Renter Troubles...wife & girlfriends=No rent - Posted by Maria (FL)

Posted by BrokerScott (Mich) on July 03, 2003 at 05:34:46:

Wish I’s known about that obscure rule years ago. would have saved me a lot of trouble. Best, Scott

Renter Troubles…wife & girlfriends=No rent - Posted by Maria (FL)

Posted by Maria (FL) on July 02, 2003 at 10:05:54:

I have a renter who was great up until 3 months ago. I used to pick up his rent from his employer with no problems. Now he has a new checking acct and since he is responsible for paying the rent it has been late and a hassle to get. Now yesterday it was due and I went by to get it and he didnt leave it. When I came home I had a message from a lady I dont know who it turns is his long lost wife who has moved in and he has moved out with his kids to live with his girlfriend but will still be paying her bills.Yeah right. When I called him his girlfriend answered and hung up on me because she thought I was the wife. The lease is only for him and his 2 boys. No subletting. Now today I called his cell after the money wasnt here again and he hung up on me. Can I call the sheriff and have the wife removed and change the locks today since she is not on any lease I have no rent and he admitted he doesnt live there?? I went by last night and the wife has 3 friends staying there also.I have not encountered renter troubles yet so this is new. Anyone have advice??Someone know the steps for florida?? Thanks so much! Maria :slight_smile:

Re: Thank you for all the responses. - Posted by Maria (FL)

Posted by Maria (FL) on July 02, 2003 at 23:24:59:

You guys are so generous with your experience and knowledge and I thank you for taking the time to share it with me just a little. I posted the 3 day to pay notice on the door tonite and also called a lawyer who will call me back . When I came home I had a call from the other lady who is living there and she belived the old tenant had paid julys rent and he also told her he had had me switch him off the lease and put her on. Not true.She was very sorry the rent had not been paid and wanted to bring it by to me tonite. I passed and said I would meet her at the house tomorrow to inspect and talk to her. She is willing to have a credit check and sign a lease. I will see how it goes. I am not sure if the old tenant moved all his things out or not.If I can get him to sign a statement that he left on his own maybe I wont have to pay for an eviction. Thanks again for all the wonderful advice. I have printed some out for reminders when I get weak! :slight_smile: Maria

Re: Renter Troubles. - Posted by Stewart Preston

Posted by Stewart Preston on July 02, 2003 at 22:55:19:

One thing I have learned in MO so far, is if the tenancy changes without your okay, you can charge them double the rent. So, I guess if I had a rental, I would send them a notice of rent due, or just go by. Otherwise, I guess they could be squatters and treat them so, but what about timely notice to the guy on the current lease? I think here even if he subletted it, you still have to give 30 days notice of lease termination.

Dont evict, they are not your tenants/ Lock doors - Posted by dell-ohio

Posted by dell-ohio on July 02, 2003 at 19:07:34:

I had a similar situation and if I get into one again I will change the lock on the doors again and move the squatters out myself, again.

Ok before everyone yells at me. I am not giving legal advice and if you follow what I am about to espouse. I assume no responsibility for your physical or financial health.

First of all they are NOT your tenants if you did NOT approve them moving in, if they do NOT have a lease in their name and do NOT have a rent receipt.

Therefore if they are NOT your tenants then why would you have to file eviction?

If these same people decided to take their stuff and set up house somewhere else, let?s say in a vacant house listed by a realtor. Do you think someone would go through the process of EVICTING them, take a few month spend a lot of money let the squatters wreck the place. I dont think so.

I will not waste months worrying how the squatters are destroying my property, spend thousands on legal fees. If I am going to spend the money I will spend it on defending myself AGAINST the squatters. They have limited rights especially if they have been there short term, and you never acknowledged them as a tenant.

My experience; we had squatters move into one of our units. We found out our tenant had moved out, and squatters were living there, they had moved in with our tenant a couple month before without us knowing it.

