Tenants calling the police....this could be a GOOD THING!!!

Property Manager with Gibson Management Group, Ltd.

I had my first eviction of 2009 - tenants in a $1800 per month house on 12 month lease....2 checks bounced so they were put on bank/certified funds and then they were late in Dec and I waived late/notices fees ($300) if they paid as agreed AND were not late for the remainder of their lease...they paid/I waived.  THEN, they did not pay Jan rent and I filed for eviction/UD = unlawful detainer (Jan rent & late/notice fees) AND a week later, when I did not hear from them, I filed a Small Claims court suit for $5,000 * max in VA.

They tried to claim no mold disclosure (it's in the lease); I did not tell them where their deposit was held (not required in VA); I allowed people in the property without them agreeing (again, they don't have to agree and HVAC firm advised them via phone and e-mail) and I allowed gutters to be cleaned when their windows were open (it was Dec and their windows SHOULD have been closed at it was 30degrees outside)....all non-issues.

They did not appear at the return date for trail and I got immediate possession.  I e-mailed them that I would not ask for the writ of possession (request sheriff to put them out) for a week which would give them a weekend of 60degree weather to move and they should return the keys to my office by noon on the 10th....she e-mails that they are gone and keys are on the counter.  I advised her that was not my stipulation for not serving the writ of possession....she calls the police and reports I am threatening her via e-mail.

It gets better....the rented property is in a 4500 home GATED community with own police who are "sworn" and who can arrest/issue citations, etc.  A sgt from the police called me and was obviously having a bad "bald man" day....he started screaming at me that I could not threaten her via e-mail.  He did not want to listen that it was an eviction situation and that I was providing information mandated by the county courts....no matter to him.

After a day thinking about the situation, I elected to write to the chief of police with a copy to the general manager of the development (I am also a homeowner as I own rental property there) and while pointing out the unfortunate situation with their "sgt", I related a similar situation a few years earlier when a tenant actually returned house keys to a police officer and when I was notified, I had the locks changed at the tenant's expense. 

In my letter, I offered to be part of the solution and to come give a presentation to the police department on the mechanics of the eviction process and how they can assist their homeowners (who pay their salary) by knowing the law and being able to field eviction questions more appropriately.  I enclosed my 10 line "speaker intro" with my letter in the hopes that they take me up on my offer.    

In our lives as property managers, we will encounter police and other government "authorities" in our duties.  Rarely, do these people know or understand the laws governing the landlord-tenant relationship...they are not attorneys and if they are, they probably do not have the specific knowledge of the situation in question.  Realizing that this type of situation may offer an OPPORTUNITY to actually enlighten them as to our profession, duties and responsibilities should NOT be missed....don't be afraid to offer your knowledge and experience to better the public perception of our profession.... 

Wallace S. Gibson, CPM * over 45 years of property management experience to serve you....now eLeasing rental homes in Central Virginia for the summer of 2009.... http://VaHomes4Rent.com



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Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

It's why I am a former landlady...the amount of rent is not always proportional to the quality of the tenants....

Feb 14, 2009 11:52 PM #1
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Whenever I read an account of an eviction, I'm always curious about the owner's "due diligence" in qualifying the tenant for occupancy.  So often in my area, owners want to save money by not hiring an agent to handle the rental. 

Were these tenants credit worthy when they rented???  That is always my first question. 

Feb 14, 2009 11:53 PM #2
Janice Roosevelt
Keller Williams Brandywine Valley - West Chester, PA
OICP ABR, ePRO,Ecobroker

It's just sad, just sad, really. Perhaps they were credit worthy, whatever happened they were communicating with you and so it seems it really comes back to basic human understanding. It is such a shame to have to go throught this - and all the legalease, woulda, shoulda, coulda aside, you still don't know the truth of it and it cost you in trying to help them.

Feb 15, 2009 12:06 AM #3
Russ Ravary ~ Metro Detroit Realtor call (248) 310-6239
Real Estate One - Commerce, MI
Michigan homes for sale ~ yesmyrealtor@gmail.com

So many people have no intention of paying the rent on time or all of it.

Feb 15, 2009 12:35 AM #4
Brent Johnson
Chase International South Tahoe Realty - South Lake Tahoe, CA

Sad but true.

As a landlord, tenants can either be your best Friend, or worst enemy!

Feb 15, 2009 12:36 AM #5
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Wallace, Amazing the ends to which some folks will go to avoid a responsibility.  They don't make enough Budweiser beer to make me work in rentals !

Feb 15, 2009 01:08 AM #6
Jaime Tineo
Harrison, NY

why do people assume that owning rental property is easy money...wait that's me!

Feb 15, 2009 05:49 AM #7
Leslie Prest
Leslie Prest, Prest Realty, Sales and Rentals in Payson, AZ - Payson, AZ
Owner, Assoc. Broker, Prest Realty, Payson,

Case in point why people need a professional manager. They know what to do.

And a word about qualifying: The best qualified tenant can change- we've had people start on (or go back to) drugs, lose their jobs, and basically fall apart while in a rental. Sometimes hey were "good" tenants for a long time before this happened.

Feb 15, 2009 05:51 AM #8
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

Tenants are new to the area...he is a SCHOOL PRINCIPAL; she had a job when they rented in July, 2008 and both had good credit...they had 4th baby with health issues and they shorted his Nov pay which put them behind.  When they wanted to pay late in Dec I agreed AND waived the late/notice fee if they were not late for the remainder of their lease - obviously they were in Jan when she wanted to pay on the 15th - I said no problem, pay half the rent on the 5th of Jan and a full month rent on Jan 16th that pays you through Feb 15th....she did not get it.

Evictions are a PART OF THE BUSINESS. Knowing what to do and HOW TO DO IT separates professional property managers from the FAUX RE agents posing as leasing agents/property managers.

Getting them out ASAP so the property can be re-leased is the KEY!!!



Feb 15, 2009 06:03 AM #9
Diane Rice
Rice Prprty Mgmnt & Rlty, LLC, South Holland, IL - Lansing, IL

I'm with Leslie on this one - tenants can T U R N ! and yes, Wallace, evictions ARE part of the business... we use an Attorney who specializes and ONLY does evictions... He's been on the back burner for a while.  We usually have to call him to get out tenants we have acquired.  I read your blog - thanks for commenting on the outside blog post.


Feb 18, 2009 01:49 AM #10
Robert Machado
HomePointe Property Management, CRMC - Sacramento, CA
CPM MPM - Property Manager and Property Management

It is best not to get personal with tenants and simply ask them to honor the contract or move.  Then you must do the paperwork to move them out.  That is what a property manager is paid to do.

Feb 22, 2009 04:09 PM #11
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

Bob - eviction was done pro forma, she was to return the keys and e-mailed that she had left them on the kitchen counter.  She e-mailed that wanted an accounting of her deposit; however, she failed to provide her forwarding mailing address.  When I called the community association to pull their vehicle bar codes that allows them entry into the community, I was informed that she had rented elsewhere in the same community....THAT is why the private police dept could get involved - since she was still a resident....I'll see her in Small Claims in March.

As a follow up, I have not heard from the Chief of Police on my offer although I understand my copy of the letter to the HO General Manager got a reaction.

Feb 22, 2009 10:50 PM #12
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