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nola_mike

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Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #1 
Got notified mid-august by tenant of a flea problem that he said had been going on for months. He had set off bombs, and suspected upstairs tenant of doing same. He said he was being "constructively evicted" because of the fleas and the pesticides, and was moving out. I called an exterminator, who said that the place had too much stuff against the walls to treat. Tenant refused to move anything, saying that it placed an undue burden on him. I have last month's rent and security. The lease auto-renewed in June (I also have emails from him confirming that he wanted to stay). He also called the city, which cited me for overgrown grass (tenant's responsibility in the lease). I got a letter yesterday (unsigned though) stating that he was moving out at the end of september. I had, on 9/2, posted a 5 day pay or quit notice. Soo....
1. Do I just let him move out at the end of the month? If he doesn't move out, what then? Can I just change the locks or do I still need to formally evict him?
2. Should I continue with the eviction process? What would be the downside of that?
3. Can I show the apt before the end of the month? The lease states I can show it 45 days prior to the end of the lease. Should I try to get his permission to show it? 
LLinVA

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Posts: 186
Reply with quote  #2 
I would still move forward with the eviction until he is actually out. He may say he will leave, then end up staying (maybe on purpose to buy time). You want everything on your end to be by the book and keep moving. Once he is actually out (ideally he notifies you, returns the keys, at least calls you, etc.) then you can enter, change locks, etc. 

Do you want to show it if it has fleas and so much stuff that they can't be properly treated? It may not be the impression you want to give potential tenants. You may want to consider waiting until he is out and getting the place cleaned up before showing it. If you have good pictures you may get an ad up before then and start getting showings scheduled before then though.
nola_mike

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Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #3 
Yeah, I think I'm going to proceed for the reasons you mentioned. This is in a college place, and it rents quickly--plus, I'm not sure how "flea infested" the place really is. Problem is that the lease allows for me showing the place 45 days prior to the end of the lease. There isn't a provision allowing me to show it at any time. I've asked his permission to let me show it, but who knows. Downside is if he WAS planning on moving out, but then decides to contest the eviction just to be a jerk, I'm out another months' rent. Although I think that he's liable for rent for as long as he's there, so I could at least go after a judgement. If he moves out though, he's breaking the lease and is responsible for the place until I get it rented, right?
OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,720
Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
If he moves out though, he's breaking the lease and is responsible for the place until I get it rented, right?


Maybe not.  Our magistrate has ruled that his obligation to pay rent ends once you have evicted him.  Even if it was for non-payment of rent.  Her reasoning is that once you gave a pay or quit notice, filed the eviction and/or followed through with it, you asked him to leave.  It was no longer his choice.  So this ends his obligation for rent.  Check your local courts and with local landlords to see what your judge's stance is on continued rent obligations.
nola_mike

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Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #5 
That's kind of BS. He didn't pay or quit. So what am I supposed to do? I can't really have anyone sign a lease for 10/1, because if the tenant doesn't actually move out...
The court date for the eviction is 9/30, and I don't think that he'll contest it. I've since found out that he's signed a lease at a different place starting on 10/1, FWIW, so I doubt he'd stay at this point.
So what's the move now to keep me from losing money?
OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,720
Reply with quote  #6 
I don't agree with it either.  That's just what some magistrates have ruled.

Do not sign a new lease until he is gone.  If you do, you've promised to give possession to a new tenant on a date that you may not be able to meet.  Sign a holding fee agreement promising to sign a lease with the new tenant on or before 10/15 to give yourself some extra time.

Just because the hearing is on 9/30 doesn't mean you'll get possession then either.  If the judge rules for you but he still hasn't moved out (and still has possessions in the unit), you then need to ask for a set out.  The bailiff gives the tenant notice that they will be back on a certain date.  The notice can go on the door, if they can't reach the tenant, and they'll be back for the set out sometime within 10 days  (More or less according to your state).  At that time, the bailiff will set out all the tenant's belongings on the street and you can have legal possession.  So you may not get possession until 10/10 - even if he doesn't show up to contest it.

There's really no legal way to speed up the process.  You just have to wait it out.  Sorry.
BritneyR

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Posts: 224
Reply with quote  #7 

Which option did you choose?


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