Start your membership account today...  Access to credit reports, 100's of rental specific forms, agreements, letters, checklists, how-to articles, guides, expert advice and much more!  Even a FREE, 3-day trial!

Not a Member?
Get a Free Trial Membership

  Get FREE Stuff! Run Credit Report Rental Forms  Shop & Buy Forms!  Advertise Your Rental Customer Care

Welcome to Landlord.com's Discussion Forum
Sign up Latest Topics
 
 
 


Reply
  Author   Comment  
LandlordHell

Registered:
Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #1 

Our tenant would like to break her lease due to traffic noise outside the home. She claims she was misled and that I told her there was no noise. Which is not true....anyone who has eyes can see the road there and that cars drive on it. She is very dramatic as there is not a lot of noise.  Anyway she now claims her baby is getting sick because she can't sleep due to the noise. Also she retained an agent to find her a home with her specific qualifications. According to the lease agreement it states that it is the tenants responsibility to satifisy her personal conditions of the neighborhood. Ours was to provide a home. I'm I correct on this?

OHlandlord

Registered:
Posts: 3,814
Reply with quote  #2 
Yes, you are correct.  Traffic patterns and their associated noise is a condition outside of your control.  (Just as crime in a neighborhood is outside of your control.)  This is an obvious condition, not a hidden one (like crime may be).  The tenant is responsible to do due diligence to see that the unit and area satisfy her needs and requirements for conditions outside your control.  This is not a legitimate reason to break her lease.  The only exception would be if you stated or implied that the unit was in a "quiet area".  Then the tenant may have just cause to break a lease based on false advertising or promises.  She should have checked out the area prior to renting and signing a lease.

I am assuming that your unit meets code for windows and doors, and that there are no reasons why noise would enter the house more than any other house in the area.  Suggest that she obtain a white noise machine (available very cheaply at most stores) or that she leave a fan on to mask the noise.  You are not responsible for the traffic.
LandlordHell

Registered:
Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #3 

Yes, thank you. It is a new home so windows are double paned and I never made any promises that it was a "quiet home" so I appreciate the input. I thought I was correct but she's getting angrier as time goes on and is insisting her deposit back. We are letting her break the lease as long as she finds a replacement but she refuses. Oh Well!

OHlandlord

Registered:
Posts: 3,814
Reply with quote  #4 
Some tenants just don't "get it" and think they can break a lease for any reason that suits them.  All you can do is let her know the consequences of her actions.  That if she breaks the lease she will owe rent until the unit is re-rented (you do have an obligation to try to re-rent), advertising fees, utility costs (if she was liable for them per lease clause), broker or agent fees if you use one to find a new tenant, any costs you are not reimbursed for that result from her lease break (like credit checks on the applicant), plus the cost of any actual damage to the unit.  These costs will be deducted from the deposit, and a statement send to her forwarding address within the state's time limit, along with a bill for the remainder left owing. 

If she fails to pay, take her to small claims court and get a judgment against her for what she ends up owing you.  You may be unable to collect right away, but judgments are good for years (and may often be renewed when they expire).  Sooner or later she'll want to buy a house, car, etc. and have to pay it off to do so.

Other than that, ignore her angry "demands" (for something she has no right to!).  She needs to know what the law says about this.  Clue her in.
threeyears

Registered:
Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #5 

I have a question for OHlandlord....in my state, I have to send them back the deposit within 20 days. What do I do if the unit is still vacant at that time? The advertising and utility bills will still increase, and I won't know the full sum until I re-rent. So how do I deal with the 20 day time limit? I appreciate your wisdom!!

OHlandlord

Registered:
Posts: 3,814
Reply with quote  #6 
Is your state a term state (you have to give notices by the rent due date, and not just at any time during the month?)  If so, in the case it is still vacant at that time, you charge them with the unpaid rent for the month (since they would have to pay for the whole month of rent if they were there after the 1st) and the known utilities at that time, in addition to all the damages, the advertising you have placed, etc.  All the known charges you have. 

If your state is a day-for-day state (they can prorate their last month of rent, notices can be given at any time and you just count forward 30 days, etc.), then you charge them the prorated amoiunt as of the 20th day, and calculate the deductions with the other known charges. 

