Tenant Trouble -- Should the police be called if he won't leave?

This is a discussion on Tenant Trouble -- Should the police be called if he won't leave? within the Landlord vs Tenant Issues forum, part of the REAL ESTATE & PROPERTY LAW category; I am a landlord and own a two bedroom condo that I am renting out to one tenant. The day ...

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Old Dec 2nd, 2009, 12:56 AM   #1
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Default Tenant Trouble -- Should the police be called if he won't leave?

I am a landlord and own a two bedroom condo that I am renting out to one tenant. The day I met with the tenant to give him the keys and get him to sign the lease he brought a friend and said the friend would be staying there too. This was a surprise to me. The lease is an agreement between me and the tenant. There is a spot on the lease where you can write the names of people who have permission to occupy the premesis. In this box, the friend of my tenant wrote his name. I did not want him to sign the lease as I knew nothing about him and did not agree to rent to him. I had 2 copies of the lease that both me and my tenant signed and I gave him his copy.

Now these two friends aren't getting along apparently and my tenant wants to kick the other guy out. The other guy thinks that his name is on the lease and so he can't be kicked out. I feel that this has nothing to do with me as my agreement was not with this friend. I only had him put his name on the part where it said he had my permission to occupy the premesis, but I assumed that would only be if my tenant wanted him there.

I'm also worried because both copies of the lease are originals that this "friend" may add his name to their copy of the lease and sign it. The signature won't be on my copy though. I feel like I should have photocopied the original because then it would be obvious if one was tampered with. The "friend" actually called and asked if we had made a photocopy, which makes me suspicious.

Does this guy have any right to remain in the property seeing as he is not an official tenant and my tenant does not want him there anymore? Is this an issue they need to resolve or do I have to step in? Should the police be called if he won't leave?

I would appreciate any help very much. Thanks!
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Old Dec 2nd, 2009, 08:36 AM   #2
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Default re: Tenant Trouble -- Should the police be called if he won't leave?

This person is an occupant, not a party to the lease if he did not sign the lease. He is either a guest of the tenant's or a sublettor, neither of which have anything to do with you. The tenant (one who signed the lease) can give him 30 days notice (or whatever the required time period is in your state) for this person to vacate.) You are correct that this is not your problem. Stay out of it.

This other person, the occupant, is not a party to the lease and you should refuse to discuss anything with him. If he calls, just state that you can only discuss lease matters with the tenant who is the signer of the lease and not any other occupants.

You have an original copy of the lease. His signature is not on it. That will be the lease that you present in court should this matter come up. Any judge would be smart enough to realize that he could have signed his own copy. But since his signature is not on yours, there should be no problem.

In future, stop lease signing should this occur. Sign only with the tenant. Do not allow anyone else's name to be placed on the lease. Give the friend an application and allow him to apply. If he qualifies and passes screening, add him onto the lease through a simple addendum that all parties sign. If not, he is not permitted to live there. All adults living in a unit should apply, be screened, and be added to the lease. What would have happened if the tenant had been the one to move out? That would have left you with an occupant in the property who had no lease! He would have had no obligation to pay rent (you have no agreement with him) but you would still have to go through the entire process to have him evicted (30 day notice, file to evict, wait for the hearing, wait for the set out, ...) In the meantime you could not have collected rent at all from this person. You would then have had to go back after the original tenant for all that rent. Don't do this. All adults living in the unit need to be on the lease.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2009, 08:53 AM   #3
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Default re: Tenant Trouble -- Should the police be called if he won't leave?

Thank you sooo much for your advice. I am a new landlord and have learned my lesson. I will call my tenant and tell them that they can kick this person out and I will stay out of it. Thanks for making me feel better.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2009, 10:01 AM   #4
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Default re: Tenant Trouble -- Should the police be called if he won't leave?

