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Posts: 12
Reply with quote  #1 
Hi! I haven't been on in a while but now I have a situation not sure how to handle, I had a tenant that moved out in January.  I called her to tell her that we haven't received her rent yet, I made this call on Monday February 15th, she didn't answer so I left a message.  She has always paid her rent on time which is due the 1st with a 5 day grace period.  She returned my call last night February 17th, and told me that she has been trying to call me since January to tell me she was moving out because her boyfriends aunt died and they moved into her house.  (I do not work outside the home, I'm here almost all the time and have an answering machine) she told me that the phone kept ringing and ringing every time she called and there was no answering machine to leave a message, I asked her if she called the right number, she responded yes.  I told her that we do have an answering machine and other people have left messages and that I'm here most of the time. I told her that if you couldn't get a hold of me by phone then why didn't you write I also asked her what day she moved out but couldn't recall she just said sometime in January.  According to my lease which I give copies to all my tenants, and mention to her if you don't rent for a year then you won't receive your deposit back, also to give a 30 day written notice to vacate and I have an abandonment clause. Her lease started on Sept. 1, 2009.   She told me she left a set of keys inside the apartment but still has a set. I told her I would go check the place out and make arrangements with her to get the keys back.(I'm going on Friday to inspect the apartment).  My question is, is she still in possession of the premises because she didn't notify me and still has the keys and is she liable to pay February's rent?  My husband told me to negotiate with her and try to get half the months rent if I can.  She rented from me once before and moved out one month before the term of her lease and lost her deposit then, she's a good person and tenant. How would any one handle this situation?

Posts: 3,794
Reply with quote  #2 
First, exactly what does your abandonment clause in the lease say?  OH has no statute on abandonment so you have to be careful when you include one in the lease.  Please list that clause.  It should include a description of what is considered to be abandonment, and specific procedures you follow in the case of abandonment.  Since we have no statute, you should model your abandonment clause on what other states require:  No rent for xx days, phone calls and messages to tenant that are not answered, an inspection of the property to determine abandonment (document the inspection & what you find), a notice of belief of abandonment posted to the premises, a waiting period for tenant response (shows you are not violating their rights), and retaking possession.

Next, no clause allows you to seize a deposit or to make the tenant forfeit one.  You still have to do a proper itemized accounting of that deposit according to law.  You can deduct rent for the 30 days of notice period starting with the first day you become aware of the abandonment (2/15 in your case).  The notice period would end on 3/17 and she owes rent at least until then, unless you re-rent in that time.  Show this on the statement.  It would have been better if you had gotten it in writing from her that she has left the unit or had a witness to state she said that.  She owes rent until the place is re-rented, advertising costs, agent fees if you use one to find a new tenant, and other non-reimbursed costs.  She also owes for cleaning and removal/storage of any items in the place, and repairs beyond wear & tear.  Show all of this as itemized deductions on the statement.  Total these costs, deduct her deposit from it, and show the rest as a bill to her.  That is how you can legally "keep" a deposit.

Posts: 11
Reply with quote  #3 
Put them in The Rent Rite Directory's FREE Incident Reporting Database. Commercial and Residential property owners, managers and landlords upload lease violations from current tenants and search database before leasing to new tenants.

Posts: 58
Reply with quote  #4 

The Rent Rite Directory offers a free Rental History database to Property Managers and Owners that allows members to input as well as search evictions (before they hit public record), tenants who skip out on rent/collections, proxy renters (those who rent on behalf of unauthorized tenants ie: drug dealers, sex offenders, convicted felons), those who commit lease violations, property damage, and on-property crime. Please help share information with other Real Estate Professionals. 

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