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About the Presenters

Gurpreet “GP” Singh,
Veteran Landlord

Brendan Nally,
Veteran Landlord

Jonathan Forisha,
TurboTenant’s Director of Education and Community

Krista Reuther,
TurboTenant’s Sr. Content Marketing Writer

The Complete Guide to Evictions

September 19, 2022

No one enjoys the eviction process, but it’s an unfortunate necessity after you’ve exhausted all other options to resolve important issues with your renter. This webinar offers landlords the chance to dive deep into the eviction process from a national perspective, complete with interactive case studies from veteran landlords Gurpreet “GP” Singh and Brendan Nally.

Transcript

KRISTA
Well, welcome to the Complete Guide to Evictions. This is a webinar from us here at TurboTenant, and we have a very special guest with us who will be introduced at the end. So to start things off, my name is Krista Reuther. I am the Senior Content Marketing Writer here at TurboTenant. It’s a very lovely job. Full of lovely people like my boss, Jonathan.

JONATHAN
What a good segue way. I’m Jonathan, I’m the Director of Education and Community here at TurboTenant. And if you’re not already familiar with us, TurboTenant is an all in one platform for landlord software. So if you are trying to market your property, trying to find tenants, screen them, create lease agreements, e-signatures, you can do all of that with us.

JONATHAN
But we are here to talk about evictions. So let’s dive in. All right. So we will go over the basics, the cost alternatives, the eviction, and then our case study. At the very end, we have Brendan, who was kind enough to join us. We will introduce him once we get to that point. And once again, if you guys have questions as we go through, I encourage you to use the chat or the Q&A.

JONATHAN
We’ll be looking at both and the basics. Let’s jump in. So an eviction. An eviction is basically what happens when you have to get a renter out of your rental property. Not super pleasant, but it does happen. We should also say it doesn’t happen super often. This is not a thing that landlords should anticipate happening every year. Hopefully it’s very, very rare, but we’ll go through all that process.

JONATHAN
Something else we want to make sure everyone understands is that the eviction process can vary a lot by state, by city, by county, even depending on where you are. So we are going to be covering sort of broad strokes of the eviction process and what that looks like. It may be a little different in your area, so we encourage you to check out your local laws.

JONATHAN
We actually have a section on our site that shows you landlord tenant laws in your state and we’ll drop that in a chat. But without further ado. Eviction notice. So this is basically how you start the eviction process. If you have something, if you have a problem tenant or if something is a recurring issue, you would issue an eviction notice.

JONATHAN
So this is a document filled out by the landlord that provides reasons for an eviction, and there are three types for this. So we’ll go each type. But first of all, I want to direct you to this pro tip in the corner. A self-help eviction is an action that a landlord takes to evict a tenant outside of the legal means.

JONATHAN
So this would be like making it really unpleasant for them to remain in the rental property. Maybe you’re blasting music at 3 a.m. or something until they leave. This is not something you should do if it comes to an eviction. If there is that big of an issue between you and your tenant, then you should pursue an eviction process or we do have some alternatives we’ll talk about later.

JONATHAN
But a self-help eviction should not be one of those.

KRISTA
It is not the way to go.

JONATHAN
So getting into the different types. The first one is a pay or quit notice. So this one requires a tenant to either pay their rent in full or vacate the rental unit within a certain amount of time. Some states require a grace period after which you can send or deliver the pay or quit notice. Some do not have a grace period.

JONATHAN
Some of them the grace period is very, very short. So like we said, it really depends on your local area.

JONATHAN
Next up is the notice to comply or quit. So this gives the tenant a certain amount of time to fix the issue at hand. And if they don’t comply within that timeframe, they’ll be given an unconditional quit notice. So a good example of this would be excessive noise. Let’s say your tenant works on their car at all hours and they’re very loud about it.

JONATHAN
You can issue a notice to comply or quit and say, Hey, you really have to stop working on the car in the middle of the night or else we’re going to have to go to an eviction proceeding. And if they do it, great, you just avoided an eviction. That’s awesome. If they don’t comply, then at that point, you would go to an eviction.

JONATHAN
And there’s a certain note here that we want to add is that keeping good documentation of all of this stuff is very, very important. If it does go to an eviction proceeding and you actually have to go to court, you’re going to want to have all of the proof you possibly could. All right. And then a third type, an unconditional quit notice.

JONATHAN
So this requires the tenant to vacate within a certain period of time without any opportunity for discussion. And you will see us quote the website nolo a few times here. They’re a very good resource for that. We found four really landlord laws. We have a quote from them that all states allow landlords to use unconditional quit notices when a tenant has repeatedly violated a lease clause, has substantially damaged the rental unit, is dealing drugs or for other specified reasons.

JONATHAN
There are state rules on when a landlord can use an unconditional quit termination notice and how much time the landlord must give the tenant to vacate. So just driving that point home, please do check on your individual state.

KRISTA
Yeah. So with that, we’ve entered into our first poll of the session. Jonathan, if you wouldn’t mind sharing it, guys, how many of actions do you think landlords across America file in a typical year? Please feel free to select if you are here for the first session. I might laugh a little if you don’t remember. Yes, it’s the split.

KRISTA
Also, something important while we give you ten more seconds to click that button, because eviction proceedings vary so much from state to state. One of the best things you can do is actually go and sit in on your local eviction court and just see how the proceedings go. You know, set some time for yourself in the afternoon, eat whatever you have.

KRISTA
Go sit down and notice the interactions between the judge and the landlord, see how it all flows. And that will give you the best idea for what to expect in your area. All right. So let’s look at this here. Okay. We’ve got a bit of a spread. So so the majority of you are thinking 3.2 million eviction notices are filed across America in a single year, followed by 3.6.

KRISTA
Happy to say the 3.6 million have it were unhappy, I guess because evictions should be used as a last resort. So quite a few are filed every year. Obviously this does not take into account any of the COVID years because that skews the data. When you have an eviction moratorium, you can’t really file for an eviction, as we saw in March 2020.

KRISTA
That has, by and large been lifted, although we do have some California specific information we’ll touch on because you guys out west are still under eviction moratoriums in a lot of counties.

KRISTA
All right. So to further provide context, I’d like us to take a look at this map from the eviction lab. So using their latest stats and figures, you can see here the US eviction filing rate in population in 2018. Little bit of like context for the context, right? So the way this graph, this map works, the lighter color indicates a lower population, darker color, higher population.

KRISTA
And then the size of the red circle is the amount of the eviction filing rate. So a higher rate is going to be a larger circle like you might see here in Maryland. And then a small circle is going to indicate a low filing rate like in South Dakota. So might surprise you, but Maryland had the highest eviction filing rate in the US in 2018 and failure failure to pay rent was the most common type of eviction filed.

KRISTA
So it’s really interesting to look at Maryland because it doesn’t have a very big population and the the rate of eviction filings is really disproportionate to what we would expect of a population that size. In fact, in Baltimore specifically, the eviction rate is 5.3%, which is 2.3 times higher than the national eviction rate of 2.3. You might be asking yourself why?

KRISTA
Why is that? Evictions are really nuanced. There are a couple of things that we could point to. For example, evictions disproportionately impact people of color, particularly women and low income individuals and families. Which could help to contextualize Baltimore’s high eviction rates. 62.3% of their population indicated they were black or African-American on the latest census. So when you have a high black population, you could be seeing a disproportionate rate of eviction filings.

