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Ask the Eviction Attorney | Landlord Tenant Law Q&A

Q&A with John Reno, Eviction Attorney

The Landlord Protection AgencyThe Landlord Protection Agency® is proud to introduce John Reno, Esq., a highly experienced Landlord - Tenant attorney based on Long Island, NY.

Mr. Reno has engaged in Landlord / Tenant practice in the District Courts of Nassau and Suffolk for the last 30 years. He prides himself on prompt legal action and direct client service.

"Over ninety percent of our practice in the Landlord Tenant courts consists of evictions of tenants, primarily for non-payment of rent. We also assist landlords in preparation and/or review of leases and consultation on other matters affecting the Landlord - Tenant relationship.

We find that Landlords who contact us have often waited too long to commence an eviction, usually in an understandable effort to resolve problems amicably. Landlords need attorneys who will not compound the problem with unnecessary delays or expenses. For this reason, our main priority is immediate action. In most cases, we commence an eviction within 3 days of being hired and have our client's cases in Court within 7 to 10 days of being hired."

If you are a landlord with a tenant problem you'd like to ask a question about, please feel free to e-mail me your question.
Please Note: Mr. Reno is an active practicing attorney with limited time and will do his best to respond to relevant questions. If using an I-phone or mobile device, please use full sentences and punctuation so we can understand you. The high volume of e-mails may require the LPA to enter your question into the LPA's Landlord Q&A Forum.

If you are a landlord with a tenant problem you'd like to ask a question about, please feel free to e-mail me your question.

Submit a landlord / tenant question for Mr. Reno
Please try to keep your questions as short and to the point as possible.

John Reno also does Mortgage Loan Modifications (Nationwide).
(Mention The LPA for a 10% discount!)

If you are a Landlord on Long Island, NY, and wish for Mr. Reno to handle your landlord - tenant case,
please provide your contact information: e-mail Mr. Reno (


Published 2014-07-22

Dear Mr. Reno:
My husband is the manager of a company and we have company housing. He is trying to push for a divorce and I won't agree to it. I have reason to believe he's meeting with a lawyer to attempt to evict me. I am wondering if he is legally allowed to evict me where I am his wife? And if so, do I have a legal leg to stand on? Thank-you in advance for your assistance.

Sarah L. in northern Alberta

A: You have a leg to stand on. He doesn't. You can't evict your wife that way. If he tries it, then you start a divorce. That will stop him in his tracks- cause the divorce court will take jurisdiction.

Dear Mr. Reno:
Hi, I have a tenant who's lease expires on Aug 31st, 2014. She hasn't paid rent since June, I have gone over, emailed, called and sent out both a Non-renewal and a Notice to Cease. In the Notice to Cease I stated she violated the lease by painting, repairing and putting up fixtures without seeking written consent, as well as paying rent biweekly via personal checks when it clearly states on the lease via ONLY cash or certified checks. It had slipped my mind that I allowed her to paint, so I am resending my Notice to Cease/Quit.But then she put a stop on the check for June's rent. I want to start eviction, but my fear is that if I do it will take a long time, she may overstay there, which I don't want, she may also damage more than her SD given. We also were looking to move in immediately after the lease expires. The other issue we face is that have her SD but never put it in an interest bearing account. I was told to still start the eviction process, and that even though we did do that with her SD, we wouldnt have a problem, but that the judge would just say that a the SD be used for unpaid rent. My questions are, will we get a hefty penalization for this (could we get screwed?) If she decides to move out before the lease expiration (runs away) and doesn't pay and we catch her, could we call the police and have her arrested for this? How long does an eviction process take if we were to file Monday? Also if after inspection, and damages are assessed, how quickly or how high are our chances of getting money from her for the unpaid rent and damages? Will she have to eventually pay? We gave her until the 15th to pay, she hasn't, and so I gave her 5 days to leave when I sent her the Late Rental Payment Agreement, which she never signed or will. Is that legal?

A: You're making this way too complicated, Hema. This is a simple non-payment eviction. Forget the painting and the personal checks. Keep it simple and evict her for non-payment. You'll also get a money judgment. Can you collect? You've got about 30% probability. That's our system.


Published 2014-07-21

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a tenant who relocated from New Jersey and has rented from me for about 2 yrs. The first year they expressed desire to rent for only one year, because they plan to buy a home in CA the following year. Tenants initialed all forms and signed the extensive Rental/Lease agreements throughout they were somewhat aloof about the Rental/Lease agreement (an LPA produced CA Lease/Rental Forms). Tenants paid rent on time, but where somewhat difficult and not being very responsible and would call me about any little thing in the house. By the end of year, tenant/husband had quit his job in CA, indicated he had rejoined his old company in New Jersey, and was going to be allowed to work from home. They completed the first year lease, and requested a new 8-month lease to continue looking for the new home. Against prudency I generated a no fee 8 month lease at no extra cost to them. 60-days before end of 8-month lease I placed the home on rental Advertisement. Requested tenants to please allow showing of property when time came around. Tenants were indignant, because they felt they needed to extend the lease again and that I was not allowing them the opportunity to do so

I indicated their Lease was coming to an end soon and I could not extend the Lease; however, they would have the opportunity to renew the Lease for one year should they choose the option to do so. They rant, raved, and complained that I had to let them stay at least 6-month, because the Tenant/husband now was told to move back to New Jersey. I informed tenants that I could not do sixth month, because rental time frame was too short and rental market in September might be dry and risky. They consistently came up with kid being sick to every excuse for me to extend the Lease. I started to feel like they intended not to vacate the property. In the process they indicated the tenant\husband employer promised to pay 300 towards rent if I allowed them to renew six month. I weighed the situation and really just wanted them gone.

