Kicking Out the Renter. Playing Bad Guy.

Updated on April 10, 2014
J.T. asks from Alexander, AR
14 answers

So we are retiring and returning home from a place we absolutely have hated the past year. I am glad to be done with being a landlord, because it's sucked. Our renters are slow to pay and have called us and cost us money on calling repairman out to the home and nothing being wrong with the house-but everything being wrong with the renters. When we found out we were returning, I called my renters and they were adamant about not moving. I looked at getting a rental for us to move into temporarily bc she had had health issues and I felt bad on a personal level. Well, neither myself or my husband has a job yet, so we were not approved for renting, lol. I pulled out our contract and it states the agreement is for only one year. As much as I hated it, I told them sorry but that they had to be gone in 60 days. The are mad. I doubt they will pay for next month, but I wasn't too worried because I had the deposit still. So once my old neighbors find out about our return, they start coming forward about issues. The renters have more inside pets than were what was disclosed to me. They have destroyed our floors and gashed and chipped up walls, paint and replaced our very expensive back door without our permission. I got a call today as a reference to another rental company, and I just lost it. I told her everything that was to tell about my home. I am sick with worry and stress that they have destroyed my dream home! What can I do to ensure that it isn't damaged further?

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answers from Chattanooga on

Check your contract, and make sure you have included the right to enter the premises.

If you did, send one of your friends on your behalf to take pictures of the current damage. (As well as the excess animals, if you have that out in writing as well.) then you can have a record if they start purposely destroying things that they did it as retaliation for being kicked out. I'm not sure about the laws where you live, but my grandma is able to charge her ex-tenants for damages beyond normal wear and tear if the amount exceeds the deposit. Especially if they are breaching the contract with their animals, and those animals are the cause of the damage. Granted, you will want a LOT of documentation, and it would most likely have to go to court... So really, that course would depend on just how much damage there is. My grandma usually just eats the cost because it's such a hassle... But she has dragged a few people to court over extreme damages. (And won, too.)

Be very careful what you say as a reference... Give facts, and only facts. Do not allow your personal feelings to give them a reason to claim you slandered them. Try to get proof of the facts ASAP, so you can use them without fear of repercussion.

ETA: I know that any time I have rented, the contract automatically converts to month-to-Minh when the lease is up. If it isn't specified in your contract, definitely look up the default laws for your area.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

So they were there longer than a year without signing another contract? And you didn't put in another agreement with them stating that they were now renting month to month. I'd say that you need to contact an attorney and see what you need to do. You'll probably have to give them notice to leave and then start the eviction process.

As far as giving reference? As a landlord all I do is verify the dates they rented and tell whether they paid their rent in a timely manner every month. Saying more than that opens you to legal action if the renter chooses to continue to make your life a living hell.

You can't do anything to insure they don't continue to damage your property. Hopefully you took pictures of the house before you rented so that you'll be able to take them to court for repairs and replacement stuff that goes above and beyond normal wear and tear.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

You need to check the rental law for your area. In my state a term lease (let's say a year) automatically coverts to month-to-month when the year is up, but in some states it automatically renews for another year.

You also need to give them notice in writing if your have not done so yet and prepare an appointment with them for a walk-through in which the damage is noted. Be prepared to document the damage in photographs and take them to court of the expenses that exceed their deposit.

You need to stop feeling bad about this. Renting out a home is a business matter and you should not be emotional about it. The more professional you handle the situation the less drama will ensue (hopefully).
As for references: unless you have actually seen the condition of the house I would not rely on hearsay. Give them the best reference you can with honesty - if you are are just being non-committal about it.

Good luck.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Why would you give them a bad reference...don't you want them out of your house? No one else is going to rent to them if you keep giving them a bad reference-then they'll never leave.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Precious little you can do. Your best bet, is to win them over to leaving immediately. It is not unheard of to have an owner's penalty for early termination- you relinquish the lease, your right to rents due, perhaps your security deposit, and also pay them a sweetener, 2-3 months rent for being booted out early and having to look for new housing before they thought they would have to.

speak with a lawyer, they'll give you info.

