Sound Off

Sound Off: I own a duplex, and one of my tenants parks his car on the grass. The other tenant is storing two old appliances in front of the garage. I’ve talked with them, but they won’t take care of these. What can I do?

Megan Gilliland, the city’s communications manager, provided this answer: A violation notice would go to the property owner, not the tenant. If tenants are not responding to your request for compliance, then your rights as a landlord should be enforced and you can discuss the tenants’ continuation at your property. The city would consider writing a violation for the property if that would help for leverage in speaking with the tenants, but ultimately it is the property owner’s responsibility that city code is enforced.

Comments

Mollie New Leaf 3 years, 2 months ago

Call a tow truck and call for appliance pick-up.

Bill Lee 3 years, 2 months ago

Give them notice, then have the things hauled away.

classclown 3 years, 2 months ago

Are you sure it's not art?

Have you noticed any pretentious people standing around them discussing what the ar-teest was obviously expressing. Such as perhaps how the car represents the car industry and if the appliances are a washer and dryer, how they represent the government laundering our tax dollars into the automobile industry. Obviously they are against bailout.

Or perhaps the appliances are a stove and freezer which along with the car represent climate change and mankind's effect on it caused by pollution.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 3 years, 2 months ago

If you don't know, then you should get out of the rental business.

Clint Church 3 years, 2 months ago

Can't, don't you mean slum lord business?

kernal 3 years, 2 months ago

Not all landlords are slumlords, but some tenants turn rental properties into slums.

patkindle 3 years, 2 months ago

have some homeless starving artist smear some paint on them the city will assume they are art, pay you big bucks and haul them down to mass street for you everyone will ooh and ah about how wonderful they are untill the next piece of trash comes along

hipper_than_hip 3 years, 2 months ago

You need to remind yourself who the landlord is and who the tenant is.

LadyJ 3 years, 2 months ago

I thought the car would be ticketed the same way any illegally parked car would be ticketed. That would make the violation the car owner's financial responsible, not the property owner. Thus the landlord should simply call the police and have the car ticketed every time they see it parked on the grass. They should talk to a police officer.

LadyJ 3 years, 2 months ago

Oh, and open garage and push appliances in garage. Repeat as many times as necessary.

kernal 3 years, 2 months ago

Lady J, did the City of Lawrence finally add an ordinance against parking on grass in areas zoned residential? If one still doesn't exist, we need one!

LadyJ 3 years, 2 months ago

Yes they have. Usually enforced only when a complaint is made.

irvan moore 3 years, 2 months ago

give notice car/junk will be removed, then remove and bill tenant

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 2 months ago

I had to think about this for quite some time to think of a proper response. Usually it takes me a minute at the very most to realize what logical thread my comment will follow, but it takes me much longer to finish writing it.

In this situation, I would look at the lease which spells out what is expected of both the tenant and the landlord. Both are expected to fulfill the contractual responsibilities that the lease spells out.

Is anything concerning the present situation mentioned in the lease?

If not, a written lease needs to be written, and the landlord will be the one to write it. If the tenant does like the contractual responsibilities that are explained in the lease he may decline to rent the property, and he may display that by moving out.

But, since the tenant is already living in the property, some notification that a lease will be required might be in order. 30 days is long enough. But, it would be a good idea to explain to the tenant much earlier what the terms of the lease will be.

If the tenant does not comply with the terms of the lease, an eviction requires only three days notice. It would be a good idea to let the tenant know that. Plus, maybe inform the tenant that the sheriff will assist in the eviction if he is not gone in three days.

And, in the future, I would advise the landlord to never again rent without a written lease. It is not a complex thing to write one, and a lawyer is not required. What is required is the signature of both the tenant and the landlord.

And by the way, this is a good time to raise the rent.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 2 months ago

"I’ve talked with them, but they won’t take care of these. What can I do?"

Since you've already talked to them about these problems, you can evict now. In three days they will be gone, or the sheriff will come and help you. He has handcuffs and the jail is waiting if there are any problems after he gets there.

And, the sheriff won't waste any time on this matter.

Bob Forer 3 years, 2 months ago

Hey Mr. self-described Genius: I am a lawyer. You, evidently, are not. Smart people usually know to keep their mouth shut on subjects in which they are ignorant.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 2 months ago

That's what my landlord told me! (Did he rip me off?)