We went to talk to them, they were not home. We changed the locks on the door and left. They called us the next day a bit upset. They agreed to meet us there, after umpteen attempts at making us feel sorry for them, begging, pleading, threatening us. I repeated the only option they had. They can move the stuff out tomorrow or we will move it out for them.

We were nice about it but we were firm, no threats no yelling from us, we are reasonable people but you are NOT our tenant and you can NOT live here. We are willing to help you move, we can bring a pickup and a trailer tomorrow, you can pack your stuff load it and we will help you move it. They did not have a place, I suggested a storage facility, and they did not have money for it. I offered to rent it for them and they could pay me back before they took their stuff out.

I thought we had an agreement, I told them we would be gone for a few hours while they started packing some stuff and taking the essentials they needed. An hour later I get a call from Deputy Brown from the Sheriffs Department. Said he had a call from our tenant and that I had locked them out last night, they couldn?t get the medication for their child, and I had just threatened them today. I kept my calm and explained they were not my tenants, they were squatters, they never paid rent, they could have called me if they needed medication, they had my numbers.
I went and locked up the place and talked to one of their friends who said the squatters were going to come back and move the n ext day. I took the trailer down, arrived the next night to meet them and move them. I got there the trailer was empty, and the sheriff was there. I calmly answered all his questions and reminded him they were not our tenants, they never paid any rent, and they do not have a lease. They had lied to him, told him they had receipts. He did not appreciate that. He basically told them if they do NOT have any evidence that they are a tenant then there is nothing he can do. He also told them they should be co-operating with me because a lot of landlords would be much less cooperative and would just throw their stuff on the sidewalk.

We went in and moved all their stuff out and put it into a storage building.

If you are going to do it my way, I suggest when you go meet them that you have someone who can stay very calm and reasonable but totally unyielding in critical areas.

Such as; no you can NOT stay just one more night.

Tenant ?But, my baby has been sick for a week she has an appointment at the doctors tomorrow

Landlord ? . I will help you move but you can NOT stay another night.

Tenant?.. My mother is dying tomorrow and I have to be at her bedside.

Landlord ? I will help you move but you can NOT stay another night.

Tenant? My blood sugar is going through the roof and I have to go get medication tomorrow or I will die

Landlord ?. I understand, I will help you move but you can NOT stay another night.

Tenant ?.. My child support check is coming tomorrow; I will give you an extra 200.00 if you let us stay an extra day.

Landlord?.. I am sorry, I will help you move but you can NOT stay another day.

Tenant ?? I am calling my lawyer, it is illegal for you to do this I will have your butt in a slammer by tomorrow, oh YOU are in serious trouble

Landlord ? I hear you, but you can NOT stay here another day

Tenant? my brother is a member of the Hells Angles he is NOT going to take kindly to you doing this to his only sister, cant wait to see what he will do to you

Landlord ? I hear you, but you can NOT stay here another night

Tenant ?. My child is sick and dying, we have no place to live, it is cold and raining outside and we have no money for gas (I know she is lying if not I would put her up in a motel for the night)

Landlord ? I hear you, I will help you move but you can NOT stay here another night

Tenant?? you can?t just come in here lock us out, you are the cruelest most heartless person I have ever met.

Landlord ? get the idea you just keep repeating you don?t get involved in their dilemma, you take care of your own

I had to keep my partner from strangling the one woman but I made him PROMISE out loud that he would not HIT or THREATEN to do bodily harm to anyone before I let him. in.

This was my experience, take it for what it is worth but I would NEVER go through the eviction process for a squatter. I would NOT let the squatter back in if there was a court order. I would NOT let the squatter back in if the sheriff told me to. I would let him arrest me and I would take my attorney and meet in court.

My Viewpoint


The philosophy we adopted that night. Fair but FIRM

Re: Renter Troubles - Posted by Eddie

Posted by Eddie on July 02, 2003 at 12:06:33:

Go to and click on the Tenant Eviction tab.

