Creepy tenants and landlord/tenant rights

Gary Sutton of Newsradio 910 WSBA, York, PA asked me, “What if you have a creepy tenant like the one in the movie Pacific Heights?  What are the rights of tenants?

Michael Keaton in Pacific Heights represented a new landlord’s worst nightmare. He was a master at manipulation of landlords, and pushed the boundaries of the law without actually breaking them.

Laws Favor Tenants

Of course, there is a lot of gratuitous Tinseltown nail-bitting tension in the film, but it does faithfully present one fact that all landlords must face. The laws generally favor the tenant.

Laws may vary from state to state, but in general tenants are required to:

– maintain dewlling units
-dispose of trash
-use in a reasonable manner the electrical , plumbing, heating, AC,
etc., and all appliances
– not destroy, deface, or damage the premises
– not disturb the beighbor
– allow landlord access to the property

Landlords are required to:

-supply a written copy of the lease to the tenants
– comply with all building codes
– make requied repairs so that the property is clean and safe
– maintain in safe working order all electrical plumbing, AC, etc.
– provide recepticles for waste removal

“Practical” vs “Legal” Remedies

As Carlton Casler points out in his book “Arizona Landlord’s Deskbook,” the best remedy to problems with tenants is often by utilizing the “practical” approach rather than the “legal” approach.

For example, instead of incurring all the costs of time and money to legally remove a deadbeat tenant, by telling the tenant that if he is out at the end of the month and the property is reasonably clean that you will refund allow his deposits. Or, if he has no deposits, you give him $100.

Would that solution work for a tenant like Michael Keaton?

He’d probably prefer a fist fight with the landlord or a shootout with the cops.

However, outside of Hollywood the practical solution works pretty well.

Upcoming radio interviews

August 25 at 8:08 am, I will be on Jeff Anderson’s show, KSDR 1480 am, Watertown, South Dakota.

August 26 at 11:05 am, the Ron Ross Show, WJBC 1230 am, Bloomington, Illinois.

September 15 at 8:05 am, the Dan Ramey show, WBEX 1490 AM, Chillicothe, Ohio.

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