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tenant abandoned property by Boni Montes de Oca (Nev) on November 2, 2008 @22:05

We have a tenant that paid the whole year. With 3 months to go he packed up and left. He had the utilities shut off. He wants half his money back for the final 3 months. He will not surrender the key until his 3 months are up (Feb 1st). We are in Michigan until Jan 1st. and have a Realtor that wants to rent the place out. Oh, he gave the key to a friend of his and told him not to turn it over to us that he still has it rented. The fact that he left and shut off the utilities should be in violation of the lease. Do I have the right to have the lock changed? If he broke the lease I would have the right to sue for the balance anyway, if he hadn't prepaid.
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Re: tenant abandoned property by Patrick (ME) on November 3, 2008 @00:03 [ Reply ]
don't do anything until you have notified the tenant in WRITING of any lease violations. After your states notice to cure period, you might have the right to change locks and take back the property.
Use LPAs Lease violation notice.
Also a security settlement statement to account for your expenses and costs until you re-rent.

You may have to prove that the property has been shut down and abandoned.

Re: tenant abandoned property by flee (MI) on November 3, 2008 @06:35 [ Reply ]
Holy Cow, very unusual circumstances. The tenant paid a full year in advance. In Michigan you do not necessary need key surrender for proof of abandonment, but you have a written document to the contrary, anyways. Hopefully, you didn't require a full year payment....right? That would be a problem onto its self, but per the tenants desire, that's always o.k.. The Tenant paid up until Feb. 1st, that's good. No need to hurry. Inform tenant you will try to minimize cost and re-rent. You have some good applicants and if they qualify the prior tenant will get 100% refund on unused rent. You will need access for cleaning and showing for this. This won't be a problem....even if he doesn't give you a key as Landlord has right to access with 24 hr notice. So, just serve notice by attaching to door. Don't think you even have to mail him one (read up on L/T laws though. Be sure to take a time date photo of notice on door. Put one up every day to extend entry rights. Also, you have right to access for emergency. Not having utilities is an emergency as well as no occupation.

I would jump at chance to obtain 50% of rent for key as were heading into hard to rent Holiday Seasons. That's a good deal for possession.

Re: tenant abandoned property by Micah on November 3, 2008 @07:00 [ Reply ]
I'd take him up on it.
Re: tenant abandoned property by Anonymous on November 3, 2008 @11:35 [ Reply ]
Since he has not given you the keys and he notified that he is trying to sublet the unit, he has not abandoned the property.

Read the lease and your state laws (links to the right ---->). If he is in violation of the lease or laws (e.g. shutting off the utilities), send him a notification to cure violation. If the lease says he cannot sublet, include in the letter that he cannot sublet the unit.

He had an obligation to notify you that he was breaking the lease and moving out. On such written notification, you had an obligation to starting looking for a new tenant. Only if you found a new tenant would you have to return him any monies that cover the time the new tenant is living in the unit (you can't double dip).

Try negotiating with him. E.g say he moved out yesterday, breaking the lease and not giving you notice. He also cannot sublet the unit (or, maybe the lease says only with your approval, and you haven't approved). Tell him in exchange for the keys and written, signed notice from him that he has vacated the unit, you will give him one months rent back. Then you can start looking for a new tenant. When a new tenant moves in, you will return to him any overlapping rent (e.g. new tenant starts dec 1, old tenant gets dec rent back).

Good Luck

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