Re: Renter Troubles. - Posted by RichV(FL)

Posted by RichV(FL) on July 02, 2003 at 11:58:59:


Since you are a new landlord my advice would be to contact an RE lawyer and have him/her start eviction ASAP.

However you can do it yourself if you choose. First thing you need to do is print a copy of the Florida Landlord/Tenant act.

Go to, click on the Fl statutes link, then click on Title VI “Civil Practice and Procedure”.

Scroll down to Chapter 83. That is the Florida Landlord/Tenant act. Click on it and print it out, you will refer to it many times in the future.

Maria in our state we get a tenant out in about 21 business days. Just remember…follow the letter of the law. If you mess up you will run into even more problems. That is why on a first eviction I advise legal counsel.

Good luck to you,


No rent = no apartment - Posted by GL - ON

Posted by GL - ON on July 02, 2003 at 11:20:50:

Start eviction immediately.

The finance company, car payment, or credit card company would not put up with this kind of behavior and neither should you.

You should also not have to chase tenants for the rent. They should bring it to you. The bank, car loan, finance company etc, would not do it and neither should you. Teach them to pay the rent to you, as they would to any other creditor.

I can only say what I say to all beginning landlords. We have all trusted tenants and we have all paid. You must learn to be businesslike and treat your real estate rentals like any other business. Your tenants follow the rules - or else.

If this sounds harsh, remember I am only advocating what is done by every other business, and what is your legal right to do.

Once your tenants know you mean business you will have a lot less trouble. If you try to be nice to them, you will train them that they can take advantage of you, and you can’t blame them if they do.

So be businesslike, and clear on what the rules are and most of your tenants will be happy to follow them.

Re: Renter Troubles…some suggestions - Posted by Ken (in Iowa)

Posted by Ken (in Iowa) on July 02, 2003 at 10:37:43:

Hi, Maria - I can’t tell you what’s legal and what’s not legal in Florida, but I can tell you that I’ve been in your situation. I had a similar situation just last month, in fact. In Iowa, to follow the letter of the law, you would need to go through the eviction process against the person to whom you rented the property “and all others,” which would include the new residents. I suspect it would be the same in Florida, but I don’t know.

Another alternative, if you simply want them out as quickly as possible, is to offer them a cash incentive to move - for instance, “I’ll give you $500 if you are out of here by the end of the day Saturday.” Of course, don’t give them a dime until they are totally gone, they have signed a statement to the effect that they have voluntarily surrended the premises to you, and you have changed the locks. Cleaning is negotiable - you may or may not be able to motivate them to clean up before they’re gone.

In my particular case, my original tenant was gone. The new people did not have much in the apartment. I posted a notice on the door that said that I was going to assume that they had abandoned the property and I would be changing the locks in two days if they didn’t contact me. I didn’t get a response from them, so I changed the locks. I posted another notice that said that their belongings were placed in storage (I’m fortunate to have a garage at one of my properties that I can use for this purpose) and that if they wanted anything back, they would need to contact me. That was three weeks ago, and I’ve heard nothing from them. Let me be clear, this was not legal and I’m not advising you to do that. I’ve been a landlord for over 20 years, and I’d like to think that I’ve developed a bit of a sense of when I can do something like this and when I can’t. This was a situation where I felt like I could justify the risk, so I did it.

Good luck with your situation.

Ken (in Iowa)

Thanks for the laugh!! That was great! :slight_smile: nt - Posted by Maria (FL)

Posted by Maria (FL) on July 03, 2003 at 10:21:17:


Amen! Well said! - Posted by Jim FL

Posted by Jim FL on July 02, 2003 at 17:41:53:

I could not agree more.
I too have a “Zero tolerance” policy.
You don’t pay, you don’t stay, simple as that.
I make that clear when they sign with me, it is verbally explained and put in writing.
I also tell them I am not a tyrant, and that even though I expect rent when due, and late fees etc. apply for payment accepted any days after the due date, they should still call me, I might be able to help.
Just the other day, a tenant called me up, said, “Jim, I mailed the rent the other day, did you get it?”
I told him, “Yes, it is here on my desk, why?”

