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Maddalena

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Last year, I had a tenant whose boyfriend wanted her to break her lease with me to move in with him. I found this out after the fact. I am fairly lenient if someone wants to break their lease and let them go. However, prior to me learning about my tenant's boyfriend's desire to oust her from my property, the unit began to experience mysterious plumbing problems. The problems were a broken fish tank to a broken shower head etc. I now have new tenants in the unit who lived in the same complex as my ex tenant's boyfriend who now want to break their lease. Guess what? the plumbing problems have started again. I live in a college town and most of my tenants are college students. Do you have any suggestion about what I should do and what action I should take?   


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Suspected Sabotage
I have a Victorian rental in a college town. Last year, we had a series of plumbing problems that began to occur when the tenants wanted to break their lease. This year, I am experiencing an identical situation with 2 tenants. The bath tub leaks every time they take a shower and they want to break their lease early too They knew the previous tenants. What type of remedy should I seek for supsected sabotage?
OHlandlord

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If you suspect sabotage by the tenants, call for a reliable, experienced, licensed plumber.  (You want an older plumber who's been around and seen it all, if you understand me.)  Explain the situation to him.  Send him to the unit to "repair" the plumbing.  Don't tell the tenant anything else, just that someone is coming to repair it. 

When he is there, have him look for signs of sabotage.  A good plumber should be able to spot any signs of tenant tampering.  Have him write his findings on the bill itself.  If he finds evidence of this being the tenant's fault, send a copy of the bill to your tenant and have him pay it with the next rent payment.  If he fails to, subtract the amount of the bill from his next rent, and send him a receipt showing that the plumbing bill was paid in full, but not his rent. Then you can give him a pay or quit notice to pay the rest of his rent or move out.

I have found a very good plumber who works well with me.  When I kept getting calls from the same unit for stopped up sinks month after month, I sent this guy there.  He found that the tenant was cutting off all of his beard (he was a big burly guy) in the sink everyday.  All that hair was stopping it up.  They got the bill and stopped doing it as soon as they realized they would have to pay for it.  The key is to develop relationships with a few very good contractors who learn what you want.  Once you find these guys, use them for every repair and recommend them to others.  Have other people call him and mention that you send them to him.  He will be grateful and do an even better job for you.
jelenatoc

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Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maddalena

Last year, I had a tenant whose boyfriend wanted her to break her lease with me to move in with him. I found this out after the fact. I am fairly lenient if someone wants to break their lease and let them go. However, prior to me learning about my tenant's boyfriend's desire to oust her from my property, the unit began to experience mysterious plumbing problems. The problems were a broken fish tank to a broken shower head etc. I now have new tenants in the unit who lived in the same complex as my ex tenant's boyfriend who now want to break their lease. Guess what? the plumbing problems have started again. I live in a college town and most of my tenants are college students. Do you have any suggestion about what I should do and what action I should take?   



Same here. The reason they are doing it is to avoid paying rents. Normally standard NJ lease allows not paying rent if the conditions are not habitable or are health hazard. I payed the bills in thousands for last year only, just to com to realization that every and each of repair requests were sabotage. I have no evidences. I started hiring certified technicians to evaluate the damage and possible cause. had them to write findings on the bill. Do not give your tenant full information of your intent. When he or she makes a repair request - make them do that in writing. Than arrange for repair. Just before the repair technician comes, inform him that you suspect sabotage and tell him what you want him to do. Have a camera ready. Have a recorder ready, but do not tell the tenant because secret recording might be illegal and you might end up being counter sued.  Take a picture of the damage before repair. If the bill states that the damage might be  made because of neglect and wrongful usage, mail your tenant the copy of the bill certified - return receipt requested + post on the premises by authorized server, if he/she refuses to sign the certified mail. If he/she does not pay - you still do not have  a case in the court. You have to repeat the mailing and than if for the second time he/she does not pay for the damage - start filing for eviction based on  "willing full destruction or damage to the property". The eviction court is county court and in NJ it is called SPECIAL CIVIL PART. Follow all instructions just as they are published on your court's web site. At the same time you have to file in the Small Court Claim for payment of the damage. Those are two separate processes, but support each others in case you win. Etc .... the procedure is complicated but possible. Once you went through it - it will be easy next time in case of need.
 

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Jelena Todorovic Clemente
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