The Landlord Protection Agency  
Main Menu, Landlord Protection Agency homepage Membership With The Landlord Protection Agency Free Landlord Services Member Services  
Ask the Eviction Attorney | Landlord Tenant Law Q&A
Eviction Attorney

Q&A with John Reno, Eviction Attorney

The 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 2015-11-25

Dear Mr. Reno:
Not sure if you can answer this or not but here I go...

I have a tenant lease in place (your template) that is in the name of 1 Tenant but there are two tenants at the premises. I had both tenants sign the lease but on the page have only the name of the main tenant. You know what's coming, tenants have a big Blowout and part ways. The main tenant stays. Now, the main tenant wants to redo the lease to take other tenants name off. So my question is, do I really need to redo the lease? Seems if anyone would want the lease redone would be the other tenant.
If you shed any light on this I would appreciate it.
Many thanks,

Jerry, Sulphur, LA

A: Just blow him off. Ignore him. Life's too short for this nonsense. When the lease is up, you can renew it in only one name.


Published 2015-11-24

Dear Mr. Reno:
Tenant is behind in rent currently incarcerated and no utilities are on at the property. I went to eviction court and the judge would not grant me right of redemption citing that I needed a Baltimore county rental registration. In order to get this I need to have an inspection company perform tests which require Elec and gas service. I also am concerned with freezing temps the damages that will be imparted as a result. What are my options.
Please advise
Thank you

Nick, Baltimore, MD

A: You lost me on "right of redemption" Is that the same as an eviction there? (here, redemption is for tax sales) If so, then its a catch 22. You'll never get a permit with out utilities. If this Judge is insistent, you may need to go over his head to appellate division.


Published 2015-11-23

Dear Mr. Reno:
I had tenants that did not put the water and electric bills in their name. They have since been evicted and the house is being sold (short sale). I have informed the electric and water company that I am in the process of suing these tenants but I donít really expect any proceeds from this effort except that tenants will have another bad mark on their credit. In this selling situation, however, do I have any rights as to their balance. The bill is in my and my company name. Do I have to pay their balance? Or can it be written off.

Al, Delaware

A: If the bill is a lien on the property it will come up in the title search and be absorbed by the short sale. But if it's not a lien, then its just a debt that your company will pay. Then your only remedy would be to proceed to small claims court- which you'll win- but even then, only get a money judgment. (Worth your time?)

Dear Mr. Reno:
I am writing on regarding a tenant who broke the lease of 3-years lease.† I am now leaving overseas.
† The reason was that the ground pool was in bad-shape (after she renting nearly two-years).†
† She did not pay for first month's rent (and apparently paid to an agent of $1300 who I did not hire and there was no agreement).
† I had to sell the home at a deep discount as she left behind a pool that was 9 feet deep.

† Landlord's damage: †
1. No rent for 1st year †$1300
2. Landlord paid over $2600 for repairs to the tenant and her co-signed friend Casey Wise who was a realtor (but I did have no agreement with Casey).
3. Damages to the pool $4000.
4. Loss of rental income for at least t months (2X1500 = $3000)
5. Landlord provided a home warranty to the tenant although he had no obligation ($550).

† Because of the losses above the landlord could not return the security and notified the property manager to have significant counterclaim against the tenant.

† The tenant now went to a small claim court and sued the property manager, who stated that he had no agreement with the tenant and have no obligations to the matter.


A: Well for starters, no way the property manager should be sued. He's just an agent. But, I'm a little leary about advising you there because so many states have enacted strict laws on returning security and the landlords are getting their butts sued off. As a general rule, security is only to cover damage to the property. Period. So if your lease doesn't specifically allow these deductions, you're on thin ice.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I was awarded a stipulation of settlement against my tenants on Nov 4th. They were to pay back rent by Nov 16 which they have not paid.

I am waiting on one more DOB before I join LPA. I have one more question, there is another adult living in the house. He is listed as a "John Doe" in the stip because I did not have his name or DOB when I went to court. I now have his name - can he also be reported to credit agencies even if he is not listed in the lease?
Thank you


A: No sorry Terry. No obligation to pay rent there. He's just a freeloader.

Dear Mr. Reno:
My husband and I are landlords of a 4 family and live on the first floor. We have a strict non smoking policy and now have a man that is smoking on the first floor. He obviously has lied to us about being a non smoker. Can we ask him to leave immediately since I and other tenants are getting sick over it? We have not confronted him since he has probably smoked elsewhere until the weather has just gotten colder...Please advise. Thank you!

Gail B in RI

A: Well yes, you could "ask him to leave immediately" but if he doesn't, you are stuck with him until his lease expires. Maybe if you tell him his lease wont be renewed, he'll change his ways? But if you try to evict, mid-lease on this behavior, you've got an expensive legal battle.


Published 2015-11-20

Dear Mr. Reno:
My tenant is not working due to a job-related injury and has requested to pay December rent in January and to waive December late fees. This happened last December as well. What would you suggest I do?
Thank you!

Vanessa Larson, Texas

A: If he thinks he can catch up, you need to write a schedule showing exactly how he'll catch up. If he needs to stay one month behind- that's ok- but NO longer. He has to commit to when he'll catch up. Then if he misses a payment, dum-di-dum-dum.


Published 2015-11-19

Dear Mr. Reno:
If a settlement stipulation was agreed upon by an arbitrator, tenant and landlord.. and tenant moved out by xx date, landlord would drop back rent of 2 months. The deadbeat tenant was already served properly and into holdover. He owes 1,300.00 back rent to landlord. Tenant left by agreed upon date but owes landlord 2 months rent. Even with a stipulation settlement can Landlord try to collect what is owed?