NO NO NO!! do not tell tenant anything!! You do not want to be on the hook for your statements if this becomes a civil suit. Tell the tenant it shis problem not yours as your agreement is with him (The tenant) not the roomate. Stay out of this as much as you can. In mean time google your states laws and become familar with them to avoid future problems or talk to a Tenant/Landlord Attorney. Once roomate leaves you might consider (if both parties agree) a clearer lease with better wording and understanding between parties
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Old Dec 2nd, 2009, 11:31 AM   #5
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Default re: Tenant Trouble -- Should the police be called if he won't leave?

The landlord IS on the hook to some degree. 1. There was a clause in the lease that allowed this to take place to begin with. (for future reference, get rid of that clause), 2. The landlord was present when the friend did this. The landlord should have stopped the person right there and advised that the only people who could add to or sign the lease were the tenant(s) and the landlord(s). The landlord allowed this friend to add his own name, when he should not have done so.

3. The landlord failed to make a copy of the original lease immediately and give a copy to the tenant (the landlord is to maintain the original lease)

The damage has already been done so advising the landlord not to say anything to either of them at this late stage of the game is moot.

The tenant cannot kick the person out either. If anyone allowed him to take up residence, and he receives mail at the address, he is living there legally. The cops cannot kick him out either. It does hold some water that the landlord stood and witnessed the non-tenant add his name to the lease under "other occupants of property". That, to a judge, may be an admission that he's also a tenant, as he's occupying the property.

Further, it is the landlord who authorized permission for the other person to occupy the property and not the tenant. The tenant cannot give permission. That is entirely up to the landlord. Since the landlord stood and watched and allowed the man to add his name to the lease in any manner whatsoever, he gave permission for him to reside in the unit.

While this fight over tenant kicking pal out is between them, you also have the right to tell them you are not part of the lease and that you do have the right to evict. You will need to post a notice to evict if you want him out. He does not have a valid lease with you so if the tenant himself moves out, this person will need to be evicted by you, and not by the tenant. The tenant cannot evict. Only you can do that.

Brush up on your landlord skills a bit more before renting again.
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Old Dec 9th, 2009, 09:42 AM   #6
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Default re: Tenant Trouble -- Should the police be called if he won't leave?

What you SHOULD do is hire a management company. Yeah, it might cost you 10% of your collected rents (notice I said COLLECTED rents, make sure they don't get paid for not doing anything), but you'll be rid of painful situations like this. You can hit up IREM.org and look up management companies there. I'm assuming this property is under 50 units, so you would want to use an Accredited Residential Management Certified company. If you are interested in more real estate education you should check out RE Mentor at www.rementor.com
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Old Dec 12th, 2009, 12:50 AM   #7
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Default re: Tenant Trouble -- Should the police be called if he won't leave?

From what I understand from talking to the rentalsman office in my province is that my tenant is considered the landlord of his "friend"and so it is up to my tenant to evict this person. This person has apparently done damage to my property (wrecked my dishwasher) and has threatened to beat up my tenants girlfriend. My tenant is living with his parents right now because he is scared for his safety if he goes back there. He has never paid my tenant any of the utilities or his portion of the damage deposit. They do not have any agreement in writing, but I guess a verbal agreement that he could stay there. My tenant has complained to the rentalsman office and they are having a little trial next week and hopefully as a result, the occupant will be out of there. I wish there was some way to get him out sooner. If my tenant and I agree in writing to end the lease does that mean his "friend" would have to leave immediately, or would he still have 30 days. My tenant keeps asking for me to evict him, but I can't see that the occupant would be out any sooner than if my tenants evicts him. Part of me doesn't want to do that though because at least this way my tenant is responsible for any of the damage that this occupant did as we still have a lease. This is confusing and terrible.
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Old Dec 12th, 2009, 02:04 PM   #8
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Default re: Tenant Trouble -- Should the police be called if he won't leave?

The LL has no lease with this occupant. The occupant did not sign the lease and is only listed as a occupant. This is the same as being a guest of the tenant and witnessing this does NOT make the occupant a tenant! The occupant has only resident's rights, and not rights to continue to stay throughout the lease. Residency is established by receiving mail there and staying a certain amount of time. Residency is not tenancy. His presence can be terminated at any time by the tenant. Without his signature on the lease, his tenancy can be terminated at any point.