KRISTA
Additionally, the laws are going to dictate when landlords can file for an eviction and under what circumstances. They’re also going to outline when a tenant can withhold rent and under which circumstances. So all of these factors working together with other societal factors, economic factors, are causing these eviction rates. But there’s it’s hard to pinpoint one exact thing, which is why this kind of complicated process should really be understood.

KRISTA
Before you jump into it. All righty. And just before we move on here, I highlighted it. But South Dakota does have the smallest the lowest eviction filing rate at just 0.7%, which I found pretty interesting. In our first session, people theorize perhaps that’s because it’s a lower population and there are not as many rental opportunities. Not sure. Just like it’s.

KRISTA
It’s very difficult to parse through why Maryland’s eviction rate is so high. It is equally difficult to pass through by South Dakota as a solo.

KRISTA
So with that in mind, let’s talk more about the impact of evictions. So from the landlord point of view, you are going to miss out on time with your family to go to court if you pursue an eviction. You’re also going to have increased stress levels unless you are the Zen master of the West, you’re it’s going to be a stressful process when you go to court.

KRISTA
Just point of fact, it’s a lot of documentation to gather. You have this tenuous relationship with your tenant at that point. You may not be sure what to do day to day or how to communicate. And all of this is just going to cause your blood pressure to rise. And equally importantly, your financials really could take a hit.

KRISTA
There are quite a few fees to cover in the eviction process, which will detail later at the cost of evictions. But just know it’s not as easy as filing a notice and then recouping, let’s say, lost rent the next week that simply doesn’t happen. So as a landlord going through this, just consider not only the impacts to you, but also the impacts to your tenant.

KRISTA
So from your tenant point of view, they’re going to have to find new housing. And you might be saying, well, yeah, Krista, but they they did something they didn’t pay rent or they’re working on their car at 3 a.m.. And I would say yes, but it’s still such a complicated situation that we really have to explore what those repercussions are in fall and then figure out the best solution for everyone moving forward.

KRISTA
So they’re going to have to find new housing. And in many states they can’t actually have legal representation in eviction court, which increases their stress level. In fact, according to civil right to counsel dot org no jurisdiction in the country provided a right to counsel for tenants facing eviction prior to 2017. As we close out 2021, there are three states and 13 cities with such a right for greater context.

KRISTA
Only 3% of tenants nationwide had legal representation during an eviction case in 2021, while 81% of landlords retained legal counsel in that same timeframe. So very challenging playing field. We’ll call it the eviction process. While actually securing a legal eviction is going to hurt the tenants credit and their ability to find affordable housing in the future. As evictions are one of the most important factors for landlords looking at potential tenants.

KRISTA
And last but not least, it is very traumatizing for children. When you evict a family that becomes an, you know, a bad core memory for a child. And it’s really a nasty situation. So as you can see with the graphic on the right, that is a breakdown of the eviction filing rate by gender from the eviction lab, who also made the map a couple of sites back.

KRISTA
With all this in mind, we really do believe that eviction should only be used as a last resort, which is why we’re going to highlight alternatives for evictions later in this presentation.

JONATHAN
Yes, we definitely want to drive that home that evictions are not fun for the landlord or the tenant. In some cases, you will get your last money back, but not always. In fact, it’s probably pretty rare that that happens. So yeah. To be a last resort. Absolutely.

KRISTA
All righty. So returning to our map, there are five states that have been highlighted as the worst places to be evicted on the tenant side. So I will pick on my home state here of Colorado. It is the worst place to be evicted because the landlord only has to give the tenant three days notice to pay past due rent or correct a lease violation on their first two sets.

KRISTA
If they have the same problem, the tenant will still get a three day notice, but they will have no option to stay in the rental. To really bring shame to myself here for a second. When I moved into my first apartment, it was a big apartment complex and they were using a property management system, that turbo tenant that delayed payment for my first month’s rent.

KRISTA
So I had paid it, but they never charged my bank and I got a notice stapled to my door and I was terrified because I had never been in any kind of trouble and I couldn’t understand because I had made the payment on my end and it caused a really bad relationship between me and that property management company until I moved out.

KRISTA
So very scary to just all of a sudden have something like that happen. Take that for what it’s worth. Additionally, the rest of these states, the reason why they’re so tough, they either have very lax or kind of nonsensical timelines for things where, for example, West Virginia or excuse me, Montana. Montana lets you have 14 days to correct a violation of a lease, but only three days to “correct” an unauthorized pet.

KRISTA
Horrifying sounding. You have 24 hours as a tenant to change, to fix change locks. Three days to pay past due rent and five days for a second violation of past due rent in six months. So it gets very confusing. You don’t know what timeline you’re being held to or why. It gets murky. So the big thing that I want you to take away from the site, I don’t need to go through every stay, especially if no one here is from Montana, does not care about Lexi.

KRISTA
But the big thing to take away, the reason why it’s so bad in these places, there is not facilitated transparency between the landlord and the tenant. It gets murky because they’re either obscure timelines or very harsh treatments for first or second offense. Or alternatively, it just allows the landlord to kind of go off and do whatever they like.

KRISTA
Like in West Virginia, for example, you don’t have to have a set notice time to warn tenants of a pending eviction. You can just choose the time and notify your tenant in writing, in person or even over the phone. So what can you do if you’re in any of these states or any other state? I would say prioritize good communication that’s going to help throughout this, you know, tumultuous situation in which you find yourself also be very well versed in your local laws and actually have that link for you here.

KRISTA
If you have not gotten it yet, right before we go, I do want to say I promised you some information on California. This is a fine slide to do it, because I can point and say, here it is, there’s California. So we had a lot of questions in our first session because California counties, a fair few of them are still under the eviction moratorium, namely Los Angeles County, which is a pretty sizable county.

KRISTA
But on Tuesday of last week, the Board of Supervisors voted 3 to 2 to move forward with a plan to lift the eviction moratorium by the end of the year. According to the Los Angeles Times, officials have promised to perform a robust outreach to make sure that both tenants and landlords are aware of the shift that’s about to take place in the county’s 88 cities and it’s important to note that these provisions largely impact nonpayment of rent evictions.

KRISTA
So if there are other eviction cases like being a danger to other tenants or neighbors, that should still be able to be pursued at this time, even before the nonpayment of rent is lifted. The eviction is lifted in the beginning of the year. So in other words, keep your documentation up. If there are issues with nonpayment of rent, pursue alternatives in the meantime, especially since it sounds like you’ll have to wait until December January to get things moving.

KRISTA
And then the courts are likely to be backlogged and have frank and transparent communications, as you did with your tenants and.

JONATHAN
One note on that last point of frank and transparent communication, as Krista mentioned, West Virginia, they do allow you to give notice to your tenant that you’re that you intend to evict. You can deliver that in writing, in person or over the phone. We would not recommend to do it over the phone because that is very hard to have any kind of record.

JONATHAN
That is where we definitely say do it in writing, have certified mail, deliver it. That way you have proof that the tenant received it and it was delivered and keep a copy for your own records, because if you do actually go to court, you’re definitely going to want as much documentation as you can possibly have.

