Tenant behind in rent - said her son died

Hi all, I stumbled across this website by doing a search on google and glad I had come here.

My tenant has fallen behind in her rent by approximately 1 month, my agent has issued notice, then said if she falls further behind in rent he will proceed with matter through VCAT.

We have been relaxed with her on compasionate grounds as she claimed her son had died, I am unsure if this is true or not. Though when this happened we decided to relax in the conditions.

Unfortunately I have bills also to pay including upkeep in the property, this is the first time something like this has happened to me.

What should I do?

(btw. I have Landlord Insurance with Tenant Protection through AAMI - not sure if this will help out??).
 
I wouldn't relax anything - you are not running a charity.

Being late maybe a week or 2 may be fine if there are good reasons - but any longer than that is just not good enough
 
I wouldn't relax anything - you are not running a charity.

Being late maybe a week or 2 may be fine if there are good reasons - but any longer than that is just not good enough

Exactly, I said this to the agent - my wife said I was being too harsh. But I aint a charity, I got to pay my bills too. So angry about this - what makes me even more angry was that the agent said they knew her and made the recommendation.

What can I do through AAMI with Tentant protection if she falls more then a month behind??? anyone know?
 
You must ensure that you pursue all legal avenues to get the rent up-to-date, ie issue all notices etc, or I believe you'll invalidate your landlords insurance.

It's a tragic that her son died, but if she's short because she had to pay for a funeral or something, then she should take that up with the charities, and tell them that she's facing eviction due to the impact of the funeral costs. If she didn't have to pay for the funeral, whilst I'm very sad for her loss, I don't understand what it has to do with her paying her rent (or not).
 
It is unfortunate that her son died, however that does not absolve her from paying her rent. It is important that you treat it as 'business as usual'. All the appropriate notices need to be issued at the appropriate time & when it goes to the tribunal then she can plead her case with them. Tell your PM to proceed to VCAT immediately. If she is genuine, then they will be lenient with her, but they will expect her to adhere to a payment order. If she is short of cash because she has to pay funeral costs, like Ozperp mentioned, some of the charities will assist. They will even assist with getting the rent up to date too, but they must have the relevent eviction notice before most of the charities will assist.

If you do not follow the correct process, then you run the risk of her delaying her payments for as long as possible and taking advantage of your good nature. She will also not receive the assistance that she needs, as she won't have the appropriate documentation.

I know it sounds harsh, but you really have to insist that your PM treat this as any other tenant that has defaulted on their rent. As you said, you are not a charity and you have a mortgage to pay. Some PM's think like the general population that poor tenants are at the mercy of the rich landlord. It is unfortunate that it has happened to her, but this should really not impact on you.
 
Poor lady though; when you lose your child everything else seems really irrelevant. But you have given her a month and so you must take some action.
 
Poor lady though; when you lose your child everything else seems really irrelevant. But you have given her a month and so you must take some action.

I agree with Pushka here - not that that is unusual!

You and your PM have been fair and compassionate, it is time to start the ball rolling to bring your tenant up-to-date.

There are agencies out there that can help and assist with the money side of things. Your PM should be able to advise her on this.

Poor thing - I don't know how I could get past the death of a child, but unfortunately, life's practicalities still have to be addressed.
 
You might be jumping the gun. Has she just missed payment because of other things on her mind or is she short of money.

When my better half mother died she was preoccupied with funeral arrangements etc and missed a few bills including rent. Wasn't until I notice there was more money in the account than should be and we worked out what had happened. A quick call to the agent and everything was sorted out. Agent contacted the owner and the reply was catch up and pay a little extra or every 3 weeks instead of 4 until sorted out. Paid everything when the next rent was due. We had the money it was just an oversight due to other reasons.

Find out the reason before worrying about it and go from there.
 
DanielR,

What's the previous track record?
How long has she been your tenant?

Cheers,

The Y-man

Previous Track Record - was a recommendation by a staff member at the real estate agent, said they knew her and provided me that recommendation and assurance.

She has only been a tenant since the start of June this year, starting falling behind in rent soon after that and we have kept on it, we found out about the problem she had about 6 weeks ago, and decided to be paitent.

She told the agent she will make up for the rent, though been false promises, she did make a weekly payment within those 6 weeks.

The main issue is "I don't know what to do", should I give it more time, or jump on this person. Agent has followed the correct process with notices.
 
Sympathetic as I am to this woman's loss, it is now time for you to regain control of your IP.

I suggest you ask the PM to initiate eviction processes immediately. This will bring into focus the true situation, and will produce the outstanding rent if it is available. If not, then your tenant can explore social avenues available.

I am always amazed that when people run into difficulties they simply stop paying. It never occurs to them to pay at least part of the rent to show they are trying their hardest, and also to stop falling quite so far behind.
Marg
 
A bit of extra time is fine, she may have had to sort out funeral etc (though computer generated forms should still be sent out regardless to cover yourself). After that though....? Even if she can't afford the whole lot in one go, has she at least made an effort to catch up on one weeks payment, or is it just getting worse with each week and $0 being paid to try and catch back up? If so it sounds more like an excuse than a reason now.