Laura Wilson 3 years, 2 months ago

In the state of Kansas you cannot evict a person without filing a petition with the district court, giving the tenant the opportunity to have a hearing. After that, if the tenant loses and refuses to leave, then the landlord files a Writ of Restitution with the court which has to be signed by the judge. it is posted by the sheriff and the tenant is given three days to leave. If, after those three days are up and the tenant remains, only then can a landlord physically remove the personal property and place it at the curb and change the locks. For the landlord it's advisable to have a sheriff's deputy on hand to keep the peace. If the tenant vacates willingly they certainly aren't going to arrest them.

Every landlord, every tenant should read the Landlord Tenant Act. It's easily found online. Every state is different, as well. In Kansas, unless a tenant leaves voluntarily at the time of the 3 Day Notice, it takes around a month to actually evict.

And, yes, I know what I'm talking about. I've been a legal secretary processing evictions for nearly sixteen years here in Lawrence.

There are such things as emergency evictions but in all that time we did one and it was on a commercial lease where food was rotting and the landlord needed to get in to save the equipment.

So, not only did your landlord rip you off, he violated the Landlord Tenant Act.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

I also thought that a landlord had to give 30 days notice of eviction when there isn't a lease.

classclown 3 years, 2 months ago

RonHolzwarth (Ron Holzwarth) replies…

"I’ve talked with them, but they won’t take care of these. What can I do?"

Since you've already talked to them about these problems, you can evict now. In three days they will be gone, or the sheriff will come and help you. He has handcuffs and the jail is waiting if there are any problems after he gets there.

And, the sheriff won't waste any time on this matter. March 25, 2012 at 10:34 a.m

========================================

You can't evict someone in just three days. As a matter of fact, in Kansas, you can't evict someone who isn't on the lease. I can't think of the actual terminology, but it revolves around the person being used to living there. And it doesn't take all that long legally to get used to it. You have to go to court to get an order of eviction. In Kansas, I believe you are looking at ninety days to get someone evicted.

By the way, the sheriff will not just show up anywhere to evict someone without a court order.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 2 months ago

Damn, my landlord did rip me off! I thought he knew what he was talking about, since he'd been in the rental business for many years.

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 2 months ago

I'm a landlord myself and laughed out loud at your answer! (As well as wondered why you were bothering to try to answer the question in the first place. After all, it's a matter of law, not of personal opinion, no matter how well-intentioned.)

As for what your landlord said? Well, he could be laboring under a major misconception. Of course, he also could have been playing with you. Or maybe he just wanted to make sure that you didn't get any ideas :-)

Laura Wilson 3 years, 2 months ago

Wrong. Our Writs of Restitution clearly state that anyone residing on the property will be removed. No judge in Douglas County has refused to sign, in fact, one encouraged us to put that phrase in. And, no, not ninety days unless the judges are dying and not around to sign the papers. Average is 4-6 weeks.

classclown 3 years, 2 months ago

Oh, another thing. In Kansas, if you evict someone, you can not just put their belongings on the curb. You have to put it in storage that you pay for. You pay the first thirty days. The tenants have the right to retrieve their belongings from you any time during the thirty day period. After that, responsibility for the storage unit belongs to them.

I admit I'm a bit fuzzy on all the details, but this is the gist of it. I'm sure some lawyer type will chime in and correct any errors I've made.

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 2 months ago

Well...the part you got right was that you can't just put the evicted tenants' belongings on the curb. You do have to store them for 30 days.

The rest? Nope. You don't have to pay the first 30 days...although you may very well get stuck with the costs. And, nope...they don't have a right to retrieve their stuff UNLESS they pay the money they owe you, including the storage fees. And, nope...they don't get any sort of right at all to that storage unit.

(And, of course, there's also the whole inventory/legal notice stuff...which depends on what was required to evict them :-)

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

From small claims cases I've seen, landlords can't withhold property based on monies owed them.

They must return them, and then sue the tenants for anything they're owed.

Laura Wilson 3 years, 2 months ago

If a tenant abandons their personal property, you're right. If they refuse to vacate after the three days given to them by a Writ of Restitution (after a 3 Day Notice, after a Petition, after being served with the Petition, after losing and getting a judgment and a writ) the landlord can put their stuff at the curb.

classclown 3 years, 2 months ago

At first I thought I was suffering from a lack of coffee, but I'm well caffeinated now and still see it.