Good luck,
F. B.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I'm not clear -- so they rented for one year and that one year is past? Does the contract clearly say that after the first year, the contract is "month to month" only and you only have to give them a minimum of 30 days' notice to vacate? I hope that "month to month" was in writing so there's no legal fuzziness about the time they have spent there beyond the one year.

Does the contract require a walk-through WITH them when they vacate? You need to have an official walk-through where you check every single ding, scratch and gouge and list it all in writing so that you know what is their responsibility. This is what the deposit is usually for -- repairing things. If you just think of it as covering the rent they haven't paid, their damage costs you more. I would push them to pay their rent so that you have the deposit money to repair damage. But you may have to document damage (take photos too) or they could fight you on whether the damage was theirs, or was in the house before they rented it.

You ask "What can I do to ensure that it isn't damaged further." I'd be very clear that there will be a walk-through that will inspect all damage carefully. It's possible, if they're angry at being evicted, that they could trash your home, steal fixtures, etc. just before they go -- sadly, it does happen. If they leave damage beyond what a deposit covers you may have to take them to court -- but be SURE you know where they move next.

One other thing -- you are lucky that the neighbors have come to you with things, but it's too bad that they didn't let you know about problems much, much earlier; you might have been able to evict these tenants long ago if the neighbors had spoken up to you. And be aware: The neighbors are going to be glad to have you back, but might also be resentful that you rented to such problem tenants. It's not your fault, of course, that the tenants turned out to be poor tenants! But just know that you might have to mend some fences with the neighbors even though the tenants' actions aren't your fault.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Richland on

I would call an attorney. If you have a year lease it is generally implied that it renews for another year unless there is a stipulation of a different term or you sign another lease. This is especially true if the year has been up for a while, even more if it has been more than a year.

You can't legally change things all willy nilly just because it suits you. Pretty sure you would have pointed that out if they had gave you 30 days and left you without your rental income.

Looking at your other answers it looks like the year is up in a couple months. Why didn't you state that instead of just stating it is a year lease?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I agree with mama H - not sure why you would give a bad reference. I"m not saying you should give a good one - but you can say something like "We have a policy of not providing references - other than to say they paid their rent on time".

Unfortuatnely all the laws governing renters vs. landlords are skewed in favor of the renters. My husband is a NYC police sergeant and has seen plenty of bad situations. In NY State is very difficult to evict a tenant - it can take up to a year. Often times landlords once they have an eviction order have to spy out and wait near the home and wait for them to leave the residence (even for groceries) then swoop in and get the locks changed and dump their property on the curb. And if the tenant is disabled then all bets are off - they may end up living rent free on your proprety for more than a year.

All that being said - you have to look at this as an expensive lesson learned - get them out of there as soon as possible and prepare to take them to small claims court for any damage. Assume they won't pay you the last month's rent and that you will have damage. It's not right, it's not fair - but it's best to just come to that conclusion, get mad - then move on emotionally.

Call town hall or a local law school to see if you can find anyone to help you learn what tenant vs landlord rights are. If you can apply for an eviction order after 60 days of no rent, then plan on being at court at 9:00 AM on the 61st day. Plan for the worst - hope for the best.

We have an apartment attached to our house - we know where our tenant works, we got her through an acquaintence who could vouch for her. Our prior tenant was a prince - in 7 years he paid late twice - but told me about it a week before rent was due, paid me what he could and then got the balance to me eventually.

ON the other hand, my late sister in law, her husband and son have always lived as renters and the places where they lived have always started out nice, clean, pleasant and they've destroyed them becayse they never cleaned a thing, lived like hoarders and always had smelly pets that were never cleaned. My SIL passed away about 7 months ago and I won't even venture into the apartment where her husband and adult son live - I'm sure I wouldn't be able to breathe. I always have felt bad for their landlords - having to pay thousands to fix and clean after they moved...

