In early March 2012, I became an inadvertent new landlord when I bought a condo in a Colorado college town that as of September 2012 is used by immediate family members. The then existing three tenants had a one year lease with the former owner that ran from Aug 2011 to Aug 2012. In late April, one tenant gave me notice of early lease termination, some information about SCRA and some military enlistment papers dated February 2012 with a July report date. He said was going to move out and back home on May 31, 2012, because he was leaving for basic training within 60 days.
I told him that I wouldn’t accept his early termination and he owed me rent through August 2012. In May, the tenant had an attorney send me a follow-up letter reiterating early lease termination through SCRA.
Then, the tenant sent me a seven-day demand letter in July for his security deposit saying it was more than 30 days since he had moved out. Of course I didn’t send him the money, the lease wasn’t over and now he owed me rent. A couple of weeks after receiving his demand letter, I sent him a stern reply telling him I was keeping his security deposit and that I was going to sue him for the rest of his unpaid rent. Even though I didn't hear back I know he received the letter since I mailed it to his attorney’s address as requested.
Now it’s almost one year later. I’ve received a demand letter again citing SCRA. A friend said to be careful because military legal assistance as well as the Department of Justice could get involved. Between SCRA and Colorado law, she said he was allowed to move out on June 1, 2012 and that I might have to I pay this ex-tenant 3 times his security deposit. Also because I didn’t register the condo as a licensed rental unit between the time I bought it in March and late June 2012, she thought I might have to refund rent to all tenants for that period because the rental contract was null and void. I think she’s making this all up. According a lawyer friend, the former tenant wasn’t even in the military when he left.
Can you believe this? None of this makes sense. He owes me money not vice versa. How can I get him to pay up? He's active duty and stationed in another state.