KRISTA
That’s true. Really good note. Okay. So common reasons for eviction. As you can see here, you’ve got some standard ones such as nonpayment of rent. We’ve talked about that a little bit along with that property damage, if your tenant takes a baseball bat to your window, that’s a good reason to not let them live there anymore if they are keeping pets.

KRISTA
When you told them there are no pets, another reason to evict along with illegal activity. So think dealing drugs. If Walter White was renting, he could be evicted. So anything that is illegal is going to be caused to break the lease via an eviction. Anti-Social behavior is an interesting one on this list. Basically that it’s not just someone who doesn’t talk to you or isn’t nice to their neighbors.

KRISTA
It’s disorderly contact, causing a disruption or nuisance in the building or neighborhood, such as fighting or excessive noise. So just keep that in mind. But depending on your state laws, that might not be a good reason for eviction unless other residents are being directly impacted who live in your building. So once again, use that link that I dropped in the chat to get a sense of what your local laws are and when in doubt, talk to a real estate attorney.

KRISTA
They are going to help you figure out what you need to do, the documents you need to keep and tailored to your state’s laws, which is very important.

JONATHAN
Yeah, and this is obviously not an exhaustive list you can go through with an eviction for any breach of the terms of the lease. And if you find that you’re in the middle of a lease and something has been a recurring issue, such as your tenants using street parking when you’re not supposed to have street parking in that area, you can always add that in a lease addendum.

JONATHAN
So you could just add that to the lease, get their signature and make sure they understand and and then you can hold it to hold them to it from that point forward.

KRISTA
Right. So we’ve talked a lot about how eviction filing requirements change state to state, but specifically what changes? Well, quite a bit. Honestly, we wouldn’t have jobs if it were that easy, but eviction, qualifications, those changed state to state, the type of eviction notice you need to serve and equally how much time you need to give the tenant to receive that notice changes state to state.

KRISTA
So when you inevitably come back to our website to review this stack, you will be able to click on that same link here on this slide that I dropped in the chat. But by and large, just remember that the best landlords stay up to date with their local tenant laws and that’ll go double if you feel there’s a violation from your tenant, so use that resource.

KRISTA
It is for you. And we want to make sure that if you do have to presume an eviction, you’re doing it by the book. To that end, something that would be great to keep in mind is the uniform residential landlord and Tenant Act or Ultra. So this was passed in 1972 and this legislation has been fully adopted by some states.

KRISTA
Others have not fully adopted it, but it can still be used to clarify the rights and obligations of both landlords and tenants. So here we see that landlords have to comply with how building codes repair the building to ensure its in good condition, provide trash and recycling receptacles, keep the area clean and safe, etc. etc. This is what you are signing on to do as a landlord.

KRISTA
By and large, even if your state does not enforce URLTA. And on the flip side, tenants are required to also comply with building codes in regards to safety and security. Remove garbage and waste from the rental, keep the rental unit clean, not deliberately break or deface anything on the property, conduct themselves in a safe and peaceful manner, etc.

KRISTA
So being well versed in URLTA at least gives you somewhere to start where if you, you know, you’re seeing a behavior or you’re hearing reports of a tenant, you know, acting in a way that’s impacting their neighbors, you can come back to this list and say, are they upholding this whether or not it’s it’s required by your state and then decide what to do from there. In fact, what you might want to do is, unfortunately start the eviction process. So the first step here, as we’ve said, is to review or to enter local landlord tenant laws. We will never get tired of saying that we want you to have the best, most actionable information possible, and it simply wouldn’t.

KRISTA
We cannot sit and go through every single state here on this call in an hour without running it yourself. We don’t want to do that. So make sure that you are as much of an expert on your local landlord tenant laws as you can be and employ help if you need it. Then once you’ve reviewed both of those things, you’re going to want to go back to your lease agreement.

KRISTA
Is the behavior outlined in the lease agreement with a clear consequence? So nonpayment of rent is an easy one for this. Does your lease explain what will happen if they don’t pay rent, grace periods, late fees as needed, etc. If it doesn’t, you can either added in as an addendum or just consider that for your next lease if you’re getting to the end of this relationship with your tenant.

KRISTA
Also, before we move on here, I would say as a as a 2.5 step, talk to your tenant. If you have not had issues with them in the past, particularly for nonpayment of rent, talk to them first and see how they’re doing. It’s likely that something has popped up in their life and maybe you could work something out before you have to pursue the entire eviction process.

KRISTA
So always good to remember that there’s a human aspect to being a landlord and checking in with your tenant and just saying, Hey, are you doing okay? I notice that you’re with the rent. Might save you thousands of dollars down the road if you can avoid an eviction. However, if you can’t, what you’re going to want to make sure you have in tow are these documents as listed in the graphic on the right.

KRISTA
So things like a lease agreement, the renter’s driver’s license copy of the eviction notice, etc., everything that you need to pull together to say, this is who I tenant is. Here’s the proof that this is who they are. Here’s what they agreed to. And this is what’s going on in terms of the context of the situation right? So next is to actually give the eviction notice to your tenant.

KRISTA
So you’ve already had an informal conversation with them, things are not resolved. Give them an eviction notice. The type is going to vary depending on your state and the situation that you find yourself in. But by and large, it’s going to need to detail the reason that you’re evicting them. Total damages and rent owed as applicable a timeframe for complying with your demands and the eviction date if your demands are met.

KRISTA
Sometimes this is enough to get tenants to act because they do not want to be evicted any more than you want to evict them. So sometimes this is enough and they can get it together, give you what they need and you’re good. If it’s not, you’re going to begin the eviction process in court. So that is when you’ll use all of these documents that we have on the right hand side, gather them together, bring them to court, and then you start that process, which can take a bit of time.

KRISTA
But we’ll discuss that later. Once you can successfully evict the tenant, you can then regain property. Regaining property can mean that you can change the locks, you can clean the unit. But bear in mind if your tenant has abandoned their items there, you’re going to have to tend to those. Don’t worry that we have a question answer for you at the end of the presentation to explain how to approach that situation.

JONATHAN
Okay. We do have a few questions that I wanted to make sure we were hitting before we go into the queue. So looks like Sheila asked, what is your take for the smoking if it is now legal for that?

KRISTA
Oh, are they smoking marijuana? That’s what I’m saying. Yeah. I mean, if you have a clause or an addendum that says no smoking, they are still bound by that. Even if smoking it like smoking marijuana is allowed in your state because they’ve agreed to not do that in your property. So you can continue to pursue either some kind of solution.

KRISTA
Don’t smoke in my property or maybe smoke outside. Depends on what you have available. Still absolutely valid reason to have a conversation with them though. Just because it’s legal in your state doesn’t mean it’s legal in your rental unit.

JONATHAN
Yeah, that’s where it’s really useful to clearly outline everything. All of the rules. Smoking is a big one, whether it’s tobacco or marijuana. Make sure that’s in the lease agreement. And if it’s not, at least addendum.

KRISTA
Absolutely.

JONATHAN
Okay. Getting into FAQs. Okay. So I see a lot of you have asked questions that actually are in the next few slides, so we will get to them right now. So first one, how long does it take? This may not be terribly surprising. If you’ve ever had to go to court or do anything through the legal system, it is quite slow, 2 to 3 months on average.

