Are renters scamming me

Ok, this is my 1st investment property and up until now my renters have been good. Basically I found out a few things with my property that violate the lease agreement.

  1. They decided to finish part of the basement without my consent and did their own heating/cooling and electrical. All this without a permit.
  2. Apparently someone is moving into the property and I was not told.
  3. Their rent for September is late (due the 1st). When I called the renter she said she was on a family emergency and that her son would take care of the check. Her son is not even in town. She then said her daughter will pay the rent. I called her daughter and she knew nothing about it.

I am soooo close to evicting these renters. Do I have just cause? I do have an attorney who will draft up the eviction letter but I wanted to post this with you (the professionals) to get your opinion.

Thanks Much!!

If your lease has the standard clauses, rent due by the 1st, no improvements without written authorization etc. then it sounds like they are in violation of the lease and ripe for eviction. Cut your losses, this problem will not get better.

Close? I would already be calling an attorney if I were you. You now have thousands of dollars worth of unpermitted work to fix or remove (removing it will probably cause you to do repairs to cover what was done). You have late rent, should have been evicting as soon as it passed whatever date the state sets for filing (3, 5, 10 days…whatever). Randomly moving people in without permission. GONE!!!

Rent is due the 1st, today is the 6th…eviction proceedings should have already started.

What you will find out is that:

(1) There’s always an excuse

(2) You are responsible for illegal improvements. If something happens, like a fire, not only are you responsible, you are liable.

(3) Like 71tr said, it normally doesn’t get better…

Start the eviction process according to state/local laws.

My two cents


That’s the worst part, if their wiring causes a fire that kills one of them YOU get sued. Lovely ain’t it? Welcome to America. :banghead

like they use to say in the old days…let your fingers do the walkin’…start dialing the eviction atty.

this is clearly going to get worse before it get better. I think (know) you have a serious problem on your hands.

Thanks all, like I said this is my 1st Investment. There are a billion books out there on how to do real estate investing but very little on how to react when tenants are being like this.

I am calling the attorney as soon as I post this.
Again thanks!!


Keep us posted on the outcome…


Althouth I agree with the others, I am providing a little clarification.

You will need to send them two distinctive notices. The requirements of the notices vary by area. One notice will be for the rent and the other notice will be for the lease violations.

Since you are new to landlording, you may not understand that you have to provide the tenant with a certain amount of days to remedy the situations. If they remedy the situation within the time frame allowed by law, then you can not evict them.

Due to those complexities (and the fact that the law is state specific) this is why he was recommended to see an attorney. I didn’t see any point in outlining the steps since he should have a lawyer help him through it the first time.

This can vary wildly from state to state and city to city…landlords should actually know the procedures/laws/regulations/statutes in their area before the property is leased…


I agree but that is why I am paying an attorney. he “BETTER” understand the law. I love being a landlord. It EXPLICITLY states that you can not do work to the property without the proper local and state permits. And it states in the lease that late rent will terminate the lease contract between landlord and tenant. The lease is about 26 pages long and has been reviewed by my attorney.

Again, I do agreee with you in having some knowledge in the policies, law and guidelines but again, thats for someone who eats-breathes-sleeps the law. All I do is get the gray hair, they get the $$ :bobble

You would get a better return on investment with an attorney if you had them review your lease documents and ensure they are in conformance with state law, so that they are enforceable. I know so many landlords that think they have good leases, but they never really know until they have to front up to the judge and get heard. By then its too late.

Lawyers should not be needed for evictions if you know the process and have solid leases that conform with state statutes. However if you are unsure in anyway of this, then pay the lawyer. But to be honest, I have NEVER hired a lawyer for any of my evictions (and I’ve done many and never lost one with a judge - your mileage may vary).


Is there a website where I can find out the exact laws for my state?

I’m not sure what state you are in, but usually each state govt has to publish this info. In AZ, the Secretary of State’s website usually has links to the statutes. Do a Google search for yours and you should find it easily.



Just google “(Your State) tenant-landlord law”. That should do it.



Thanks for the replies guys.

Mike - I found one on the HUD site. I’d assume that one is up-to-date right?

Keith - That site is crazy. I need a lawyer to interpret it, lol.


They are “laws”…please notice the root of “lawyer” is law…