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Do what Marie C. Said. Soon. Including the reference issue. If they have violated the contract with things like excessive pets etc you have more rights to kick them out but without reading the contract we cannot tell. Talk to an attorney. Yes, it is expensive but so is stress and worry. Then once you really have your facts about your state's laws and your rights THEN make a decision about what you are willing to do. How much more stress can you tolerate versus how much more loss can you afford to absorb.

Call some one soon. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I think you are limited to what you can say but I don't know for sure. They could sue you for libel or slander even if you are right.

Please call a Realtor and ask them what you can or cannot do. They may also have some good advice about how to treat this so you can have a more peaceful resolution.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

You need legal help or assistance. My cousin own rental property and has fifty to fifty-five renters at a time.

First if all she hired a property manager who goes and collects the rent and is the person to call if there is a problem. He would see what needed fixing before calling the repair people, etc. He gives eviction notices. When they won't leave he goes with her down to the courthouse to go through the eviction procedures.

She has had to evict several tenants for lack of payment or violations of lease...she says now she could do it in her sleep. But the first few times it is tricky and stressful.

Hire an attorney get a quote up from on about how much they will charge you to help get them evicted. And yes it can take up to 90 days in Texas and longer under special cousin has one renter who is going on close to a year in getting her out.

Hopefully you have been documenting everything and giving written notices like receipts, etc etc...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

I'm not sure of the laws in your state regarding references, I have never been called to give references on my past "bad" tenants (I figure they know better then to ask) but I do write nice letters for my good tenants to give to their next landlord.

If your one year lease already ended the new lease will usually default to a month to month situation (I always put it in my leases how they will continue) so 60 days notice to vacate is more then ample time for them (it is usually 30 days).

As for any damage done you wont know the extent until you get in there (so don't say anything about it until you see it) and after that you can keep the deposit if there is more damage then normal wear and tear. I know from experience that rental insurance DOES NOT COVER tenant damage no matter what it is. I had one tenant when we first started renting that used our house to grow pot and we had to cover the costs of the clean up, gut and remodel (along with a new door that the cops kicked in). You can try to sue, but that could be like getting blood from a stone and cost you more.

It's not always easy to be a landlord and most are not millionaires like most tenants think they are.

You will only need a lawyer if the tenant refuses to leave, then you will need to send letters to the tenants (which you should have done certified when asking them to vacate) which the court will deliver. Since they used you as a reference then I would assume that they are getting ready to go so you just have to be patient and wait for now.

You are terminating their lease which is legal regardless of why since the one year has ended.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

You really do HAVE to have a lawyer to do this with you. According to the laws of your state, you might have to start eviction proceedings right away to get them out in 60 days.

Right now, get a third party, a property manager, to take over your job of talking to this renter. I wil just bet you that your contract says that with x amount of hours of notice, you or your designated person (property manager) can go into the house and look through it. I would have that manager go through the house and mark down/take pictures of everything. I'd also have him go in every week until they move out. That way they know that you are tallying up anything they mess up.

If you ever rent again, make sure you hire the property manager from the get/go. Try not to get a company - they charge too much. A person who does this for a living has go/to people in the industry who do good work and don't charge an arm and a leg. It would have been HIS job to go to your house every month, see what was going on in the house and yard, and see any problems, rather than YOU hiring someone to go fix something that you were just relying on the renter to be truthful about.

When you talk to a lawyer, ask about giving references. You don't want to get sued because of what you said. Know the law...

I sure do hope that they didn't throw away your expensive back door...
Having a real estate agent list your property, rather than listing it yourself, would have helped you get a better renter. Insisting on a credit report, a copy of the latest bank statement that proves they have money, and making sure there is a clause for a 5% of the monthly rent assessed if they pay after the 10th of the month would help.



answers from Cumberland on

take a look here:

Have you seen the damage? When speaking to someone trying to obtain a referrence on their behalf-you don't have to talk about damage that you have not seen or rumors-just stick to the facts; how many times the tenants called repairmen and nothing was wrong or how many times they were late on the rent. When they leave, take extensive pictures of the damages-and have plenty of backups, at least on a pen drive-in case you go to court and the pictures get lost. Good luck-being a landlord is hell and everyone thinks they are going to get rich off of this venture-huh!

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