He went on to say that his employer had messed up his new check system with the direct deposit, and that the check would bounce if cashed.
He apologized and asked to meet me with cash, and for the “bad check back”.
He told he he would be willing to pay the fees, if I had deposited it, but since I had not, could we take cash? It was the due date, albeit after business hours, but he called, so we accepted it a little late…only a few hours.
Had it bounced, he knew ahead of time the cost, and was prepared to pay it, because he remembered my zero tolerance lecture when we signed him up.

It works well.

Good to know others take the same stance.

Take care,

Question Ken - Posted by BrokerScott (Mich)

Posted by BrokerScott (Mich) on July 02, 2003 at 16:14:04:

Does Iowa have a statute allowing you to declare a property abandoned? I ask because Michigan allows the Landlord to recover without a writ If he belives in “good faith that the tenant has left and is not expected to return” etc. which leaves a lot of wiggle room. (Act 236 of 1961 Sec. 2918 part 3-c) I now quote it chapter and verse in my lease, and let them know that playing hide and seek could result in their coming home to an empty and locked apartment/house. Really just wondered if you have anything like that in Iowa. Best, Scott

Re: Amen! Well said! - Posted by GL - ON

Posted by GL - ON on July 02, 2003 at 19:52:05:

There is a psychological aspect to this that I have never seen mentioned. Tell me if this squares with your experience.

There are some tenants (not all) who seem to enjoy playing a little game called “Beat The Landlord”. The object of the game is to take advantage wherever possible while dodging all responsibility. Even to the point of going to a lot of trouble to do things they could not possibly get anything out of, so long as they annoy you and cost you money.

When you put your foot down and don’t give anyone an inch, they keep playing but the strategy changes. Now they go on the defensive and hustle to stop you from taking them.

When your tenant busted a gut to get you your money, I wonder if he was thinking “Ha ha, I just beat the landlord out of a late fee”?

Re: Answer Scott - Posted by Ken (in Iowa)

Posted by Ken (in Iowa) on July 02, 2003 at 18:00:56:

Scott, yes, Iowa’s Landlord Tenant Act has language that is very similar to what you quoted, and it is a part of my lease as well. My other post had gotten so long that I decided not to include that information, but it is pertinent and I thank you for drawing attention to it. In fact, when I posted the first notice on the door stating that I would assume that the property was abandoned if I didn’t hear from them in 48 hours, I referenced “Paragraph 16” of the lease which speaks directly to the abandonment clause.

Thanks again,

Sure, been there, seen that - Posted by Jim FL

Posted by Jim FL on July 02, 2003 at 20:04:11:

Sure, I do think there are those who play this game, and have even had more than one play it on me, and win a couple of times.
That was BEFORE I changed my soft ways, and a few hard lessons, bought and paid for.

In this case, I don’t think the guy felt this way, because of a few things.

  1. We met the due date to rectify the situation.
  2. He showed me his pay stub, where they directed his payroll to two different account numbers, one was the checking account my rent check was drawn from, the other apparently some savings account.
  3. He has the fee for the bounced check on him, and I declined it, because he really did not bounce a check.
  4. He was ready, prepared, and willing to pay the late fees as well, or at least, said so, and I took his word, this time.

Now, if this happens again, too bad, so sad, pay the fees and get it straightened out before NEXT month.
30 days should be more than enough to learn to save the fees.

You are right, game players do exist, but my gut, which I really am learning to trust these days, tells me that was not the case here.

I do think he did beat me with one aspect.
Had the check bounced, I would have gone to the house to collect, and serve notice, which in my lease, there is a fee for, and he got out of paying that.

I would say that yes, your observation surely squares with my experience.

Take care,