissue holders or door knobs that you can do yourself
- You complain that all the contractors that the landlord sent to fix issues do not know what they are doing and only your 'certified' contractor boyfriend has the knowledge to fix these issues
- You cause major water damage and lie that no one (not you, not your knowledgeable boyfriend, not your 10 kids) used either bathrooms and there were no over flow of water in the bathrooms, even after two different contractors showed that the floor, walls, and bathroom cabinets of the two adjacent bathrooms were wet and have 100% moisture. You lie through your straight, white teeth, but of course, we know
- You don't follow the contractors instructions and interfere with their work
- You overflow the utility room because your old-ass washer does not drain, and claim that the property had plumbing issue before you moved in, and you have not been able to do laundry for two months since you moved in
- You overflow the water in the utility room again after it was fixed and you claim that the plumber didn't fix it right
- You complain that your electricity bill is going up because the contractors place fans inside the property to dry the walls that had water damages
- You claim there is mold in the property anywhere that you see a stain, and your family is getting sick and you cannot work. Your medical expenses is going up because you have to buy medications for your family. You want compensation for all these expenses you incurred as a result of living at the property.
- You refuse to move when the landlord asked if you want to go find a place that is safe for you and your family to live in, and you throw a fit that you make good money because you are a 'director' at a company and you can pay your rent.
- In every conversation, you have to add that you make $6000/month because you are a 'director' at a company
- You blab about having rental properties, you have a real estate license and a hundred other licenses, and you know the laws inside out. I wonder what happened to all the rentals? Why are you renting now?
- You don't read the lease contract and question, say, or do things of these nature:
- Constantly texting for repair requests because you think that texting is considered 'a form of writing' even though the lease clearly (in all bold) states that all repair requests need to be in writing (email or delivered) to the landlord
- Repeatedly texting from your phone, then your 'certified' boyfriend's phone, then email about a hundred times over the weekend, and complain that the landlord does not respond to you in a timely manner, when the lease clearly (in all bold) states that all repair requests will be answered the next business day
- You violate many provisions of the lease contract and when told to review the lease, you said you don't understand the lease. Then why the hell did you sign it? Don't you have a real estate license and know the laws inside out?
- Late fees? What late fees and how much are you charging me when I mailed my rent payments on the 3rd?
- When you receive a lease termination letter from the landlord giving you more than 30 days to move out because you complain the property is causing health issues to your family, violating many provisions of the lease, and all the damages you have caused to the property, you said these are all false allegations against you
- You claim that the landlord doesn't like you for a certain reason
- You say you are going to get your 'personal' attorney involve to sue the landlord for wrongful eviction
- Since the lease termination letter, you have harassed the landlord with thousands of emails claiming false allegations, wrongful eviction, and threatening to sue the landlord like a thousand times
- You claim that you don't have to pay any more rent because the landlord terminated the lease with you. What?? And you know the laws inside out?
- You harass the contractors who were hired to fix damages that were caused by you, interrogating them and recording them so that you can use these in court
- You warn the landlord that you have 10 witnesses, which are all your family members, and have pictures of the damages that were already there when you moved in
- You get aggressive with the landlord, causing the landlord to call the police
- You claim that it cost you more than $4000 to move and you demand for your full security deposit back
- You have the nerves to email the landlord and threaten the landlord to give you a good referral. Otherwise, you will not move out of the property
- You get really aggressive with the landlord when the landlord tries to walk the property with you and point out the damages
- You claim that you left the property in a 'better' state then when you moved in so you want the full security deposit back, even though the grass is about 6ft tall, the house was dirty, the fridge was not cleaned, the bathrooms were not cleaned, holes all over the walls throughout the entire house, and many other damages that are too many to list
Now, is this a tenant from hell or what??? I wasn't kidding when I said 'f*&$ing terrible'.
So what to do when you have a tenant from hell?
You do what the law states that a landlord should do and you stand your ground. If you have not done anything that is against the law and you have text and emails to prove, then you do not have to be afraid to evict the tenant from hell, but do it in a polite way. Give them sufficient time to look for another place, rather than giving them 3 days to move out. You want them to leave your property and leave the property with little damages as possible.
In my case, the first thing I did was to send the tenant a lease termination letter listing all the reasons for the early lease termination and giving them more than 30 days to look for another place and move out. As I expected, and I am sure you expected as well, the tenant threw a fit. But since I have done nothing wrong and prepared to file the eviction with the court if necessary, I was not afraid or threatened by the tenants' actions. I have no hesitation in calling the police when they get aggressive with me.
The tenant-from-hell claimed and yelled and threatened that these are all false allegations and they will get a lawyer involved. Regardless of what they say or do, I never back down. As I mentioned, I was prepared to file the eviction with the court if necessary.
If they refuse to pay the last month's rent, make sure that they know what the law is regarding paying their rent and mention the lease agreement. In my case, I did that, but I did not demand for the last month's rent money. I told the tenant that I will not ask for the last month's rent payment, but I will keep part of the deposit money, and the rest of the deposit money I will return to them if they cause no further damages to the property. This is an incentive for them to not cause further damages to the property.
Make sure you do a move-out walk through of the property with the tenant and point out the damages or anything that need fixing. Do not do this alone. Make sure to have another person with you. If they get aggressive with you, call the police. I had to call the police because they got aggressive with me while doing the walk-through, claiming that those damages were already there when they moved in. That's bullshit, but they can say whatever they want. I am doing what is required of me, as a landlord.
To sum up all this rambling
What I am trying to say is to take your time in screening potential tenants. If your property is vacant for 2 months, then so be it. Do not rush into getting someone in the property quickly and bypass the thorough screening process. It will cost more of your time and money to deal with a tenant from hell then to have the property vacant for 2 months.
And being a landlord, if you do everything based on the law and the lease contract, you do not have to be afraid to evict a tenant from hell. Stand your ground and be prepare for the worse. Do not allow the tenant, if they are violating the lease and/or damaging your property, to threaten you. However, be polite and sometimes lenient on the tenant while going through the eviction process so that they are more willing to cooperate.
Well, there you have it! My first experience with a tenant from hell, or a major pain-in-the-ass tenant. I am so relieve that this is over with!!!
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Disclaimer: All content is the opinion of the author and should not be construed as advice. Every state laws is different. Make sure you follow your state's laws when dealing with tenants or seek the advice of an attorney.
Hey, Welcome! I am Thuy. I learned how to live frugally and saved money during my early 20s and purchased my first investment property in cash. I also invest in stocks, ETFs and Mutual Funds.
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