Help on tenant problem - entertaining for you - not for me :(

Hi everyone,

I have a few rent homes and have had no major problems so far - until now.

This is in TX - Tenant changed all the locks so I can’t access my property as allowed for in the lease (standard TAR lease) - PLUS

He and his son have changed their phone numbers and REFUSE to provide them to me - He refused me in person. This is in violation of the 5 day mandatory update called for in the Lease.

Top it all off - I moved and so had to get him new address to mail rent. I talked in person the month prior to try to get the rent check before mailed - he had already mailed it so I chased it down - fast forward Nov payment - I can’t call anyone - so I go over there and I know he is inside but doesnt answer door - so I put preaddressed envelopes AND stickers in his mailbox a good 10 days before the rent is due.

Now the real fun - of course come Nov 1 - I have not received the check in the mail. I go to the home on a friday night, someone not on the lease opens the door, I ask for tenant - he comes to door and tells me he sent the check last monday to the old address (he knew I moved) and NEVER got the envelopes with new address - and that “some kids” must have taken them. I asked for a a replacement check and he refused -eventually slamming the door in my face.

BEST part - background - he knows I concealed carry and has seen one of my weapons in my car -

Saturday morning I go back with a notice of breach for late rent and for not providing contact information - tape it to the front door while talking loudly to get him to answer and talk to me - I told him I needed to check the house condition and smoke detectors etc. and that the lease allowed for that - I tried my keys on the door and of course I couldn’t open it.

so… 5 minutes later a sheriff shows up and asks me what is up because the tenant called in a weapons threat!
After that was straightened up with the cop (yes tenant was inside the whole time and tried to tell a good story to the cop…) - I went on my way - ;()

What would you do at this point? Keep in mind this tenant has played the system for years and is a disabled vet.

Should I call a locksmith and have him go there and make me a key to solve that problem (of course the tenant may not let him in…or call cops on him…)

This is a month to month lease and I have been eventually paid each month - Should I just give him notice and get him out by dec 31 ? What would you do?

You’ve got a combative tenant that’s playing games with your rent/locks/etc. Get him out asap. Disabled vet doesn’t mean anything either way. This is a bad situation that’t not going to get any better for you. I like m2m leases because you can end the lease just because if someone starts misbehaving being difficult, etc.

Here’s what I would not do:
I would not put anything in the mailbox again. That is theirs to use while they are living there. I would not give them any reason to believe you are tampering with their mail.
I also would not change the locks back. No they’re not allowed to change the locks, but they did and you’re going to start the eviction process (you already gave notice anyway). Changing the locks back will further piss them off and degrade the situation.

Here’s what I would do:
Keep proceeding with the eviction process. Note everything they have violated including non-payment of rent. I wouldn’t even continue putting up with this crap if they did pay the rent to you. That may trigger a different eviction timeline by evicting for other reasons, but I would get them out anyway. There’s no reason to put up with this crap. Get them out as soon as possible to minimize your losses. I can file to take people’s cars away from them when they owe us money. If you can do that in TX (or any other way to convince someone to pay you), get their auto information so you’ll have that.

Bottom line is to get them out asap. Minimize your losses. Start over and hopefully you’ll get a better tenant next time. It’s not worth keeping them in there for you to be stressed out every month. I evicted a single mom with 4 kids once for owing us $52. She was difficult to work with and I got tired of her crap. The small amount of late rent was my way out. I’ve got a good tenant in there now and haven’t had any major issues with her.

Good luck with it.

If you’ve got a few ‘rent homes’ already, this seems like a situation that you would’ve had experience with by now. I don’t understand.

I’m not going to address the eviction. That’s pretty cut and dry. You don’t need more advice than what justin gave you.

The issue now is getting a new tenant that won’t mess with you.

Let me say, the reason you’ve got a game-player in the first place is that you didn’t require this person to have anything to lose.

He thinks that as long as he ‘eventually’ gets you the rent, he can pull your strings all day and night, without a big downside risk. Of course he’s mistaken, because renters are often quite short-sighted.

So, what’s the solution, you ask.

It’s time to make sure your next renter has something to lose, so when he’s tempted to screw with you, he’ll think twice about it all.

What the tenant has to lose, is pretty much up to you.

Meantime, for example, this is what I do (which is unusual, and only meant for seasoned landlords to follow).