Barbara, NY State Nassau County

A: It goes by what the stipulation says. Does the stipulation say you get a judgment or not? Does it say, on some days (I practice in Nassau) no money judgment if tenant vacates by xx date? Then you're out of luck. Bottom line, you can "collect what is owed" as you put in, only if your stipulation entitles you to a money judgment.

Dear Mr. Reno:
My son and his wife wanted to rent my home as they had lost thiers. They brought the paper work and i signed what i thought was a rental agreement. Actually a lease/ purchase with them taking the home after 5 years at balance owed. That was not in the paper work I signed. My daughter is co owner with me and we want them out of the home as I did not sign that paper. When I told my son that I needed to move back into the home he physically threw me out the door. I would never give my home away for nothing to a child when there are other 6 other children in the family. Thank you,

Melody C., GA

A: O.M.G! You need a lawyer fast. You can start with an eviction lawyer-but it may not be that simple. You may need a real estate lawyer. This may be a superior Court matter. (But try the eviction first because its cheaper and quicker.)


Published 2015-11-16

Dear Mr. Reno:
In the state of California are there any laws that require landlords to replace carpets in rental properties every so many years? 10 yrs? I have a tenant who is requesting new carpet after 6 years. The carpet is probably 8 or 9 years old and was in excellent condition before she moved in.


A: You say what? I can not profess to be an expert on California State Law but I have never heard of anything so ridiculous as this. Let these tenants buy their own rugs. (I would google California- carpet- rental, but if this law comes up I'd be surprised but please let me know.)

Dear Mr. Reno:
Rental increases. Is there a max I can increase my rent? Tenants have become a problem, and I have been instructed to go up on the rent in hopes that they move out. But just in case they donít move out, I want to be sure Iím getting enough rent to cover their chronic complaining of nothing, and the constant of breaking of items they want new. Tenants are month to month.

The option I was originally pursuing, was to give them a 30 day notice of termination of rental agreement, but was told it's easier to just go up on the rent. Then It was noted that before I can go up on the rent, I still have to terminate the current rental agreement, then inform them that the rent will be increasing. I want to go up 200.00, but do not want it to be over any max amount, if one does exist for the state of RI.
Your advise is greatly appreciated.

Claire, Rhode Island

A: So prior to 12/1, you send a Notice certified mail that the rent is going up on 1/1/16 and a statement that if the tenants are not prepared to pay the increases, they should consider this a Notice to Vacate and vacate by that date or legal proceedings to retake possession will be brought.

Whoever told you this is "easier" than just giving a 30 day notice, I disagree. This approach can be done, but you're complicating this, so please dot all your i's.

Dear Mr. Reno:
My mother let a friend of hers come stay at her residence for a couple of weeks just to help her on a very short term basis because she recently had fallen and hurt her ankle. The intention was for the girl to then go back to her own residence and for things go back to normal. But after the two weeks was up the girl would not leave or even mention it Mother would ask her what her plan was you trying to give her the hint to leave on her own and my mother didn't want to just kick her out on the street. The girl lost her in the process while staying with my mother. Come to find out she has very limited options as far as places to go. The girl doesn't work and doesn't have a vehicle. Shortly thereafter my mother came down with brain cancer and I had to move her in with me. I am now durable power of attorney I want the girl out of my mother's house. Given this is a very specific case what is the proper way to handle this by law so that I can take the necessary steps to do everything legally and professionally. I have read and researchedquite a few things online here so you don't have to totally explain everything to me about the eviction process really what I needed to know is do I have to give her a notice and if not and that means she's a trespasser and I can just kick her out and she refuses to leave call the police. But there has been no verbal agreement to pay rent and no lease agreement to pay rent so in my opinion she falls under the title guest which would make her a trespasser. One thing I forgot she does not have any mail that comes there. I just want to make sure I'm very clear about this before I call the police if she does not leave. Thank you very much for your assistance I truly appreciate it.

Chris H., TX

A: Well there's only one way to determine for sure if the police will help you and that's to ask them. I give it small odds- she's been there for too long- but it can't hurt to try. If they'll give her the boot, that'll be great, otherwise, it's eviction court, and that will require you to give her a Notice to Vacate in advance.

Dear Mr. Reno:
My tenant signed the lease, and paid partial deposit (32% of rent). I asked the rest of deposit, but they suddenly disappeared. They didn't reply emails and answer phones. What I need to do? Could I re-put rent ad out? Should I ask for one month rent for loss? If I found a new tenant, should I return they paid amount? Thank you very much for your help,

Tim in NH

A: So you landlords please stop taking partial deposits. When things go awry, you'll be in a big grey area quandary like Tim here.

Anyway, re-rent the unit ASAP because they never took possession. Keep the deposit- but if you wind up in small claims court, I can't guarantee they wont make you cough it up.


Published 2015-11-09

Dear Mr. Reno:
I own several properties in OhioóRecently moved a couple of those into a single entity LLC which I am the sole member. I have evicted many tenants on my own in the past on properties that are in my name alone. Do I need an attorney to evict a property that I own that is a single entity LLC??

Mark s., Ohio

A: Yes, in most courts you do. An LLC is a separate legal entity, like a corporation, & only an attorney can represent. Once in a while you see a court make an exception- but not usually.

Dear Mr. Reno:
NY weekend rental:
How do you handle tenants that refute your lease breaches/damage claims and threaten to sue/report you to the DA after sending a timely letter providing a breakdown of damages.