Eventually felt sorry for their situation and at the end of 8-month lease I put together a new again no fee 6-month lease from 2/28/14 to 8/28/14. The tenants lease does not expire until end of August, but first week of June I was surprised to received the “tenants notice to vacate” earlier than expected. They have said, they are expecting a child around the time the lease ends, and that they fully intend to break the lease, and plan to be in their new home in New Jersey by July 23rd. They have said that per the guidance of HUD they intend to break, pay their last month, and that I must do a move out final inspection July 22nd, and transfer the Electric and Gas account to my name.

I told tenants that under consideration I would honor the Lease Agreement up until the end of August, I could do a preliminary inspection, but the final inspection would happen at the end of the lease period.

Genis Z., California

A: You can't refuse the inspection, but that doesn't mean you're agreeing with them, breaking the lease. So if they are offering you the keys (i.e. surrendering possession) you must take possession and do your final inspection. Whether or not you sue them later is a decision you can't make until you re-rent- and can calculate your losses due to their breach.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have done the garnishment on my ex-tenants but some other bills have come in that they are responsible for. If the judge grants me a second judgment and I do another garnishment, will her employer deduct them both at the same time or should I wait until I have collected on the first one. Does Va. have a law regarding 2 garnishments form the same person at the same time ?
Thanks in advance.

Lois Bennett, VA

A: You can have as many money judgments as you want, problem is, they do them one at a time. Reason is, you're already taking the max under the law with the first one.


Published 2014-07-19

Dear Mr. Reno:
Hello! I have a tenant who's lease ends July 31st. When we tried to collect the rest of the rent for June on June 26th, he didn't have it. We told him we are not renewing the lease. He got very upset to put it lightly. The due date for July's rent came and went and we haven't heard from him. On July 11th, we left a written letter on his door reminding him that as we discussed on June 26th, we will not be renewing the lease and he needs to be out July 31st, and paraphrased our lease agreement that the house needs to be in the same condition as it was when he moved in. He hasn't replied to any phone calls, texts, etc., and almost gives us the impression he doesn't plan on going anywhere. Should I see if he moves out July 31st, and if so just keep his deposit, or do we need to go forward with a notice to quit? Even though we don't have proof, and he passed his background check, we have heard rumors of him being a drug dealer so we are trying to be careful.


A: Me thinks he isn't going anywhere. Start the process. (pay or quit). At the moment, he's enjoying his new rent, which is zero dollars a month.

Dear Mr. Reno:
My name is Cathy I live in Alabama. My adult son does not live at home, but told the police he does live here then he was arrested even though he doesn't live here the officer still said I have to evict him. My son has 2 children in which I have a relationship with and he doesn't so he called the department of human resources stating their mother and step father abuse them. I have them 4 out of 7 days a week. So these babies are not abused. We called the police when he came here then he was arrested for a traffic the police said we have to evict him. How do you evict someone whom does not reside at your home. Hope to hear from you soon Thank You,

Cathy, Alabama

A: My father once said "you kids can stay here your whole life" to which my mother replied "NO THEY CAN'T!" This is a very complicated issue- evicting a grown up child. You should read the decision on this website "recent victories."
Also, you can start a proceeding against someone- even if they're in and out- because they're claiming it as their residence. You'll need a lawyer for this- lots of grey area here.


Published 2014-07-17

Dear Mr. Reno:
In response to a rather terse letter from me (about their improper behavior), my tenants are "punishing" me by simply not paying the rent. I believe they are goading me into an eviction because they no longer want to stay because they're mad at me for chastizing them.

Well, I want them to stay and pay - my rental is on a private beach street, and I get less rent if I rent in winter. If I start eviction proceedings (after the "Demand Rent" letter), I believe they will leave immediately and not pay me. There is no talking to them.

As of today, they owe me for November and December - $4400 ($2200/month). Will an eviction get me my money? Can it get my rent until the end of the lease in Spring 2014, or until I re-rent the property?

Of course, I wish I never sent that letter. I'm just getting past Sandy damage repairs, getting back on my feet. Too late for regret, how do I get my rent?
Thank you!

