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Aubrey

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Reply with quote  #1 

My current tenant's lease will expire at the end of the month.  The place is a mess.  I am embarrassed to show it. Can I retain his surity deposit if I am unable to show it due to the filthy condition?


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Aubrey Bobb-Semple
kurt

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Posts: 137
Reply with quote  #2 

I don't know which state you livein, but in Ohio.. Here's my advice..

Take pictures digital or 35mm, make a list of costs to clean, repair, bug spray, carpet clean, and if ciggaret burns cost of carpet replace/repair. Basically get creative ad up "parts" and then ad up a labor charge you would work for (but don't get outragous), then write a formal list of such and costs to the tenant along with lost rent for the time, and send it to them(if they even gave a forwarding adress that is honest/works..).  I have had so many scussy tenants leave a place I wouldn't rent to a cockroach!

 

ANyhow make that list check it twice, and then send them the itimized deductions from their deposit. And it might turn out they owe you, if not, then despite the sleazy nature of that previous tenant, send them the remainer of their deposit..

kurt

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Reply with quote  #3 

PS: feel free to ask for I will try to check back and answer to the best of my knowledge and creativity.

OH_vlf

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Reply with quote  #4 

Hi Kurt, maybe you know if a tanant in Ohio breaks the lease - can I keep the deposit?  and than charge for damages?


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OHlandlord

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Reply with quote  #5 

Although some LLs and apt. complexes do it, Ohio has a law against liquidated damage clauses.  It is not lawful to keep the deposit just because the tenant broke the lease.  (I wish it were!)  You must show actual damages that resulted from the tenant breaking the lease.  In addition to the damages to the actual unit (repairs), you may charge the tenant for a reasonable amount of rent lost until you can re-rent the unit, the cost of advertising the unit, the cost of travel to show it, printing costs for applications & forms, etc.  You must be able to show receipts for these if challenged in court (although a few of the more friendly LL courts may let you slide if the costs aren't excessive.)  You must make reasonable and diligent efforts to re-rent the unit or you cannot collect for any lost rent.  Most courts in OH won't let you collect for more than a month of lost rent.  (At least the ones down here won't.)  If you re-rent the place in a week, then you still owe them the rest of the deposit (minus the cost of repairs and damages).  Make sure you send an itemized accounting to the tenant within 30 days of when you get possession back or the tenant can sue you for all the deposit and more!  If you can't get everything fixed in this time, get estimates from reputable contractors for the rest and list them on the accounting as "estimated".  Oh, and if you can, repair the items instead of replacing them with new ones.  (It's better for tax purposes.)

OH_vlf

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Reply with quote  #6 
OMG! than why r we signing leases?????? what would make a tenant honor a lease? When did that law change?  I put in my leases that you forefit the deposit if you break the lease.  Do I need to re-word my lease?? 

"If you want to break the lease "go ahead" you have no penalty."

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OHlandlord

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Reply with quote  #7 
Yes, I know it sucks, doesn't it?  I have often thought the same thing.  What's the use of a lease when they can break it whenever they want.  Unfortunately, the Ohio government is not very friendly to us LLs in this state.  We can't force them to stay in a lease, we can't penalize them when they break it, the process to evict is long and expensive, and then we have to go back to get a judgment against them for monies owed.  And even when you finish all of that and get the judgment, there is no guarantee that you will ever see a penny of that money.  You can locate the tenant and start to garnishee wages, and he will immediately quit this job.  Then you have to track him down all over again.  Even on a month-to-month, it's not much better.  I had a tenant leave a message on my machine today that she is moving and will be out April 1.  Now is that a 30 day notice?  Heck no!  By the way, most agreements say they have to give 30 day WRITTEN notice, right?  OH case law says you can't even hold them to putting it in writing, so long as they tell you they're moving.

The one advantage to a lease is that you can collect some money until you re-rent.  As I said above, you can probably get one month of rent (maybe 2) from the court because they broke the lease as long as you can show that you tried diligently to rent it again.  You can collect all advertising costs (and the other things I mentioned) because they did break the lease. 

You can manage to keep their deposit, but as Kurt (I think) said, you need to be smart to do it so it will not be challenged in court.  First, document all damages to the unit that the tenant would have to pay for  -remember to charge for all supplies needed to return the unit to pre-rental condition and charge a reasonable amount for your time.  Then start to advertise the place (newspaper ad, have fliers printed, etc. )  Document these costs.  Print up applications (you can always use these later) -document.  How many trips did you have to take to the place to repair and show -document, charging the IRS price per mile.    I think it was Kurt who said be creative, within reason.  Make sure you do log all ads, calls you receive, times you show it, applications you receive and why you rejected them.  This is proof in court, if challenged, that you were trying your utmost to get that place rented.  I've even logged where I posted fliers and when.  Remember to figure in the pro-rated rent from when they left up to when you re-rent it back out.  Once you finish all of this, you probably won't have any deposit left to keep without documentation - thus, no illegal withholding.

Remember that if you do withold without (documentation and an) itemized accounting, and the tenant takes you to court, you will owe him the deposit back, plus the treble damages he will request.
kurt

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Reply with quote  #8 
HEre's how it works like i or not. And as a landlord usually not.