CM-New York

A: I'm assuming they left & want their security.

You've got the dough. Balls in their court. (Sounds like you may be hearing from small claims court- but not the D.A.)

Here are some related links with Security Deposit info:

Security Deposits and How to Collect From Them

Security Settlement Statement

Security Settlement Challenge Crusher

Security Deposit Return in Full Letter

What Do I Do When...The Tenant Wants to Leave?

What Do I Do When The Tenant Has Moved Out?

What Do I Do When The Tenant Asks Me to Use the Security Deposit as Rent?

How Do I Make Sure the Tenant Will Take Good Care of My Property?

What Do I Do When the Tenant Argues About Deductions From the Security Deposit?

Avoid lawsuits and comply with state security deposit return laws. Security Deposit Return Time Chart State by State
View or print the Security Deposit Return Chart. Avoid lawsuits and comply with state security deposit return laws.
Know your state's time limit to return the security deposit and/or notify tenants of deductions from deposits.


Published 2015-11-05

Dear Mr. Reno:
I had obtained legal rights to rent a property from sheriff sale auction in Bothell WA area. I rented to tenants on a month to month basis with security fees of $1595 of which $395 is non-refundable. Everything was in good order for six months.

Tenants received a foreclosure notice from bank after six months and they challenged me that I do not own the property. They stopped paying rent, I took them to the eviction court and court concluded that I can legally rent-out the property. Court approved the eviction and grant a judgement in my favor for the amount of $10,000.

On the day of eviction (@ Sept 5th, 2014) the cops got the tenants out and left after obtaining my signatures on the eviction papers. While I was replacing the locks tenants plead to get their stuff from home; I allowed and they refused to leave home thereafter.

After couple of days the property got auctioned and new owner took over along with those tenants. During all this process. I kept $1595 of rental security fees that I was supposed to return back to tenants after they vacate the home. I'm now considering executing the judgement and recover some money.
What is your advise on correct way to handle rental security fees ?

Amit, WA

A: I'm a little leery about advising you there because so many states have enacted strict laws on returning security and the landlords are getting their butts sued off. As a general rule, security is only to cover damage to the property. Period. So if your lease doesn't specifically allow these deductions, you're on thin ice.


Published 2015-11-04

Dear Mr. Reno:
Hi I was wondering if you can help us with this.
I live in Arizona. And as you can see what were seeing is that we did not need the 48 hours.
But the tenant says we did. Now he has removed direct deposit from paying the rent. And it is written in the lease all rent is to be done as direct deposit.
I was wondering if we have grounds to kick them to the curb. We are so sick of these people.

Colleen Flynn, AZ

A: I think you need to send a memo to the Landlord/Tenant counselor because they're ALL WET.
This cool section 33-1343 that gives Landlords access after a repair request is made is very specific. It specifically states no further notice is needed.

NOT ONLY THAT, the section specifically states that the "tenant waives" the notice required by section D in this case.

So how they can say you still need to give 48 hrs notice. That makes no sense. You need to point that out to them.

Dear Mr. Reno:
Disability landlord with Section 8 tenant in Panama City, Florida who has not paid rent since 9/26/15 with defaults of Lease Agreement. I allowed the tenant to paid rent every 2 weeks until she could catch up. I explain to tenant 10/1/15 she will need to pay monthly. 10/16/15 tenant still has not paid rent. 10/16/15, I had a process server to hand delivered a Notice to Quit form, 3 days to pay or vacate the premises. 10/16/15, I was a mess. I was preparing for my second surgery procedure for 10/20/15 and I received notice my uncle just pasted. After the letter was delivered, I noted I put wrong vacate date. The correct vacate date should have been 10/21/15, instead of 10/28/15. Since I put the wrong date I have to honor 10/28/15. 10/30/25 the tenant still has not paid rent nor vacated the premises. The tenant text me on 10/29/15 a letter from a bank stating tenant did a dispute because approval of funds was declined will take 7-10 business days. I canít afford to take next step in court fees. Not sure what to do now? Section 8 manager states maybe I should call HUD. I did and it was over whelming. Can you please help me with this problem?
P.S. In the death of mother/Pastor my sibings and I own commercial property and homes in Panama City, Florida Bay County, also land in Quincy, Fl. We will need a lawyer.
Thank you,

Delia, FL

A: I'm not sure I understand what you're asking me when you say "can't afford... court fees." Are you asking me how to get them out without evicting?
What did you have in mind? Maybe scare them out like in the movies? Make them think the house is haunted? Got black cat?

Yes, you should have an attorney, but there would still be fees. If you want to end this tenancy, don't give up now.


Published 2015-11-02

Dear Mr. Reno:
Is it possible for a landlord to rescind a 30 day notice in CA?
Thank you,


A: Yes a landlord can rescind a 30 day notice, but here's the deal:

If the tenant's all packed up and ready to move out and you want to say "Never mind, you're not going anywhere"- that's not going to fly. Once the tenant takes action in reliance on the notice there may be no turning back.


Published 2015-10-31

Dear Mr. Reno:
We recently found out that our former tenant moved out, and did not pay any of their utility bills. They have now left us with a bill of over 600.00+ dollars. We also found out they were withholding the copy of the bill in our name from the utility company. This copy was sent to their address, but they should have given it to us, as it said COPY, and was in our name.

They also received their own bill, and knew they were required to pay utilities as part of the rental contract.

This 600.00+ dollars will now fall back on our taxes since we own the home.
Can you advise me in next steps for collecting this debt, or turning this is to a credit reporting bureau?? Thank YOU!
Kind Regards,

Cheryl H.

