So I’m learning a lot about tenant/landlord law. I knew a little, but I’m learning a lot. As I mentioned in a post not so long ago, the laws of the land vary from state to state, and sometimes city to city. It’s difficult to keep up with what one can do where. Now I also mentioned before that I’m a fan of those daytime court shows, so I know a little, but lately, by necessity, I’m learning more.
I used to like my tenant. She paid her rent on time. She kept to herself, and she took care of her kid. All in all, she was a good person. It was one of the reasons why we were willing to give her a shot and let her rent a suite of rooms in our house. Then she met a really great guy (whom I’ve mentioned before) and things just went downhill from there.
Now I’m learning a lot about tenant and landlord law.
As much as I want to put her stuff in the driveway and change the locks, because we’ve given her ample opportunity AND help to move — mentioned in the above link, she just… hasn’t. All she’s done, that I can see, is treat me as though I’m the villain of this story, and… not move. She knew she was supposed to be gone by today because she signed a contract saying she would be gone by today. I also told her that I have someone else moving in later on this week so this isn’t a surprise. But no, she’s still here, and all of her stuff is here. And her unwelcome guest is here (more on that in a moment).
But I can’t toss her stuff in the driveway and change the locks. It’s forbidden. There’s a lot that is forbidden on both sides, and I’m learning as I go. I stepped very carefully on this first trip into being a landlord. I read the laws and consulted lawyers. I got everything in writing. Everyone at every junction knew what was expected of them because it’s all in black and white. Signed, and everyone has a copy. I think I kinda know what our rights are. We haven’t hired a lawyer yet — just talked to one — but we’re looking at them in case we have to. No, I can’t boot her out on the streets. What I can do, however, is take it to the courts. I really don’t want to take it to the courts. I will… but I don’t want to. It’s long, it’s messy, and if she would have just moved like she agreed to in her contract, I wouldn’t have to.
As for the unwelcome guest, the great guy? He’s banned from our property. They’ve known for a long time that we didn’t want him here. Now it’s official. He’s not a tenant, he never was a tenant. We made sure to never take any money from him making him a tenant and we even have it in writing that he is a guest only. We don’t have to allow him access to our house or our property. So, one problem down.