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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #1 

Hello everyone, I recently had rented my house to a very greedy and ugly couple. The whole process is like a nightmare which I would like to share with all of you and seek some help and suggestions.

This couple has signed the contract with me for 2 years until May 2018. They pretty much paid on time. One a few times they were late for like 1-2 days. Generally speaking they are ok until this happened at the end. In December 2017, 5 month before lease ending,  they called me and said that they are going to start looking for their next house and would like to change the lease term to month to month starting January 2018. And they did emphasize that they probably will still live in my rental until May 2018 since they normally spend a long time looking for a house. Considering they look like decent people and they did not really have much drama going on for the past of months, I agreed. However, right after I agreed, they informed me on 1/1/2018 that they are going to move out on 1/31/2018 and that is my 30 day notice for landlord. I’m so shocked since I felt like I have been setup by them. By then I had to agree since I agreed month to month.

Then the tenants moved out sometime in early January without letting me know. I posted the house for rent online and one potential tenant stopped by and took a look at the house. He let me know that the house was vacant. By then I know they moved out. So I asked them to return the key back to me on January 7th 2018.

There was some other background. They did not have enough funds for December rental and again pursued me to use their deposit as last month rental which only covers till 1/16/2018. I want to kick myself by being too nice to those jerks if I know what will happen next. Remembering our agreement is that the lease will end by 1/31/2018. So per our agreement, they need to pay ~$800 from 1/17-1/31/2018 rental on 1/17. Back in December, when they want to use their deposit to pay the last month payment, I pointed out that I am not comfortable doing so. They have promised me that they will sure pay the remaining amount, it is only a small amount, they have decent jobs blah blah blah….. again, all lies since nothing happened for those $800 until now.  

I texted them for the remaining balance for the rent since 1/17, but I never get it. And even worth, here is what they came back with: they said I have demanded the key to be returned to me on 1/7. They paid thro 1/17. Thus I owe them for 10 day rent ~$500!  

 I am furious about their greediness. I have given them the house key at least 10 days before the contracted starting date to help them move in FREE. I have agreed to help them for early termination without any penalty. I have agreed to use deposit as last piece of payment. They have made nail holes in the wall and patched poorly with different color and I had my painter paint the whole house without charging the them. I have helped way too much and they did not show any appreciation at all! All they promised are lies! They played my kindness. There was one time we were talking in the phone and they said we are not afraid to go to the court which will take you years and you wont get anything from us. Such jerks!

I am not sure if the fact that I asking the keys back on 1/7/2018 will be viewed as I voluntarily ended the lease.

Will the extra 10 days I voluntarily gave them the house key before the actual lease starting date be counted as lease or no?

I am planning to go to small claim. I don’t want them to continue doing this to other landlords. Those are horrible persons! If there is anyone can help me with this situation, or any suggestions will be appreciated!  




Posts: 580
Reply with quote  #2 
They aren't completely wrong. You agreed to go to month-to-month, so they were completely in the right to leave as of 1/31 if they so chose, which they did. You would have also been in the right to end it as of 1/31, had you chose to do so.

You should do a walk-through before sending people to view the property. Until the key is back in your hand, the tenant has possession, regardless of how much of their property is still there, even if it's none. I wouldn't pay them back the rent from the 7th, I would just so, "Oh, sorry, I thought you had already moved out. You are free to stay through the date you have paid, which is January 17th. If you would like to stay until 1/31 as agreed, you are free to do so, but you must remit payment of $800 no later than 1/17." That should hold up in court without any issues since it's obvious it was just a misunderstanding and you are happy to let them stay.

No, you being nice in the beginning doesn't change anything now. 

Don't waste your time. Seriously, you won't get anything out of them even if you win. It will just be something that eats at you every time you think of it. Don't spend any more time, money, or thought on these people.

Now is the time to re-examine your application process to see if there is a way you could have weeded them out. Did you do a credit and background check? Did you call their last landlord? Did you verify income with pay stubs or a tax return?

Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #3 
thanks for your reply. Yes, I did screen and check their W2 and credit history. Nothing shows alert. So that is why I went ahead and rented to them. I trusted people too much when they ask for favor. Learned my lesson. However it is sad though that I will have to be alert and cautious under those situation when I really like to help people out whenever I can. There were some good tenants which I helped out in early years. But seems like more and more tenants now are showing no appreciation no matter how much others try to help. It is just sad.  


Posts: 29
Reply with quote  #4 
I'm sorry. I know this is frustrating. 

But in my experience, if tenants want to leave, they will. Especially if they are buying a house -- you know how it is. You see a house, you make an offer not having an idea if it'll be accepted, and, if it is, suddenly you're in escrow. It happens fast.

Breaking a lease may not be fair but it happens all the time. I would consider yourself lucky they didn't do any damage and that for most of the time they were there, they paid online. 

And be really strict with tenants from now on. No exceptions.

I'm sorry they took advantage. It doesn't feel good. 

One unit in complex of 100+
Property manager takes 10%, handles almost everything
Owned since 2009

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