A: STEP ONE: It's a small claims case. You can file that on your own. Use the premises as their last known address if you don't know the new one.

STEP TWO: After you get your judgment- then it's a collection case. That's when you leave this eviction website and find a "collection" website.

You may want to see The LPA's Credit Bureau Reporting page.


Published 2015-10-28

Dear Mr. Reno:
Former tenants of 4 years moved out in July 2015 (Virginia) and owe $3000 in damages. Moved to another state (Florida). Never received any rental verification from FL. Landlord. Can I contact FL. current landlord to let him know that we are trying to verify that they still live at his house and that they owe us $3,000 in damages? The former tenants are not responding to us.

Doreen, Ashburn, VA

A: You can contact anyone you want. As long you're not discriminating false info.
As they say in slander cases, "the truth is an absolute defense."

Dear Mr. Reno:
My question is who is responsible for my sewer getting cut off after the neighbor legally installed a new sewer line to the city main in the street. it seems my sewer was disconnected when the neighbor had his new sewage line installed by a plumber. The city approved his new sewer line but no one including the city of holland knew that both lines were connected and flowed into one line then into the city main sewer in the street. I had the BPW people to my house and they concluded that It was my responsibility to have a new line installed at my expense.

I asked the city services people what about my tenants in the mean time. I have to give them credit for each day they can't use their apartment. I have to pay for a sewer line and also give credit to the tenants. The city is taking no responsibility for their poor record keeping of the underground pipes to their sewer connections. I had to pay for video inspection to find out where my sewer line connected to the neighbors. If this is not covered by my insurance I may have to find a good lawyer to straighten this out.

Any advice is appreciated.

Larry, Holland, Mi

A: I sorry Larry but this is out of my area- I'm the eviction guy, remember? But let me give you this one word of advice:

If you have any plans on suing the Town/City or any municipality- you have to act quick. Most governmental entities require a "Notice of Claim" pretty quick like in 30-90 days. I think you should do that while you're considering your options. (maybe they'll settle?)

Dear Mr. Reno:
Tenants are boy-friend and girl-friend that have signed lease together but he does not leave in the property. This is a condo situation that only allows 1 rental per year.
The couple is in the midst of a personal battle.
She wants to get out of the unit and wants me to remove her from the lease, I said that can not be done since she signed a 1 year lease, she than asked me for a letter stating that she has no more responsibility for the lease and I am a little edgy about signing it and characterizing a new lease from the condo stand point? What is your take? Should they resolve that between themselves?

Mauro A Bonatti, FL

A: Yes, they should not depend on you to sort out their issues. When the lease expires, they can go their separate ways, or whatever. Until then, that's a contract Bro. A lease is a contract.


Published 2015-10-27

Dear Mr. Reno:
I'm getting sued by a broker for additional commission, for a tenant who has abandoned the space.

The tenant signed a 5 year lease. I told her broker I would pay a commission on years 1-2 at lease signing and then on years 3-5 after her first day of her second year in the space (being burned many times by tenants disappearing in the past). I paid her broker commission for years 1 & 2 at the lease signing, as promised.

Well, she was behind in rent the entire first year and then disappeared before the end of the first year.

Her broker says I now owe him for years 3-5 even though she is no longer there. I have to meet him in court next week.
Please advise.


A: Let me ask one stupid question. Is the payment schedule in writing? Otherwise, you could have troubles.

Also, does any document say the 3-5 years payment due after year one is only due if the tenant's still there? If not, mas problemas.

Dear Mr. Reno:
On June 1, 2014 we entered into a fixed term lease agreement where the landlord had checked off the following for the tenant to pay, electric/cable/garbage/water/sewer/gas. But below there's a spot for "types of utilities or services to be charged to tenant" and she hand wrote "gas/electric/garbage/phone/cable/water" she did not write/list "sewer". In Jackson county, Oregon, we understand that this utility has to be in the landlords name since a bill passed in 2012. We are currently in a month to month agreement. She recently contacted us to tell us we have to pay the back bill for the sewer in the amount of approx $600.00. She stated if we do not pay it she will evict us. We do not believe that we owe this. Just because she checked the "sewer" does not mean it was for tenants to pay since she clearly wrote all the other utilities below that we are charged, not the sewer. We do realize that she could increase the rent which would include the currently sewer charges of $44 per month. But she's fixed on us to pay the past bill. We are on a fixed income and can not move at this time. We do not see that she has the right to force us to pay for what was not clear on the original lease agreement. What do you say is our rights and how should be handle this at this time.
thank you for your time

Shelley, OR

A: Fear not Shelley. When a contract contains handwritten notes that contradict the form, the handwritten notes rule. The theory behind that is that the parties presumably focused on the handwritten language and that's what they agreed to.
Any judge would know that.

Dear Mr. Reno:
How do I handle this case?
A man signed a residential lease to start Oct 26 2015, he paid the security deposit and today text me this message...."I found out my grandmother has not been feeling well....I really would like to stay here until she gets better, at least until after winter, So I guess I will not be moving to Little Rock right now. If you need to keep the security deposit because of breaking the lease that is understandable."

As a landlord how should this be handled? Thanks

Michael Thomas, Little Rock AR

A: The way this question started out, I thought for sure you would tell me the tenant wants the deposit back. But no; You surprised me!

So keep the deposit and count your blessings. I know you'd rather enforce the lease- but don't go there. Just keep the dough and stay out of court.

Dear Mr. Reno:
Are there any instances when I can cut off utilities that are in my name?