Nancy, NY

A: If you evict them, you should get a money judgment for the two months at least. After you re-rent, you can take them back to court and get another judgment for lost rent. Also, if you have to rent for less, you can get a judgment for the deficiency. But there's a catch... will any of these judgments be collectable? Maybe, maybe not. I can't answer that.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I live in queens, NY. My mom has a tenant in her basement apartment (not legal) its a month to month lease and tenant hasn't paid rent in 2 months. My mom mailed a termination notice by regular and certified mail. She was told by someone that she should've served her personally as well. Is that true? The tenant is also saying she cant move until she finds a job and saved enough money. What should we do next to get her out of my moms house? Please help!!!

Tenisha, NY

A: New York City is the hardest place to evict someone. Even if the service by mail is enough, I can almost guarantee the termination is defective. It's very complex. You need to hire someone. Or she'll be there for ever. (Even with an expert, it will take 3-6 mos.)

Dear Mr. Reno:
I m buying a house at Kern county. There is a tenant in this house,and she has section 8 . what can I do to make her move out . Escrow supposed to be closed by the end of this month ,but because of her they can't do it. What is the law of section 8? Thank you.


A: You have to honor the lease. If it's a year, you can't cancel until its up. If its a month to month, then you can give a 30 day notice.
You have to let Section 8 know what you're doing. Call them. They'll talk to you.

Dear Mr. Reno:
Hi, I live in Seaford NY and I am writing this for my mother. She is renting an apartment in our home (not legal).

Recently we have ran into many issues with the tenant. She snuck a cat into the apartment, which we found after she left a candle burning all day and the fire alarm went off. We are very allergic to the cat at gave her two weeks to get rid of it. She is refusing and now threatening to report the apartment and change the locks.

We have always had issues with her letting us in her apartment (even with days notice) and she has even threatened to key our neighbors car when they parked in front of out house.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you

Stephanie, NY

A: This can't go on. You can't live like this. You're going to have a serve a 30 day notice, & then evict her. They'll be a loss of rent & maybe even a town violation to deal with, but if she reports you, it was only a matter of time before she did that anyway.


Published 2014-07-16

Dear Mr. Reno:
How can i evict people living in my house when i cant get there names Sent from my iPhone

Anthony, Linsley, Ct

A: You list the names you know, and "John Doe and Jane Doe" as subtenants.

Dear Mr. Reno:
Might you be able to refer me to an attorney in Bay County FL who might help me to evict my not-paying-tenant? In June I filed the 3-day notice, and the sheriff served the 5-day notice, which is how I normally evict tenants. Instead of the sheriff following up with the 24-hour-notice as is customary here (ref, this time nothing happened for a week or so.

The tenant wrote a note to the judge stating that she should not have to move because she has nowhere to move to. After that, I was notified that I had to go to mediation next week, so that I will be convinced to let the tenant can stay rent-free. I cannot mediate the expenses I pay for the property (PITI) plus repairs and the rental income barely covered those expenses.

I am a senior who is now trying to live on 12K per year from SS, so if I don't have a PAYING tenant, I will lose the property. Since it is now underwater, if I lose the property they will take my own home to pay for the difference between the mortgage on the rental property and whatever the property can be sold for. Although I hope to find a new job soon, the outlook is not looking good.

Since my SS is direct deposit, I do not need an address to receive it, but I do not want to live in my car. I have not been able to find a local attorney who will handle Landlord-Tenant cases (at a rate I can afford). The FL Bar was not helpful either. Please help?

Thank you in advance, and I apologize for my inability to make this more succinct.

Sue, FL (Bay County)

A: My first suggestion was the Bar. You said no good. But that's the Florida Bar, did you try the Bay County Bar? (Step two: Internet.)


Published 2014-07-14

Dear Mr. Reno:
I need to evict someone who already agreed to leave but then decided a week later they need a 30 day notice. They left my home but there stuff is still there. I can't find them so how do get a eviction notice to them? I can't live in my home due to if he comes back, he is a threat to my family.

KK from Texas

A: That's a common concern, but not a problem. You don't need to serve the tenant personally to do an eviction. There's always an alternate method- attach to front door, certified mail, etc. You need a professional process server that knows how to serve eviction papers.

Dear Mr. Reno:
Our tenant installed an above ground pool without our knowledge, the property has no fence at all. When we found out we verbally told them to take it down, she got mad and hung up on my husband after saying ok. She never took it down, two weeks later we send a registered letter stating to take it down or we will start eviction procedures, she wouldn't accept the letter. Finally we had our property manager go over and post the letter on every door, but they were home and the letter was delivered personally and was read. Today is the final day for them to take it down and they haven't yet. Also they have had drunken parties that the police were called to twice since the pool was erected.

Our lease reads that no structures should be erected without prior written notice from us. They also have not paid July's rent yet and no communication from them. Can we evict them? We would like to sell the house since we have had bad luck with it and buy rental property elsewhere. The house is in Alabama.
Thank you,

Natalie P.

A: Here's the normal procedure.
1st, you send a Notice of Default- stating that if they don't (within 10 days) take down the pool, you'll terminate the lease.
2nd, you terminate the lease after 10 days. 3rd Evict as holdover tenants.
Note: you can only do #1 if your lease says you can. Most leases do. Does yours?