The deposit can be held for as long as two weeks to thrity days. But here's how I do it, if the tenant was a scum bag and left the place a disaster while owing rent for a month and half, obviously one months rent isn't jack didly, it's peanuts. It covers most but usually not all of the lost rent, and of course there are high court costs in Ohio that get left on the landlord. Also balif fees, red tag fee, all the nice dollar revenue ohio courts make in this process and they don't give the landlords an even close to reasobnable chance to collect a judgment with the lousy debt collection laws in Ohio.

I have put a fine of $1,500.00 for breaking of lease in two ways by either me filing eviction or the tenant abandoning the unit.  I am also uping my initial late fee and daily late charge fee because I figure it htis way if the tenant has been good most of time I can waive the fee and look like the nice guy, but if tenant is  dirt bag I can stick it to em..

Thing is all the dollar fines/fees on a piece of paper is nice, and can probably even get judgment in second cause that's all well and nice, but it leaves landlords hanging with "how the heck do I collect this"? Sure can sell it off to a slow debt collection company that takes 45% + of that and usually hear nothing from them for a long time(if anything).

Or landlords could try to get some thing put together and sent over and over to their senator and state rep leting htem know they would like Ohio to change the wage garnishment laws to model arizona's, which would make it a lot easier on us and give us some what of a leg to stand on while advising dead beat tenants. No it owuldn't do any good with SSI bums and might take a long time with suction 8'ers(if ever), but it owuld be a start.

A question for all landlords who read this, do we have soem one in this state that can get heard by a senator or a state rep to change some of these lousy laws?

lousy laws:
1. Tenant can block entrance ot unit from landlord despite giving 24 hour notice to inspet and police wont help landlord at all.

2. Tenant or occupants are tearing place up inside, why can't landlord get police to throw tenant in jail immeditately like a store can?

3. Court colelction laws. Stink to high heaven! Ever seen the movie "CATCH 22"? The collection laws are exactly that.. Have to serve dirt bag with papers, how can you serve them if they don't give you forwarding adress? And of course dirt bags don't forward their mail, and courts say oh well find em then serve them. Oh yeah bf/gf answers door and says nope doesn't live here. So serving  them with debtors exam is as tough as geting a straight answer from a politician. Not to forget finding the dirt bags to even serve with debtors exam! And wage garnishment sure can pay court a high fee to garnish for 6 months, hoping dirt bag doesn't walk out of job. And for six months why that short why not until paid off or at least a year? And why not use a system that models arizona's it works a lot better and a lot easier?

Any answers to this? Any solutions?
kurt

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Reply with quote  #9 
Oh landlord your correct tis me who said such.. Yes be creative can the court prove a written receipt saying you paid "hullio" cash for cleaning? Course not and more than apt the court isn't going to call them in and if they do maybe make it a name of some one you know and have asked to "back you up" in such a situation.

Sure it's bending the law there and a little un-ethical, but here's my view on it. Just because it's a law doesn't mean it's logical, fair, or even inteligent And as far as the ethical goes as long as your not just trying to be a jerk to some one who left a small stain on the carpet and didn't leave you roses and candy on the counter when they moved out... Also more than apt even geting that second cause of action/ the judgment against a dead beat(s) means didly the majority of the time because more than apt you loose 45% or more of what you put down as losses on paper and does the court be fair or logical about that? Of course not it's your loss. Does the court be fair and count the possible damage to your credit report because of said dirt bags? of course not. I could go on, but I don't htink there's a need to there.

BE creative, paper lease only helps in proving what the courts will allow us to get and if given to a debt collection agency they can only go after the dead beat(s) for what is provable on lease and some leway on costs with no reciepts(as long as they don't have to go to court, and one time I went to court on such I didn't have to have reciepts, just a statement itimizing every dollar/cost).

As Oh landlord I think said it sucks or bites I forget, but it does both oh law is lousy(probably not the worst though).  Un-authorized occupant has stood inside door and told me to f' myself I wasn't going to get in to inspect the place and of course they owed rent and I had given them an eviction notice. Oh yeah I called columbus police out and I had to twist the heck out of their arm to even stand near me when I knocked on the door to get an adult to answer the door and talk to. Did I get in? Nope..

Anyhow I don't even know if my puting in the $1,500(three times the month's rent basically) fine/fee would hold up in court. But I do know you can charge a max of 28% interest a year on any judgment debt as long as you put it in writing on the lease.. Might as well it's better than 5-8% the courts give, and I spread it out to roughly 2.2% per month in the lease.
kurt

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Posts: 137
Reply with quote  #10 

short note. IF the tenant trashed the place, and or left owing at least a months rent with or with out eviction more than apt they aren't going to get after you court wise about the deposit money as long as the deposit money is less than what they would owe.. Figure it this way dirt bags probably don't have a job, probably didn't give you a forwarding adress and if they did great send them an itimized reciept of every dollar they owe you! And if they owe you money make sure you bill them at the same time ask them when they intend to pay!

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