JONATHAN
So that’s on average. That means that there are some that go that take way longer. This is once again dependent on the state and your unique eviction situation. If it’s something very cut and dry like they haven’t paid rent in a few months, then, you know, that may make it go faster, but it depends on your local courts.

JONATHAN
A lot of courts are still backlogged as a result as a as a result of the eviction moratorium. So, yes, it could be way longer right now, to be honest. So when we say evictions should be a last resort, this is really what we’re talking about, because this is, if you think about it, possibly three months that they’re going to be in your rental unit, not paying rent, that’s rental income not coming into you.

JONATHAN
That obviously adds up. That can be pretty costly.

KRISTA
Absolutely.

JONATHAN
Speaking of costly, how much does it cost to evict a tenant? So once again, this varies, but the process averages about $3500, per TransUnion. And TransUnion is one of the three major credit bureaus. So we definitely trust them. They’re also the ones that create our screening reports. So if you buy a screening report through term a tenant, we use TransUnion so it can average 3500.

JONATHAN
But our first session of this webinar that we had last week, we had a landlord named GP who joined us. And do you remember how much did he say his cost him?

KRISTA
Yeah, like upwards of 15,000, up between 12 and $15,000, which is horrifying.

JONATHAN
Yeah. So it can it can get very costly. So landlords pay the court fees, legal fees, tenant turnover fees. And then of course, those other costs like the time lost, the lost rent. Most of these costs are tax deductible, but still, it can it can definitely take up a lot of your time and and make a dent in your bank account.

KRISTA
Absolutely. And before we move on, that $3,500 figure, that’s just the costs, not counting any kind of lost rent. So bear in mind, it’s going to stack up. Unfortunately.

JONATHAN
All right. And I see Jasmine just asked us any options to recoup unpaid rent. We’ll look at that.

KRISTA
Great question.

JONATHAN
So possibly, again, it depends. So depending on your state, you may or may not have received payment for past due rent by the time the tenant moves out. If that’s not the case, you still have some other options, including deducting the missed rent from your taxes depending on your accounting method. So if you use the cash accounting method, rent debt would be considered uncollected income.

JONATHAN
So it would not be recorded as income or be deducted as an expense on the other hand, accrual accounting. Accrual accounting means that the landlord recognizes the rental income at the start of each month. So if accrued rent is included in income but not collected, then landlords are able to write it off as a bad debt and sole proprietors.

JONATHAN
If that’s how you set up your rental business, they can do this using a schedule C form. When they schedule or when you file your taxes. Just make sure to check with your accountant as well as once again your local and state landlord laws to know what you can and cannot deduct because that that changes depending on your location and then your last option, you can also sue for payment, which would take you to small claims court.

JONATHAN
So some states allow you to sue for unpaid rent at the same time as the eviction in other states, you may be required to file another small claims lawsuit against the former tenant in order to receive back payments on the overdue rent. Just bear in mind that the tenant, if they were unable to pay rent, they’re probably unable to pay you.

JONATHAN
Now, there’s likely a reason that they were unable to pay rent, such as, you know, they’re unemployed or had some other kind of hardship. And thus it may not really be worth the time and effort to go after them in court. I know as landlords that is not awesome to hear because these people have already cost you money.

JONATHAN
You of course want to try and get that back, but in some cases it’s very difficult to do so. Okay, so then let’s say that you successfully evicted somebody if they left things behind. What do you do with the stuff so trash can be removed, but abandoned belongings with value should be treated carefully? Again, we’re going to quote no low look up your state’s rules.

JONATHAN
So your state likely does have rules about notifying the former tenant about their abandoned property or storing it or disposing of it or using funds from the sale of it. So you may be required to store valuable belongings and reach out to the tenant for a set amount of time before getting rid of anything. Okay. And then we’ve been saying this the whole time, but what about alternatives?

JONATHAN
Let’s say you have a problem tenant and you really just don’t want to go down the eviction route. I think we’ve painted an appropriately bleak picture of how evictions typically proceed. There are alternatives, so one of them is to convert to a month to month lease. If somebody is was annual, you could convert that to a month to month.

JONATHAN
Let them go one more month. If they’re still there are still issues at the end of that month, just don’t renew. You could also provide your tenant with rent relief resources. So if they’re if the issue is that they’re not able to pay the rent each month, there are rent relief resources, which again, dependent on wherever your locale is.

JONATHAN
But there are plenty of those that you could look into. And then our last one is cash for kids. So cash for kids, basically the way this works is if you’re nearing the eviction, an eviction proceeding, then you would say, hey, how about instead I give you blank amount of cash, you give me the keys to the rental unit and vacate the property by this date.

JONATHAN
It may sound counterintuitive to pay them to leave when they have not been paying. You, but given everything else that we just discussed, this can sometimes be the fastest and cheapest way of moving on from a problem.

KRISTA
That’s true. So I’m going to drop a plug here in the chat. And also our guest landlord has definitely gone through a cash for keys situation or two in the past. So Brendan, if you’re there, would you like to share your thoughts about cash for keys and why you might elect to choose that over an eviction?

BRENDAN
Yeah, sure am I? Can you hear me?

KRISTA
You’re on. We can hear you.

BRENDAN
Okay. Yeah. Yeah. I’m represented. I got this shirt. All right. So, yeah, I’m from upstate New York, and I would say for us, we’ve only actually gone through the actual eviction process through the courts once. But we’ve encouraged many people to leave by being creative and cash for keys is probably the best way to do that.

BRENDAN
You see how much money it costs you and all of the trauma and the consequences that it can cost the tenants. So usually if you do the math in your head, you say, if it’s going to take three months, I’m going to lose a thousand bucks a month. Plus playing, paying the attorney and everything. You can usually put a number together, say, listen, we’re not going to pursue any of the debt and we’re willing to give you 1500 bucks or with some people we’ve done 500 bucks, but I’ll bring a truck and I’ll help you move.

BRENDAN
You know, like we’ve gotten creative with it to get to move on to the next next tenant essentially. And that usually that’s usually responded to pretty well by the the tenant. Usually you can show some empathy and say, hey, I understand your situation and let me help with your security deposit and maybe your first month’s rent for the next person because it’s clearly just not working out living with us.

BRENDAN
And just one thing I’ll say about that is sometimes that’s the biggest obstacle. They’re like, okay, I know I need to move. It’s not a good living environment anymore. The relationship is as gone south, but I don’t have enough for security, whatever, to move into that next spot so you can cash for keys and help them. I would say in New York at least you do need to they need to return the keys and step off of the property.

BRENDAN
So you meet him at the curb, get all their personal belongings off the property, and then exchange the keys and then you can give them a hug or whatever you want to do about it. You move on.

KRISTA
Nice. Well said. We did have one person in the chat say that they read it wasn’t legal to buy out the tenant, but it sounds like that’s either different from your situation or otherwise. Maybe untrue because I feel like it’d be pretty cool to come on here and tell us you were committing a crime. So is it on the up and up to do a cash for keys buyout in New York?

BRENDAN
Yeah. Yeah, you can. And it’s it’s pretty I think it’s pretty common, especially during the moratorium. I think that was a pretty common practice. Yeah.