Published 2014-07-11

Dear Mr. Reno:
Prospective new tenants have agreed to rent from us and are coming to sign their one year lease on Thursday of this week. I received an email from them today stating that they are concerned because there is "no item protecting us from someone trying to sell the townhouse while tenants are living in it". They are asking me to add "a line to the lease agreement that protects them and gives them peace of mind". Although we have no intention to sell the property at all because it is part of our retirement income. I do not feel comfortable adding such a statement to my lease. Please let me know what legal (and reasonable) response I should make to answer their request.
Thank you,

Kaye P., LA

A: "In the event of the sale of this townhouse, the new owners shall be bound by all of the terms of this lease." (That's the law anyway- LOL.)


Published 2014-07-10

Dear Mr. Reno:
I am a new Landlord and I have tenants who moved out and did not pay their last month's rent. The final month was pro-rated, but they didn't pay. How long do I have to wait to report them to the credit beaurus because I do not have a security deposit from them nor did they leave a future mailing address. They are avoiding me.

Isaac from North Carolina

A: For most people, the Credit Bureaus don't care who owes you money unless you have a judgment. Unless you're a financial institution (Chase, Visa, Amex, etc.) you have to sue b/4 it goes on their credit, that is, unless you know something I don't know.


Published 2014-07-08

Dear Mr. Reno:
This tenant is a month to month tenant. Last week she told me she was moving out she was drunk she was telling people on the phone she gave me notice but no date. I am hoping that thirty days is standard she also stated that she was going to live at her boyfriends fathers rental property. Then she left the next day to Ariz. For a week. I was told it will be two soon of course the main drain backed up the next day what a mess cost ect. Her notice was verbal there is nothing in writing . What should I do she also left a post dated check for the rent. I did not cash it I figured if I did I would be renewing the tenancy. She gave me verbal notice on June 20, 2014. She is a chronic alcoholic and bipolar we have really tried to help her but really can't take it anymore she is so crazy we can't talk to her. What should I do I was thinking of writing her to acknowledge her notice and date to vacate. I know she will either deny or just take her sweet time. I can't imagine she would want to deal with the courts as she was just convicted of a class e felony and is on probation. She was also arrested threatening by text . She is a mess thankyou for you response .

Pati in smithtown, NY - aka exhausted

A: I'm so confused my head is spinning. She left- she didn't leave- you got the rent- you won't take it. What's the deal? If you want her out- but she's paying- did you give her a 30 day notice? You should call me- I'm in your area (667-RENO).

Dear Mr. Reno:
I live in Brooklyn, NY and my Tenant has violated a Court Stipulation to vacate by June 30th.
I gave them a concession of 2 months Rent in return for this move out date.
Can I go after them for the back rent since they did not comply as we agreed?
Thank you

N.W., NY

A: Probably not. It depends on the exact wording of the stipulation. Sometimes the concession is conditional on them vacating on time- but not usually. Mostly, its just waived.
You can sue for July and thereafter in small claims- but probably no retro.


Published 2014-07-07

Dear Mr. Reno:
  My question is:
1.      In SC when can a tenant can refuse to pay rent?
2.      In SC , in which circumstances can a tenant deduct the security deposit from the final month’s rental without the written consent of their landlord?
3.      In SC, if the tenant makes such a deduction and fails to pay the rental after written request by the landlord is the landlord justified in reporting this failure to the credit bureau? (via LPA) 4.      Should we be worried about the implied threat they make which is described in the final paragraph below

  5.      BACKGROUND
·         The tenants have been on a month to month lease since February 2014. We advised them, at the end of their lease in February, when the rental arrangement changed to month to month basis,  that we wanted to sell the house during 2014 and we promised to give them as much notice a possible.
·         On Memorial Day our tenant had called us to show us mold on the ceiling of the master bathroom and showed us a small patch about 12”x12” which we photographed. (During this discussion they offered to take up a two year lease if we would reduce the rental. We did not accept this offer.)
·         We employed a building contractor to check the roof and attic for structural water leaks and got a plumber to check for plumbing leaks. Both reported absolutely dry conditions in the attic, including the drip tray under the HVAC.
·         We then did a mold test of both indoor and outdoor air samples and a swab  the mold itself. The test report indicated ‘No elevated mold conditions’ but noted that there was a greater spore count from the indoor sample than from the outdoor sample.
·         At the beginning of June we decided to sell and gave them notice on June 9 to vacate on July 31. ((just over 6 weeks) They asked for another 30 days and we said OK provided we could show the house during August. At this point we also gave them a copy of the lab report.
·         We then consulted with Mold Solutions Inc (remediation specialists) who advised us that this result was an air quality ‘slightly out of ecology’ and recommended that we clean the HVAC system - which we did. The contractor reported to us that nothing other than usual household material was removed from the system.
·         On Thursday last week they informed us that they had found a new rental and would be leaving at the end of July. However, they also became abusive and threatened to “leave the house unsaleable because of the ‘mold problem’.
·         They also stated that they believed that we were not going to refund their deposit so they would be deducting it from the final month’s rent. We disagreed with this immediately.
·         We checked with Mold Solutions Inc, who informed us verbally that there is nothing in the mold report that requires disclosure. Nevertheless we have made a full disclosure of what has happened to our appointed selling agent and given them all documentation.
·         On Saturday we received a rent check from the tenant (for the final month’s rent) with the annotation that their security deposit had been deducted – ie short paid by some $1700.
·         We wrote to them pointing out that this is not acceptable in terms of SC Landlord tenant law and that we had never agreed to this, requesting that the pay in full by the due date (July 5)
·         They responded quoting SC law (SECTION 27-40-610. Noncompliance by landlord in general) accusing us of wilfully ignoring a health issue (mold) and neglecting two other small maintenance issues, making no mention of any full payment of the missing rental for July.

