Inherited Tenants

Just closed on a duplex with tenants in it, no tenant have a lease and paying 50% of what the actual rent is in the area.Tenant #1 is a senior on soc sec. and told me he can not afford anything over what he is currently paying.Previous owner told me he always pays on time.I tried to work with him but at such a low rent the numbers really don’t work for me…I told him rent will go up 35% and he should sign a lease as well as pay a deposit with first month rent,he agreed on the raise but said he can not get all the money altogether.We agreed i would send him a 30 days notice and if he comes with the money within the 30 days then he gets to stay.Previous owner also told me that this guy used to pay full rent amount but when he took over that this guy complained about the place and threatened to move so he lowered rent.he been in this place for over 5 years but only 1 year with previous owner.

Tenant #2 i learned moved in the apt in December with no sec deposit and no lease…They have only paid for the month of February and were actually short by about $50, so they basically been there living rent free…Also learned today after talking with the electric company that they don`t even have an electric contract on that apt and can not disconnect because the meter is in the basement.I told them i will gladly let them in and they will meet me there next week.The lady renting along with her son and a few other adults told me that they are not going to pay a penny more for the place and to give them some time to move…

On tenant #2 : should i sent them a 3, 10 or 30 days notice???
I dont have their names tried utility company and previous owner for their names but utility comp. say they cant give me that info and previous owner only knows her son first name…I need names to send them a 3 or 10 or 30 days notice.How would i get those peoples names legally???or can i mail the notice attention to all residents ???By the way this is in NY.


I’m a newbie so take this advice for what it’s worth.

On Tenant 1 I would check the rent control laws for your area and see if they apply to your building (I believe in NYC it only applies to buildings that have more than a certain # of units. I don’t know if areas upstate have rent control laws). If they allow it and he is on a month to month lease you probably could raise the rent to the amount you need (either at once or gradually–maybe gradually is better) and he will either move out or pay. I suppose that’s harsh but if your numbers don’t work with him you will just lose money. If he threatened to leave before maybe he’s not really as destitute as he claims? If not, you are probably stuck with him. Does he have a written lease?

On Tenant 2 it’s probably best to ask a lawyer if you can evict and if so to have the lawyer handle the process, so that you don’t do any steps wrong and then have to go back to square one again. It sounds like these people are trying to play you and get several months rent free!

In the future it’s probably best to get written verification from the seller of all these tenant details and maybe try to negotiate the price down further if you know the tenants are going to be a problem (although maybe you did that already–I don’t know), or else walk away. Also, I think there’s something called an estoppel letter so that the tenants can’t claim later that they had side deals with the previous owner.


Thanks for your advice.

tenant #1: Did check rent control and yes i could raise to where the numbers work for me.And don`t seem to be an issue to me as he is actuallu current with rent.

Tenant #2: when i spoke to them the son said: Well by law we are required 30 days notice.But after talking to a friend he suggested a three days notice as they are way due,but i`m afraid if i send them a three days notice they might pay and then automatically i will be stock with them.

In the other hand i think they don`t deserve a 30 days notice as there is no contract and no security deposit plus they hardly ever paid the rent.

In the future i`ll look into that estoppel letter and better study existing tenants.

Any other advice on dealing with tenant #2 would be greatly appreciated.


I don’t know enough to advise you on Tenant #2, but definitely consult with an eviction lawyer or at least look online to find the eviction laws in your area–don’t rely on second hand information. There are different laws in different areas about how the notice has to be served, even what font size the lettering on on the notice has to be sometimes, so be careful. Don’t do anything rash or this will become worse than it is now.

Another thought: you mentioned that Tenant 1 complained about the condition of the apartment. Is there something wrong with the duplex? If you have the time and money, maybe the solution is to evict Tenant 2 (or maybe if you’re lucky they’ll just leave), rehab Tenant 2 apartment and rent for market rate. Keep Tenant 1 around so you have some money coming in, but raise rent gradually to ease him out or get him paying the right rent. If he leaves rehab Tenant 1 apt. and rent for market rate.

Tenant 2 is a PITA but I think Tenant 1 is going to be more of a problem in the long run. If he is causing you to break even or have a negative cash flow, his paying on time doesn’t help you. Just my 2 cents.

Great advice and exactly what i`m after…I as you mentioned i will try and keep tenant #1 for a while while i get tenant #2 out , renovate and rent at current rate…Duplex is really in need of work and i know and they know as well…so in conclusion

1-keeping tenant #1 with a 25-35% increase in a month-month lease.
2-Tenant #2 gets 30 days notice.Even tho i really want them out , i will take those 30 days to work in a little cottage in the back and by the time i get them out i should be done with the cottage .By keeping them for at least 30-45 days at least won`t get vandalized as opposed to and empty apt.

Will definitely talk to an attorney today.

Thanks again

Glad I could help! It’s gratifying because 99% of the time on here I’m the one receiving help. :slight_smile:

Tenant 1 – You might want to increase gradually. It sounds like he has the ability to pay more since he got his rent reduced in the past, but you don’t want to shock him by raising it all at once. Also Maybe do some improvements in the common areas so he knows why you’re charging more. Although you can’t rehab his apt. while he’s in there, offer to fix any items of his that are broken. Then there’s a better chance of him staying at a higher rent.
Tenant 2 – If you need to evict, I think some eviction lawyers charge a flat rate. It shouldn’t be outrageously expensive to get them out of there.


If the tenant has not paid March rent, you need to start the eviction process TODAY! It is not good enough to ask a friend; family members; or your dog about the notice you should send. You MUST send the proper notice if you want to get them out, and I’m betting that even New York does not require a 30 day notice for a non-paying deadbeat. Here in Ohio, a 3 day notice is required and it MUST contain certain language and be delivered in a certain way. Make even one little mistake on the notice and the eviction will be thrown out of court.

You need to talk to a real estate attorney that is experienced in evictions - TODAY! Explain the situation and get the eviction process started. If you don’t know their names, you can probably evict “ALL OCCUPANTS”, but you need to know EXACTLY what the procedure is.

Let’s get real here - the tenants are STEALING from you. If you give them a 30 day notice, that simply means that they get to steal from you for another month before it will sink in (with you)that they are not going to move. Why should they move? You’re letting them live for free! They’ll NEVER MOVE!

You are in business to make money. You have one tenant paying rent far below market and another tenant paying nothing. That sounds like a great way to LOSE a bunch of money. SEE THAT ATTORNEY TODAY!

Good Luck,


Yes, in New York you may serve 3-day notice for non-payment of rent with or without a lease. You must make three attemps to deliver in person and then you may post on door. Be sure to document everything. If they don’t pay within three days with a late fee, hand all paperwork to your attorney and get them out of there. Remember, it will take a few weeks to get a court date and then a week or two for the sheriff to get there. It is well worth the money spent than lost rent.

I agree you should talk to an attorney first to figure out how to write the 3-day, but don’t let them talk you into having an agent serve the notice. That is something you can do yourself and save some money as long as it’s documented properly.