Getting tenants out of a sold property

29 posts in this topic

Posted

OK, this is the story:

 

My mother turned 95 last Friday, and she is likely to live a good couple years longer. She lives in her own home in Guyana, basically alone, but recently my son has gone to take care of things. Otherwise, she has people coming and going: a carer who oversees her needs (he's VERY good, but it's not his full time job and he can only come when he's free from his real job as a bus conductor), a maid who is very lazy, and an accountant who takes care of her financial matters. She also has a tenant who lives downstairs who is a nurse with a key to the house and looks in on her, and who has two kids, one a teenager who sleeps upstairs in my mother's house when my son isn't there.

 

My mother can hardly walk on her own any more, but she still tries with a walker. It's painful to watch, and here in Germany they'd have put her in a wheelchair and a care home long ago. We do not have care homes in Guyana and anyway, she wants to stay in her own home and that's what we want to do. She's very stalwart and clear of mind, just a little forgetful and casual about everyday matters.

 

However, her home is in a deplorable condition. It was built about 65 years ago and has basically never been renovated. There is not even running water in the house any more; it's built on stilts so there is hardly any water pressure any more, and people have to bring water up from the yard. This can be problematic for flushing toilets etc. Basically, my mother is used to it and doesn't mind, but most people who we would employ as a permanent carer WOULD want to live in better conditions. We also need to make adjustments for her further physical deterioration: for instance, the toilet is at the end of a narrow, L-shaped corridor and there is no room for a second person in there. And as I said, it doesn't flush.

 

Last March she finally agreed to have some very basic renovations done. We plan to finance this through the sale of another house, which is in a very good location in the capital city. It's a big house occupied by at the moment six tenants, each one living in a single room. That house is also in a state of disrepair. The tenants are poor, and my mother, who is a very kind socially minded person, has been renting it to them at a spot price. In fact, one of the reasons why she resisted selling the house in the first place was because she didn't want to put the tenants out on the street, as they would never find another home at that price. I have to add that my mother is not rich. She lives form that rent and from a tiny pension, and money I send her now and again.

 

Anyway, she finally agreed to sell the house. It actually belongs to me and a cousin who lives in the USA but we could not sell without mum's permission as she has a life interest. That cousin is the one who most wanted ot sell, as she needs an operation desperately and needs the money. Anyway, mum agreed and so when I was last there I spoke to the tenants. I offered them a golden handshake: money if they left soon. They agreed, they named a price, I agreed, drew up a contract. But they didn't sign. They are afraid of moving out.

 

There ARE possibilities for them to find new homes. All they need is a room somewhere. Yes, they will have to pay more rent but that's why they get a golden handshake. Most of them are single men; one is a single woman. Then there's a woman with two children who occupies a little cottage behind the main house. She definitely doesn't want to leave. However, none of them have made any effort at all to find somewhere else. The cash offered consists of two years's rent if they agree to move out in three months time. But they won't sign. Apparently they want to speak to a lawyer first. One of them it seems doesn't want to go at all. Others want more money. We have been told that tenants have huge rights in Guyana and to get them out can take years. They only have to run to a lawyer who objects and holds up the process.

 

We have a purchaser for the property; we sold it last Friday and the tenants at that time had agreed to sell; it's only now they appear to want to draw everything out. My son wants to reason with them, appeal to their morals. I can't believe my mother was so generous, and didn't even want to sell for their sake, and now they are being so difficult! However, he too will got a lawyer today.

 

The thing is, if they are going to play dirty so can we. They do not have any written contract, and there are no receipts for any rent payments. Rent payments have been very sporadic. Sometimes it is all there, sometimes some of it is missing, My mother has not been able to keep track. She has nothing in writing, they have nothing in writing. There is no proof of payment. We don't know who has paid what and when. In the past, the rent has been collected by one of them and passed on in cash to my mother's carer. Everything very casual. We could use this to our advantage.

 

What do you think our tactics should be? Any suggestions? Yes, my son is seeing a lawyer but I'd like to hear your ideas as well. SHould we withdraw the cash bonus and just give them a month'S notice with no money, or threaten to do so? What would you do in their position, or in mine? I really wanted to avoid a full-scale fight. I tried to be nice. I spoke to the rent-collector twice very amiably; at the time, he even said that they would have to move out one day anyway and he was cool about it. Now this. Obviously, since the purchaser has made a down payment, the rest to be paid in installments as the tenants move out, it's a bad situation.

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Posted

I won't even read the post because it's too long, but if you rent then you have to accept that the situation may change and you need to leave. If they needed to leave they wouldn't feel guilty about handing in their notice.

 

Is Guyana a country?

 

Three sentences are all you need

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Posted

I sympathize with your problem but I don't know the law in Guyana so I don't know what you can do. What would you do in Germany? Either take the legal route as fast as possible to put them out as fast as possible or offer them money to leave as fast as possible but if they wont even leave for 2 years rent, they either know something you don't know about their rights or they think they can squeeze more out of you.

