There comes a day in every real estate investor / property manager’s life when they have to issue a notice to vacate. Last Monday was my first time. I truly believe that this is the worst part of managing properties; other than perhaps a contractor that does shotty work and still wants to get paid. But truly, in evictions, there are no winners. The tenant loses their residence, and the landlord is typically left with a trashed out unit and an unpaid bill. I am not anyone special, it was the same for me.
This particular tenant was having problems getting their rent to me on time in the past as well. Only one or two months did they pay their rent on time. So, as you probably can guess, they just got further and further behind on their rent, until finally last month they were only able to pay a little over half of what they owed in regular rent, not to mention all of the late fees. The good news is that they did in fact leave without me having to go to court and get the eviction finalized. With just the notice to vacate, they left the property. This is one area that I think my treatment of them through the problems paid off.
Working with Your Tenants
You know, problems happen, and tenants sometimes cannot come up with their rent in a timely fashion. But I believe if you work with them a little bit, and don’t hassle them too much, they will be more likely to make it a priority to pay you. Now don’t get me wrong here, you still charge your fees and you still send letters, but getting nasty and upset with them is not going to get you anywhere. In fact, in some instances, getting upset with them will cost you more, if they think you are tyrannical, they may trash the place before they leave, and drag you through the eviction process to expel them. I think in my case, the tenants were so ashamed about the whole situation, that they just left.
The Unfortunate, But Seemingly Unavoidable Wounds of Eviction
I wish I could get some help on this, but it seems that no matter how good of a relationship you have with your tenants, when you give them a notice to vacate and/or evict them, they leave you with a trashy place. Now luckily, they did not beat holes in my walls, or tear the carpet up, or rip out toilets and light fixtures, or anything else severely vindictive, but they did leave me with food in the refrigerator, and I bet you can imagine the refreshing aroma when you walk in the door.
Also, attempting to recover the lost rent, late fees and any damages the delinquent tenants caused you is a subject of discussion. Do you spend the court costs to get a judgment? Do you report it to the credit agencies? These are really tough questions for someone like me. I am a Christian, and don’t believe in getting revenge. But at the same time, what happens to the next landlord the tenants move to, does he get shorted like I did? Or do I take action to make sure that doesn’t happen? I am not sure what I am going to do (if anything) regarding this. All I know is, for now, I need to get over there, finish cleaning the place up, and get somebody else renting or buying the property.
If you have any thoughts, please leave them below.