Landlording is a hard business. If you don’t think so, wait until the first time you have to sue your tenant to evict them.
In Tennessee, the process is done by a “detainer” warrant, and it’s a full blown court proceeding, which is generally done in General Sessions Court.
In these proceedings, the landlord wants the proceeding resolved as soon as possible, while the tenant wants to stretch out the proceeding as long as possible. Who doesn’t like to live rent free, right?
Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-18-118 provides some protection for landlords. That statute allows the judge to continue a matter, but only to a time not exceeding 15 days.
The only exception the statute provides that would allow for a longer period of time is: (1) if the parties agree to a longer time; (2) the 15 days ends at a time when there’s no court; or (3) the party asking for the continuance pays “the costs.” (Here, the costs means they pay, at the time of the request, the rent due for that period, plus any other amounts due/incurred during that period.)
So, the tenant might get a delay–note that the statute isn’t absolute, it says “may”–but there’s an absolute limit to the delay. No Tennessee case–published or unpublished–provides any exception that allows for a longer continuance to this statute.
I’ve said for years that the contractors and investors who got burned by the economic downturn will eventually hit rock bottom, dust themselves off, and end up making as much money on the backside of the recession as they lost on the front end. This is because the same market inefficiencies that were exploited in the past are being replaced by equally exploitable new ones.
The builders who once built speculative homes on inflated market appraisals are going to be the contractors who do the work for the investors who buy the properties from the banks at 40 cents on the dollar.
The Las Vegas Sun did a story last week on how hedge funds are buying Las Vegas real properties at bargain rates, making minimal investments/improvements, and renting the properties for an 8% to 12% annual return. Then, once the economy rebounds, the investors could expect appreciation to add more value to the investment.
As far as investments go, being a landlord is fairly labor-intensive. And, if the past 4 years has shown us anything, it’s hardly a fool-proof move.
Potential landlords would be smart to read this excellent article in the Wall Street Journal, Do You Really Want to be Landlord? The article has both horror stories and advice, as well as a forecast that rents are likely to increase over the next few years.
I got out of the landlord business two years ago, when my tenant couldn’t unclog her drains and called me every other day. The 30 minute drive, coupled with time spent waiting on plumbers, gave me all the time to reconsider the pros and cons.
On April 28, 2011, I’ll be speaking at the 8th Annual Landlord-Tenant Law-With a View from the Bench on Litigation Seminar in Nashville, presented by Sterling Education Services.
I’ll be teaching the afternoon session, on topics covering Collections, Enforcement of Judgment, Dealing with Tenant Bankruptcy, and Legal Ethics in Landlord-Tenant law.
Here’s the full agenda. This seminar gets lawyers continuing legal education credits, but it’s also designed for rental agents, landlords, and other non-lawyers who want to learn the legal process.