Maryanne Gilbert in South Carolina

A: Tenants have no right to "live out their security" but the problem is, when they do, there isn't much you can do.

You guys sound like you're headed to small claims court.

Mold issues wont help them in court.

Also, if they haven't left, & you seem very motivated to resolve this, I would start a no-pay eviction now. Get it going. That will iron it all out.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I'm dealing with a Landlord/Tenant issue in Williamsburg VA. I served my tenants a 5 day pay of quit notice at the beginning of June-they have not paid any rent for May, June or July and were behind prior to that. We have a court date ser for July 14th. The tenants state they will pay $8000 (they owe double that) if I allow them to stay until the 25th when they can move into a new rental. I would like the payment because I think this may be the only way I get any payment from them. However I do not want it to effect the judgement. Will I lose the judgement if I allow them to stay for another 21 days?

Liz, VA

A: If they offer you $8000, take it.  If you don't, you're nuts.
  But it has to be cash up front.  It can't be a check, or a promise they'll pay next week.  (Stop worrying about the judgment.  It's usually not worth the paper its written on.)

  "A bird in the bank is worth two in the bush" (but it has to be a real bird- not a fake one.)

Dear Mr. Reno:
Can I evict Jane Doe when I don’t have the tenants full-name...?

Paul G., Ohio

A: Yes, That's why we evict John Doe & Jane Doe everyday! (They really get around!)


Published 2014-07-03

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a multi-tenant office building ( 88 suites) located in St. Louis, Missouri. I would like to know if I can lock a tenant out of the suite when the rent is not paid?

Ray, MO

A: Ray, Only in your wildest dreams. I wish it were that easy!
Even though it is a commercial rental, the law still requires an eviction process. Sorry!

Dear Mr. Reno:
I am a landlord and do not wish to renew the current tenant's lease for various reasons. The tenant has since filed and obtained disability because she has COPD. Is this going to be a problem when I send her a Notice of Non-Renewal of Lease notification?

John, MO

A: If you use the proper notices with sufficient time, let's hope she leaves. Otherwise, you may have to evict for holdover.
What is COPD? (I'm a lawyer, not a doctor!) ;)

Dear Mr. Reno:
We moved out of state and forgot to give keys back tho house has been vacant since may. I'm owed 950 for deposit but he does not want to give it back due to he hasn't rented the apartment in 2 months because he didn't have the keys. Is he allowed to keep deposit because of that ? He could have easily changed locks and deducted the money

Mariette, From Massachusetts to Connecticut

A: It's a small claims court case. He can probably keep only one month. So if $950 is 2 months you can get back half. But if you're out of state, considering gas & tolls, is it worth it?


Published 2014-07-02

Dear Mr. Reno:
My mom got a reverse mortgage . She died Nov.of 2013 so I rented her home in March of 2014. They quit paying rent in June of 2014. Now they are not getting out of the house and the mortgage company is giving information to them that they won't even tell me . What should I do ?

Cathy, IL

A: You have to be appointed Administrator. Otherwise, nothing you can do legally. Once appointed, boot'em out for nonpayment. Then rerent. But for how long, I don't know. With a reverse, don't they take the house back?


Published 2014-07-01

Dear Mr. Reno:
Question: Can a tenant lock out a landlord from their commercial property, refusing to give landlord keys, change the alarm company, refusing to give landlord code and allow landlord to make up their own password ?
Thank you in advance.

Catherine, Indiana

A: Well it may be a lease violation- maybe grounds to terminate the lease. But until that happens, the tenant is King of his Castle.

Why do I say that? If you call a cop or Sheriff, you can talk 'till you're blue in the face, they're not gonna let you in. They'll tell you to get a lawyer. So there you are. You have a lease, but it won't enforce itself. That's your lawyer's job.


Published 2014-06-30

Dear Mr. Reno:
My grandmother has been living in my mobile home for five months now. Home is in my name, all bills are in my name, I pay the rent, lot rent, satellite, and insurance. She has paid the utilities for 4 months (120/month). There is no contract signed. I verbally stated that since she had nowhere to go she could move in & watch my son as her part. Well my son is in daycare & she doesn't keep him anymore. She was keeping him 10 days a month from 8am-5pm while I was working. We haven't spoke since an argument and I want her out. What do I do?

