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bonnieb

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Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #1 

I am in a similar situation but with a twist the tenant has not moved in yet. I accepted rent for a partial month in Feb and a full month in March. What happened is that the tenant did not want to lose the unit so they decided to pay rent even though they could not physically move in till the middle or end of March. A security deposit was due on March 15th. It also stipulates in the month-to-month agreement under provisons, that if the security was not paid as agreed that the month-to month contract was null and void.

 

I have been trying to reach the tenet via cell (which is shut off) and their home number where I have left three messages with no response. I have sent three e-mails, one with a notice of monies due, another one with a notice of 3 day pay or quit and another with a 24 hour notice to enter property. I have also sent a certified letter with all three of those documents to the last known address.

 

Tomorrow the 3-day notice to pay or quit is up. I was going to go a check to see if they have actually moved anything in the property. If they have not moved anything in do I still need to serve an unlawful detainer? And can I change the locks? And if they have move personal belongings in do I have to go through a formal eviction process?

 

Also they have retained and held up my property for a month now and if I have to go through an eviction process it could be longer do I have to give them the rent they paid back?


OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,814
Reply with quote  #2 

Have they signed the m2m agreement?  You cannot change the locks since they have paid for the full month of March.  They are entitled to move in anytime during this month.  Why would they pay a partial month for Feb. if they weren't going to move in that month?  How did you write the receipt for that month?  It would be hard to later explain to a judge how you accepted rent for a month when you knew the tenant wasn't going to live there then?  When did you give the tenant the keys?  Need more info please.

Since they have paid rent, but not the security, they can move in.  You should have gotten the security up front before you gave them the keys. You may be unable to evict when the rent is paid.  Please post more about this situation.

bonnieb

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Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #3 
The reason I accepted partial months rent is because when she applied which was in Febuary,  I told her I was making a decsion in the next few days and that I had several applicants. When I told first of March but later decided to wait, she needed help moving. I gave her the keys in Febuary so she could start getting set-up.

The reciept is on the m2m agreement in the area for total move-in cost which clearly states that security is due on March 15th. The reason I did that was because I was willing to work with her on the total move-in costs.

As far as accepting rent when a tenent is not going to move in right away it is done all the time usually when a tenent wants to make sure they don't lose a unit because it is ready to be rented
OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,814
Reply with quote  #4 
If you gave her the keys and possession of the property in Feb. you were correct to take rent for that period.  I wasn't sure if you had signed the agreement or delivered possession, or had taken it as a holding fee until they had moved in.  (If it was a holding fee and they never took possession, in some areas they can get this back!)  The fact that she had the keys and the ability to move in (whether or not she did was her option), makes it rent, not a holding fee.

You cannot change the locks, despite the fact that they are in default for non-payment of the deposit.  They could choose to move in March 31st if they like (rent is still paid and they have that right without an eviction).  If they went to move in then and the locks had been changed, they could sue you for an illegal eviction.  You will have to pursue this through the court or wait until next month.  If they haven't moved in by April and don't pay rent, you could try to go through the abandonment statutes and procedures.  Please list your state and I can give you the statute for abandonment in yor state. 

Usually this entails having the rent unpaid for a period and posting the 24 hour notice to inspect the premises.  Take a camera and photograph the entire unit to show no food in cabinets or fridge, no furniture, no personal belongings, etc.  If your camera doesn't date the pics, put the front page of the paper in the first one showing the date and headline.  Then have the developer date them on the back too.  You then normally post a notice on the door that you intend to declare the place abandoned within 7 days if they don't contact you.  In the meantime, you document your attempts to contact them by phone & mail and document that utilities are off.  After 7 days, you change the locks and post a notice that the place was abanadoned and they need to contact you.  But the procedure varies somewhat from state to state.  You need to follow the exact one for your state.

But do not change the locks ever without going through this or an eviction.  The penalties if sued by the tenant are steep!
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