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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 2015-10-02

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 don’t 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 tenants are neat on the outside, but kind of messy (hoarders) on the inside of the home I rent to them. Their lease expires December 1. What should I do now? Also, the utility area of the basement is filled with dozens of empty boxes helter skelter from floor to ceiling. When I sent a plumber over to fix a leaky shower mixer valve, he said he had a devil of a time finding the home’s water shut-off valve for the clutter, and suggested I immediately ensure a clean path to that important valve.
I am a low confrontation guy, and the wife is pregnant. I will suggest the clean up when I come over on Thursday and will ask them about their wished about lease renewal. But what else should I consider?

George K., Albany County, NY

A: Don't renew the lease. Tell them, its month to month until the mess is gone, and how long do they need?

I'm not optimistic. If you have a problem with this, you might as well serve your notice to vacate now. Very tough to change this kind of behavior.

Dear Mr. Reno:
Once the judge gives an Order of Possession, how many times can the tenants file a motion to stay?

Dianne Noibi, State of Illinois

A: There's no magic number, Noibi, but it gets harder & harder to get the stay. I rarely see two stays and I think I only saw 3 stays only once. Never fair. Does that help?

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.

Dear Mr. Reno:
Single family home.
My tenants of four years appear to be getting divorced. They are on a month-to-month lease after their initial lease term ended about two years ago. They have almost never been on time with the rent, but they've managed to stay current.

At this point, soon-to-be-ex-wife stated that she expected husband to continue paying rent while separation did or did not proceed. Husband contacts me separately, says he has moved out, moved most of his stuff out, and has consulted with an attorney. He called to tell me he wished to terminate the lease. He says he will cover rent for the next month to fulfill the 30 day notice requirement. Of course, the wife does not want to terminate the lease. She wants her husband to continue paying the rent and letting her live there at his expense.

Not wishing to get caught up in their drama, I issued a 30 day notice myself today. Wife has no job, and no capacity to pay the rent that I know of. I used the form on your website. Wife has contacted my wife and wants to talk. I do not expect that conversation to be fruitful.

Are there additional steps we need to take here that we are missing? I presume this will end up in court, and it will name both husband and wife as their names are on the lease together. If I am lucky enough to get it vacated, and have it in good enough condition to give a security deposit back, I'll be sure to issue the check in both of their names and let them sort it out. If things go really badly, does my landlord insurance coverage take care of me if soon-to-be-ex-wife decides to take out her frustrations on my property?
Thank you for your time,

Robert, VA.

A: Wow, you really have been reading the website. You've dotted every "i" and crossed every "t". They entered possession as one unit and they get evicted as one unit, divorce or not.

If it were me, I'd have let them default and evicted them for nonpayment, but maybe, in this case, just delaying the inevitable. Your approach is instead of waiting for them to end it by non-payment, you ended it, which is fine.


Published 2015-09-17

Dear Mr. Reno:
I am a landlord in Stoughton, Mass. I evicted a tenant (have possession), and i have a judgment for rent and an execution on the money judgment. I also have a signed mediated agreement for payment from the evicted tenant. He has stopped payments and has not provided a new address and his phone numbers have been disconnected.

Question: Can I file a motion with the execution to garnish his pay in Mass. I have his payroll records for the last year. I look forward to hearing from you.

Mae D., Stoughton, Mass

A: Yes you can garnish. That's the ticket. (I hope he still works there?)

Dear Mr. Reno:
I am very new to the whole landlord game and recently chose not to renew a lease for a problematic tenant. I informed them well over 30 days in advance that I would not renew their lease and they actually moved out a couple of weeks afterwards. I went through the house after they left and it was absolutely filthy. I documented EVERYTHING with photos in addition to descriptive notes. After I tallied up all the damages (using the LPA settlement guide), I withheld their deposit and sent them a bill for the damages. They got the bill, refused to pay and said they would see me in court. I had originally prorated the rent for the month since they vacated so quickly, but now that I will be taking them to court, can I actually charge them for the full months rent even though on the original security deposit statement I prorated it? I still have not been able to get the house rented due to the amount of damages there were (I'm still working on the house). Please advise! Thank you for your time!

Jess Stone

A: Yes, charge the whole month. Like I just said to Mary, you have no obligation to prorate.

Now it is true, some small claims judge don't follow the law & prorate anyway, but that's another story- don't get me started!

Dear Mr. Reno:
i am the Landlord in NJ. I own 5 unit property yet I have skinny income. Issue is Common heat. Some ppl just hang up after asking rent amount and do not understand paid utility so I hv to keep rent low, same or less than T paid heat. Other experience I had was...mis-use of utility after filing Eviction. This could be an issue of all LL as I hear LLs in the court complaining about it.