Mary, Virginia

A: I had a case where the tenants, purely for spite, turned on all the air conditioning full blast with all the windows and doors wide open. The landlord turned off the electric. When the police arrived, they told the landlord if she didn't the electric back on, she would be arrested.
Does that answer your question?

Dear Mr. Reno:
Former tenants of 4 years moved out in July 2015 (Virginia) and owe $3000 in damages. Moved to another state (Florida). Never received any rental verification from FL. Landlord. Can I contact FL. current landlord to let him know that we are trying to verify that they still live at his house and that they owe us $3,000 in damages? The former tenants are not responding to us.

Doreen, Ashburn, VA

A: You can contact anyone you want. As long you're not discriminatory false info.

As they say in slander cases, "the truth is an absolute defense."

Dear Mr. Reno:
I let a person move in my house to help me because I have cancer and was under going chemo treatments. We have no written agreement, He has not paid the agreed rent or utilities. Took money from me and etcÖ He is abusive when asked about paying, says I can not make him leave without taking him to court and then he has 30 days to stay and will make it terrible for me. I am old enough to be his mother. I am very sick. Please what can I do

Maranda S.

A: You should call the cops. Its no guarantee, but you will need to try it. Otherwise, you've got nothing other than eviction court after 30 days notice.


Published 2015-10-20

Dear Mr. Reno:
Tenant moving out; owes rent. Can I change locks after lease ends? Must I store all items left behind, even junk?

The details: My tenant is moving out; she has refused to schedule a date to drop off keys. She assured me all possessions will be gone by end of October when lease ends (I served a 30 Day Notice to Quit in September). She canceled the electricity so I am now paying for it. She won't give me a forwarding address. She never paid for Sept/Oct rent but I was able to get payment for one month as I still had a prior check, which cleared. I saw tenant at the house last week; 90% of stuff was gone (garage was totally full, plus junk car); tenant hasn't been to the house much since then. Tenant left front door unlocked (when no one was there) so we had a neighbor lock it. I want to change the locks as soon as possible; I plan to go to court for rent owed/other damages. I will store items if necessary but want to know best way and how/when I can dispose of them. She has a lawyer who knows how to take advantage of any mistakes I make. Thanks!

Michele from Massachusetts

A: You're in a grey area Michele. If her property is there, she's still in possession. If all that's left is junk- that's one thing, but if 10% of her stuff is still there, dum di dum dum, you're going to be breaking and entering-yes- I know, she left the door unlocked. Its a quandary.

By they way, you say she has a lawyer- have you tried calling her or him?

I'm assuming you want to avoid the cost of an eviction. Well then, you better make damn sure she's gone before you take possession.

And what about the garage? Another grey area. Sorry. It's a mess.


Published 2015-10-19

Dear Mr. Reno:
Our tenants contacted us late on a Thursday evening about 11 pm, they told us the pipes had broken and the house was flooded, they said there was water in the office, water in the hallway that they were soaking up with towels but it kept coming. We responded we would get ready and would be over to check the situation out. To which they changed the story then and said it might just be the washing machine, never mind. They would not allow us to come that evening. We then said we would be coming the next morning to which they said no because they had to work. We told them we were coming to check the damage to the house since they indicated it was extensive in their first notice. We checked out the house the next morning, and it was their washing machine. It was pouring out from the bottom. There was almost $10,000 in damages to the house as there was substantial damage down through the subfloor of all surrounding rooms. Renters refuse this is their responsibility to pay for despite contractors and insurance noting that the damage is from their washer. What are we able to go after the renters for payment on? if a claim is filed on the insurance how does that effect what the renters are liable for? In our lease, which we purchased from LPA, it states they must have renters insurance which they did not. The renters asked us to file on our insurance and they would pay the rest. However getting the deductible from them was a fight, and they are now not willing to pay for what the insurance company did not. Can we go after them for the entire bill? And increase the rent since there was a claim on the house which is their fault?
Thank you

Kristen, IN

A: What a mess. (Legally and Literally)

Assuming the work has been done, they are liable, but only for what wasn't covered by insurance. But you don't have to end the relationship. Its a separate (plenary) action.

So sue the bastards, any questions?

Dear Mr. Reno:
Hi John; first, thanks for your newsletter. I always love to see your answers to landlord questions.

I am a senior and have been a landlord for over 25 years, but have a situation in one of my units that has me troubled. Thought I had seen and heard it all, but, as usual, that's when you learn something new.

I have a single lady that has rented one of my mobile homes for about three years. She is a sweetheart and always been a good tenant. Several months ago, she was given three months to live by the doctors, with a liver cancer diagnosis. After she has a treatment, she is so ill that she stays at her brothers for about a week. He has his own problems, and is not supportive of her. It seems her friends do not come around anymore.

I live on the adjoining property, and can see her unit. She is on a lot of medication, and sleeps for days on end. I feel that she is no longer able to care for herself properly. Naturally, you can understand my concerns. She has a friend I spoke to, that has know her for 16 years, and has offered a room in her home, with full agreement of her husband. However, my tenant has refused to move in, and wants her own place. I saw my tenant yesterday, and was saddened to see her appearance. I take her a bite to eat sometimes, as she is not able now to cook, and lives off cereal when she does eat.

Would you mind just giving me some feedback in how to deal with a situation like this? I am wondering what my legal rights would be, as well as hers. Thanks so much!

Kathy, Mississippi

A: Well it seems like you think it would be but for her to go with her friend, but she would prefer to stay put, which is her right, as long as the rent gets paid. You seem to have extended your hand to help her, which is quite kind, but you can only do for her so much.

