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jtf945

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Posts: 27
Reply with quote  #1 
My other tenant is a constant problem of not paying the rent on time as of today the 14th I have yet to receive the March payment and April will be due in 17 days.  On 3/7 she sent an email saying the rent is in the mail along with the late fee 7 days later and it is not here.  She has been late almost every month and once I started eviction but halted as the check arrived.  I rolled her lease over for another year mainly because in runs Dec to Nov and that is a difficult time to get a new tenant.  So now she has not paid this month and won't answer emails even on threat of eviction, today I will try and call.  She may have moved out, I don't know, today I will re-start the eviction on line and will not halt this time.  Tomorrow I will give her 24 hr notice and drive the 2.5 hours to get there to see if she has vacated the property and if so change the locks.  Can I change the locks if she has by all appearance vacated the property?  What else should I be aware of or should do?
AccidentalRental

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Posts: 108
Reply with quote  #2 
DO NOT CHANGE THE LOCKS!

Follow the law in your state.  You are doing the right thing by evicting her but be sure to follow the right steps.  You need to give her the proper pay or quit notice and then take it from there.  If you change the locks because it "appears" she vacated it will be deemed a "Self-Help" eviction which is illegal in every state I believe.

Look up the laws in your state.  Start with Landlordology or Nolo and hire a local attorney to walk you through the proper steps.

Good luck!
 

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LLinVA

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Posts: 390
Reply with quote  #3 
Absolutely do not change the locks or enter the property, even if everything is empty as seen through the windows. Until she says she's out and gives you the keys or you go through the entire eviction process, the space is hers. It doesn't matter if it's empty. 

Check on the space, go through every step of the eviction process, but jumping the gun will at best force you to restart the process, at worst it will give them a ton of ammo against you to make you look like an evil landlord who locked her out of her own space the day before the check got to you in the mail. We all know how slow the mail can be.
jtf945

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Posts: 27
Reply with quote  #4 
I finally heard from my tenant who swears she sent the check on March 6th with the late fee.  It is possible it got lost but not responding to three emails and my knowing that everyone in her age group is glued to their phone not responding really lit my fuse, esp since she has been late 30% of the time and bounced a check last month.  So today she is writing a new check and sending it with a tracking number . . . we will see.  I have never met this woman and have only communicated once by phone the rest by email so I can only judge character by those experiences but based on that she strikes me as an intelligent person.  So I am going to hold off on eviction but I was going to give her 24 hour notice today for an inspection of the unit tomorrow which is allowed in my lease and that would have at least let me know if she was still in the unit because without communication I had my doubts.  So for now I will hold back and see what happens . . . Thanks for your input . . .
LLinVA

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Posts: 390
Reply with quote  #5 
"I have never met this woman and have only communicated once by phone the rest by email" 
This is a big red flag for dealing with any tenant. You always want to meet them in person to see what kind of person they are. You can tell a lot by how they dress, interact, the car they drive, etc. 
jtf945

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Posts: 27
Reply with quote  #6 
True except I do not live in the same state and meeting is difficult when I did live there I did my own advertising and showing the unit myself.  That being said I have a excellent agent who is very good at judging character and in 15 years has always gotten tenants that paid and on time.  However this lease was done by one of her associates and I guess she wasn't as thorough . . .
LLinVA

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Posts: 390
Reply with quote  #7 
This is all too common in long-distance landlording. I would at least insist on the same person taking care of things next time. I would also seriously consider selling this place. Landlording is hard enough, doing it long-distance is setting yourself up for problems like this (and worse). If you woke up today and didn't already own this property, you wouldn't buy it today. So consider selling it and buying something closer that you can handle yourself. You will save money and get better results. 
jtf945

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Posts: 27
Reply with quote  #8 
Well selling isn't on my plate as this is the first time in 15 years I have had a tenant consistently pay late and she does pay the 5% late fee.  The property is in a great location just out of DC so the rent is about 50% higher then I could get where I live.  Had the market not collapsed in 2008 I could have and would have sold this unit and another for $250K but as it stands now only about $125K but I am not underwater.  That being said I will ensure my regular agent at least closely reviews and applicant and give me her feedback before I sign another lease . . .  
LLinVA

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Posts: 390
Reply with quote  #9 
Where outside DC? I am surprised anything even close to DC is only going for $125k. Have you gotten an estimate on it recently? Even crappy neighborhoods an hour away from DC can go for $200-300k or more.

Although you get higher rent with this one unit, two local units may bring more, and be easier and more reliable to handle yourself. 

Anything near DC shouldn't be allowed any slack, you can easily get someone who will actually pay. I'm not saying to evict her, I'm just saying to not give her any more slack.
jtf945

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Posts: 27
Reply with quote  #10 
The condos, I have two are in Laurel Lakes and the only estimate I have gotten is what I see listed on the PG county governments listing of real estate sales. . .   
LLinVA

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Posts: 390
Reply with quote  #11 
I can see how condos could be less, especially in PG country. 

I would still have a realtor give you an idea of what it could sell for just to be sure. 

Either way, even if it could have sold for 3x as much in 2007, doesn't mean it isn't right to sell now. Those values were false, that's why the housing market popped. 
jtf945

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Posts: 27
Reply with quote  #12 
I agree they may have been false prices but I sure wish I had sold then.  All that being said when a good tenant is paying and on time it is a good profit for little effort . . . 
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