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Re: Tenant Abandoned Townhome
on June 11, 2012 @16:55
Your situation is a little tricky because of the HOA rules and the fact your tenant moved out of state without providing a forwarding address.
First, you need to deal with the security deposit. Check with your state rules and see if you can hold it for rent owed. Some states don't allow for it and strictly limit it to only physical damages to the property. Either way, you will need to send him a settlement letter or a check for the deposit minus damages with a settlement letter via certified mail to last known address (your townhouse in this case) if withholding any portion of the rent. Your state has a specific timeline for you to complete that by and if you don't comply the tenant can sue you and collect for more that what the amount of the security deposit is.
Second, contact your HOA and explain the situation. Since you have only 3 months left in the term they may cut you a break and allow you to re-rent since 75% of the year term has past. Most likely, you are looking for an August move in date after advertising, screening and completely qualifying a new tenant. July is possible but depends on when you get the go ahead from the HOA.
If you are allowed to keep the security deposit towards rent owed on the lease and your HOA allows you to re-rent sooner, you damages of lost rental income can potentially be mitigated so you are not out any income or very little.
If you are not allowed to keep security deposit or cannot rent the unit due to HOA or because potential tenants aren't qualifying, you can pursue your tenant in small claims court for the remain months of the lease or a portion of it-some judges will award only up to two months if you have not found replacement tenants. You will have to find his address and have him serve out of state at your cost. Then you will have the court date and if a judgement is granted in your favor, you will have to begin the process of collection which doesn't guarantee you will see the money in your pocket anytime soon. So, you will have to weigh what your loss actually becomes and the effort and cost of pursuing it in court for an out of state tenant.
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