Evicting a mentally ill person...what to do - Posted by Mike

Posted by Bart (FL) on September 14, 2002 at 08:23:56:

Hey Ben,

I feel the same way, there is a difference.

My question to Bliss was based on the hypothetical “what if he or she owned the property.”

I was interested to see how a professional in the mental health field would handle such a situation.

If it was me, I would try the family/social service avenue for a period of time. That period would be determined by how my cash position was at the time. I doubt I would go more than two month before starting eviction.

I’m sure that no mater how much I did, there would be people that said i “put him out on the street” and complain about the lack of “ethics.”

I would consider buying such a property. Factored into the purchase price would be a much longer time frame before eviction, however, starting the eviction would probably be the incentive for the social agencies to move faster.

Bart (FL)

Evicting a mentally ill person…what to do - Posted by Mike

Posted by Mike on September 13, 2002 at 14:49:36:

Here’s my situation. I have a prospective house that I want to buy. It’s already been foreclosed upon. The person that was foreclosed supposedly lived there with his mentally ill brother. The sain brother took off and left the other one there. The house was in the healthy brother’s name.

The question is, how do I remove the mentally ill brother? I assume I have the legal right to do so after I close on the home. I also know that evictions tend to take a while, but am I in for more trouble than it’s worth considering this person is probably not all there.


Something I can’t believe others didn’t suggest - Posted by Jim FL

Posted by Jim FL on September 15, 2002 at 24:26:56:

Rather than worry about it, make your offer to the lender (I assume a lender owns it now after a foreclosure), making that offer contingent on them delivering the house to you vacant.
You may even let them know what you know, showing the lender why if they did not remove this person, your offer will have to be MUCH lower…as well as others.

Once the lender knows about this issue, they’d have to disclose it to anyone looking to buy the place.
And as you can see here from the previous responses to your post, not too many people would want the place.

Also, if the person is not competent, whether you make an offer on the house or not, perhaps a call to a social services agency would be the kind thing to do.
Get the person some help, or direct someone to them.

I know that would help me sleep better at night.
Knowing the person has a condition or illness and might be in danger of harming themselves or whatever and doing nothing would certainly not be the ethical thing to do, in my opinion.

Good luck there,
Jim FL

Re: Evicting a mentally ill person…what to do - Posted by Andrew

Posted by Andrew on September 14, 2002 at 10:04:01:

If I may give another point of view, my mom is mentally ill and was living in a house but not paying any rent, calling electricians all the time to inspect wiring that wasn’t faulty, etc. Eviction was threatened, but the process dragged on for many months, and then she was hospitalized. Then the situation resolved itself.

I am very, very grateful that she wasn’t turfed out on the street while in a state of confusion. She is now in a place where she is getting the help she needs. I am not saying that is what you should do necessarily, but please take into account the needs of this person as well as your business needs. You will earn more gratitude than you know.

Re: Evicting a mentally ill person…what to do - Posted by michaela-ATL

Posted by michaela-ATL on September 14, 2002 at 08:14:12:

in general i would also pass. but maybe it’s worth talking to the mentally ill person. if they can live on their own, you might be able to pay them off. i’m sure the mortgage company has the same dilemma and might accept a very low short sale, just to get rid of this potentialy major headache.
i’m just saying, that you might be able to turn this into a win-win-win situation without eviction.
just my thoughts

Long and painful process… - Posted by Ben (NJ)

Posted by Ben (NJ) on September 13, 2002 at 19:31:04:

I was appointed guardian ad litem on behalf of a mentally ill woman who was being foreclosed on. Although we eventually got her into a good nursing home and the foreclosure was completed, it added at least a year to the process. Although an eviction is different it may be just as troublesome as well as morally troubling. I would pass.

Been there, done that! - Posted by William Bronchick

Posted by William Bronchick on September 13, 2002 at 18:35:23:

Had client with an illegal basement apt. The city told her that they would fine her thousands of dollars unless they got rid of the apt (and, of course, the tenant).