Amanda, North Carolina

A: Well I hate to see this but you have to evict granny like any long-term guest that has worn out their welcome. I'm not sure in No. Car. if it's a 30 day or 60 day notice to vacate, (ask around- I think it's 30) and then if she hasn't but the road, its a "Holdover" eviction just like someone that stayed after their lease was up.


Published 2014-06-27

Dear Mr. Reno:
I am a Marine that was living in New York and have since been reassigned to California. My wife (I just married in Jan) owns a house in Suffolk and is still there until she finishes school. I moved out in Jan to take my new assignment and when I moved out she let her friend move in to help with the rent. Her friend now will not move out and we are trying to sell the house. It is kind of a weird situation as she did not pay us any rent but her soon to be ex father in law (who owns one of the mortgages) took one year of cost off of the mortgage for the payment. Since then the "roommate" has been in the crazy ward and had her children taken away from her. My wife and I are going to be in a financial burden due to the move from NY to Cali and not being able to sell the house. We are trying to figure out the quickest and easiest way to get this "roommate" out of the house. I guess my main question is what is the quickest option to get her and all her furniture out of the house? And can I use the Soldiers and Sailors act due to me receiving official orders to get her out?

1stSgt William H., NY

A: What do you mean "out quick"? How's 3 mos? That's the best I could do. Call me if you're interested, I'm in your area 667-RENO.

Dear Mr. Reno:
And I have my 29 year old son living in my home and I want him out of my home so I already served him with a three day and also a 30 day notice . It's over the 30 days and he did not respond so could you if you don't mind telling me the next steps and the right forms I need to file to get him out ASAP


A: Every court has its own forms. You should proceed down there & get'em. (Try online- many courts are publishing.)


Published 2014-06-25

Dear Mr. Reno:
My step dad owns the house i live in. I am on the deed with him and my mom. I have no written contract. I just pay the bills. House payment utilities upkeep. Have lived there for 7 years at least. Can they evict me and or my boyfriend because they dont want him there? Hes done repairs and contributed to bills. We have done nothing. Wrong. No contract exists.. i am on the deed.
Thank you!

Raine, Michigan.

A: You can fight that. If you're on the deed, you're an owner. One owner can't evict another. As far as BF goes. He's there with your permission. So he's safe. Why can't you people get along? What does mom say? You're gonna help BF & lose mom. Is it worth it?

Dear Mr. Reno:
My grandmother is currently trying to force her grandson to move out after they had an argument and he punched a hole in the drywall. My questions is, is she able to do this since she has been claiming as a household member for the past four years for her food stamps, or is she required to file for an eviction notice?

Zack from Kentucky

A: If he doesn't leave voluntarily, she has to evict. Not because of the food stamps. It's because of his residency. He's not a rude dinner guest. He lives there. Them's the breaks.

Dear Mr. Reno:
Hi, Thanks so much for having this great service!
Question: If a person has not returned keys, and has left belongings behind from a share, and is not any longer under any lease (i.e., it had been 2 months, then was extended month to month, then was given 30 days notice), is there a time period after which they can be said to have technically "vacated" and therefore have no hold on my place any longer? Someone is currently doing this in my place to threaten some kind of squatting-type situation, to try to force me to return their full security, which under the circumstances seems entirely unjustified.
Thanks so much.

Nathan, NY

A: There's no "technically" vacated. If their stuff is still there, then they are still in possession. But sometimes there are grey areas. What if they've left mostly garbage? Garbage doesn't count. My rule of thumb is wait until the clothes are gone. Wait another 30 days. Then move in.
On the other hand, if you're in communication with them. and they deny they've left, you can't go in. You would have to evict.


Published 2014-06-24

Dear Mr. Reno:
Hi I'm Olivia from Ireland. Can my ex husband evict the tenants of our rental property even though I signed lease agreement with the tenants and not him?

Olivia, Ireland

A: If they have a signed lease from you- and you're an owner, then Hubby gonna have troubles with that eviction. (I'm involved in a case with the same situation right now- and it's a mess.)

Dear Mr. Reno:
My tenant signed a five-year contract with a home security company to install and monitor the rental property she lives in. One month later she told me what she had done and says she wants out of the contract. The company allows only three days to cancel the contract for any reason and the renter did not call the company to cancel the contract until later than three days. This was a nighttime door-to-door sales job and the equipment installer appeared about one hour later.

I suspect this kind of (blitz) sales job happens often. Can this contract be considered null and void because the home owner did not sign the contract and did not learn of the contract until one month after the fact?


A: The first thing they taught us in business law: You are bound by your contracts. So the tenant signed it. It's a contract. The tenant is liable. You didn't sign. You're off the hook. Congratulations?


Published 2014-06-23

Dear Mr. Reno:
Is it legal in the state of Virginia to have a provision in a lease, where the lease automatically renews for an additional year at the end of the lease, if the tenant does not notify in writing that they plan to end the lease/move out?

Charles, LPA member

A: As they used to say on "What's my line", you have stumped the panel! I don't know the answer.
In my state, NY, that clause is usually unenforceable. NY passed a law that turns it automatically into a month to month, specifically to nullify that clause...
But I don't know if Virginia has a law on that. Sorry Charles.