KRISTA
Beautiful. Okay. Thank you for sharing. I appreciate that.

JONATHAN
Okay, we have one more slide and then Brendan, we’ll come back. Okay. So last but not least, how do you avoid an eviction? We’ve talked about how they’re not awesome and we’ve talked about the alternatives, which maybe you’re thinking those also don’t sound very awesome. So how do we avoid one altogether? The most effective way to do it is to make sure you are getting a great tenant and to make sure that you have a great lease agreement.

JONATHAN
All right. When I say great lease agreement, I really mean one that covers any situation that may arise. So we recommend reviewing your lease with a real estate attorney and prioritizing tenant screening by leveraging background, criminal history and credit checks. And quick plug. Yes, you can use turbo tenant for your screening reports. Hours are very comprehensive. If it’s allowed in your area, then we include background, criminal history, credit check, eviction history, huge red flag.

JONATHAN
Obviously somebody has been evicted before, then it may happen again. So that may not be your first choice of person to move in. Also, we recommend to gather landlord references, meaning if somebody is interested in moving in. Asked to speak with their previous landlord, that can be very insightful. And then once to maintain good documentation of everything. So conversations, complaints, emails, texts, whatever it may be, it’s a great idea to compile all of this stuff.

JONATHAN
If you do use the TurboTenant platform, you can actually upload documents right into your your account so you can take screenshots, take whatever you think is going to be pertinent and upload it right there. And I did see somebody in the chat ask if if it is possible to use other tenants complaints in an eviction proceeding. And yeah, absolutely.

JONATHAN
This kind of goes back to the you are l to which Christy was talking about just a moment ago that the tenants rights and this is pretty much true across the board actually it is true across the board that the tenants rights one of them is to live in a safe. What is it? Safe and peaceful manner, I think is how they work.

KRISTA
The right to quiet covenant.

JONATHAN
Yes. Yes. So if they are disrupting the neighbors or especially if it’s other tenants that are in the same rental unit, that is absolutely could be grounds for an eviction if it continues.

KRISTA
All righty. So now we are very, very lucky to have an expert landlord willing to share his experiences with an eviction. So Gurpreet Singh is on the line with us. He has 20 plus years of experience and he is a landlord in Maryland. G.P., can you hear me?

GURPREET
Yes, I can. Can you hear me?

KRISTA
I can. Thank you so much for joining us. Of course. Wonderful. So I’ve outlined a little bit of context here, but could you tell us about your eviction story with your tenant of 15 to 18 months?

GURPREET
Yes, I will say that we’ve been doing this for a couple of decades. We have a growing portfolio of residential real estate, and we’ve very very rarely have to go through the eviction process all the way. It’s probably only happened two or three times over the decades. And in this particular case, the tenant was there for between 15 and 18 months.

GURPREET
The primary reason for nonpayment of rent was a separation between the couple. Normally when something like this happens, we try to work with the tenant and maybe work out a payment plan and maybe give them a little bit time to catch up. We usually work through this process for three months, 3 to 4 months, maybe at most. If we’re not making progress in that time in terms of catching up and maintaining the rent, that’s when we consider the process of potentially going through an eviction, a formal eviction process.

GURPREET
And normally for us, we have to get in Maryland between two and three money judgments from the court before we can continue down the process of an actual eviction or get or get a right to evict. After that, there’s a process for scheduling with the sheriffs and each of these steps between getting a money judgment, getting the right to evict, getting the sheriff to come out is usually a few weeks, maybe up to a month or so for each step of that process.

KRISTA
Oof yeah, that certainly is a long timeline. Okay. So with that in mind, I would love to ask the audience if whether you’ve been in this situation before with the nonpayment of rent or you’re just thinking about it here with us, how long would you wait to formally begin the eviction process? So please feel free to answer here.

KRISTA
Now, bear in mind, this is not going to have all of the legal nuance that your particular state or city might offer for which I apologize. This is mostly just to get you thinking about the types of decisions you’ll have to make if you do pursue an eviction. Okay. The answers are rolling in. You mentioned as we let the folks answer it, you mentioned that this has only happened a couple of times where you have to go all of the way through the eviction process and I know that your business started with your grandfather.

KRISTA
Have there ever been cases either in your own firsthand experience or with him where you started the eviction process, but either the tenant just abandon ship completely and you had to figure out something else or otherwise took a turn that you weren’t expecting.

GURPREET
Absolutely. That happens all the time. So as I said, they’re going through the entire process two or three times. But we’ve probably gone through the process of having people started the process and people having abandoned or paying partially or negotiating something in the middle probably dozens of times. So that that’s much, much more frequent when somebody is not paying where we work something out during that the first couple of months of their delinquency and payment.

KRISTA
Yeah, that makes sense. Okay. So here you can see the spread of how long folks would wait. It looks like the vast majority would wait 1 to 2 months after the first instant of missed rent. Some folks are waiting three days after the first incident of missed rent. Again, it’s challenging when it’s a business and you’re expecting that money to go toward other expenses in your life.

KRISTA
But you mentioned that you waited 3 to 4 months after the first missed payment. Can you explain how you have that flexibility? Because I imagine there are landlords in the audience who are like, oh, gosh, that’s a long time to wait to start this kind of lengthy process.

GURPREET
Yeah, we’ve doing this a very long time and we kind of expect some level of vacancy and we expect that there’s going to be some issues along the way and that we will have to work out some sort of payment plan. Also, it’s really important to note that this is not a primary business for any of my family.

GURPREET
Real estate is a growing part of our business, but it’s not our primary source of income. So we don’t rely on the real estate at all to make any payments for our personal lives. We do that from our own businesses. This is fairly and an investment portfolio that’s growing over time. And so we can take a little bit more losses short term to ensure that we have a smooth process for us in terms of management.

KRISTA
Yeah, thank you for being willing to share that because I imagine some folks are not in that same position and so they’re going to want to adjust their approach and still still check and still get their tenant time to have that conversation, but maybe pursue things with a different cadence.

GURPREET
We have actually seriously thought about switching to a very strict process and essentially filing paperwork as soon as someone’s late to use it as a forcing function. We haven’t actually gone to implementing it yet. It’s just a lot more work and we don’t we’re not sure how much more effective it’ll be at the end of the day, given all the extra effort required.

KRISTA
That makes a lot of sense. Okay. So taking us through the timeline here, you have the missed payment and then 3 to 4 months go by, you start the eviction process, which you mentioned in Maryland, requires a money judgment. At that point. After you’ve gotten that money judgment, let’s see, landlords, if you were in shoes, what would your next step be or okay, get some answers.

KRISTA
And here again, this is just to put you in the mindset of, you know, thinking through these kinds of tricky decisions.

JONATHAN
I’m not sure if you were trying to turn your video on earlier. You should now be able to if you want to, don’t feel pressured.

KRISTA
Okay. All right. We will let this roll for a few more seconds here.

KRISTA
Perfect. Yeah. It’s interesting to see the distribution. Okay. At low.

JONATHAN
Okay. We have a question in the chat, which was what is a money judgment?

KRISTA
Yeah.

