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Posts: 10
Reply with quote  #1 

Alright im in deep. Here is what happened.


I bought a house and a trailor that are side by side in a town in Missouri. They are each on their own lot.

I live in the trailor, I rent out the house to this girl I know and her friend.

I didnt think it was that big of deal at the time, I thought they were good people. Guess not.

I did not write any contract at all, I just let them move in and told them to pay me the 26th of every month. I also didn't think to switch the electricity to thier name.

What has happened, they didn't pay electricity for 4 months, it is up to $410 now. I closed the account and made them switch it to thier name, but now thier is the $410 bill that they need to pay, but its in my name hurting my credit.

Also I never get rent on time, I ALWAYS have to hunt it down.


I have no clue what my rights are, or what I should do. I got the electric in thier name, that is the first smart thing.

Now I think I need to get a contract wrote and have them sign it. I think i should write in the contract they owe me that $410 for electric also.

Then should I make them give me checks so I can keep records of all my payments from them?


Since thier is no contract, can I just kick them out and not get in trouble?


Please help me on some of this! GREATLY appreciated


Posts: 3,817
Reply with quote  #2 

Sorry to hear your problem.  Here is what you currently can do -

- Since there is no written lease or agreement, they are considered to be on a month to month tenancy.  If you want them out, you can get them out by issuing them a 30 day written notice to vacate.  I don't know if your state is a "term" state or a "literal" one (meaning I don't know if your notice has to start on the first day of the term -the 26th when they pay their rent, or if it begins the day you issue it to them).  You need to look up your state's Landlord-Tenant law and see what it says about Notices to find out.  There is no form for this in my state, we just write them a letter (keep a copy for yourself) and tell them that we are terminating their tenancy.  They have 30 days to vacate the premises and they must be out by XX/XX/XX date or eviction proceedings will begin.

- Send them a bill for their electricty usage.  Include the date they moved in, what dates the electric usage covers, and when you expect payment (usually 10 days).  In the meantime, make payments on this bill yourself so as not to ruin your credit.  If they do not pay this bill, take the payment from their security deposit.  Of course, keep a copy.

- If you want them to stay, write up a rental agreement, you can get copies of blank ones on the net.  Write it up so that it specifies that rent must be paid on time or there is a late fee (usually 10% of rent is OK).  This takes effect if they are 1 day late.  (Give no grace period)  Make them sign it or terminate w/ a 30 day notice as above.  With a month-to-month, you do not need a reason to terminate.

- If they pay late, you can also begin eviction proceedings.  Some states reuire a Pay or Quit Notice to the tenant first, allowing them an opportunity to pay what they owe or leave before you evict.  (You could try using this w/ the electric bill but it will be iffy since you didn't have a written notice to require them to pay it.)  Other states are no last chance states and only require that you post a 3 day notice to leave the premises before you evict.  (It is this way in my state.)


Personally, I would go ahead and give them the 30 day notice to terminate letter.  If they pay late continually & don't pay their utility bill, they are not good tenants.  You need to learn a lot about your state's law and your rights as a LL if you want to be sucessful at this.  Start by getting a copy of your state's LL-Tenant laws (online or available at the library).  Read up on these and study the eviction process for your area.  I hope this helps some.  There is much more for you to know than I can post here at one time.  Feel free to ask specific questions, I'm sure someone here can help.


Posts: 10
Reply with quote  #3 

That is awesome to hear that since thier is no contract I can get rid of them soon. I see thier are month to month contracts. Is that basicly the same thing as a year lease contract besides I can end the lease within 30 days? 


Yea I got the tenant-landlord pdf online for Missouri, that helped alot too.


As for the electric: I did not charge them a down payment because she was my friend. I have now learned to do this with anyone from now on however.

So now what are your suggestions about the $400?

If I write it in a month-to-month contract, and put they owe me $400 for electric (ill state what dates it was due that they didnt pay and stuff), and put that they must pay it within 2 months. What happens if it is not paid within 2 months? Would I then have to sue them or something?


I think the month-to-month rental agreement sounds like my best bet, probably the one here on ?


Thanks for the help, I think I know my rights pretty good now and got it all figured out except for this electric thing.



Posts: 137
Reply with quote  #4 

Like she said, give dates of usage on electric , bill them, and  maybe even explain in a writen agreement that you are willing to take payments. ANd have payment start date and when each payment is due by. Have them sign it as well as you sign it, copyt it, and give them a copy.


Your local library should have landlord tenant law books you can read thru which should cover a fair amount of general stuff.


A lease  printed off the net should do you fine..


Posts: 3,817
Reply with quote  #5 
A month to agreement is like a lease, except it is only good for one month.  The next month the agreement rolls over for that month.  It continues to roll over until one party (LL or tenant) gives 30 days notice to leave.  It allows you to change the terms with only 30 days notice.  And lets you get rid of bad tenants with no reason whatsoever.  Just give the notice.  You can use one from Landlord. com or the LPA site.  Both are good.  You can also borrow a book from the library from NOLO called "Every LL's Legal Guide".  It is very good and comes with a CD with lots of forms on it.  Just download them into your computer.   I would type up the electric agreement, make them sign it and have it require set payment amounts on certain dates (like $50 due on 2/21, $50 due on 2/28, etc.).  Also state in it if they fail to make payments as due, the full amount becomes due and payable immediately.  If they default on a signed arrangement like that you can take them to small claims court.  Good luck to you.

Posts: 10
Reply with quote  #6 

Awesome thanks for all the help.


I will get all this wrote up and done before the 26th (when rent is due)


If they do not like it and wont sign it, I will give them thier 30 day to leave.


That is cool I can take them to small claims.


This has taken alot of stress off me knowing I have alot more rights then I thought. WOOHOO! lol


Thanks Ill be back if I have more questions.

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