Now, reading between the lines, you're probably concerned about her passing in the unit. Hopefully, at that time, her family will step forward and surrender the unit to you. Otherwise, an eviction can be easy, or maybe not, if the estate gets involved, that could be trouble.

Wish I could be more help. Keep me posted.


Published 2015-10-16

Dear Mr. Reno:
I am putting together a rental agreement and using boiler plate agreement on the Michigan Landlord/Tenant website; however, I can't seem to find where it discusses what to do when someone leaves before the end of the contract date. I should say, if the tenant has signed a month to month agreement and pays for the month, but leaves before the month is up; do I have to reimburse the tenant the remainder of the rent? I would greatly appreciate your expertise on this. Thank you so much.

Mary, MI

A: Rent for the month is due on the 1st. You have no obligation to prorate.
So there!

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have tenants that are very indifferent to the contract that they signed in 2012.† They agreed to maintain my very well kept home, even to the point of begging† me to rent my single family house to them.
However they have not complied with the contract, ignoring what they signed and† agreed to., i.e, no pets, smoking, lawn maintenance, trash control, creosote noted in the chimney, minor plumbing issues, they said they would take of the general maintenance.† There continues to do damage to siding (I repaired this once, now more have appeared) They agreed to power wash the house, I had this done once, as well as had the yard landscaped since they don't have time to keep it up. The neighbors bamboo has encroached onto our property, it got out† of control and they are at least mowing down the shoots, but it should never have come to this, as it is now 20 ft or more high and shadows the house creating a very moist condition. Also the client has put up wallpaper, and attached shelves when they were told not to with out asking. This list† goes on and on, like they have put up a fence with out asking. The trash around the house ††

All this being said, I have been understanding, as the wife in this case has alot of back issues as well as numerous operations and three children to raise,,, one being bipolar .† She has formerly worked for a real estate company and has let me know that she has rights, and that my demands are unreasonable, ( the ones they agreed to) also she uses her condition to excuse the condition of everything. ††

It is not my intent to have to let them go, however, they seem to challenge every thing the contract they signed asked for.† My property is degrading daily, it looks like a slum house in a beautiful neighborhood., when it use to be the nicest. Should I just let the house continue to degrade, up the rent and pay for these things to be taken care of myself? ††

I am afraid the property value is decreasing also, how can you bring the impression back after it has sled so far.† My husband and I are in our seventies, live over 1.& 1/2 hours away and trying to take care of upkeep is quite difficult at this age.† One good thing in their favor is they always pay their rent.† Is there a set % one may charge for rent increase? ††

My questions are:† Is it difficult to evict when someone has a health issue? ††

I said they had first right of refusal if we ever decided to sell, can I tell them we have decided to and price it out of their range?† Should I increase the rent enough to pay to have these things taken care of? †

We do not want to have to go into the property and repaint, replant the grass,† but are at our wits end as they are ignoring our concerns regarding our concerns. †
† † Thank you,


A: You are one demanding LL, Joyce. You really expect your tenant to power wash? That's a new one. Here's my advice:
You can't change your tenants personalities. If you had one complaint, one thing, that you could focus on, you might get some result, but if your goal is to change slobs into neat people, it ain't happening. They pay their rent. So you have a choice. Either let them stay, and clean up the mess when they leave, or notify them now that you will not be renewing their lease when they leave.

You can take'em or leave'em.. you can't change'em. Sorry.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I recieved a complaint from a former tenant. I did not return her security because she left that apt filthy and with a broken kitchten faucet and ripped up carpet by her cat.that was horrible. Also a damaged microwave she pulled the handle off and her boyfriend drillred through the front to install a pull knob. Carpets cleaners wouldn't even clean one room was too far gone. Had to replace carpets in b.r. hallway and l.r. also paint scraped off wall sheetrock k exposed need I go on.? So I agreed to settlement of. 1200$ she will withdraw complaint after payment . How can I be sure. She is notorious for lawsuits. Stated will write a letter stating will withdraw ect. Asked her to go to small claims 5th dis. Suffolk n.y. to submit intent to withdraw they told me she could. I will be giving her a cashiers check.reciepts ect. Paid in full by me. I'm disabled and she knows I couldn't clean up her mess if I wanted to. She caused small damages throughout tenancy. Court says I must pay her first. Ok but what are my guarantees thankyou please help I just spent an lot of money to correct. She never cleaned.


A: It sounds like it's settled (good job!) but if your concerned she'll pull a fast one, it's not a problem but you'll have to appear on the Court date and sign a stipulation of settlement so it's official.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a section 8 tenant who has been mildly problematic and her latest is trying to shove her daughter 2 grandchildren and cat in her unit because of personal issues, aside from her son who is moving back in into my 2 room duplex unit, we asked for her daughter to leave after the visitor's max allowed time, but she keeps coming back as a "visitor" and as my tenants care giver.
My question is, is there a max time allowance in a day for a care giver to stay? Care giver brings the 2 children along and they all together bother my other tenants with the crying, screaming and running around, thank you


A: There is no "max time" that I am aware of (it could be 24 hours) and anyway you are trying to change behavior which is a losing battle, especially with the kinfolk.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have been trying to locate a former tenant. I have acquired a search agency but they could not locate her as of yet. It seems these tenants go to the former residence and pick up their mail from the box. This property is for sale now. Iím in my rights if I remove the mailbox. Iím thinking the postman will not be able to deliver the mail and they will have to go to the post office to pick up their mail and/or leave a forwarding address. Once they leave a forwarding address perhaps Iíll have a better chance of tracking them. Any suggestions on how I can locate these people? I know. . . youíre a lawyer not a detective.

