Brazilian police arrested a landlord after he tried to poison his tenants for not paying a high enough rent, the Jornal do Brasil newspaper reported.

After four years of fruitless court battles to evict the tenants, who pay about $17 a month for his two-bedroom house, owner Cesario Vieira da Cruz, 64, lost patience.On Sunday night he crept onto the roof of the house in Sete Lagoas, Minas Gerais state, and poured about two pounds of caustic soda into the water tank, the newspaper said.

But the tenant's mother, outside chatting to a neighbor, saw Vieira on the roof and called police. Vieira now faces a charge of attempted murder.