Welp! I had my first tenant eviction in one of my rental properties for the first time in my new found career. Talk about a Welcome to Being a Landlord moment. Thank GOD I had a pretty good lease set in place so there was no question if the tenant was in violation. Let’s get to it, shall we?
The Landlord Situation
I had a tenant that was young, always late with the rent and apparently liked to smoke weed. This was a tenant that I inherited from the previous owner and wasn’t screened by us. Now listen, I don’t have an issue with people smoking in general. I just don’t like people smoking in my house or any of my properties.
You see as a landlord you set the rules. After all, it is YOUR property. You are responsible for what goes on there and can be held responsible for things like not providing a healthy and safe environment. In this case, I made sure in my leases that no illegal substances are permitted on the property.
While on a maintenance call my property manager smelled weed in another tenants unit. They quickly realized it was coming from next door which is a violation of their lease agreement. When the offending tenant was approached about it, as you can imagine it DID NOT go well. You can clearly smell the weed coming from the apartment.
After some back and forth with the tenant trying to convince that weed is legal in GA (which it’s not), it was decided that the tenant had to move out. I’m sure you’re thinking “Dude! It was just weed and it was in her unit” and you would be right. The problem wasn’t just the weed, it was the tenant who had the maintenance appointment had respiratory issues.
If we knowingly let tenant violate their lease agreement and another tenant suffers because of it, there will likely be a potential lawsuit. It also didn’t help that the offending tenant was already late on their rent either. We can’t have that so we did what we had to do.
For the record, we did not evict the tenant for the whole weed incident. They were evicted due to non-payment of rent. All of that just so happened to occur in the same month rent was due.
We are not bad people and having been forced to leave an apartment in my past, I understand the inconvenience. We gave the tenant 30 days to leave and even offered to help move them out. They didn’t accept our help and decided to fight it in court.
So now we are 60-70 days into this, out 2+ months in rent and they are still in the unit. Thankfully the courts out here aren’t backed up so we were able to get a court date in a reasonable timeframe. The tenant did everything to delay the proceedings but eventually had to show in court.
Day In Court
The tenant showed up! When asked their defense, they had none. The judge ruled in our favor and the tenant had to move out. VICTORY!… well kinda. The tenant moved out the last day they were permitted to stay before the Sherif was going to come knocking. Then reality set in.
The Rental Property Aftermath
We went into the unit after it had been vacated and it was a mess. Bugs, roaches, pieces of furniture, clothes, food, the smell, etc. It looks like they just grabbed the important stuff and left. Needless to say, we had a lot of work to do.
The unit was not in a livable condition and simple cosmetic changes weren’t going to cut it. Welp! time to get to work and rehab this thing. Now I will say that I don’t think the tenant was a nasty person. I remember seeing that unit almost a year earlier and it was bad shape then. The previous owner just wanted the money and could care less about anything else in my opinion.
After 3 months we have a fully renovated unit. It was a total gut job. I’m talking about new windows, doors, ceiling, lighting, bathroom, laundry room, kitchen, water heater, plumbing, flooring, electrical, paint, molding, etc. Total cost was around $12k – $15k. The price was more than it should have been because I expanded the unit so there could be more living space.
As a result, we were able to raise the rents and get a more qualified tenant not long after the renovation was completed.
This is NOT for the faint at heart. It feels good when it’s done but that process was a pain in my ass. Having a great property manager with resources and systems in place helped a lot. You can check them out at BTDC Properties. Additionally, if you are interested in buying rental properties and want some insight, check out Buying Real Estate for Passive Income. There is some really good information there with actual numbers that are easy to digest.