Al from Delaware

A: The problem is that the Post Office stopped releasing the forwarding addresses. They used to disclose it for $1.00, believe it or not. But now, everything is hush hush.

Dear Mr. Reno:
A lady tenant rented my Texas house for 17 months (Feb 2014 to Aug 2015). From first month she had NSF check and then paid rent late every month at least 2-5 days and one month 17 days. She signed pet agreement $150 non-refundable deposit but she never sent the money but after 4 months she said I am sending my dog to my brother but I saw dog again this year when I made home inspection in January and have a picture. I send statements every so often by regular mail and some times by certified mail but she did not pay. One time she said verbally deduct from my security deposit but not in writing. I have $1195 security deposit and late fee (including $150 pet deposit) amount is $1300. Now she moved-out to Arkansas. Can I deduct late fee from her security deposit?. I already sent her the account statement and asked her for remaining balance of $105.
Thank you,

Sam, TX

A: You can only deduct that if your lease expressly says you can, otherwise security is for damages to the unit- not late charges or pet fees.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I rented to 3 occupants whose rent was going to be paid by their employer. The lease states written approval & application must be submitted prior to Any other person taking occupancy and an additional fee to be paid per additional person.

They called about how to use the shower & upon visiting the property we see 6 men & 8 beds. This is a violation of the lease terms. The tenant said the man they work for switches out the employees every 3 months.

Please help a 7 day notice of compliance won't work here because they switch out people every 3 months & would have to be constantly providing applications for us to approve the tenants prior to them residing in the property. This is the first week they moved in. How do we void or nullify the lease agreement? They are in breach and we want possession.


A: Good luck with that! There's no voiding of a lease. Now if you serve a notice of default, you may be able to "terminate" the lease if the tenants don't correct the default. But only if your lease says you can & even then its a long twisted battle. But if you must, you must, so start reading (your lease.)


Published 2015-10-14

Dear Mr. Reno:
I'm about to start the summary process for non payment of rent. Lease expires on November 30. Do I still have to serve a non-renewal of lease letter?


A: That depends on your lease. There's no rule that requires a non-renewal lease letter, unless your lease makes it mandatory.

So get out the reading glasses, Lydia.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a 2-bedroom condo and signed a month-to-month lease with a woman who is 60 years old. She has proven to be a less than desirable roommate and I have asked her to find another place to live but she told me because she is a senior citizen she does not have to leave and she will "see me in court." How binding is a month-to-month lease and how much notice is required in order to legally enforce this lease? Thank you

David, North Carolina

A: Fear not Dave!

A month to month lease is just as enforceable as any lease. And her being a senior wont save her. It might buy her an extra month, if the judge is sympathetic (or very old) but that's about it.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a guy that wants to rent my rental house. His dad said he wood co-sign just to make sure that if anything happen that the rent would be payed .So should i have the dad sign the lease also? What is your thoughts on this thanks.

Bruce in Michigan

A: Yes, he should sign the lease, but not as a tenant- as a either "co-signer" or some people call is "guarantor".

Also, in some situations, a guarantor's signature has to be notarized since he's not moving in or receiving any consideration, so that would be preferable if possible.


Published 2015-10-13

Dear Mr. Reno:
Thank you for providing this valuable service.

My tenant defaulted only 4 months into a 1 year lease. I've regained the property but it will take me a couple weeks to clean up the extreme mess before I can re-rent.

I am preparing for a small claims case since I still have unpaid rent and cleaning damage beyond the security deposit. Can I sue for lost rent up to the point the tenant left the property, or up to the point I have a new tenant signed up?

Don K., LPA Member

A: Lost rent goes up until you re-rent, or the lease is up. So you may have to wait to determine the damages. Good luck.


Published 2015-10-10

Dear Mr. Reno:
My Mom has just passed away on Nov.12,2014. There are three of us daughters. There is a will in place, and our oldest sister has POA and is the executor of the estate. My other sister was our Momís live in caretaker, so she brought along with her her boyfriend and his son who have also been living there for the past 10 years. My sister and separately her boyfriend each paid our mother a minimum rent. $150.00-$500.00 per month, whatever they could afford at the time. There was not written lease in place, but our Mother did record the rent in a receipt book when they would happen to pay it.

Problem: Now that our mother has passed away, our sisterís boyfriend is playing the ďI have rights as a renter cardĒ, (we predicted years ago that he would do this when this time arrived of our Momís passing) and called the police on myself and my 16 year old daughter when we went there yesterday to get some art supplies that our Mom had specifically asked us to get for our daughter BEFORE she passed away. He stated to the police that we were ďTrespassingĒ on ďhisĒ property. They came, and advised us yes, as a renter he does have rights and if he does not want us in the house when he is there, then we cannot be there. Our sister who is his girlfriend had given us permission to come over and be in our family home, and the police said that due to that info., that does make it a gray area and becomes an issue between the boyfriend and the sister. Myself and my daughter never raised the tone of our voices during any of this confrontation, and the boyfriend was visably at least half drunk and wreaked of alcohol. We left and said we would take care of it later. Now that the boyfriend is using his ďrentersĒ rights, what does our oldest sister that is executor and POA have to do to have him leave, but also allow us into our Momís house to do what we need to do in order to take care of her private items that of course fill her house?
Thank you,

Karen, Mountlake Terrace, WA

A: For starters, forget the POA- it expires upon death. Also, even if she's Executor in the will, she still needs to be appointed by the Estate Court. Then she'll be all powerful and can evict this creep. Tell her to get going.