1, 2, C

kernal 3 years, 2 months ago

You can read and/or download the Kansas Landlord Tenant Act at this web address:

http://www.kshousingcorp.org/SharedFiles/Download.aspx?pageid=115&mid=512&fileid=371

You might want to read this, as well: http://www.kshousingcorp.org/landlords.aspx

pace 3 years, 2 months ago

Megan should consider her language, maybe she has worked too long in a government office, she said "you can discuss the tenants’ continuation at your property. '. It should not be a puzzle, or take a minute to figure out what she means. My guess is she is saying, warn them they will be evicted if they don't shape up.
There are many lawyers in town who will help with legal conviction papers. An eviction notice wrongly worded or delivered can give the bums months of free rent, and damage to the house is not considered vandalism or theft and basically falls on the landlord. We even had to return part of the damage deposit to the bankrupt. Is your renter named Mary?

Gayla Bieker 3 years, 2 months ago

I think Ron H is in la la land..A sheriff won't put someone in jail because of a junk car & appliance in their yard otherwise the jails would be full. A landlord can give written notice and then evict them. If a landlord doesn't know what to do they need to get out of the business, REALLY????

Bob Forer 3 years, 2 months ago

How can you be so mean to the guy. he's a genius. Just ask him.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 2 months ago

That's what I was told. And the only claim I made was that I was told that.

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 2 months ago

Actually, Ron...if you go back and read your first posts (10:19 and 10:34), you'll see that you did NOT claim that you were told that 3-day stuff. Or that sheriff's stuff. You simply stated it as fact.

Your landlord didn't come into the equation until 12:51...over two hours later. Sorry :-(

Bob Forer 3 years, 2 months ago

Ron are you that insecure that you can't stand the idea of being exposed as having made a mistake?

volunteer 3 years, 2 months ago

As Fred Mertz once said, "Landlords have ways of getting rid of undesirable tenants." Try to speak to an experienced landlord in person. I doubt many will post their methods on a public forum.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 2 months ago

I did speak to a landlord, he was my landlord at the time, and according to the comments made above, I was lied to.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

That seems quite likely.

I wonder why you would trust your landlord to tell you the truth about landlord-tenant law?

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

Almost certainly illegal on his part.

classclown 3 years, 2 months ago

RonHolzwarth (Ron Holzwarth) replies…

I did speak to a landlord, he was my landlord at the time, and according to the comments made above, I was lied to. March 25, 2012 at 12:58 p.m.

===============================

A landlord that wanted you gone.

He didn't want to have to go through the time and expense of going through the eviction process. So he trusted you to be ignorant about the law and said whatever he felt he needed to say to get you out.

You fell for it.

classclown 3 years, 2 months ago

As for the whole three days thing, that is only if you are not paying your rent. Then the landlord can give you a three day notice. However, if you are not gone in three days, then your landlord has to start the legal process.

The sheriff won't come knocking after the three day period.

kernal 3 years, 2 months ago

Having dealt with landlords and tenant disputes and seen some really trashed out rental units (trashed by tenants, not landlords) there is no way in h#ll I'd want to be a landlord in this town.

As for the landlords who do a lousy job of screening tenants, which sometimes puts other tenants in jeopardy, and don't take care of their properties, they and their families should be made to live in those properties for thirty days.

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 2 months ago

There's a BIG difference between landlords not screening tenants and landlords not taking care of their properties.

And what's with this "sometimes puts other tenants in jeopardy" nonsense?

kernal 3 years, 2 months ago

I guess you missed a story a couple of weeks ago about an apartment complex where shooting occured in SW Lawrence. A few of the tenants there posted on this web site about what had been going on out there, which included being threatened by thugs at the complex. When a landlord rents to people who have little regard for the law or other people and engage in criminal activity at an apartment complex that includes guns, that puts other tenants in jeopardy. Part of the problems at that complex, and others, was a result of incompetant management. And there is not that big of a difference between landlords not screening potential tenants and not taking care of their properties - they're both indicative of landlords who don't manage properties well.

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 1 month ago

But your assumption seems to be that rental screening would have prevented that from happening.

But doesn't that assume that no one rents an apartment for the first time, no one commits a crime for the first time, no one has only a juvenile record...and no one passes the screening with flying colors, but has made some really lousy friends????

And doesn't it also assume that people can't reform, so we shouldn't rent to people with, say, a record, because they 'might' be a threat to other tenants? I mean, are ex-cons supposed to be homeless? Somehow I can't see that being a positive approach.