To avoid any problems, there are a few LPA renewal and/or move-out forms that are helpful whenever you are approaching the end of a lease - good to send approx 30 days before the expiration.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I had a tenant evicted in Nassau County, NY with a stipulation and judgement if they did not vacate per the stip. They did vacate, not sure what time, did not return the keys, left a fridge/freezer full of food, possessions on the deck, around the property and in the garage. We filed for the judgement and now have to go back to court to show cause why the judgement should not be vacated. Do we stand a chance?

Landlord, Nassau County, NY

A: Why should the judgment be vacated? This is just a ploy to buy time (business as usual in landlord/tenant court). Usually if the case is resolved initially by stipulation, the judgment may be stayed (delayed) briefly, but will not be vacated.


Published 2014-06-20

Dear Mr. Reno:
My mother rents out a small two bedroom house. The problem she's having is when these tenants rented her house they qualified for H.U.D. so she always received rent on time but as of March of this year H.U.D. dropped them so they haven't paid a dime and there's lots of damages in the house. I sent them a 30 day eviction notice in may but they still won't leave. So my problem is that my mother has brain cancer and can't get to the court house and no shape mentally to argue in court. With costs of treatment and meds she don't need to add attorney fees. I tried to file as power of attorney but the clerks office said has to be her or an attorney. Could you please help me here. Everyday she's losing money for rent and more property damage. Thank you

Kevin in Linton, IN

A: You need to be appointed her lawful guardian. You say you can't afford an attorney. I've seen it done without a lawyer. You may not get it right the first time, but if you're persistent, the court will appoint you. Then you'll have to do the eviction without a lawyer, which also isn't easy, but can be done. You've got your work cut out for you Kevin, so get going.

Dear Mr. Reno:
A former love relationship has turned into a "rental" situation. He has been living in my house for 26 years. For the last 3 years he has been staying in the basement. He has been giving me money every month but we have no paperwork. Will I have a problem evicting him?
Thank you!

Peggy, Suffolk County NY

A: Basement rentals are illegal, so don't expect any back rent. Other than that, it shouldn't be a problem. Give me a call, I'm in your area 667-RENO.

Dear Mr. Reno:
My Husband and I have a tenant of almost 4 years in our rental house. My husband went over to the house today to fix her outdoor light from the inside of the house. We found that the bathroom floor and tub was filled with water and feces.Was on the wall also. The basement was flooded with water and feces. We believe that they have their gas off. What do we do? My husband told me to write up an eviction notice, but I wanted to let you know about the incident first. Please respond ASAP!

Ruby L Jordan, Missouri

A: Give a 30 day notice, but you can't break the lease. So what's the plan? Is it month to month? (If so, end it. (You can also call the health department, but that's risky b/c sometimes they give the owner the summons.)


Published 2014-06-15

Dear Mr. Reno:
Is it legal in the state of CA to ask for first last and a deposit?
Thank you

Mary, CA

A: That's strictly up for negotiations between the parties. If there's any laws prohibiting more security, someone let me know. Never seen it. Never heard of it.


Published 2014-06-13

Dear Mr. Reno:
I had a tenant that I had to take to court to have her salary garnished. After getting checks for several months, I found out that she was fired from that employer. How can I find this person so I can continue this court action.

Al from Delaware

A: That's the problem. These low-lives don't stay put. I evict'em , but I don't find'em. That's private I territory.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I am in receipt of a tenant/rental application but have a question about who’s name should be on the lease. The daughter is currently listed as the person who is renting but her mother will be in the apartment and she is the one who gets the SSI and SSA checks. Should her name be on the lease instead of her daughter.

Al. DE

A: They're adults. They should both be on the lease.

Dear Mr. Reno:
In a multi family building (6 units), am I required to supply a fire extinguisher? How about single homes?

Jack M.

A: Depends on your State, County and Town. You have to check them all.


Published 2014-06-10

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a very strange situation in my leased condo in Nassau County. I have a tenant which always paid on time and I have no problem with him. His contract expires June 30, 2014. On April 1, I agreed that we would renew our contract for one year more. On May 21 we signed the new contract for 1 year more and were ready to submit the papers to the Management Company for renewal.

On April 11 my tenant had a fight with one of the doorman working in the building. The doorman says that he threatened him and wrote a letter of complain to the Board. The board had a meeting and decided not to renew anymore his contract. They sent me a notice this Friday, June 6th saying that I should take him out by the end of June 30th, when our lease is finished. Now I'm stuck between the Management Company of the building which tells me that they will sued me if my tenant is not out in 3 weeks and I will pay for their legal expenses too and between the tenant which tells me that he doesn't plan to move because he didn't nothing wrong. And if I will evacuate him with force he will not pay the rent at all. That these aren't his intentions but he need to protect himself against this absurd decision of the Board. I never had complaints against him from nobody in this building besides the doorman.
Can the Management Company sued me because they want the tenant out and the tenant doesn't want to move? He never had the opportunity to say his side of the story to the Board or Management Company...