Print their disposition statement and send it out as required by your state with a notation that other charges will be forthcoming.  When you re-rent the unit and get the final utility costs, send them a bill for those wih a due date within 30 days.  If they fail to pay, then you must sue them in small claims court for these costs.  Keep in mind that most judges in many states will only allow you one to two months of rent for the vacant unit, no matter how long it sits empty.
Bethany

Registered:
Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #7 
Hi,

I am also new to this site and would like to glean some wisdom from more experienced landlords.  My last tenant broke his lease already and he was agreeable that I do not refund him his security deposit amount.  But he had outstanding bills which he did not pay by the fact that the bill came after he and his guests vacated the premise.  I had him sign an agreement that he would pay for it when I send him the bills w/ the total amount.  After receiving the bills, I emailed him the scanned copies of the bill plus sent it to him via certified mail.  He ignored me.  What should I do? 

Case #2, last year, almost the same thing occurred where as this tenant owed me close to $900 dollars of all outstanding rent amount plus a vehicle which we sold him in good faith.  He also defaulted in his payment.  I sent him certified mail and it was returned to me unsigned.  What should I do?    For these 2 cases, can I report them to the credit bureau or take them to small claims court?
OHlandlord

Registered:
Posts: 3,814
Reply with quote  #8 
You can file against both parties in small claims court.  For the first tenant who broke his lease, did you send him a statement of the disposition of his deposit?  Even if he agreed in writing to allow you to keep the deposit, most states insist that you write up a statement and apply it to the outstanding balance that he owed you.  If you didn't, write up a complete bill of wwhat the tenant owes, showing that the deposit was used to pay down some of that debt.  Write on the bill that it must be paid within 30 days of further action will be taken.  Keep a copy of this bill you send him.  After the 30 days, file against him in small claims court to get a judgment for the money he owes you.

For the former tenant, you can do the same thing.  Send him a bill demanding payment, keeping a copy of the bill for yourself.  Then file against him in small claims court.  It doesn't matter whether he answers the CM or not.  Send these to the former tenants by certified mail, return receipt requested.  If they refuse to pick them up, the receipt shows their refusal.  That will show the court they are dodging their responsibilities.

You will need to gather your documentation on both cases to show exactly what they owe you and how much they have paid.  Bring to court all files, receipts, and statements/correspondence you have sent to them.  Have it organized so you can find whatever the judge wants you to show in court.

Please do not take this the wrong way but...  In the future, stop allowing tenants to walk all over you.  You are being too nice to them.  This is a business and you must treat it as such to keep yourself above water as far as debts, motgages, etc. are concerned.  Do not give permission for a tenant to break a lease unless they are a PITA tenant.  Do their deposit statements within your state law showing you kept them for outstanding debts (itemize these to show each amount owed).  File against them in small claims court if they refuse to pay.  Get judgments against each one, even if you can't collect on them at the time.  This serves 2 purposes.  The judgment will be good for years and they may get their life together during that time and try to buy a large ticket item (house, new car, etc.)  They will have to pay off your judgment in order to buy them.  And secondly, because doing this puts it on record for all future LLs to see that this tenant didn't pay his bills.  It is a warning to the next guy to beware of this tenant.

Are you doing a thorough screening of your tenants?  Checking credit reports, civil/muniipal/housing and common please court records?  Checking with present & former LLs for their references?  Verifying income & employment?  Etc.  If not, you need to start screening these people more carefully to prevent accepting these types.  If they are doing this to you, chances are they have doen it to a former LL.  You should check before you rent to them.
Previous Topic | Next Topic
Print
Reply

Quick Navigation:

Easily create a Forum Website with Website Toolbox.

Apartment Finders > > Member Log-in > Free Trial Offer > Free E-newsletter > Customer Service > Get Free Stuff! > Run Credit Report > Rental Forms > Vacancy Center > Do-it-yourself > Evicting Your Tenant > Foreclosure Resources > Landlord Discussion Board > Income Tax Resources > Information Center > Join Landlord.com > Landlord Law > Library > Multi-family > Professional Advice > Rental & Property Mgmt > Rent Collection > Repair & Maintenance > Security Deposit > Software Center > Tenant Screening > Vacation Homes > What's New > Rental Agreements > Free Leases > Inside Our E-store > > Security Deposits > > Landlord Daily News > Rental Agreements >
LandscapingSanJose.net Resources: Cleaner Sunshine coast