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Selling a condo and a tenant who is dragging his feet.


Noreen Claire

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DH and I both still own the condos that we lived in before we were married. We lived in my condo until 2 years ago, when we bought this house.

 

I've had tenants for the last year years who are fairly uneventful and always pay their rent on-time and in-full. However, we've had a streak of terrible tenants in DH's condo for the last 8yrs and it's just time to get rid of it. The current tenant's lease is up in October, and we have informed him, multiple times and in writing, that we are not extending his lease and he has to go. We have told him that we are selling it. DH just spoke to him, and it sounds like he's not really putting much effort into finding a new place to live. (The guy is a *real estate agent*, for crying out loud.)

 

What can we do now, with two months left before he has to be out? Can we list it with him still living there? I'm assuming it's going to need some repairs and cleaning, as well as new paint (and probably new rugs AGAIN.) I'm trying to talk DH into calling an agent this week. Any advice as to how we proceed?

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Are you expecting him to move out before his lease is up? Because I would think he'd make arrangements to move into a new place on October 31, with a new lease starting when the old one ends. It's not even the middle of August.

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Yes, I would list it now with the stipulation that the unit is not available till December if you think you can get repairs done in one month.  I don't know what you put in your lease.  Most leases have a section where a tenant must make reasonable accommodations with regards to offering to new tenants or for sale.  If you don't have such a stipulation in the lease, I would try offering rent off or something like that to ensure co-operation but he could always stay there until OCt 31 and you not be able to list until after that.

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He has until October 31st. I don't think this is dragging his feet.

Eta: behind in rent changes my opinion...that does sound like someone willing to gamble to stay as long as possible

 

We were renting while our landlord was selling and agreed to show our unit. However, we were part of sale, our lease had to be honored.

 

I would not have agreed to be the showing unit if we were getting kicked out.

 

.

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His lease is up October 6th. He has less than two months, and he doesn't sound like he's been looking. Also, he's *several* months behind in the rent, so I'm not really up for being any nicer to him than I have to. I'll dig out the lease and see if DH included wording on showing the property.

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His lease is up October 6th. He has less than two months, and he doesn't sound like he's been looking. Also, he's *several* months behind in the rent, so I'm not really up for being any nicer to him than I have to. I'll dig out the lease and see if DH included wording on showing the property.

Well I think the real story here is that he's behind on rent. You might want to start eviction proceedings now, those could take a while. Doesn't sound like he's the type to be cooperative about keeping the place neat while you show it.

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whether he has lined up another place or not is not your problem.  you've given notice, in writing.  as long as you are following the letter of the law in your jurisdiction - it's on him.

 

if he's already behind in rent - start eviction proceedings now according to the laws of your jurisdiction.  these are the type of people most likely to do damage to the place they're living.  and eviction can take time.  then you'd have to fix things after he's gone.  I hope you have a good damage deposit.

 

eta: I wouldn't list it with him there.  I wouldn't even plan on listing it until after I'd inspected it after he's gone.  tenants who do not want to go - can make things very undesirable for a potential buyer. 

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His lease is up October 6th. He has less than two months, and he doesn't sound like he's been looking. Also, he's *several* months behind in the rent, so I'm not really up for being any nicer to him than I have to. I'll dig out the lease and see if DH included wording on showing the property.

If he is 2 months behind, I would look into the laws in your state and start the eviction process, Now!  As a real estate agent, he knows that tenants have more rights than landlords, and he may use those to his advantage to stay past his lease date. 

 

If he was in good financial standing with you, I wouldn't push him out.  But with him being behind in rent, I would start the legal process before his lease date.  Since he knows you want him out, there is no advantage to him paying his bills at this point.  He knows he needs to find a new place, but legally there isn't anything you can do to touch him until you file against him.  At this point you may not want to accept any more money from him, because it sets a precedent that you accept late rent, and then you lose your legal angle.  Check with a  lawyer who specializes in these cases ASAP.

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I've listed places with a renter in residence. Really, it's NOT worth it. Wait until he is out, do your repairs quickly and then list. It will look great and you won't have the tenant locking the doors in the faces of agents and buyers who have a scheduled and approved appointment. (and he approved the appointment) 

 

I believe it costs the seller more money in the long run to list with a tenant in residence than it does to let the house sit empty for several weeks while repairs are done. 

 

And, yes, I think it's time to start an eviction in this case. 

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"Cash for keys" is a common landlord trick for getting unpleasant tenants OUT quickly. The idea is to offer a bribe for them to move out w/o trashing the place and on the schedule you want . . . Landlords do this to avoid an expensive and lengthy eviction process for bad tenants (or if they just want them out for selling/etc). . . and to reduce to risk of the tenant going nuts and trashing the place . . .

 

I listed a house once while the tenants were there. It was a total hassle, and we made no progress selling until they were OUT. (And they were willingly leaving . . . they had purchased a house . . . but they just had zero motivation to make the house nice for showing/etc.) Unless you are in a super-hot market or are marketing to a flipper or landlord (who might very well LIKE it being rented already) . . . I'd just wait and list it once they are out.

