Residential Property Management/What to do aout my tenant

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Question
Mr. Fortunato,

I am a Norfolk,Va. resident who is renting a home to a tenant in Hampton, Va. I rented my Hampton home to a lady while it was in the process of being rentivated. I drew up a contract which she signed. I'm pretty sure I stated in the contract that it was agreed that she would live there and pay rent while it's still under rentivation. To be absolutely though, I have to get the contract and read it again. However, she seemed desperate to move in and said she didn't mind the man working there and fixing up the place while she lived there. So that was agreed upon. She moved in in August and paid rent. She began to complain about the work not being done or finished. Now that it's September she has not paid rent, saying that the work is not finished and she refuses to pay and not responding to my calls or texts. My question is... what rights do I have at this point if she is refusing to pay rent or return my calls and all my efforts to contact her have been 0. She has her possessions in the house, but she hasn't been living there. I can't find her. So I have no tenant or rental payments with October quickly approaching. What are the legalities here?

Thank You

Sheldon.

Answer
I'm in California and not familiar with VA laws so my help will be limited. My suggestion is to begin an eviction process immediately. At the same time, check the lease to see what was agreed to (verbal agreements probably won't amount to much) since she may argue that her rights to private and peaceful enjoyment of the premises was compromised due to the renovation. That could put you in a tough situation if there's nothing in writing where she agreed to those conditions. Regardless, I recommend commencing the eviction and at the same time you should probably consult with a real estate attorney in VA. Best of luck.

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Mike Fortunato

Expertise

Very familiar with all aspects of property management (tenant/landlord issues, lease administration, facilities maintenance, financials, etc). 25+ years in property management

Experience

I have been in real estate management for 25+ years, both residential and commercial properties. Currently own and operate a commercial and residential real estate management company in southern California.

Organizations
IREM; BOMA; MLS; National Association of Realtors; California Association of Realtors

Education/Credentials
CPM (Certified Property Manager) and RPA (Real Property Administrator)

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