After Eviction filing, if T keeps Hot/cold water running, no way LL can prove. I paid $ 250 month vs 60 and now back on $ 60 after that T is evicted. I do not have and can not put camera to prove windows full open after filing of Eviction.

I need your help to prepare addendum and probably review my whole lease (will pay for it) if you think I can add in lease that T will be responsible for utility if under violation.

Please advise.


A: The fee for lease review and revision is $200 (but note, just because I put it in the lease, that doesn't necessarily mean T will pay.)


Published 2015-09-15

Dear Mr. Reno:
My name is Shakina in a two unit home and I rent the bottom unit to tenants. After 3 years I just increased the rent by $50.00. I sent them a letter informing them of the rent increase. The lease is month to month. Do I have to give the tenants a new lease too?
Thank you in advance

Shakina T., Mount Vernon, New York

A: No need. I'm pretty sure LPA has forms on line just to raise the rent. Or you could do it verbally. Fifty dollars after three years, they should be happy (but I know they wont be!)

Related Forms:


Published 2015-09-11

Dear Mr. Reno:
What might be a good way of addressing my tenants violation of bringing in pets and having someone else live in my property without my knowledge? Contract states no pets allowed in the property at any time AND it also specify the names of the only 2 people that will occupy the property for the length of the contract. Although I may add that there was nothing specific about fees tenant maybe charged if contract is violated. While I do know that I can or may terminate the lease, but if I opted to give my tenant some time to correct those violations, because I didn't specify consequences (increase in fee or additional deposit, as such), am I not violating anything as the landlord OR does that exact words (ie. rent increase or additional fees) or similar has to be spelled out in the lease agreement before I can enforce anything? Lease will be over in less than 3 months… what advise can you give? I am in California if I have not mentioned it yet. Thanks for your help.

Myra. CA

A: Why don't you just tell them that their lease is up in 3 months and if there are still pets there, it will not be renewed? That will get their attention.

Dear Mr. Reno:
Michigan Hello. My parents are splitting up. Both are on the deed for their home but my father is the only mortgage holder. They are currently in chapter 13 bankruptcy with their funds designated for certain things per the court for only two people. My mother has moved my litter sister in, her boyfriend and her sister (3 people). My father has moved out do to fear of my sisters boyfriend. He is paying the house payment, household bills and buying food for the household. He needs to move back home but cannot with them all living there, one being in fear of the boyfriend and the second being there are no available rooms to him. He is retired and disabled. Can he legally evict even if my mom "wants" them there?

Thanks for any feed back. I just don't know how to help him.

Katelynn, Michigan

A: He cannot. They are her guests. She's an owner. You need permission from one owner- not all owners.

Your Dad can just forget about eviction court. He needs Divorce Court.


Published 2015-09-10

Dear Mr. Reno:
I own a home in sc, and allowed a friend and her son to move in, on the condition she pay what she could. We had a verbal agreement for 200$/mnth plus water. Things did not work out, and she refused to leave. I had her served with a five day notice to quit, and she was to be out two days ago. She owes approximately $600. She has left all her belongings here, and said she will get them when she had the time. This is becoming an issue with her showing up unannounced, and I've called the police every time. Am I legally permitted to dispose of any property that is left here? I'm desperate. Thank you!

Theresa, SC

A: You are in a grey area there, Theresa. Is she out or not? It depends what she's left there. But giving you the benefit of the doubt, that she's out, better hold onto the junk 60 days, just to be safe. And send her a text or e-mail that your holding it , but not forever.


Published 2015-09-09

Dear Mr. Reno:
I own a home and decided to rent it just for the monthly note of house. No deposit nothing. Now they have not paid rent an want move. how can I legally get them out or collect rent for the days they're there an not moving? Also what should I do if he damages my home because he's mad?

L. Thompson

A: You have to start a non payment eviction ASAP. Sue for other damages in small claims court after they're out.
Any questions?

Dear Mr. Reno:
I am a landlord for a property I own a few hours away. My tenant has been late paying rent for two months out of five. I have sent certified letters yet they were rejected/returned to us. I also sent copies of these letters via regular mail, so I know she has received them. What should I do to protect myself (regarding the rejected/returned certified letters) to prove I sent them and in the future since it seems I may need to evict her if she continues to be late with rent?

Chantal Hayes

A: You never have to "prove" you sent a certified letter. Its certified. That's the whole point. If the tenant is not getting their certified mail that's their problem- not yours.


