Can I Evict Tenants for Drilling Holes in Exterior Walls?

Can I Evict Tenants for Drilling Holes in Exterior Walls? Ask Landlord Hank

The question this week for Landlord Hank is whether a landlord can evict tenants for drilling holes in an exterior wall. On his page,  Ask Landlord Hank answers questions from other landlords and property managers around the country about their rentals so fill out the form below if you have a question for him. Remember Hank is not an attorney and is not offering legal advice.

Dear Landlord Hank:

Can I evict tenants because they altered the house by attaching Internet cables to the house and drilling a couple of holes through the exterior walls?

The lease agreement states that they may not alter any part of the premises, and I sent a follow-up email as well, reminding them that they were not allowed to attach anything to the house.

These tenants, who have lived there for a week, and who called the police on me when I refused to strike a line from the pet agreement, have behaved horrendously, intimidating me at every turn.

I don’t want a cure. I just want to evict them. You should know that they’re on a two- year lease. I know. I feel pretty stupid.

-Maureen

Hi Landlady Maureen,  

Don’t feel stupid.

This business is simple in theory but complicated in reality, sometimes.

Can you evict tenants for attaching Internet cables to the house, even though you warned them they couldn’t alter the house in any way?

The most likely test the judge would use when hearing your case would be if your demand was reasonable to not allow the running of two wires for Internet connection. I would think that it is not reasonable for you to refuse to allow this Internet connection – unless you already had a great connection for the Internet and some real damage would occur by drilling two holes.

Maybe if they drilled through a support beam or damaged Venetian plaster on the wall, etc.

I can’t believe the tenants called the police because you wouldn’t alter the lease. They sound unrealistic.

You may have to put up with them until they don’t pay rent or have a serious breach of the lease.

I suggest you speak to an attorney who specializes in landlord/tenant law. I’d hate to see you go to court and lose.

I know many folks like the idea of having a tenant locked-in to a two-year lease, but you don’t really know who you are dealing with until the tenants take occupancy. I don’t recommend multi-year leases for that reason.

And, if the market goes crazy, like now, you could be missing out on rent appreciation. The increases in my area have been staggering.

Sincerely,

Hank Rossi

Ask Landlord Hank: Can I Evict Tenants for Drilling Holes in Exterior Walls?
Landlord Hank says, “I know many folks like the idea of having a tenant locked-in to a two-year lease, but you don’t really know who you are dealing with until the tenants take occupancy.”

Ask Landlord Hank Your Question

Ask veteran landlord and property manager Hank Rossi your questions from tenant screening to leases to pets and more! He provides answers each week to landlords.
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About the author Landlord Hank:

“I started in real estate as a child watching my father take care of our family rentals- maintenance, tenant relations, etc. , in small town Ohio. As I grew, I was occasionally Dad’s assistant. In the mid-90s I decided to get into the rental business on my own, as a sideline. In 2001, I retired from my profession and only managed my own investments, for the next 10 years. Six years ago, my sister, working as a rental agent/property manager in Sarasota, Florida convinced me to try the Florida lifestyle. I gave it a try and never looked back. A few years ago we started our own real estate brokerage. We focus on property management and leasing. I continue to manage my real estate portfolio here in Florida and Atlanta. “ Visit Hank’s website here.

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