Lilia F., Nassau County, New York

A: Unfortunately they can. Probably. It's not about the law. It's about your contract with management. It's like, with a condo, you're not the king of your castle. You're like a Duke or a Barron. The Board is King. But at least read the By-laws. Is it in there?

Dear Mr. Reno:
last tenant listed on lease in mobile home park is deceased.
sister has paid last 2 months rent from MA, but will not give contact info (tel #/email) sends checks registered, so we have her address.
paid last month late, we sent late notice registered and have doc it was rec'd. no response. this month has not been paid either, and registered late notice was rec'd. no response.
if she decides not to continue to pay lot rent, what is the procedure to "evict" if there are no longer any living tenants? we do not have copy of title, not sure how to get possession of a mobile home w/out title, mobile home may not even have VIN # inside to get a replacement title for it.
no one is maintaining grass as of a few weeks ago (grass, etc - previously someone was cutting this lot)
thank you.

fran, martinsburg, wv

A: I would try a standard non-payment proceeding "for openers", but it may not go thru. But you have to try. The other option is to petition the Surrogate's Court for a special Administration (much money & time.)


Published 2014-06-09

Dear Mr. Reno:
Hello I have a tenant in my home who stopped paying rent. I know its inevitable that I am going to have to have him and his family evicted. But until I get an attorney. Since this tenant has stopped paying his rent and also ran up my electric bill using electric heaters in his apartment which he is supposed to pay a 1/3 of and has stopped paying for oil that hes supposed pay 1/3 of needless to say, He stopped paying everything. He has verizon cable in his name which I didn't give him permission to put on my home. Can I take the box off my house?

Christy P.

A: You can not terminate essential services. So far, that's plumbing, heating, electrical and cooking fixtures. Cable hasn't joined the list yet, so I guess you can take the box, but it's only a matter of time. (By the way, it is HIS BOX, so if you "take the box off", don't take it away.)

Dear Mr. Reno:
New tenant signed leased to begin June 1, 2014. Then asked to move in early May 21, 2014. Prorated check went through. Security deposit/pet deposit bounced. Long & Foster collected 1st month rent, also bounced. Can the tenant contract be voided and tenant evicted ?
Thank you,

Faith W.

A: O.M.G.! You're probably going to need a non-payment eviction. Only other possibility is the local police. Give them a try. They're not even there 30 days. SO what are you saying? Contract's void? So they're squatters? Trespassers? It works for me! But Officer Joe Blow is who you need to convince.


Published 2014-06-06

Dear Mr. Reno:
i rented to one genleman. about 2 weeks later he moved in his girlfriend and her child into the house without my permission. he is now late on his rent and his girlfriend tells me she don't know where he is. I place a three day notice on the door. now, she or him do not respond to my phone calls or answer the door anymore. she is staying in the house and not trying to communicate with me at all. seeing as she is not on the lease, can I legally call the police to have her removed? also can I go into the house to see if they abanded the house? or do I have to wait until the eviction goes through?

Lawrence Seibert, Aurora Colorado

A: i rented to one genleman. about 2 weeks later he moved in his girlfriend and her child into the house without my permission. he is now late on his rent and his girlfriend tells me she don't know where he is. I place a three day notice on the door. now, she or him do not respond to my phone calls or answer the door anymore. she is staying in the house and not trying to communicate with me at all. seeing as she is not on the lease, can I legally call the police to have her removed? also can I go into the house to see if they aabanded the house? or do I have to wait until the eviction goes through? lawrence seibert aurora colorado


Published 2014-06-05

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have an eviction that was executed on May 28 and the actual end of the lease is June 30. Indiana law says that I must send a report within 45 days concerning the damage. Does the 45 days start at the time they were evicted or at the end of the lease?

Virginia M., Indiana

A: When they left. The clock is running. Tick Tock.


Published 2014-06-04

Dear Mr. Reno:
I am a property owner in Dallas, Texas. I have followed the procedure and recently filed an eviction case against my tenant who has past due rent payment for almost 30 days. Just the day after constable served the eviction notice to her, she deposited the payment owed. The court hearing is within 5 days. Even though she had made this deposit, can we continue the eviction process and will this deposit from her change the eviction decision? Before we filed the eviction case, we had gave her a 3 day notice, but she did not take action.
Thank you for your time and advice.

Carey, TX

A: Here's the deal. If she becomes CURRENT while the case is pending, and IF, the proceeding is for non-payment, then it will probably be dismissed. But don't forget, you can also amend for rent that becomes due during the proceeding.

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Legal Disclaimer
The Landlord Protection Agency's "Ask the Attorney" column is for informational and entertainment purposes only. The questions answered by Mr. Reno on this site do not constitute an attorney - client relationship and are not to be considered legal advice. Not all questions will be answered and some may appear in the LPA Q&A Forum.
The Landlord Protection Agency recommends that you seek legal advice before using any of the material offered on this web site, and makes no guarantee on the effectiveness, compliance with local laws or success of any of the material offered on this web site. The Landlord Protection Agency is not engaged in rendering legal advice.

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