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Posts: 66
Reply with quote  #1 
Typical story, tenant starts paying rent late, then not at all, one excuse after another.  since I'm a bleeding heart, I give her the benefit of the doubt, but when it begins to be two months late and the check bounces, I get pissed and tell her I'm starting eviction proceedings.  She immediately wires one months' rent into my account and promises on a bible I'll get the balance in a week.  I deposit the second check (now she's only one month behind) and it too bounces.  When my bank returns her last two checks to me, I notice that it doesn't say "insufficient funds," it says "stopped payment".  Now I get really mad and call her on it, telling her I'm not playing games. She gets huffy with me saying there is money in the account and it's my banks' fault. 

I serve the Notice to Quit and a week later the Summons and Complaint.  She goes ba***it and tells me that she never got the notice to quit and that her attorney said she should contact the ADA and get a consideration for that.  Evictions take a while in Connecticut and the housing court is notoriously pro-tenant.  The lawyer threat made me susceptible to her suggestion that we drop this nastiness and that I  give her one month to get out, that her work schedule prevents her from looking for another place until Christmas break (she supposedly worked at a school in upper Manhattan).  I took her at her word.  Fool.

Of course, four days before she's supposed to move out she tells me she can't get in until the 15th. It's only two more days so I say no problem.  On the 14th evening she tells me she's got a problem, she can't get into the unit until Saturday because the old tenant is still there.  Now I'm seething at being played the fool but I stay calm.  Our communication is all by email or text. I won't speak to her.  I want a record of everything.  I asked her what guarrantee does she have that she can get in Saturday, and she says there is a second unit available on Saturday if this one doesn't pan out.  How convenient.

So, I serve her again with the Summons and Complaint, as I had done one month earlier.  I found a typo (actually she found it) on my original that negated the service so I had to do it all over again anyway.  Today I am also going to see if I can serve her with a small claims writ for three months back rent.  

This gal is a pro.  She knows how the system works, and I have only myself to blame because I was so desperate for a tenant that I ignore my gut and only did  criminal background check on her.  I didn't call her work, didn't call previous landlord, didn't do a credit check.  

In addition to the eviction and small claims process, I had hoped to see if she could be charged with a  Class D felony for writing a bad check (the last rent check she didn't make good on).  However, I looked up the statutes and the fact that she stopped payment on the check means she can't be prosecuted.  It's a defense.  The fact that she knew this really makes my blood boil, but there's nothing to be done but let the legal system runs it's course and pray she doesn't trash the place too badly.  

  Eventually she will get out, either on her own or with the assistance of the state marshal's office, but it's unlikely I'll ever collect a dime even if I'm awarded damages in small claims.  I do have her current bank account info but she could shut that down in a minute.  She isn't working now as far as I know.  I lost the tenants above her unit due to her loud stereo and obnoxious behavior.  I can only hope that by paying the fees and going through the legal system, the eviction and small claims judgement will go on her record and last longer than the bitter taste of this experience.

newbie landlord

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Posts: 369
Reply with quote  #2 
Lessons learned:

- Don't allow tenants to access your bank account in any way, even to deposit money.  If you start eviction and they deposit money, you have to start over.
- Once the tenant gets to be 3 days overdue, serve a "pay or quit notice" immediately.  Don't wait until they are a month or two behind.  If they don't perform under the "pay or quit" then start the eviction immediately.
- Always do proper background checks.  Call the previous landlord and the one prior to that.
- Don't believe tenant promises, especially when they are late on rent.  They can promise everything to the moon but doesn't mean they are telling the truth.

Also: Don't take partial security deposits.  If someone doesn't have the money to move in, that's a red sign right there.

Posts: 10
Reply with quote  #3 
Accepting partial security deposit may, in the eyes of the court, be seen as established relationship and provide rights to the prospective tenant that were not intended. 

Posts: 7
Reply with quote  #4 
Names! Photo? Let us know who NOT to rent to!
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