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home : columns : dear harriette October 23, 2020

8/24/2020 8:27:00 AM
Landlord wants to end leases with fighting tenants

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a landlord with two tenants in a two-family home. My tenants do not get along. They are always emailing and calling me to complain about what the other has done. I have never had so many issues with tenants before. With quarantine, I guess they became too much for each other and finally the police were involved. At this point, I no longer want to rent to either of them. They are both currently month-to-month. I have been speaking with my lawyer to figure out the best way to ask them to leave. Is there anything else that I can do beforehand? Should I have the three of us sit down and lay out some ground rules? What is the best route for this conversation? -- Landlord Mediator

DEAR LANDLORD MEDIATOR: If you are trying to force these people to move out, you must work closely with your attorney. Depending on where you live, it can be very difficult to evict tenants. You need to follow the letter of the law in order to ensure that you can get them out.

I do not recommend inviting them to a group sit-down discussion. You want them to go because they don't get along. You are past the stage when mediation will calm them.

Figure out the timeline through the law. Then let them know individually when they must leave. Be prepared to get pushback that may require you to go to court. Document everything so that you have clear, provable reasons for needing them to go.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a 4-month-old daughter with a woman I never dated exclusively but was hanging out with for a while. When she told me she was pregnant, I asked about any other men, and she said there was no one else. I accepted that, and my family and I stood by her the whole pregnancy. I love my daughter with all my heart, and we co-parent great.

Recently, her ex-boyfriend's friend reached out to me suggesting I get a DNA test. I went back and forth about doing a test for myself since the day my daughter was born. Rumors about our child have circled so much that I finally decided to get a test done to end the drama. I never believed that she was not my daughter because I knew in my heart she was mine. But when I received the results, it turned out she was not mine. The news put me in a dark place, and I am having a hard time letting her go. I dropped everything in my life to move to another state to be closer to her. I'm so hurt by the news. I'm lost as to what to do. -- Heartbroken Father

DEAR HEARTBROKEN FATHER: Your daughter is yours, perhaps not by blood, but surely by love. Unless the biological father steps up to take care of this child, you should consider continuing in this role. Further, if you are in a relationship with this woman, sit down with her and map out your future. There is no reason why you cannot make a family with her and the child if that is your shared choice.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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