I recently rented out one of my rehabs to a pair of tenants who did not have the best rental history (never evicted, but broke leases without paying penalties) but they were financially qualified, however, I required them to put down $1500 to help mitigate some of the rental risk. They have only been in the property 3 months and were late paying 1st and 3rd months rent. The lease requires that they obtain renter’s insurance for the duration of the 12 month lease and that they provide me with a copy, but I have not seen it! I have an unpaid water bill registered in my name due to the fact that they did not transfer the account like I required them to upon move in. They never answer their cell phones but will respond to my text messages 1-2 days later. When I do speak with them over the phone to ask about billing, I never get a direct answer to my questions, if I speak to the husband regarding a financial matter, he will refer me to the wife, vice versa. I sent a certified letter outlining my expectations as a landlord, however, they never picked the letter up from the post office and it was returned back to me.
My patience has run thin and I’m wondering if I have grounds to evict based on the items described above.
Check your state laws for eviction. Some states differentiate eviction timelines for late rent and material breaches of the lease. If they violated ANYTHING in your lease, that would be considered a material breach. The transfer of the water acct will probably be your strongest item for that. Why do you require them to obtain renter’s insurance? That only covers their personal items. We have a simple clause in our lease that states our company insurance only covers the structure and associated appliances. It does not cover ANY of their personal items. We explicitly state they are responsible for insuring their own items. Most lower income tenants live from one paycheck to the next. Renter’s insurance is not a priority for them. If your tenants are late paying rent, there will be specific steps for you to follow regarding notification to pay or quit. If you accept partial payments, you will likely have to start the process over.
If they violate the lease requirements you can file for eviction. If it gets to court you will have to show evidence that these things have not been done. It is up to the judge to throw then out. It is all about what judge you get and how well you prepare the case. I would use a lawyer to throw them out. I always put in a turn off notice that corresponds to the move in date of the tenant and tell them that. If you turn off the water on an exiting tenant you could get in trouble. If you correspond with the day they move in you are not actually turning off their water.
A lawyer will throw then out for $700 or so. You will get them out.