In no particular order:

a. Raise the ‘contract’ rent. (Anywhere above 20% of retail. Too high and the tenant won’t bite, and too low, and it’s not worth the effort (and you can’t get the deposit you want).

b. Offer on-time rent discounts. (on-time payment still 5% to 10% above retail).

c. Base the maximum legal deposit on the ‘contract rent.’ (Not the on-time discount’ payment).

d. Market to people with credit hiccups. (Not chronic deadbeats, but maybe have an explainable, temporary, solvable credit issue).

e. Get a two-year lease. (To make it financially worth the effort).

f. Get a co-signer (if the tenant has an eviction, or other rental-related dings).

Of course the devil’s in the details, but the objective is to find someone who can’t rent a decent place at retail, and will agree to pay higher-than-retail rent in order ‘just’ to rent something “decent.”

However, they’ll want a more competitive rent after they fix their situation(s) and likely move at two years.

But the key here is getting more rent, and getting it for a longer period of time. Otherwise, just getting an extra $100 bucks, for say six months, isn’t worth the risk (to me).

If you’re getting $1200 extra each year, just for renting to someone with a temporary credit issue… that’s $2400…! That’s over and above anything you’d get normally, and doesn’t include the larger deposits to cover risk of loss.

Another main key here is the larger the deposits, the more incentive the renters have in getting that money back from you. And of course, if you’re smart, you insinuate how generous you are with refunds. It’s all about providing a way for a given renter to get back on top, while appearing to be there already.

And…you’re promising to provide an accurate recommendation of all their on-time payment; what great care they took of your property; and how you wish they would rent from you again…!

Speaking of that, you could lower the rent to retail (if it’s actually lower then) and keep that renter. After all, you’ve “potty trained” that tenant, so maybe it’s wise to attempt to keep him?

All that said, I’m quite happy if the tenant chooses to move after two years, because of course, I can rinse and repeat the scheme with another over-retail tenant.

I get used to the extra $1200 to $3600 a year (give or take).

Now think about this:

Multiply that extra $1200 a year by say five units, and we’re talking a new car payment, on a nice car! …doing nothing more than extending credit to an otherwise high risk tenant.

I’m NOT trying to sell you on this scheme. I’m just illustrating what’s possible to keep people from screwing you, while making more money, in the meantime.


That CCW stuff is interesting. Not sure why a tenant knows that. If he has found out that you CCW you’re not doing it right.

I’ve never considered the ramifications of having guns around. I have a tenant on some farm ground I’ve got. He only rents the house but I’m on the farm with weapons frequently. He’s got guns there too. I’ve seen them. Last time I went out there and saw him he was carrying a revolver. He’s not a problem tenant though.

Get this guy out of there. Evict for non payment if you can - being Nov 5 you might have to wait a day or two but I’d use non payment for the reason as it’s not at all subjective.

I am in Texas also and have a concealed carry also. But as you learned in the class if anybody knows you have a concealed weapon then it is not concealed. It should be a non issue. Remember it is not your job to collect the rent. It is his job to get the rent to you. If I did not get the rent by the 5th I would send him a 3 day notice and then start eviction. I would evict on the non-payment of rent and also for changing the locks. I would send out a locksmith to change the locks with the notice specified in the lease scheduled for the say we go to court. I would not be there when the locks are changed so he doesn’t get froggy. Since you TREC lease says that all moneys collected go to fees first and rent last he has to pay for changing the locks. I would not stop until he is evicted and out.

Since you say he always plays the system you must have done a background on him. I would read that background report on any future tenants and not let deadbeats in.

Remember it is always the tenants job to get you the rent not your job to collect the rent.

Thanks for the input everyone.

The reason he knows I have CHL is we talked about it one day - he used to be real social and friendly for 14 months, and then all of a sudden he is combative, won’t give phone numbers etc.

Question: The reason I haven’t gave 3 day notice yet is I don’t want to go to court and lose due to his story of not getting the new address.
- Will the Judge side with me if I directly asked him for a new check face to face when it was already late 1 day? And by a notice to cure placed on his door on day 2 of being late?

Write on your notice “Contact andyak at xxx-xxx-xxxx to arrange for rent and late fee payment. andyak 123 anywhere st. Somewhere, TX 77777”

Even if there was confusion before about the address, you’re going to erase all doubt with your eviction notice. If he wants to pay, he’ll pay and you’ll have to deal with another headache later. If he doesn’t want to pay, you’re going to have a photocopy of the eviction notice to take to court to show the judge the tenant had your proper contact information. I don’t know how the court is where you are, but here the court is very LL friendly. It’s up to the tenant to show they paid (like a canceled check or money order receipt).
Every day you don’t give notice is just prolonging your problem.