Dear Dave: My Tenants Won't Let Anyone In The House

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Posted: Sep 07, 2021 11:23 AM
Dear Dave: My Tenants Won't Let Anyone In The House

Source: AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Dear Dave,

My husband and I have a rental property in South Carolina we want to sell. The current renters’ lease is up in December, but our property manager tells us the renters won’t let anyone in the home, not even just for photos to post online due to COVID-19. How do you think we should handle this situation?   

Tracy

Dear Tracy,

I don’t know much about current COVID-19 restrictions in South Carolina, but this sounds suspicious to me. I’m also thinking your property manager is kind of a wuss, but I have the spiritual gift of cynicism. 

I’m old school, and if I own a house, I’d like to go in it any time I want—within reason, of course—if renters are in there. They have the legal right of quiet enjoyment, meaning I don’t get to show up at all hours and harass them. But I’m not letting them stiff-arm me and use COVID-19 as an excuse. I mean, tenants thinking they have the right to give the landlord and owner zero access? Maybe places like the Socialist Republic of California allow this kind of crap, but most states have common sense, plus reasonable tenant and landlord protections. Yeah, the whole feel of this makes me think there’s something very wrong going on inside this house.

I can imagine your frustration, Tracy. It makes me angry just thinking about it. If they’ve got a sick child or adult in the home, or someone’s out of work but actively looking for a job, then I’ll show a lot of compassion and back off a little. I’ll try to work with them to resolve things in a way that’s good for everyone. But if they’re just playing games or misbehaving and using COVID-19 as an excuse on top of that, I’d have no problem removing them.

I think you need to dig a little deeper on this one. Check the current laws in South Carolina, especially any laws concerning a possible eviction moratorium and get in touch with a good real estate attorney. There are times when we’re called upon to be understanding and generous. But I have very little tolerance for someone who tries to take advantage of me.

— Dave