 

If it will be time consuming for you to arrange painters/etc (i.e., contractors tend to be booked weeks/months ahead), you might go ahead and schedule yourself a "walk through inspection" soon (you should be able to do this with 24-48 hrs notice in any state I've landlorded in and any lease I've read) . . . so you can go through, make a list of repairs/etc you need to do and any measurements/etc you need to make . . . just so you can get a jumpstart on hiring contractors/etc to be ready to work fast once the place is empty. If you have a RE agent you know will be listing it, bring them with you so they can advise you on what needs to be done . . .

 

You could offer him, for instance, $1000 cash (more or less, say aim for a round number around a month's rent) if he moves out and returns your keys no later than X date. 

 

Sometimes landlords even offer to pay for movers . . . 

 

Just depends on how desperate you are to get rid of them . . .

 

I'd also tell him that you're happy to take partial rent for however many days/weeks he remains from now until no later than Oct 1  . . . so he's free to move out Sept 5 and just pay 5 days rent in September . . . that will motivate him to move out prior to Oct 1 if he can get a new place lined up ahead of time . . . instead of holding on and doing a slow-move-out since he has to pay the full month's rent anyway. 

 

(Do NOT offer a free month's rent . . . Offer a specific cash payment when he moves out and gives you the keys . . . you don't want him moving out, trashing the place, and just not paying rent . . . As presumably you get rent a month ahead of time as is standard . . . and then he could take "no rent for September" meaning he'd not pay the Sept 1 rent payment . . . and he's still in there on Oct 1, and you're in worse shape than you were before . . .)

 

You've already missed the summer-selling window, so I'd just wait it out until his lease is up. Be certain you've followed local landlord/tenant laws re: notice on getting him out. He probably knows the laws well . . . and if you leave open loopholes for him to remain, you're probably gonna' have a harder time getting him out. Put all your notices/etc that your lease and local laws require IN WRITING. If in any doubt, go ahead and hire a RE lawyer to do this for you . . . although I'd probably just wait until Oct 1 to bother hiring a lawyer since you're getting rent payments, have already missed the summer-selling season, and so there's no huge rush . . .

 

Hope this helps. Good luck. 

 

ETA: oops, I missed the fact that he's behind on rent! Start eviction ASAP, but consider cash-for-keys if that's expensive for you . . .

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Ah, "cash-for-keys"... we've done this twice already, with previous tenants.

 

Gah - I really liked this condo once. Now, it's just a headache and a money pit. *sigh*

 

We had a condo like that.  Loved it when we lived there, had good tenants for awhile, had rotten ones at the end.  I realized later that we had had to hire lawyers to get iN to the place--the builder had not built to code--and we had to hire lawyers to get those guys out.  The lesson for me was never to love a place so much that a lawyer is involved to get IN in the first place.

 

Ugh.  

 

And it killed land lording for me.  Pity...I could have made about 4M dollars by now and no I am not joking.

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His lease is up October 6th. He has less than two months, and he doesn't sound like he's been looking. Also, he's *several* months behind in the rent, so I'm not really up for being any nicer to him than I have to. I'll dig out the lease and see if DH included wording on showing the property.

 

Add my voice to the others.  Look up legal eviction proceedings for your state and start the process ASAP.  Most likely he has no intention of paying or moving, so time to get that legal process going.  (We've done this with absolutely no need of lawyers - all needed info is online and much less expensive than hiring someone.)

 

Do NOT list while he's still there.  It'll only cause you aggravation.  Get him out (this could take until Oct, but if you wait until Oct, then it will take longer).  Once he's gone, fix it up as much as you want to, then list it.

 

There's no way I would ever do cash for keys with someone behind on the rent.  Forgiveness of previous rent, maybe, but not me paying them in addition.  I don't need to encourage this sort of behavior even if it cost me more to repair what they trash.

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You can list it while he's there, but in this particular case I would not. He has an incentive to keep it from selling and he's behind it rent. Agree with checking with a lawyer.

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I would consider offering to forgive a portion of the back rent he owes, or even all of it (minus any security deposit you are holding), and to release him from the lease, if he is out within 10 days and the property is turned over in good condition.  If he doesn't accept that offer I would start eviction proceedings based on the unpaid rent and prepare to file in small claims court to collect what you can.  If he has a real estate license the issuing board likely won't be very accepting of an eviction.  

 

I wouldn't bother listing the property for sale until he is out.

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Add my voice to the others.  Look up legal eviction proceedings for your state and start the process ASAP.  Most likely he has no intention of paying or moving, so time to get that legal process going.  (We've done this with absolutely no need of lawyers - all needed info is online and much less expensive than hiring someone.)

 

Do NOT list while he's still there.  It'll only cause you aggravation.  Get him out (this could take until Oct, but if you wait until Oct, then it will take longer).  Once he's gone, fix it up as much as you want to, then list it.

 

There's no way I would ever do cash for keys with someone behind on the rent.  Forgiveness of previous rent, maybe, but not me paying them in addition.  I don't need to encourage this sort of behavior even if it cost me more to repair what they trash.

Definitely.

 

We were renting a place once when the landlords refused to do repairs and decided to sell it. You better believe I told every single person who visited every single thing that was wrong with it, including things inspectors might not have noticed.

​And I'm honest. No saying what someone who didn't feel bound to honesty would do.

​Emily

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