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  • Problem Tenant

    We have been in business for 15 years and have never had a tenant like this one. She is an attorney which makes it worse. I really would like some opinions.

    We took over an old facility at the start of January 2019 and the tenant notified us of a leak in her unit in May. We asked her on several occasions to open her unit so we could see if there was any damage. She never came. We sent someone onto the roof more than once to patch the roof, but we needed her to open her unit. She agreed to come and we paid two men to move her items, but she did not turn up on the agreed date. Because she never came, we had no choice but to change the roof in October. We normally would not change a roof with a tenant’s items in the storage unit, but we thought that we had no choice but to do so.
    She said that we should have checked for leaks when we took over the facility, and I explained to her that I had been onto all of the roofs to check for leaks. I told her that the only way for us to enter her unit was by placing an auction notice in the newspaper for non-payment, which we did. I told her that we should come to a compromise and she told me that she wanted to go through the Law Court. On December 6, 2019 she showed up with a policeman and I denied them entry. She is now playing the victim calling me all kinds of names and she is very hostile. I have given her all of her lien notices and can auction her items, but I don't want her to take us to court and waste our time. She simply doesn't want to pay her bill, which is now $2,700.00. Any thoughts?

  • #2
    First off, you should have a clause in your contract that allows you to enter a unit: immediately for urgent repairs and with 3-day notice for non-emergent repairs. So the day she didn't arrive, we would have cut the lock and entered anyway.

    Now, however, I would offer to let her pay half and move out to see if that will take care of her. Otherwise, auction it and have everything well documented in case she does file a lawsuit. She didn't pay the rent, and you have every right to sell as long as all the legal notices are in order.
    MamaDuke

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    • #3
      Like MamaDuke said, document EVERYTHING and take plenty of pics if you get in to the unit and have a trusted witness with everything. Follow your state statutes and do not deviate from what your lease says. If you do then that lawyer, PITA, can claim you did and say why should she follow the lease when you did not. While the offer of 1/2 the rent and move out may sound appealing that can be construed as deviating from the lease and at that point she could have grounds in a court of law. Do not knuckle under to her. She is a lawyer, so freakin' what. The phrase "pound sand" comes to mind.

      If in fact you do agree to something like a 1/2 payment or anything else, make sure that is well documented and signed by both parties.
      "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

      Comment


      • #4
        We had a lawyer that was past due and into us for $3000.00 and then he died. No will, nothing. Next thing we know we get a court order stating we have to allow an assigned attorney to enter the unit and remove any files that pertain to that deceased lawyers clients. We contacted our attorney and we didn't have a choice because of the court order. As the old saying goes " The worse crook is an attorney " .

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Peterbynoe View Post
          We have been in business for 15 years and have never had a tenant like this one. She is an attorney which makes it worse. I really would like some opinions.

          We took over an old facility at the start of January 2019 and the tenant notified us of a leak in her unit in May. We asked her on several occasions to open her unit so we could see if there was any damage. She never came. We sent someone onto the roof more than once to patch the roof, but we needed her to open her unit. She agreed to come and we paid two men to move her items, but she did not turn up on the agreed date. Because she never came, we had no choice but to change the roof in October. We normally would not change a roof with a tenant’s items in the storage unit, but we thought that we had no choice but to do so.
          She said that we should have checked for leaks when we took over the facility, and I explained to her that I had been onto all of the roofs to check for leaks. I told her that the only way for us to enter her unit was by placing an auction notice in the newspaper for non-payment, which we did. I told her that we should come to a compromise and she told me that she wanted to go through the Law Court. On December 6, 2019 she showed up with a policeman and I denied them entry. She is now playing the victim calling me all kinds of names and she is very hostile. I have given her all of her lien notices and can auction her items, but I don't want her to take us to court and waste our time. She simply doesn't want to pay her bill, which is now $2,700.00. Any thoughts?
          Do you have a Law Society in your state? You could look into calling them , the Law Society is where we went when we had problems with an attorney. They told us that lawyers are expected to uphold integrity and that we could have contacted them when this unit began going into default. Maybe try looking into this and call them.

          Comment


          • #6
            My rental agreement states that we give advance notice if we need to do work on the property that requires us to gain access to the unit. If it's an emergency and advance notice isn't possible, we will enter the unit and notify the customer as soon as it is feasible. If your agreement doesn't have something like that, I would update it. We've only had to go into customers units once a couple years ago when we replaced all the doors on the property. We sent the letters out about a month and a half in advance. Having those lines in the agreement allows you to cut the lock if needed and enter the unit to do repairs if she fails to show up. It's not just her stuff, it's the customers on either side of her. You don't want the water leaking in and running under the walls to other units and damaging their stuff.

            If she complained of a leak and failed to show up or give you access on the date you scheduled the repair guys to come out, that's on her. When someone finds a leak, I call the roofers right away and offer for the customer to transfer to another unit at no extra charge if they would like. I don't move the items nor do I pay for the cost of having them moved. The rental agreement should state that the company is not responsible for damage to the contents of the unit.

            It sounds like you went above what you're required to do. Assuming your lien notices are all in order with the correct address, time frame etc., I would just proceed with the auction and let her know on "x" date, the unit will be sold. She needs to bring in the balance due (cash only, no exceptions) before then. If you're willing to take a lower amount I would have her sign a notice to vacate form dated for say 7 days later and make sure the form states that any items left in the unit after that date will be considered abandoned and will be disposed of at the company's discretion. There will also be a $250 clean up fee to remove the items. If she won't sign the vacate form before handing you the money, I would not accept anything less than payment in full because that tells me she's planning on sticking around and being more of a hassle. If she signs the form and her stuff is still there after the week goes by, you are clear to sell it as a non-lien unit since she has abandoned the property or have it hauled out as junk.

            It sound like no matter what you do, she's going to be a PITA and threaten legal action. If I'm getting sued either way, I just assume have her stuff out and have the unit available to rent to someone else in the mean time.
            A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by MamaDuke View Post
              First off, you should have a clause in your contract that allows you to enter a unit: immediately for urgent repairs and with 3-day notice for non-emergent repairs. So the day she didn't arrive, we would have cut the lock and entered anyway.

              Now, however, I would offer to let her pay half and move out to see if that will take care of her. Otherwise, auction it and have everything well documented in case she does file a lawsuit. She didn't pay the rent, and you have every right to sell as long as all the legal notices are in order.
              This is for sure the best course of action for you. You need to get your rental agreement updated to allow you entry into the units.

              Comment

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