 

I think you should wait and see what the lawyer says. You could also time limit the offer, say whoever signs before the end of the month will get the money, the rest you will have kicked out by the courts eventually.

 

If you give people something once like 50% off their rent for one month because they are having a hard time, they will be grateful but if you cut the rent by 50% forever, they will soon take it for granted and I think that is the case with your mothers tenants.

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Posted

 

I like all that extra information, aruna is painting a picture with words

 

Well you're hardly an authority on brevity either, although at least your essays are vaguely useful. I wish I had as much free time as you do.

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Posted

 

Is Guyana a country?

Yes.

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Posted

The OP has sent me a PM: "Just wanted to say I needed to go into such detail for my own benefit" and she can't post anymore until tomorrow, because of posting averages, but keep the advice coming :)

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Posted

 

A lot of info is superfluous in your post.

 

I disagree - really appreciated the description of life as it can be elsewhere...

 

I second Panda's advice. You could try a last-ditch "Take it or leave it" as you suggest yourself before hitting the lawyer.

 

Is the land worth more than the house? Incendiary devices come to mind...

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Posted

I bought 3 appartments in Nürnberg in 2008 all with tenants. Two tenants are gone, the Russian woman on social welfare is still there. I tried to raise her cold rent by €20 after raising the cold rent by €20 and Nebenkosten by €10 2 years ago. This time I got a letter back from the Sozialamt telling me I had not gone the propery way about raising the rent. So I downloaded a standard form letter which is 2 pages of Amtlich Deutsch.

 

And in reading/completing this letter I discovered I could legally raise the cold rent by €25. This was less than 20% over 3 years, and less than the Mietspiegel. So I raised it by €25 instead of the €20 I originally wanted. The Sozialamt this time informed her I'd done nothing wrong in my raising demands and they saw no alternative but to accept it.

 

So I raised it by more than originally desired because of her reaction. I'm sure there's a lesson there, and anyway I wanted to write this.

 

p.s. I'd write them all a letter saying you've been more than generous, and the offer of 2 years rent is off the table if they don't accept in 1 months time. Follow up with a visit. I'm reluctant to involve lawyers, especially in developing countries; the lawyers tend to be the biggest winners. Wether 2 years rent is too generous or not, its what Arunadasi and Mum felt comfortable with.

 

But their generosity has been abused. Arundasi and her mum are getting millions from out house. We're poor, this is unfair. It was a mistake to be upfront about selling.

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Posted

Sale the house and get your mother out, Let the new owners handle the tenants.

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Posted

My mother isn't living in that house. And it only reverts to the new owners once the tenants are out.

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Posted

 

And it only reverts to the new owners once the tenants are out.

 

I do not mean to add insult to injury, but why did you make such a stupid contract with them?

You should have sold the house with the tenants in it, make them the buyer's problem.

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Posted

 

I do not mean to add insult to injury, but why did you make such a stupid contract with them?

You should have sold the house with the tenants in it, make them the buyer's problem.

 

Maybe because the buyer knew about tenants' rights in Guyana, was acting rationally and therefore only willing to pay for an empty property?

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Posted

Trust me, far from being stupid, we were very lucky to get a purchaser at all before the tenants had signed. We had already lost two higher offers before we got this one.

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Posted

I think arunadasi should be complimented on endeavouring to find an ethical way to resolve her family's problem and I hope she manages to find a lawyer who is both capable and ethical, this being a combination of attributes that is hard enough to find in people generally, let alone in a lawyer.

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Posted

Thank you! Believe me, the last thing I want to be is some ugly landlord throwing people out on to the street.

 

I just had a chat with son. He spoke to lawyer, who says we can get them out in six months. We shall give them a notice to quit today, upon which they can sign the agreement to leave with payout if they want to. If they don't sign, no payout. They have six months to quit, and the sooner they go, the more money they get. If they wait until the end, they get nothing.

It sounds like a good solution to me; it gives them the motivation to start looking for a place early. Let's see what happens!

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Posted

Am I missing something here or...?

If there's no contract, then there are no tenants. At best, they might be people the owner of the house has allowed to live there for some interval, a.k.a. guests. Not having any rent receipts means no landlord-tenant relationship exists officially (or can't be proven, at least). When the visit is over (and it's over when the host says it's over), then the guest is leaving. If the guest is not leaving upon an explicit request, isn't he/she trespassing a private property, which makes it a misdemeanor at the very least?

Back home, this sort of stuff is usually solved in half an hour by a locksmith, watched over by a policeman and a couple of neutral witnesses. New locks, stuff packed, official papers signed and luggage out the door. But again, I've never lived in Guyana and the above doesn't constitute legal advice.

 

Now if you go down the sentimental route, then it's "not nice" to kick them out. It's even less nice for them to refuse what seems to be a very generous offer and hope they can twist your arm and squeeze more.

 

Good luck with the eviction, keep us posted.

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Posted

Maybe you could try to make things easier for them? E. g. by offering to pay the commission for an estate agent, or offering them to live in a caravan on your mom's property until they find something suitable?

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