GURPREET
So you have to establish the fact that they’re actually behind on rent and you do that by getting a money judgment. You provide documentation that they’re this many payments behind or this amount behind. This process takes place formally in court. You’re supposed to be there as the landlord and the tenant. They’re supposed to be there as well. If either side doesn’t show, the other party gets the judgment.

GURPREET
And so you’re just establishing how far behind they are in terms of dollars. It doesn’t matter why.

KRISTA
Well said. Thank you. So here we have the results of the poll. A lot of you would be tempted to call the tenant as your next step or otherwise. It’s almost an it isn’t even split between pursuing additional magic judgment or change the locks. I have the privilege of knowing the story. So you did have to pursue an additional money judgment, right?

GURPREET
Yes. In Maryland, you’re required at least two, possibly three. So those laws are changing here and there. But when I had to do it, it was too. And so you have to have two consecutive money judgments before you can go after the right to evict.

KRISTA
Wow. Okay. And I want to be cognizant of time. So I should say with each of these steps, you might have mentioned it, it was at least a month. Correct. For you, like, okay, money judgment that takes one month, second money judgment another month. And then you move on to the scheduling of the eviction, correct?

GURPREET
Yes. So it’s about a month for each one between each step.

KRISTA
Yeah. Wow. It is quite a process. And then at the end, I believe you had the sheriff come out to assist. Is that true?

GURPREET
Yeah. The final step is to actually call the sheriff and schedule an eviction and they’ll set the date. And at that point, they’ll also, once you schedule, they’ll begin posting notices on the door of the tenant so that they know this eviction is coming. And when it is coming, so they can plan to either leave or be present and the sheriff actually physically shows up there on the day of eviction and they watch they don’t actually do anything other than to ensure order.

GURPREET
We kind of they just kind of watch the process. And so you also have to hire movers to go ahead and move all of the belongings outside of the house onto the lawn. And if the tenant’s not present and you have to store it, but if the tenant is present and you can just kind of put it out on the lawn and then change the locks while the sheriff watches.

KRISTA
Wow. Yeah, that sounds like it could be a tense situation. So I’m glad that the sheriff is there to keep the peace, even if they’re not helping to load out boxes. Yeah, right. So I believe you said could you share in total how much money was lost throughout this particular eviction process?

GURPREET
You could say 6 to 7 months of rent at $2,000 a month. So maybe 12 to $14000 in lost rent, maybe they made one payment. So maybe 10 to 12000. Well, you also have the turnover cost of the property could be between four and 6000, maybe new carpets and paints and different things. We might do it just to kind of fix up the property.

GURPREET
And then, of course, some of the court fees we don’t normally use in attorneys and the court fees are maybe a few hundred bucks, not that bad. And then, of course, the movers, which might be another few hundred bucks, 2000 bucks, something like that. So it could be anywhere like 10 to 15, up to $20,000 situation, depending on how long you wait, how bad it gets.

KRISTA
Yeah, yeah. Casey said the good news, this really only been two or three times over decades, so it normally doesn’t get all the way that far.

KRISTA
Yeah, thank frankly. Okay. Let me see if there are some questions we can fire off again. Being cognizant of time. Here is a an important and busy man. Let’s see. Collection of a money judgment. How do you approach that? Is that something where you go to the court and you ask them to grant a money, judgment or otherwise?

KRISTA
How do you start that process?

GURPREET
You fill out a form, you go to your county office and you fill out a form. Describe which month’s rent they’re behind. Provide the details of the property through other details on the tenant and formally disclose these months this amount for each month the late fee and that way it’s specific to that filing or that that form. And so you have the if they for example if the tenant catches up on those payments before that happens, before that judgment is issued, then you can’t get a judgment on that anymore.

GURPREET
So it’s specific to the months of delinquent rent.

KRISTA
Thank you. That makes sense. Kenneth said he has a similar situation with his D.C. property. Yeah, I’m see any other questions for GP or about the eviction process in general? I see you guys are answering each other’s questions in the chat, which I love. Great to have some community in here.

JONATHAN
Yeah, we had we had one person ask, how long do you leave their stuff on the lawn? We sort of talked about that that, you know, it varies by location, but I don’t know if you want to talk about removal of property, of tenants property after an eviction.

GURPREET
In our situation that tenants will present so. I don’t I believe that because they’re present it’s their it’s on them to determine how long it stays on the lawn. If they just leave it after a few, maybe a week or two, it was a week. Maybe we’ll wait before we throw anything out. I don’t know the actual rule for that in Maryland, but we waited about a week and because the tenant was there, we said that was pretty much abandoned at that point in terms of if somebody here just asks also a question, which was the cost for eviction, if they’re deductible, yeah, they should be there.

GURPREET
Everything related to your business should be deductible. But again, like they said, for cash, for in terms of rent, if you’re in cash, you haven’t actually you haven’t actually accrued the rent or you haven’t actually earned the rent. So you can’t write off something you haven’t actually earned yet. So the loss of rent is different. But aside from that, all the hard costs are deductible.

JONATHAN
Yeah, good point.

KRISTA
Said does the eviction application have to be in the name of the owner or can it be in the name of the property?

GURPREET
I think it depends on the form, but I believe that you would write the name of the owner as a part of it and then you could put a contact there as well if it was different, like if you had an LLC and if you had two different purposes as contact, I think you can list both. That’s not a problem.

GURPREET
The case would between the LLC and the actual tenant, though.

KRISTA
That makes sense.

JONATHAN
Okay. We do have one final poll question that I’m going to go ahead and fire off.

KRISTA
Yeah.

JONATHAN
Okay. It should be showing up for everyone right now once the court has set an eviction date, what would be your next step?

KRISTA
Nice. Oh, wow.

JONATHAN
It’s pretty decisive.

KRISTA
Yeah, always love to see it. I’m going to I’m going to attribute that to Jeep’s excellent storytelling.

JONATHAN
Oh, Gurpreet, where are you?

BRENDAN
I am in the Bahamas. Nassau. Bahamas.

JONATHAN
Wow.

KRISTA
You took the time to be with us today. Guys, can we get some love? Thank you to GP in the chat. That’s very nice. He’s got the whole ocean out there and Eastern Europe and Belgium.

GURPREET
Yeah.

KRISTA
Yeah.

JONATHAN
That’s not that’s not what Maryland looks like. But it’s got a lot of us. We got a lot of things coming in on the chat. That’s awesome. If we are going to end this poll, I’m sharing the results. Okay, so 80% of you would call the local sheriff to schedule the eviction. 13% of you would do nothing. He was just wait for the court to do their thing and 7% would post the listing online with the moving date shortly after the eviction date.

JONATHAN
Yeah. Got to get that rental income flowing again. I get it. 7%.

KRISTA
True, but 7% do be careful because let’s say anything happens with the eviction date itself. Maybe there’s a bunch of belongings left in there or it’s really messy. If it’s if the moving date is too soon after that, you might be in a bit of a pinch. So do call your sheriffs as needed and then get everything out of the way, post it back up, find a great tenant and we’ll start earning rental income again.

GURPREET
I Will add that we’ve adopted a interesting an interesting strategy for our portfolio since it’s so closely Duke, so closely located geographically, where a lot of times where we’re running cases all the time, we’re collecting cell phone numbers, collecting, collecting contact information, and then we’ll kind of if they agree, we’ll blast out what’s available in the neighborhood type of thing.

