There is no greater frustration than a tenant that either does not pay rent, destroys the property, or both. As a landlord, it can be very frustrating because you have spent time and money remodeling the property, paying the taxes, insurance and upkeep, only to have a tenant destroy the property, not pay rent, or both. When matters get to a boiling point the tenant no longer responds to your letters, begins avoiding your calls, and no longer answers the door.

My experience with landlords (and I am talking single family homes) is they take the whole process of renting a property very personally. Of course it is personal when you allow someone to live in a house you own. There is no getting around that. But there are specific things you can do to take some of the personal element out of it. The first thing to do is draft an air tight lease that is fully enforceable in Court. This means getting an adequate security deposit, making sure utility services are immediately switched over, doing an inspection of the property at the outset identifying matters that may later represent a problem (slow flushing toilet, lack of insulation, fixtures that do not work) and explaining lease terms in specificity. Perhaps even more important are certain disclosures that by law are required to be made that if not disclosed can later be used by the tenant as a defense to a lawsuit and may subject you to severe statutory penalties.

Tenants are always in transition.

Moving from one location to another for a job, changing marital status, moving out of the parents house or out of another rental property just to name a few. It is important to recognize that they are in transition and as a landlord you must clearly spell out your expectations from the beginning to ensure the chances of success. It is much better to address issues the important issues prior to giving them the keys. Once they take possession they take control and the relationship is dictated by landlord tenant laws which exist primarily for the protection of the tenant.

If the tenant does not pay or is otherwise destroying the property it is up to the landlord to file a lawsuit for rent and possession. My experience is that tenants know they have the right to be in the property until they are sued and that the tenancy laws are there for there protection not the landlords. Therefore, tenants normally do not move until they are sued and are served with a lawsuit. It is very important as a landlord that you follow the law because Judges tend to feel sympathetic to tenants.?

Sometimes even after a judgement is entered for rent and possession the tenant still refuses to vacate the property. In that case the landlord must take extra steps and file an aid in execution or unlawful detainer action to have a sheriff physically remove the tenant and there possessions from the property. At this stage it is even more important to follow the law and correct procedures or you as a landlord may be opening yourself up to being sued.

I can help you with drafting your lease, disclosures, petitions for rent and possession, unlawful detainer, and aid in execution. I can also help you if you need a simple letter sent to a tenant advising them of a default. Finally, I can give you day to day legal advise in the times that you need it most to avoid matters from getting worse, or possibly to keep them from going bad in the first place.