My Story: Evicting Tenants from Hell.
If you are a property investor you will eventually have to face the prospect of a tenant that you need to evict. You may just end up needing to evict a tenant from hell.
Evicting a bad tenant sometimes requires a different approach.
In this video I share my story of a tenant from hell that I had to evict and how I went about it.
This is not about shock value, its about thinking out of the box and arriving at an effective eviction without breaking the law and exposing yourself to lawsuits or even prison.
Recently, a friend of mine took the law into his own hands when trying to evict a bad tenant and was arrested by the police and charged with breaking and entering ...that is a story for another time. [Click Here] to subscribe to our Youtube Channel to be notified when I upload this story.
The best way to avoid a bad tenant is by careful tenant screening and selection before you enter into a lease agreement, but we live in a world where it doesn’t matter what you do, you may be stuck with a problem due to actions of another person, which is what happened here to me.
My gory story
I had a tenant in a 3 bedroom apartment for two years and everything went well. My tenant and her younger sister paid her rent on time and I was quite happy, money was working for me, my bond was being paid by my tenant- happy days.
But then, things went sour.
My tenant moved to another city, and instead of talking to me and asking for her lease to be cancelled or adjusted, she simply handed the unit over to her younger sister. Her sister then decided to rent out the other two rooms.
Not being very wise in these things, she let a large Nigerian of poor moral fibre move in. He in turn invited his mates in, so she abandoned the apartment without informing us.
My agent visited the apartment because the rental stopped coming in and the tenant did not respond to any phone calls or emails. She called me to say that we had a problem of the large Nigerian drug dealer kind. My unit had been effectively hijacked.
Eviction generally involved attorneys, time and money.
When your tenant is a foreign national, your problems can escalate dramatically depending on your country or state laws. For example in South Africa, your attorneys may have to involve the foreign embassy during the eviction process and I needn't explain how that will take longer and cost even more.
To make matters worse, I had to try to evict a tenant using the legal system whose identity I did not know.
I was really stuck!
I went to the premises to try to meet with the occupants of my apartment, but they were not home. I looked in the window and was shocked by the squalor and mess inside. They were wrecking my apartment, not paying rental and I couldn’t even start the eviction process without finding out their identity.
I now had a serious problem.
Normally if you mention the words eviction to the complex security or the Body Corporate, they raise their hands and say we cannot help you. "Use the legal system of attorneys etc."
With a stroke of inspiration, I changed my strategy and used my negotiation training. I needed to find a win-win solution to my problem.
I asked the security guards to help me, I told them the we had a problem. My property had been hijacked and the perpetrators were no doubt undesirable to the complex as well. I pointed out the need for a win-win solution.
Fortunately for me the Body Corporate had recently installed a new security system in the complex. The system provided for individually programmed remotes to gain access to the property.
After a brief chat, we came up with a plan. I asked them to cancel the remote control access to my apartment and inform the occupants that they would be granted manual access for 24 hours to remove their stuff. I then gave the security guard my number and asked him to call me with developments.
The next evening he called me to say there tenants had bolted but had not left any keys.
I was nevertheless elated, a successful eviction in 24 hours!
The place was in a mess with the worst cockroach infestation I had ever seen. I spoke about how I got rid of the cockroach infestation in this video.
They had wrecked my apartment, the carpets were beyond repair, the kitchen units already old were now disgusting. Grease and grime everywhere.
I used the opportunity to renovate my apartment, I pulled out the carpets and the entire kitchen, even the stove had to go.
After tiling the floors, replacing the kitchen, the stove and repainting the apartment, I was back in business with a great tenant 2 weeks later.
I have owned that property for 19 years, and this was the first problem of this kind. I paid about R 120 000 for the property, it is now worth about R 650 000 and had now spent R 30 000 on a refurbishment- I was doing well!.
The return on investment on this unit is still fantastic, so don’t let my horror story stop you from investing!
The first take away from this video is to use your wits when you find yourself in uncharted territory, ask an experienced local investor for the best approach to your unique problem.
Look for the win-win solution.
If you are a landlord, the obvious second take away from this experience is the importance of good tenant screening and property management.