And, sorry, but there's are countless landlords in Lawrence who take care of their properties but whose only "screening" is meeting with the prospective tenant. Countless landlords who have very good tenants.

I'm certainly not arguing that there aren't slumlords in town. Or that there aren't bad guys. And certainly not that there aren't really crappy places to live. (Though I have to admit to being curious about those tenants posting here. Were they concerned by the screening or lack of same when they applied to live there? Or did it work to their benefit?)

But, to be honest, I'm not convinced that not screening tenants is actually a sign of either a lousy landlord or of potential threats to other tenants.

Laura Wilson 3 years, 2 months ago

As to the original question. If there is a written lease and there are clauses about cars parked off the driveway or junk stored in the front yard or driveway, a 14/30 day notice should be given by the landlord. It gives the tenant 14 days to fix the problem and, if they don't, they have to move out by 30 days. In Kansas, if they're still there, a 3 Day Notice for Cause has to be issued and then legal proceedings begun the same as for a 3 Day Notice for late rent. If they're not on a lease, you may be able to use a 14/30 or a simple 30 Day Notice that their lease is terminated. Check the Kansas Landlord Tenant Act. Really, any landlord or tenant should have this thing printed out and read before signing any lease.

You can make potential tenants pay an application fee to be used for a credit check. You can also, for free, go to the Clerk of the District Court's office and check the criminal and civil case background on any potential tenant. You would not believe how many landlords don't do the basic free checks. I know because we evict some people for different clients all in the same year!

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 2 months ago

I don't understand why you're implying that "clauses about cars parked off the driveway or junk stored in the front yard or driveway" need to be in a lease in order to deal with this issue.

imastinker 3 years, 2 months ago

Why would you kick them out? It sounds like they aren't in violation of the lease. Being lawrence, the lease is probably up in four months anyway. I'd just wait it out and fix the lease on Aug 1.

Now, you need to identify the type of behaviors that you won't allow and make them a condition of the lease.

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 2 months ago

I'm not sure anyone can assume that they aren't in violation of the lease. After all, the tenants are violating Lawrence ordinances, so the lease may actually address that issue. Doesn't mean the landlord actually realizes that...or what he can do about it :-)

imastinker 3 years, 2 months ago

A lot of landlords have weak leases. If it was there the answer would be to write a letter to the tenant giving a number of days to correct the problem or eviction will be started.

These things need to be in there though. There are things like destroying a house, disturbig other tenants, etc that need to be agreed on up front and cuse for eviction.

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 1 month ago

The lease for our rental properties is very strong. But it still doesn't list specifics like "no parking cars on the grass" or "no storing appliances outside" :-)

Regardless, my point was simply that we don't know what the landlord's lease says or if it's just that he doesn't know how it applies to these particular situations, so it's not valid to assume that these particular tenants aren't in violation of that particular lease. That's all I was saying.

Sharfire 3 years, 2 months ago

Give your tenants written notice of what you expect them to do. You need to give them 15 days to rectify the situation. I would suggest using Certified Mail, so they can't say they didn't see the notice. You can terminate their leases or simply clean the messes up and give them a bill for the expenses. Hire a lawyer and have a good, legal, lease drawn up and it will help to spare you alot of future misery. I would most highly recommend hiring a professional management company, well worth the money, and let them handle it for you.

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 1 month ago

Maybe your experience is that hiring a professional management company is well worth the money. But it's not the right choice for many landlords.

acg 3 years, 1 month ago

You can't just throw someone out like that. Landlord Tenant Act requires you take them to eviction court, get the order, have the judge sign off on the amount of time given to vacate and if they don't vacate THEN you show up with the sheriff. When it comes to the condition of the property, how is your lease written? If you have language in your lease that requires they keep the property free of encumbrances and trash like cars and washers, then you punish them according to that language. When I worked for Dougie Fresh (that's what we liked to call him), whenever one of my tenants would leave crap outside their apt. I had the right to have maintenance take it away and charge them so much per bag of trash or per appliance/bed/etc. If your lease isn't well-written they could actually win if you try to evict them over small stuff. Protect yourself and always have a lawyer write your leases.

tbaker 3 years, 1 month ago

Do a better job of writting the rental agreement for the next set of renters.

Carol Bowen 3 years, 1 month ago

Owning rental housing is not free money. Your investment has responsibilities just like any other business. Consult with the city and/ or an attorney. It's the cost of doing business.

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