Turned out, the tenant had a mentally defect - schizophrenia. She claimed she (the tenant) owned the property, not the landlord. County legal aid appointed her a lawyer to fight the eviction based on the fact that she was not competent to stand trial. So, the city threatened to penalize my client for not removing the tenant, and the county gave the tenant a lawyer to fight the eviction!

Lucky thing was, the attorney and I went to law school together and we did the right thing - got social services to convince the tenant to move into a mental hospital where she could receive proper treatment.

But, if the tenant lacks capacity to stand trial, you need to have a conservator appointed by the court to handle her affairs and represent her in court.

Re: Evicting a mentally ill person…what to do - Posted by Nate(DC)

Posted by Nate(DC) on September 13, 2002 at 18:25:58:

I would think that if this person is so ill that they are incapable of living independently, you should call the local social services or mental health department and inquire about having them help this person find some sort of supported living situation (group home?) since it’s probably not a good idea for them to live in this house by themself.

If this person IS capable of living independently, then I’d treat them like any other person who was capable of living independently, and evict them just like I would anyone else.


Re: Evicting a mentally ill person…what to do - Posted by Bliss (OKC)

Posted by Bliss (OKC) on September 13, 2002 at 18:01:46:

Hi Mike,
As a counselor and case manager who works in a psych. ward, I would advise you to be very careful with this situation. If handled improperly, you could have one heck of a lawsuit on you hands! I would try to contact the brother or any other relative to help find him a place to go. Personally, I wouldn’t kick a mentally ill person out on the street just to make a quick buck. Ethics! Just my two cents. :slight_smile: Bliss

Re: Evicting a mentally ill person…what to do - Posted by Heidi W

Posted by Heidi W on September 13, 2002 at 15:08:32:

Here’s what I’d do…

Verify the story - (it could be a ruse to scare away other investors)
Try to find out ‘how’ mentally ill this guy is (maybe it’s a mild case of bi-polar and he’s otherwise perfectly functional - read has a job)
If his condition is major (e.g., schizophrenia,)and he has no visible means of support - then I’d proceed with extreme caution.

Talk to an Attorney (not the usual flat rate guys)and see if they can maybe work with the family or a case worker to try to place him in an alternative home.

Being responsible for putting a severely mentally ill person on the street, even if it was within your legal right to do so, without exploring some (perhaps more expensive, but clearly more humane avenues) would make it easier for me at least to sleep well at night.

So basically, IMHO this could cost more than it’s worth - so you better not bid too high!

Good Luck,


Question - Posted by Bart (FL)

Posted by Bart (FL) on September 13, 2002 at 18:38:27:


Lets say you are the owner of such a property. You tried the brother and relatives. No one wants to get involved. What would you do? How long would you let him live there without paying? Would your desire to get back to cash flow be considered a fast or a slow buck? Would you try to have him committed? What if that does not work?

Someone ownes the property, what would you do if it was yours?

What if you tried everything and nothing worked. Would you evict or adopt and take the deduction?


Bart (FL)

Re: Question - Posted by Ben (NJ)

Posted by Ben (NJ) on September 14, 2002 at 07:16:12:

In my opinion, there is a big difference between finding yourself in that position and having to deal with it vs purposely injecting yourself into that position. Bliss is just stating that given the choice
some of us would pass.

Re: Question - Posted by Bliss (OKC)

Posted by Bliss (OKC) on September 13, 2002 at 23:26:57:

Hi Bart-
You’ve asked some good questions. I would pass on this deal because it is not a win-win situation, in my opinion, given the limited details that I have. Also, a possbile Pandora’s box, if you will. Depends on your idea of what a fast or slow buck is. Probably, it would be a very SLOW buck given the quagmire of legal stuff in which one would have to wade. Interestingly, you made a COGNITIVE GLOBAL DISTORTION statement when you said, “What if you tried EVERYTHING and NOTHING worked?” There is a solution to most problems and I would walk away from this one. Again, I have already stated (in my 1st post) that I would walk away-which is my answer to your first question of “what would you do?”. I concur with Nate’s post. Thanks! :slight_smile: Bliss