Published 2015-10-07

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have problem with a tenant you may be able to help with .
I rent to a man in his 70's and a woman in her 50's ; the woman was presented as his care-taker, both signed the lease as equal parties : With-in the lease I have a line that states that I am not a loan company nor a bank , but if I loan any thing including monies it shall be paid in full before rent is considered paid .
This woman was told it must be paid back as stated in the lease , but all I have received is lies and excuses from the 1'st of the month till now . MY question is do I need to evict both or can I break the lease and evict only the woman and begin a new lease with the man , or do I evict both then rent only to the man at a later time ? Thank You ,

Tim in Alabama

A: Are you saying she's paying, but you're applying the money to a loan and not to the rent? That could be trouble. (By the way, you can evict only one- they are a package- so if you're done with them- evict both (choice "C", above) & you can re-rent to him later, maybe- if he's not done with you!


Published 2015-10-06

Dear Mr. Reno:
My significant other purchased an investment home in Florida a few years back (before we were together). For credit reasons she put a person she trusted on the mortgage paperwork as the owner. My SO paid this person $10K to have their name on the mortgage. My SO has paid every dime of purchase, closing and mortgage payments. My SO and I had an amicable agreement with the "trusted person" we would be getting a mortgage in my name and "buy" the house from her for the mortgage balance. This was prompted by the "trusted person" wanting to go to grad school and secure financing. The "trusted person" felt the mortgage in her name would be detrimental to her credit. Before I could secure the financing, the tenant moved out and the "trusted person" made 1 mortgage payment without our knowledge or consent. The "trusted person" has now informed my SO that she is taking over the property and will probably sell it outright as the owner. I have reached out to the "trusted person" who blames me for the delay and her decision to move forward with the possible sale. She has yet to respond.

What are our options?
Thank You for any insight!

Peter in Florida

A: WHAT A MESS! You need to hire a real estate attorney to sue for an injunction. This is a bad situation. You're in for a long fight and many lawyer's bills. Good luck, (So much for the "trusted" person.)


Published 2015-10-02

Dear Mr. Reno:
I am selling my rental property and it is currently occupied. The tenant has become delinquent by nearly 3 months. She has developed an illness and can no longer work at her current place of employment and cannot stand for long periods of time and is applying for disability. They are paying partial amounts whereby they are now nearly $2000 behind (including October). Because the property is for sale, it is difficult to offer rental to new tenants under those circumstances. I have threatened court action but donít know actually what to do. Can you help?

Al from Delaware

A: You have to start a non-payment eviction ASAP. Here's why.
Number One: That's the best way of getting some money from her, and
Number two: When you find a buyer, you'll need to evict her anyway. Your buyer is not going to take the house with this deadbeat there.

If things don't go well, you may have a empty unit for a while. But I'd rather have an empty unit than a tenant not paying.


Published 2015-09-30

Dear Mr. Reno:
I rent in a 55+ community in Suffolk County NY. If I marry a woman under 55 can she legally move into my apartment?
In Advance, Thank You,

Harry, NY

A: Yes, just no one under 19


Published 2015-09-29

Dear Mr. Reno:
I filed for hearing in small claims for eviction and judgement for money they just set a court date two months out when I walked out I was mad at myself because I didn't think to ask him for money judgement (i have been there before and he does have the power to determine if renter does owe money and set the judgement amount) i would rather walk into eviction court with the judgement in hand (stating how much they do owe in back rent) can i refile and go back in before the eviction court date to secure the judgement to make the eviction easier two months later?

Michele F., Wisconsin

A: I don't think that's gonna fly. The eviction is over. Your best bet is to complete this eviction, regain possession and then start a new proceeding in small claims for the money judgment.


Published 2015-09-23

Dear Mr. Reno:
My tenant called on yesterday to advise me that a prior friend of hers has befriended another tenant's live in girl friend( She is not on the lease). They have fallen out and she has received treats from her. I told her that she needs to call the police. She said that she had done this already. My response was: and what do you want me to do about it? Her reply was to tell the lady and the male tenant that the girl is not allowed to come back on the premise. I have had no trouble from either tenant and rent is paid on time. The complaining tenant keeps her apt unit in good condition and section 8 pays all of her rent. she is treating to move if the visitor continues to come because she feel threaten.

Linda S.

A: Do not involve yourself in "affairs of the heart" you can't police this behavior. If it's criminal, then it's a police matter. If the police wont get involved- neither can you . And you can tell her I said that.Do not involve yourself in "affairs of the heart" you can't police this behavior. If it's criminal, then it's a police matter. If the police wont get involved- neither can you . And you can tell her I said that.

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60 Page 61 Page 62 Page 63 Page 64 Page 65 Page 66 Page 67 Page 68 Next Last

Legal Disclaimer
The Landlord Protection Agency's "Ask the Attorney" column is for informational 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.

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

Log in

Look-up Associations
Rentals Available
Rentals Wanted
Realty Brokers
Tips & Advice
Tenant Histories

Other Areas Q&A Forum
Landlord Tenant Law
Essential Forms
Free Forms
Credit Reports
About Us

Contact The LPA

© 2000-2015 The Landlord Protection Agency, Inc.

Home | About The LPA | Contact Information | LPA Membership | Landlord Q&A Forum | Free Forms | Essential Forms | Credit Reports
E-mail a friend about TheLPA | Free Email LPA Newsletter | LPA FAQ | HELP using this site

If you enjoy The LPA, Please like us on Facebook The LPA on Facebook     or Follow us on Twitter The LPA on Twitter     or