How flexible should I be with this tenant

I rent on a month to month basis. I have a tenant who moved in just 2 months ago with 2 teenagers (very good kids though). She called 2 weeks ago saying that she would be moving out by late Sept. 4 days before rent was due this month, she sent her 15 yr old daughter with $300. (Her rent is 870) She said that her car repairs costs more than expected, she would pay 300 on the 24th and the additional 270 on the 7th. Well, on the 24, she slipped only $50 in the payment box with a note saying that she didn’t have enough and she would pay me on the 7th and the 17th, (2 days before she moves out!) what should I do???

What choice do you have? She’s moving out! I assume you have a deposit?

My lease states that non payment of rent will result in action for eviction on the 16th of the month. I don’t take partial payments and neither should you, as you are limited in what you can do after taking a partial payment for rent. I would call her and explain what will happen if you don’t get paid by certian dates and explain the move out rules. Some people will pay, some won’t. You should post a notice to pay rent or quit as soon as possible to make sure that she actually moves out when she says and doesn’t stay any longer. She may think you a pushover and try to get a free month or two.

Next time the daughter shows up with a partial payment tell her you won’t take money from her. That’s a chicken#*@^ thing to do right there.

Estrogen Hostage has an excellent point.

Never take partial payments. Usually, your ability to collect or evict will be legally compromised if you have taken a partial payment for rent.

I also second the suggestion to post a notice to pay or quit. Be professional. Handle your properties like a professional business, because they are a professional business. The national apartment association has a free property management instruction book, and all you need to do is complete a telephone survey.

Treat all of your tenants the same. If you are “flexible” with one tenant and intolerant or firm with another, you are setting yourself up for a discrimination lawsuit.

When a tenant brings you partial rent, refuse to accept it, post a “pay or quit” on their door, and make no exceptions.

Let me further clarify what is meant by “legally compromised.” Most of the time when you accept a partial payment, your clock starts all over again for giving notice, filing for eviction, etc.
So let’s look at your situation. She paid $50 on the 24th. If you gave a pay or quit notice when your rent was due and wasn’t paid (early in the month), you could have filed for eviction after the proper period in your area (where I am, it’s only 3 days for non-payment of rent). If you then accepted the $50 on the 24th and had already filed for eviction, you now will have to start the process over. So by accepting that $50, your tenant gets extra time to put you off and you start the process again. If you had already started the eviction process, then the best thing you could do w/ the $50 is refuse it and give it back to her.
In the end, let’s hope you have a deposit to cover your losses and that they move out and don’t tear up the place. You can always go back after the fact to sue for the total amount due, but you have to know where to find her to sue her. When you’re dealing with people who don’t have much to lose by quitting their minimum wage job and seeking work somewhere else, it can be hard to track them down after they move out. I try to recover what is due when I can, but I don’t have time to play detective and go hunt people down either.

Thank you guys this is great info. I have given her until the 7 th to pay in full. (mainly bc of the kids. You are right though all must be treated the same. I’m new at this and have learned a valuable lesson. No feeling sympathy just follow the lease. Thanks again for your great input.

I tend to ask lots of questions when interviewing a tenant about their situation and landlord, where they are from, etc.

I find that people that like to evoke sympathy in me make it a practice of starting then. Listen to what they say very carefully. I then don’t rent to those people.

Oh They are your kids. That is a differnt matter. I wouldn’t rent to my ex. That is bad business. I would make sure I gave her enough child support so she doesn’t get evicted.

Wow, must be nice to live in an area where you can refuse partial rent payments. I double checked with the landlord tenant board–they can pay it into court if you refuse and then you’ll have to wait a couple months to get it back. I also usually file on the 16th too even if it’s a partial payment and I tell them that the eviction notice will still be filed and they’ll have to pay the filing fees.

What’s worse, and this happened to me earlier this year, the tenant paid 60% of the month’s rent by the day of the hearing (nothing paid on the 16th when I filed it) and she made a sob story of how she lost her job and would pay when unemployment came through and the judge told me she didn’t owe enough for an order to evict for non-payment and just made an order to pay rent. It was just unbelievable. I couldn’t get an adjournment or a conditional order to evict if the balance wasn’t paid by a certain time. She didn’t pay and I had to file again to evict her on another issue. Just unbelievable.

Nothing like winging it from the bench…

No! These aren’t my kids! This is a lady whom I never met before and I felt sympathy just because she has kids. I’m a mother too but have never used my kids to manipulate people.

I know that they are not yours. I just wanted to emphasis that you have a relationship with your tenants. It is a financial relationship. They pay you and you provide them with a safe functional place to live…that is it. Instead of taking care of her kids she is supposed to take care of your kids. It only moves in one direction.
Another thing that I noticed is that a tenant will have some family emergency and need to not pay you or pay you late. When you go over there they have a new flat screen TV that you just financed.

So with 5 days to go have you received any more money?

When someone has given notice, your amount of leverage is pretty much gone,at that point I would do everything to start the eviction process, because as others have said,now you could have it drag on forever,get your plan in place, go through with it,cut your loses

No I haven’t received anything else but I took your advice and gave her a pay or quit notice. She must pay the full amour due (520.00) by the 7th or move out immediately. We are short term rentals what are my rights as far as getting her out quickly?. I already have a tenant lined up to move on 3 days after she is scheduled to move out.

laws vary from state to state, but if she doesn’t want to go, I don’t see you getting her out wthin 3 days of the notice date. I’m in Texas, and we have landlord friendly laws, and it still would take 3 weeks (roughly) by the time you wait to have them served, etc.

You might be better off making a deal with her. Tell her youall the late fees and agree not to pursue her and put it on her credit report if she pays you and moves out.

If she says she can’t afford to move I’ve heard of people hiring a moving truck and paying for the movers to come get all their stuff and take to a new address (with the tenant’s consent). I’m not a big fan of that one, but you need to be proactive and talk to her either way and find out what will happen before it does, to the extent possible.

This is great advice Estrogen Hostage. I should speak to her before the last day to see what plans she’s making to vacate or pay. Thank you everyone for your great advice. I’ve only been doing this for a year and it’s amazing how much I’ve learned. This site is great! It’s amazing how many con artist there are out there!

This is the hard part of this job. Make it hard for people to screw you. It’s unpleasant but knock on their door and talk to them. It lets you plan the conversation and make sure you are in the drivers seat while she is still trying to come up with a smart answer.

I still remember when my young daughter had just hit her sister. I knew she did it, so did God and everyone else. But I didn’t see her do it. I said “did you just hit your sister?” and she replied that she had not. My mother and law then asked her “Why did you hit your sister?” and she shrugged her shoulders and said she had made her mad. Same question, but a very different response.

This situation should be handled the same way. Do it in person and be firm. Give her options with a predetermined outcome and make sure you are in the drivers seat. You don’t have to be a jerk or overbearing in the conversation, but make sure that she knows whose running the show here and what the consequences of her actions are.

SUPER advice Estrogen Hostage! These are many pointers that I hadn’t thought of. I will use all of this great advice. Thanks so much for the support :o)