The tenant controls who stays at the rental once the lease is signed, not the LL. The rental is on the possession of the tenant, not the LL. Tenants do allow people to stay in their units all the time with or without the approval of the LL. Adding them as occupants only lets them stay with the approval of the LL. The tenant must be the one to ask his guest to leave. The LL cannot evict just one occupant, but must either evict all or none. So the LL cannot kick the occupant out or ask him to leave. Your arguments do not hold water for these reasons:

1) The clause only lists people who will be staying in the unit. That clause, without a signature on the lease, makes no contract with those people. It is not a guarantee that their occupancy will be allowed to continue throughout the lease period. If they had wanted that guarantee, they would have to apply and be screened, then sign to be responsible for all the lease obligations.
2) The clause lists only occupants, not tenant. Those occupants are not obligated or covered under the lease terms. The clause only allows them to stay in the unit for as long as the tenant desires.
3) A lease copy may be made or requested at any time. A copy should be sent to the tenants immediately after signing, but if not done then, can be sent at any time. The tenants can also request a copy at any time. The tenants failure to receive a copy does not void the lease. A signed lease is in possession of the LL and that is what will hold up in court.

Finally, since no lease exists with this occupant, if the tenant moves out and leaves the resident behind, the tenant remains responsible for all lease terms until the occupant leaves. The tenant must continue to pay rent, keep utilities current, and meet all other obligations of the lease. The tenant allowed this person to live with him, and added the friend's name to HIS lease, and he is responsible for him. If the tenant moves out and leaves the occupant there, you file to evict both the tenant and his occupant. The tenant is the responsible party since his name is on the lease. He is responsible for returning the vacant unit to the LL. Until he has done so, he is obligated.
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Old Dec 12th, 2009, 02:32 PM   #9
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Confused re: Tenant Trouble -- Should the police be called if he won't leave?

Thank you for all this information, it will be helpful to myself as well. I have a house in a smaller midwest city and have a similar issue with the downstairs tenants in a 2 bedroom who in the lease they signed states
7.13 The Tenant shall keep the grounds of the Premises in a clean and tidy condition, free from all litter and rubbish, garden refuse and discarded appliances or motor parts

7.17 The Tenant may have temporary visitors. The same visitor may not stay overnight more than 4 times within any month without written permission from the Lanlord.

We have had the upstairs tenant let us know that there has been someone staying downstairs and parking a truck on the front lawn! There is a 2 car garage and 2 concrete parking spaces in the back of the property.
This is a residential neighborhood with other 1 household families occupying the street and this to me is unacceptable.
There are 2 single persons 2 vehicles living downstairs and a family with 2 vehicles living upstairs. I don't think that I should have to allow off street parking on my front lawn to accomodate someone who is not on the lease. They have gone so far as to allow have the tenant's car on the front lawn and the person staying truck on the parking spot. The vehicles are getting stuck and looks to be rutting the lawn (however there is snow here now and no parking allowed at night on the streets.) I would think the drive is long enough (and it is) that the person when staying should have to get up to move their vehicle back to the street in the morning ?

I am trying to write a letter indicating this but want to be nice and want to let them know that it's not appealing to the property or to the neighbors who live on the residential street... any help?
Thanks,
Also "new" landlord" previously owner occupied rental property and want to keep it looking wonderful!
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Old Dec 12th, 2009, 03:41 PM   #10
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Default re: Tenant Trouble -- Should the police be called if he won't leave?

Don't write a nice letter. Tenants who would park their cars on the front lawn will not heed a nice letter. They will ignore it completely.

Send a notice of violation stating that no vehicles may be parked on the lawn. (Doesn't city code prohibit this?) State that there is a 2 car garage and 2 parking spaces in the rear. That should be sufficient for all tenants to park. Any and all others should be parked on the street. Note that any future cars or other vehicles parked on the lawn will be towed immediately, without warning, at the owner's expense. Also note that any lawn damages will be billed to the tenant and will be due with the next rent after billing. Send this notice certified, return receipt requested, and post it upon all tenants' front doors. Problem solved.
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