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!