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My Tenant Called the Cops on Me

Landlords often hold the mistaken notion that they are the “lords” of their properties.  In many ways they are the lord, but in some very fundamental ways they are not.   Once a lease is signed with a tenant they gain certain rights and acting like a lord may just get the cops called on you.

Here is why.  

Your lease grant the tenant legal possession of your property.  Your property is now their home and their home is their castle so to speak.   So just like a homeowner, a tenant has rights in their home.  They have the right to be secure and to privacy for example.  They have a right to their possessions and they can expect that you as the landlord will keep the property safe and habitable.

What does this mean for landlords?

It means that you cannot just go in a tenant’s apartment at any time.  If you do, a tenant can call the cops and potentially have you arrested for trespassing.  Smarter landlords always try to give their tenants at least 24 hours notice before entering.  Most tenants will understand that you need to do routine maintenance and checkups and will have no problem allowing you in with proper notice.  But they may get really angry if they come home and just happen to find you there.  Of course if there is an emergency such as gushing water, a landlord is permitted emergency access to prevent property damage.  Otherwise, respect your tenant’s home and give proper notice.

A landlord also cannot deny access without going through proper legal procedure.  Remember, the tenant has legal possession.  Do not lock them out for any reason, even non-payment of rent.  Every state has a procedure in place to regain possession of the property.  It is called eviction.  If you do not follow this process, it is you that may end up on the wrong side of the law.

As a landlord, you can’t just remove their belongings either.  Even if you think they have abandoned the place and moved somewhere else, there is usually a legal procedure in place regarding a tenant’s possessions.  Here in Tennessee for example, If you suspect a tenant has abandoned the property, landlords have to wait 30 days before they can remove the tenants stuff. Then the stuff has to be stored for another thirty days.  Removing anything belonging to a tenant before you gain legal possession of the property can get you caught up in a nasty lawsuit or even arrested for theft.

Finally, don’t think turning off the utilities will solve your troublesome tenant problem.  You as a landlord have a legal duty to keep the property in a habitable condition, and a lack of utilities is generally going to be deemed inhabitable by legal community.  Will the cops arrest you for this?  Not likely.  But they will institute further legal actions by getting code enforcement involved.

Remember, your tenants have rights.  You as a landlord need to know what those rights are and respect them.  If you fail to do so, your tenant may call the cops and you may find yourself on the wrong side of the law.

Comments
4 Responses to “My Tenant Called the Cops on Me”
  1. I have had tenant call the cops on me for posting a cure/quit notice on their door. Or using the dumpster on the property that they rented, but it was a commercial dumpster, used by multiple tenants. I was never ever inside their apartment.

    In both cases, it was the entitlement mentality that the tenants had. The place is theirs to do what they want. Deal drugs, be a prostitute, what ever they want.

    • Kevin says:

      No Nonsense,

      Thanks for reading and the comment. I think I now know why you started to take a hard look at your screening techniques. :)

      Kevin

  2. GIANNA MERRIMAN says:

    Does anyone know where I can find a blank “Cure Quit Form” to fill out?

  3. SHALANDA RUMPH says:

    Hey GIANNA MERRIMAN , I found a blank fillable “2003 CAR PCQ” here:http://pdf.ac/agYN3A.

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