This week the question for Ask Landlord Hank is about how to get tenants out who have damaged rental property in the time of the pandemic and eviction moratoriums. Remember Landlord Hank is not an attorney and is not giving legal advice so check your local ordinances.
Dear Landlord Hank:
A rental home has been occupied by the same tenants on a month to month rental agreement for 13 years. They do not keep the home clean or taken care of. As a result it badly needs a renovation or demolition.
The home must be vacant to do this extent of work.
I would not rent to these people again as they are extremely destructive and have damaged my rental property. They are all living on disability including a handicapped child. Which probably carries different laws of protection for them?
Do I just allow them to keep living there in the filth or can I even evict them to make the home either habitable or tear it down?
They are paying the rent on time. I don’t want to be found as the one at fault for the home being unsafe to inhabit.
We are currently replacing a stove and found several dead mice and unspeakable unthinkable filthy conditions under the stove and counters. We have to wear hazmat protection to work in the home.
WHAT DO I DO!
Sounds like you have a mess on your hands.
If the tenants are paying the rent as required, you may have difficulty with eviction, during a pandemic.
My advice is to wait until the pandemic and eviction moratorium is over and then tell the tenants you are going to renovate the rental property and they will need to move.
Since they have been there for many years, and have paid rent for many years, I would give them time to find a new place, but give them a definite time when they must be out.
Also, let them know, at that time, legally with notice, that the month to month lease is terminating.
I understand your distress at finding the property in poor condition, but if they stay for a few more months, after having been there for 13 years, I can’t see it getting much worse.
If you can wait, your odds for an easy tenant removal go way up.
I know it may be very difficult for you to bide your time right now but if you push to remove these tenants now, especially if they are disabled, in a pandemic, you may not win in court.