We share with you Christopher’s bad experience with a high-flying bad tenant. This article is also an opportunity to give you tips and advice to help you manage this kind of situation.
To rent a parking space or a garage, an owner is ready to do anything thinking only about profitability. It’s human to want to rent all your spaces at all costs to reassure yourself. But when a badly paying tenant arrives in your environment you have to be firm and very reactive to get out without too much damage. All landlord investors know that there are more and more “bad payers” on the market. This term broadly defines any tenant who will make you suffer from rent payment problems (late payment, non-payment, degradation, illegal occupation, etc…).
💡 Did you know that ?
Speed should not be confused with haste, especially when there is money at stake.
Unfortunately, a wise member of our club got screwed. By what we can define as an expert in bad payment or even an expert living in the hooks of the French society ; knowing many methods to deceive people… Any experience, good or bad, is good to take in order to move forward and learn from one’s mistakes. It seemed essential to us to tell you about this extreme case.
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The first phone contact
I’ve learned that the first phone contact is the most important. It allows you to get to know your future tenant. You always hesitate to be too firm with a future client, but you must ask the right questions from the start. On the phone this candidate tenant seemed perfect and very serious. He asked the right questions and immediately insisted on making an appointment to sign a rental contract.
First meeting to visit the parking lot and sign the rental lease
This appointment left a deep impression on me, it was a very special experience that I still find it difficult to define even in hindsight. I had in front of me a very sympathetic person, a good listener, who seemed to be in need… Her story touched me and it is certainly a key to remember to be wary in the future. This young man in his twenties, father of two young children, ready to get married (we will come back to this later…), studying and working at his spare time to supplement his social income. He inspired confidence, didn’t seem to be rolling in gold, but gave the feeling that he wanted to get by despite everything. His girlfriend had just tragically lost her father, and without a license they found themselves heir to a car without a license and were looking for a cheaper location to protect the vehicle from the weather.
I’ve never had a tenant so attentive to the reading of a lease before. Seriously, and in the exchange, I strangely keep a wonderful memory of it! From the first questions, some points were not clear… First of all the name, I ask for his girlfriend’s name to protect me and to enforce the solidarity clause in case of problem. When he gives me the same surname it is surprising since they are not married. So I dig and I hardly get the other last name of the gentleman. Which will change when they get married, it makes sense: monsieur will take the name of madame… In hindsight, that’s when I had to politely end the lease.
Second mistake, leaving him a pedestrian access key when he had forgotten all means of payment. It’s a good thing I refused to leave him a beeper. Not having the license, the vehicle was going to stay there so there was no need to open the main door without me. Very seriously, he immediately asked me for a bank statement to make the transfer the same evening. When in doubt, I had some mentions in the special clauses with payment dates to protect myself.
Late payment from the first month
Once back home my new tenant made a transfer to my bank account. The only problem was that the amount was incorrect : $ 20 instead of the $ 35 expected ($ 20 rent, $ 5 provision for charges and $ 10 deposit for the key). In this kind of situation you have to act quickly and call directly. Very annoyed on the phone, he explains to me that he made a mistake and apologizes by asking me to accept a regularization for next month. My third mistake, to get into the clever trap of my tenant who was playing the watch to save time !
💡 Did you know that ?
A survey in our community shows that all tenants who have negotiated the site rate will have at least one missed payment.
Then comes the second month, no payment and no news of my tenant… The poor guy couldn’t pay because the state hadn’t paid the aid on time. Unbelievable he dared to ask me for a month’s respite… Moreover, he is still unable to provide me with a copy of the vehicle registration document and the insurance certificate, which at first were only a formality for my tenant: “of course my vehicle is insured! But once parked, without insurance, here is another problem that comes back to complicate things directly … Indeed, in the event of a fire starting from this vehicle the owner will be worried for lack of insurance.
Eviction of the tenant
The balance sheet is quickly done, I have a tenant who takes me for a ride and new tenant clients who are looking for a place. I have to get rid of this deadbeat quickly and free up the parking space. I have too much risk in case of fire and maybe a stolen vehicle that can cause me big problems. Such as blocking my space in case of a judicial seizure, or worse, being considered as a fence. The situation has become critical with the tenant. Monsieur remains correct and understands my position and accepts the termination of the lease and eviction on principle, but I no longer trust these principles.
Madam is much more aggressive, after a very unpleasant exchange on the phone, threats, I finally made an appointment to fire them… Threatening tougher deportation proceedings. It’s a shame, being told you’re not allowed to put a vehicle outside. That it’s dishonest not to help people in need! Unbelievable, they haven’t paid the rent for two months and I’m the bad landlord… Finally,
💡 Did you know that ?
Unlike housing, you have the legal right to evict a tenant from a car park by following certain rules.
Recovery of unpaid rents
It’s serene that I contact a bailiff to explain my problem. I show up at his office with the lease agreement for the club. To begin with, he takes the time to comment on the clauses of our lease and confirms that we are protecting the landlord-lessor well. During the discussion, I tell my little story : this tenant owes me 2 months of rent ($ 50). Not forgetting the first month’s supplement ($ 5) and a key to access the car park. The bailiff knows my bad payer tenant perfectly well. Since he already has a dispute over the non-payment of rent for his accommodation… Bad news, there is a procedure that is dragging on and this person is so much in difficulty (various debts, on file at the Bank of France, etc…) that I am not sure I will see my $ 55 again…
Following the bailiff’s advice, I dropped my collection procedure. Letting dishonest people get away with it is very annoying, but I had to reason to accept. As a precautionary measure, I reported to the gendarmerie the information on the vehicle hosted without paper and explained that these people have a pedestrian access key to the car park. Even the police department knows this couple well, I really came across the wrong number !
Lessons to be learned
Suite à cette mauvaise expérience, j’ai transmis au collectif les modifications conseillées par l’huissier. L’objectif est d’améliorer notre contrat de location. Je pense que nous allons créer une version anti mauvais payeur. Il ne faut pas hésiter à poser les questions qui dérangent dès le premier contact téléphonique. Éliminez un futur locataire sans état d’âme dès la première suspicion. Une fois le véhicule sur votre emplacement, faites des photos avec la plaque d’immatriculation et la vignette d’assurance. Nous avons également revu les conseils de notre rubrique : comment évaluer la solvabilité d’un candidat locataire.
Following this bad experience, I transmitted to the club the modifications advised by the bailiff. The objective is to improve our rental contract. I think we’re going to create an anti-bad payer version. We should not hesitate to ask questions that are disturbing from the first phone contact. Eliminate a no-nonsense future tenant at the first suspicion. Once the vehicle is at your location, take photos with the license plate and insurance sticker. We have also reviewed the advice in our section : how to evaluate the solvency of a prospective tenant.