Eviction help with inherited tenants, how to tell if a property is with “tenants at will” and how/if to proceed when buying.

When any real estate investor is buying rental properties, you need to know how to deal with inherited tenants and the various issues that can come up and how to deal with them.  This video and post should help. 

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Eviction help with inherited tenants, how to tell if a property is with “tenants at will” and how/if to proceed when buying.

Indy Anna explains

  • How to evict tenants

  • How to deal with inherited tenants 

  • How to know if you’re dealing with tenancy at will 

So we come across a lot of eviction questions and questions from folks not understanding how to proceed with inherited tenants.  Usually these are investors that have other plans for a property, such as a house hacking situation, desiring to owner-occupy an already occupied unit or something like ‘problem’ inherited tenants.

Bottom line is that there are a few scenarios where as a purchasing landlord, you’re going to want tenants to vacate.

So what do you do with tenants you need to vacate?

So there are a few things here to keep in mind from the start when putting an offer in on a property that has tenants already.  If you’re working with an agent, it’s going to be pretty simple to ask about the status of the current leases because most of the time this info is in the MLS description or the ‘supplements’ attached to the MLS listing.

If you’re working with a FSBO or wholesale deal then you can ask to see copies of the current leases before you offer to verify status.

You MUST verify tenant status.

In a situation where you’re being told by the current owner and they say there are tenants are not in a current lease, by have been paying month to month “so they can leave whenever”, then you need to proceed carefully.

You would be dealing with a tenancy at will situation and the “leave whenever” is objective,  it is also state dependent as well. Some states will have extensions of previous lease (even if not renewed) extending in ‘terms’ while even a tenancy at will is taking place.

Ergo, if the original lease said “landlord must give 60 days notice to the tenant” then this contract term may still apply, just depends which state you’re in.

You need to know what YOUR state says about this.

That’s something to establish first; your State laws regarding tenancy at will if you come across this situation. 

For the offer, let’s say that you want a particular tenant to vacate.  You may be able to work with your agent on making an offer contingent to the unit(s) vacancy.  This might not go over well with the current owner, but it is an option.  It might work best to word ‘vacated 1 day prior to closing’ but your agent can help you with this wording best of all. 

You can also consider having the current owner begin the process of notification of the tenancy at will expiring so these days ‘tick away’ quicker.  Your agent may suggest to put more earnest money down in this case to show true good faith interest in completing the transaction.

What about “bribing” them?

Now if you’re inheriting tenants you want to vacate then here’s how you can proceed if they are month to month.  Again this slightly depends on your state laws.  Even if there is a current lease in place where transfer of ownership does not affect the  lease agreement, one of the easier ways out is cash for keys.

For more, you can check this post and video I did on CASH FOR KEYS AGREEMENTS

You’re basically offering, in writing, X amount of money for them to leave by Y date.

This can be usually one to two months rent to ‘buy out’ the lease basically.

You can make them aware that you would alternatively give them the full 60 days to vacate, or however long it may be to speed it up.  If they will leave sooner, you will entice them to do so.

This works well most of the time with inherited tenants that would otherwise be in a situation subject to full on eviction proceedings as a ‘friendly alternative’. 

What if your inherited tenants are upset?

Now let’s say you’ve inherited some disgruntled “tenants at will”, or tenants who are up to date lease tenants, and you truly want them out ASAP.  You should have a good reason and TRACKING any issue with them will only strengthen your case.

If you’ve given proper notice, which is usually 30, 60 days, etc. depending on where you are, and they refuse to leave even after the cash for keys were offered then it’s pretty cut and dry. 

The formal eviction process needs to begin. 

Now you’ve got to have a reason to evict someone lawfully.

Remember that SOME states have laws specific to a lease terminating for owner occupied use, so this is where professional  legal advice comes in to play.  For more on legal help in Indy and other markes I’m working go to my “People Page” at BigReia.com/people

To terminate the lease and get rid of the tenant and the legal advice necessary, this will be important.  Especially if you’re buying and want to use as a primary and current owner/purchase offer writing/verbiage didn’t result in them vacating. 

Here are some of those important factors:

1.) Violating rent or lease agreement

2.) Significant property damage, especially if unreported

3.) Health/Safety/Legal hazards and code violations

4.) Failure to pay on time or incomplete payments

5.) Failure to pay for regular maintenance like lawncare

Proof of any of the above claims is going to need to be documented before proceeding.

Again a great place to use the cash for keys option:

“I don’t want to do any of this formal eviction process, and really it seems like it’d be best for you having X amount of money as a deposit on a new place right?” 

If this doesn’t do it, then it’s onto proper notification.

While taping a note to the door has been suggested by some, it seems more of a CYA to have documentation of the move being given.  This should be done with the proper amount of days to stay as well.  Then onto officially court filing.

A certified letter tends to work well.

So does hiring a police officer to deliver notices in person, if legal lol.

From here you will file with the courts and have all of your documentation ready, or at least proof of eviction notice.   There are usually some fees here to to file in most states.

After this, you’ll go to court (yes in person) and present everything you’ve got against the tenant. This is where you go above and beyond and that extra mile can pay off too.  Things like public arrest records that prove health and safety hazards to other tenants for example.

At this point if it’s ruled that your tenant is indeed needing to vacate, and you won, then it’s likely time to either wait it out for the day the judge decides on or enlist someone from your local sheriff department to assist.  This is commonplace.

If it comes to the sheriff getting involve then you know the tenants are difficult.

You want to do everything you can to avoid this. 

At this point, you should be finished unless you decide to proceed with  civil court for damages & back payments, which we don’t usually recommend as most often these tenants do not have hoards of money laying around to repay you so you’re just racking up more legal fees for no reason.

Some people think they can get a judgment and go the route of wage garnishments, etc.

One problem with that is for many tenants like they are in and out out of work, between jobs and with no stable career or employment, etc.  This path is likely going to be a long drawn out mess, costing you as the landlord more and more in mounting legal fees. 

So to recap – 

  • I’ve covered how to go over leases and make offers on occupied properties and with “tenants at will”

  • I’ve gone over reasons to legally evict and how to avoid it with an alternative

  • AND I’ve gone over what to expect when eviction process takes place

If you have any other questions about these types of deals or situations, please reach out and I’ll do my best to help and if you do you’ll do your part to…

Make the  universe SMILE.  = )

~ Indy Anna

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Thanks so much!  = )

Make the Universe Smile.

~ Indy Anna
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