GURPREET
And if there is an opening coming up like this, we will start promoting it even before the eviction is totally done. But we won’t, of course, sign any leases until we get that officially wrapped up.

JONATHAN
Yeah.

KRISTA
That is smart. All right. Well, everyone, it has been lovely chatting with you today. Before you sign off. As I mentioned, he has a very talent, a multi-talented individual. And I know you have a home inspection business. Do you want to plug it really fast and tell us so?

GURPREET
Absolutely. So we have a nationwide home inspection business called us inspect. You can check us out at the US this become we do property management inspections as well so we have some law our clients where we do annual property inspections for them as rent as a landlord. And of course we do the regular inspections as well. When you’re buying a new home or a new investment property or something like that, and the business has been doing this for more than 30 years, so we’ve been around a long time.

JONATHAN
Thanks.

KRISTA
Yeah. He gives a wealth of information in terms of the rental industry and house inspections. So if you need anything, please do reach out. I just drop that link in the chat. It’ll also be linked in the webinar page that we create for you. Otherwise I hope you guys learn something today. Have a wonderful rest of your afternoon.

KRISTA
We will be sending out this recording along with the deck by end of day tomorrow, I believe. Jonathan Any final thoughts?

GURPREET
No, thanks, everyone.

JONATHAN
Awesome. Okay, thank you everyone for coming. Hopefully you enjoyed when we end this in just a moment, you will get a survey. Please Do fill that out. We really, really appreciate any thoughts you have on there. And you can also vote on what we should cover next month in our webinar. All right. She frozen for you, Brendan? She.

JONATHAN
Yes. Okay. All right. She may be having some Internet issues. Sorry about that. Okay, cool. So now here’s Brendan again. So Brendan has been a landlord for over five years. And as you mentioned, he is in New York, in Schenectady, New York. And yeah. Brendan, do you want to tell us your eviction stories?

BRENDAN
Okay, sure. Yes. So so the one that I went over with you guys to talk about this is probably the the biggest nightmare that we had enough of an eviction. We had a tenant that stopped making payments.

BRENDAN
June of 2021. So June there was payment. There was a conversation. We had had issues with this tenant in the past. So then I talked to him again at the end of June, hoping that July 1st would make a difference. And then July there was no payment. So I decided because of my own emotions, instead of pursuing the cash for keys, I said, You know what, I’m going to go through the eviction process.

BRENDAN
This this gentleman has really pushed every button. So I went down, I got an eviction attorney that I knew of. And we we gave a 14 day notice. That was in the very beginning of August it finally was the notice was sent out at the beginning of August. So that’s 14 days essentially for them to make a payment or to leave the property.

BRENDAN
That’s the first step in New York. So once I sent that out, he didn’t make the payment and he didn’t leave. So I requested a court date that part cost about $350 to send that notice and then to get a court date in upstate New York. And the court date that they gave me was four march. So I was like, Oh, wow, this is why you try as hard as you can to avoid the eviction process.

BRENDAN
And obviously, this is during, you know, the tail end of COVID there or the pandemic, I guess. And so not a normal circumstance. And in a state that was pretty, I would say during that time, every state was really trying to favor the tenants because of the, you know, the chaos. So anyway, we we were given a court date for March.

BRENDAN
And as March approached, the attorney called me and he said, because of the legislation in New York, if you follow through with a march court date, you can get him evicted, but you won’t be able to have a cash judgment to try to recoup any of the lost money for that time that he had to make payments. They said, if you want once January hits, you can you can submit it again and file a cash judgment.

BRENDAN
And then it would push your court date back a little. But then at least he would have to, you know, you could recoup some of the money. So that was yeah, March of the next year. So that was March 20, 22. And so I went down Georgia in January to, you know, just submit that to make the change there.

BRENDAN
So there would be a cash judgment as.

JONATHAN
Wow. We have a question from Chad, which is, do you have cash for keys? Expenses can be written off on taxes.

BRENDAN
I don’t know. I’d have to ask my bookkeeper how we handle that. Yeah, we’ve we’ve had times where, you know. I think so.

JONATHAN
Okay. I’m going to launch another one of our polls so graciously is popping up right now. Okay. So this poll is purely hypothetical. Your tenant hasn’t paid rent in a month. He’s been late before. What do you do? See the answers flowing in? I’ll let that run for a second. So, Brendan, what what happened with that tenant?

BRENDAN
So essentially with with him, once we went down to the once I went to the attorney’s office and then filed a cash judgment, the judgment was 60 $500. And that was the back right at that point. So then they submitted it to the courts and then they gave us a court date. But that next court date wasn’t until June 1st.

BRENDAN
So if push me from now, I have no no payment from June 1st through to June 1st. That’s a full year. And luckily we own you know, we’re managing right now 25 units. But you can imagine if you have a single family home and you’re in that situation, that would be very difficult carrying a mortgage and everything. So yeah, that was kind of a shocker.

BRENDAN
And I said, wow, it’s, you know, this is not a fun process. So we went through until June 1st. I went to court. They did say, okay, you have three weeks to vacate the property or the sheriff will come and remove you and remove your belongings. And then I, you know, counted the clock, counted the seconds until June 21st.

BRENDAN
And can they can I finish the story? I don’t know if there’s another.

JONATHAN
Oh, yeah, no, please.

BRENDAN
So so I got there on June 21st and he was actually on the back porch and I showed up and I said, I don’t I don’t really know what to do because I went through all the proper legal guidelines and they gave the final the final day to be out. But he’s still there. And he was didn’t look like he was ready to go.

BRENDAN
So I just I said, you know, I’m going to call the police. So I call the police. Once I call the police, he gave me the keys and he left. That’s not a normal I wouldn’t say that that’s a common situation. Most people, they don’t want to go through the eviction. They don’t want it on their record. They don’t want that confrontation.

BRENDAN
But for this gentleman, you know, every once in a while, you find someone that is willing to push, you know, to the breaking point. So he ended up leaving. And then thank God we were able to get another tenant in there shortly.

JONATHAN
Jeez, that is crazy. A full year. All right. I mean that all and share this with everyone. Okay. So the question was, your tenant hasn’t paid rent a month. He’s been late before. What do you do? Wow. Neck and neck in the lead only by a little bit as a center of a pay or quit notice and then second place talk to him informally.

JONATHAN
Very few of you said to wait one month and take action and even less of you offered cash for keys.

BRENDAN
Yeah, I would. Just to chime in there, I would say don’t immediately go to cash for keys. I think people see that. But if once you get to the point where you’re like, I’m about to start spending serious money, or maybe once you get to the point where you realize the relationship is broken, there, then it’s like, okay, we’re going to have to do something.

JONATHAN
Absolutely. Yeah. I see a few people in the chat said yes, any cash for keys expense is deductible, so thank you for that. Good to know the answer there looks like. Carmena asked What was your reasoning that that you held up in court for the eviction?

BRENDAN
Well, for him it was not for him was nonpayment. Yeah. Yeah, for for nonpayment over that portion of time. And he didn’t have good documented cause for hardship. There were people that were presenting hardship during that time because of COVID 19 specifically.

JONATHAN
Yeah, it looks like Chris in the chat said my tenant has already been evicted so much that she’s been giving me the steps of how it will go.