It's one thing to be caught out by something unexpected and end up on a rolling 4 weeks behind payment rotation, but the payments don't stop indefinitely with the situation continually getting worse as each week passes.
 
She has only been a tenant since the start of June this year, starting falling behind in rent soon after that and we have kept on it, we found out about the problem she had about 6 weeks ago, and decided to be paitent.
She told the agent she will make up for the rent, though been false promises, she did make a weekly payment within those 6 weeks.

Sounds like 'son died' is a lie. But even if it is the truth, it does not affect the commerciality of the situation. Rent is just another bill. The phone company still wants paying, the checkout operator at the supermarket still wants you to pay before you leave the store, so does the petrol station....dead son or not. Why would paying rent be any different? :confused:

Get it fixed now and stop being suckered.
 
Sounds like 'son died' is a lie. But even if it is the truth, it does not affect the commerciality of the situation. Rent is just another bill. The phone company still wants paying, the checkout operator at the supermarket still wants you to pay before you leave the store, so does the petrol station....dead son or not. Why would paying rent be any different?

Not sure how you can come to the lie conclusion. You will probably find the tenant is behind on all bills; probably isnt eating so no food bills, and not driving around having a good time in their car. Obviously you havent experienced what it means to lose a child. Nothing else matters, including bills. Having said that, if you do proceed to tribunal and her story is true then she will be dealt with very compassionately, so you might not actually be any better off. Funeral costs of $4000+ are extremely hard for some people to come by.
 
Do everything by the book and get the eviction notice sent out (your landlords insurance may not pay if it hasn't been handled by the book)

If it drags on for months on "compasionate grounds", it will cost you big $$'s.

Take control of the situation immediately.
 
Today we had to issue a letter to a tenant. They became our tenants April 1.We gave them the first month free since, when we bought the house, it was really dirty. They cleaned, scrubbed, painted etc. We also gave them $100 month discount for the next 8 months, as they laid the laminate floor (didn't do a great job)
They had 2 kids and was pregnant when they signed the lease.We also agreed not to raise the rent for 2 years.
Her partner lost his job,(has since found another, not high wage) she went on maternity leave, and had the new baby.They are always behind in their rent.
Winter is coming and they will need to pay at least $400 a month for heat when it gets cold.
Financially they are struggling,and it making us worried.
We told them if they don't pay up this week, and pay their rent for October on time, we will start eviction.
This was our present to them.We are hoping they will (at our suggestion) take the letter to welfare and ask for emergeny funding to help them caught up.
She was happy when she realized why were giving her the letter.She also knows we are serious. We are going to start eviction if needed, this week.
 
the rent must be paid. the agent must follow up promptly to protect your interests.
compassion for her situation yes but the rent must be paid. is the fact that this tenant is known to the agent an issue in anyway?

look at it another way, if you did not/could not pay the mortgage and the bank sold the property and evicted the tenant. do you think the tenant would be compassionate or the agent?

i do not think the lease has a clause allowing nonpayment of rent for a death in the family?
nip this situation in the bud.
regards.
 
DanielR,

First of all welcome to the website, and I hope you get as much out of it as I have so far. I am fairly new, and over my short time, I have found the guys online to be very helpful and interested in discussing all sorts of property related info.

Anyway, I am just about to go through insurance as well, and I suggest that you give the insurance company a call to let them know that you will be collating info for a possible claim. As with most insurance companies, they are wanting to know ASAP when something is wrong (just think of car insurance or travel insurance). I let my insurance company know, and they made a note of it in their files, and gave me some assistance in what I should be gathering. The 'gathering' step is just about to start in a weeks time, once I know most of costs......You pay good money for all sorts of insurance, so when you want to make a claim, make sure you dot the i and cross the t.

With regards to your particular circumstances, I too, like most contributers to this post, would not get too emotional, and follow / implement eviction procedings. Unfortunatley, it may be a terrible truth (Funeral, etc), but you have to treat it as a business.

Propertunity sheds a different light on it, and when you think about it, he is exactly on the money. Noone else would be giving any leniancy, and you should do the same.

I have had tenants give excuses such as contracting swine flu so the agent couldn't do the planned periodic inspection, and one of my tenants I just got evicted last week (who is supposed to be a pillar in the community.......being a reverand at the local church), gave every excuse under the sun and every lie in the book in order to not pay his rent......go figure....

Good luck with your final course of action.:)

Cheers,
 
Matter has been taken to VCAT by Agent on October 12th.

Agent told me if tenant is not present then possession of property will be given to Agent and eviction notice issued. If Tenant is present, then anything could happen from payment plan.. etc..

Agent told me not to worry, as we have 1 month bond still...
 
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