BRENDAN
Oh, yeah.

JONATHAN
That sounds like a red flag.

BRENDAN
You know, I just want to say, we recently got a house that we that we rented out. We use turbo tenant all the way through. And and man, it’s it’s been super helpful. And I would just say the best time to get rid of a bad tenant is before they ever move in. And it’s better to spend two months worth of rent money with a vacancy before you rent it.

BRENDAN
That perfect candidate, as opposed to three or four or five months while they’re living in it, potentially angry at you and maybe, maybe destroying property. So do it upfront.

JONATHAN
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. It looks like John asked what would Brendan do differently next time?

BRENDAN
I would have I would have had a more stringent screening process in the beginning. I’m a I’m a softie. So I met him, I heard his story, and I said, come on in, buddy. You know, make herself at home. So that was that was pretty terrible ten days for me. And yeah, I think you I would say you you realize how naive you are when you first start doing this and trying to scale this.

BRENDAN
But yeah, I would have definitely screened better in the beginning.

JONATHAN
Did you have a screening process back then?

BRENDAN
No. When I first started, we were we were working with a couple of Section eight coaches, basically case managers. We were working with a couple local programs that would help people that were coming out of rehab, that did rent assistance and stuff like that. So it was meant we were meant to be trying to house people that were having a hard time finding housing.

BRENDAN
But even in that environment, you can still take your time and find a good a good candidate.

JONATHAN
Absolutely. We had a question if let’s say a few people ask the same thing, which is about landlord references. Do you do you guys do? And the references.

BRENDAN
Yeah, we do for the for the majority of our of our apartments. That’s a great that’s a great idea. One thing I would say also about that is if when the tenant comes, if the main character of their story is if they’re telling you their story of why they’re moving. And the main point is how terrible last landlord was.

BRENDAN
That’s a red flag right there because you’re going to be the star of their next story. Don’t if they’re if they’re cursing out their last landlord, then say, oh, wow, that’s terrible. And, you know, don’t jump on that.

JONATHAN
That’s funny. That’s something we always say with hiring, too. If somebody is in the in the job interview talking about how horrible their last boss. Maybe they were the horrible one.

BRENDAN
Yeah. Yes.

JONATHAN
So is there any way that you can how do you how do you verify those references when you when somebody gives you a landlord reference, how do you know it’s a legitimate call?

BRENDAN
You can work, you can request photos, call the person it is. It is tricky, though, and I’ll say this from experience, if you’re trying to get someone to move and they’re finally going to leave and then you get a landlord reference call, you’re probably going to make that person sound good because you don’t want them to stay. So I’ve had I’ve had people that were cast for keys making leave and then landlords are calling me hair.

BRENDAN
They’re a good candidate. And I’m like, Yeah, yeah, no, they’re really not. So you try to, you try to be realistic with them. But at the same, the references are not always great because if they’re trying to get rid of someone, then that’s but that’s why the screening report and the stuff you do is a little bit more concrete than just talking to their last landlord.

BRENDAN
That could be their cousin or something.

JONATHAN
Sure. Yeah. Yeah. We saw something recently of somebody asking if, like, I can’t find my tenant on any social media platforms. They don’t want to come see the property, didn’t meet them face to face. Those are red flags. That’s not somebody you should agree to rent to.

BRENDAN
Right. And especially with the market right now, there’s so many people looking for housing. I’m sure you guys are getting so many leads for every listing you put up. It’s not worth rushing. Take your time and you’ll find someone that appreciates it. You’ll find someone that you can build a a good relationship with.

JONATHAN
Yeah, absolutely. Okay. Okay. So that was the one eviction that you’ve had to go through. And you mentioned the cash for keys. Are there any other have you had any other cash for keys situations?

BRENDAN
Yeah, we had a couple during COVID. We’ve we’ve I’ve helped a couple people with expenses to move. We did have some people that went through the New York State rental assistance Grant Program that came out during COVID, too, which was pretty it was helpful in some cases, were able to recoup a lot of back rent, but it’s also a lot of workload for the landlord to apply for this grant and everything.

BRENDAN
And it’s not what you signed up for in the beginning, but yeah, you know, you got to do what you got to do.

JONATHAN
And you mentioned that you have 25 properties.

BRENDAN
We have 20 to 25 rental units and then some of them are broken up into private rooms. So so those are a little unique because those are kind of transitional housing. You can’t really do a screening reporting stuff because you’re trying to help people transition that you already know that they’re coming out of a ruff, ruff, ruff past.

BRENDAN
So yeah.

JONATHAN
And in that time, with that many units, it’s only one eviction has actually gone.

BRENDAN
One that went all the way through the courts, everything else we’ve yeah. Well even go online and try to help people find a place to move if there’s issues, let’s say they’re having an issue with a neighbor and that’s like the crux, them saying, I’m so sick and tired or whatever, you know, you have to be a little bit of a therapist, a real estate agent.

BRENDAN
You’re a handyman. You’re a little bit of everything.

JONATHAN
Okay, well, we’re nearing the hour here. Brendon, is there anything else you want to add about evictions? Our audience here, a lot of them have been landlords for a long time, but some of them are brand new. Are there any words of wisdom you’d like to impart?

BRENDAN
I would I would just say the the biggest thing is keeping a relationship with with the tenant. If you don’t like people and you don’t have patience for people, then hire a property manager. Because, you know, we’ve had tenants where let’s say a spouse passes away or someone and that’s why they’re late. And if you go and talk to them and say, listen, you’re 300 bucks behind, but I know you’re going through funeral expenses, just never mind.

BRENDAN
We’ll get you next month. If you’re willing to do that, then people will feel convicted to take care of your property and to to treat you with honesty and stuff. So I’d say you got to you got to keep the, you know, care about the people involved. And you’ll do good and you’ll stand out because there’s not a lot of landlords to do.

BRENDAN
So you can you can shine like a you know, you can shine pretty easily. And then the thing that you guys have where every month they can rate how they’re feeling, if there’s a maintenance issue or whatever, all that little stuff shows people you care and. At the end of the day, we have to look at being a landlord.

BRENDAN
The tenant is your customer. And like if you look at Apple, for example, like they care about how their customer feels using the product and they care about the feedback and they try to wow them. So if you do that, if you have the same perspective as a landlord, then you’ll, you’ll have happy tenants.

JONATHAN
You know there you go. You just got to and I love that. Treat them like they’re your customer. I mean, they are so.

BRENDAN
Absolutely. And if if they don’t if if they’re not participating and making the payments, the whole financial structure of what you think you’re going to do to set yourself up for retirement or whatever, it doesn’t exist without them. So you got to love that. Love the tenant.

JONATHAN
That’s awesome. What a great way to end. Brendan, thank you so much for coming here and sharing your story with us. It looks like Krista had a hard time reconnecting, but I will fill her in on what she missed. And thank you everyone for joining us. Once I close this webinar, you’ll all see a survey asking you what you thought about the webinar and also giving you the option to vote on what we cover next month.

JONATHAN
We do this once a month. We have an educational webinar on a topic like this, so please do vote on what you’d like to see next time and follow up via email tomorrow with this recording and our slide show. So thank you all and have a great day.

 

 

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