Published 2015-09-08

Dear Mr. Reno:
I am in Washington state with 2 homes on the property. I rent out the second house, and the renters are month to month. They refused to pay rent this month and said in a text message to me, "we're not paying rent so go ahead and evict us." A 3day pay or vacate was handed to them, that was a week ago and the won't leave. The court's said get a lawyer but I don't have the money for one. What can I do? We rely on rent to pay our bills right now.

Keith, Washington

A: If you can't hire a lawyer, then you have to do the eviction yourself. Get yourself down to the courthouse and ask for the forms.

I'm not saying it's easy. You probably wont get it right the first try, but it can be done. I see it every day.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a tenant who throws garbage out her window which is caught on video cameras what are my rights

Cheryl, NYS

A: Call the Town. It should be an ordinance violation.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a tenant who is moving she says her guests are going to squat and stay do they have any right to the apt once she vacates the unit they are not on the rental agreement they have not paid rent but have paid a portion of last months rent on her behalf they talk about squatters rights?

Robert, California

A: You tell that tenant if she's moving she better take her tenants with her or you'll sue her butt off. She's liable to you for unpaid rent for every month they are there.

But you will have to evict them.


Published 2015-09-04

Dear Mr. Reno:
Ursula & we reside in MN. We have a tenant in a 3 year lease on our home (we only have 1 rental property) who now wants to break the lease 8 months early because they have bought a house (without notifying us or asking prior). We are going into the worst time of year in our region (ie fall / winter) to try to release the home & do not want to accept it, esp because they have offered nothing to mitigate the hassle factor.

They are now claiming they never received a copy of the executed lease, when they absolutely did the day they moved in. It is in my best interests to simply provide it or would we have the option to not provide a new copy telling them it was their responsibility to keep their copy of it for reference or charge a fee for making new copies & mailing? We don’t want to be improper in our response to them but have no prior experience in these two issues. Many thanks in advance. I am grateful to have found this site & impressed with the information I have been reading. Have a great weekend & thanks again.

Ursula in MN

A: Fork it over. If that comes to court and you refused a lease, you'll look like the bad guy. And what are you afraid of? The lease backs up your position.


Published 2015-08-31

Dear Mr. Reno:
My tenant (who does not have a rental agreement nor a lease) has had only 1 rent increase over the last 22 years…&600 to $800 8 years ago. Am I within my rights to increase his rent to $950/month, if I give this tenant 60 days’ notice? Thank-you for your help and prompt answer.

Joan H

A: Yes, you may. Go for it!

Dear Mr. Reno:
My name is Chris and I live in a apartment in NC, recently our 19 year old daughter came to stay with us with her 8 month old son, while her husband stayed in NY. She was to stay with us for a little while and we would help her get on her feet. In the three months she has been with us she has become violent, threatening, disrespectful and does not contribute anything to the household financially or in any other way. Can I serve her with a notice to quit? And if she doesn’t leave have her taken out for trespassing? There is no written agreement whatsoever. Thank you

Chris, NC

A: First off, she not trespassing because you let her in. Now, she may be an unwelcome guest. But she still gets a 30 day notice and then its eviction court.

Note: You may get transferred to Family Court. But try eviction court first.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have rental properties in Winston Salem, NC. I currently have a tenant that gave a 60 day notice to vacate because he is buying a house. We placed ads to re-rent the house and have since signed a contact and received a deposit with the new tenant. The current tenants term runs thru September 30th and the new tenant begins on October 1st.

I received a call yesterday from my current tenant that his home deal fell though and wants to renew his lease for another year. He has been a great tenant, pays on time, never complains and has maintained the home to our standards. Are we legally obligated to the new tenant to rent them the house?
With Best Regards,

Tammy Melang

A: Well the magic word is "contract" (you say you signed one) but I wouldn't be surprised if you can get out of it. If you tell them the other tenant isn't vacating and you may have to evict them and you probably wont have the unit available for several months- I think they'll be happy to just get their money back ASAP. Probably. Unless they say, " no problem, we'll wait." Then you have a problem


Published 2015-08-28

Dear Mr. Reno:
Hi, we live in South Carolina, have tenant in California who has not paid rent on a regular basis. (house) At present he owes Approx 29K. Rent from 1994 to present. He owns business in Ca. What possibility do we have if we evict him to collect money.

Robert, SC

A: It looks bleak. For 29 grand they'll probably file bankruptcy.

Right now your main priority should be evicting them & getting real rent paying tenants in there.

Then you can worry about chasing these dead beats.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I emailed tenants to get their permission to drop off their security deposit status documents on the date required in my state (21 days after they moved out). They emailed me back and said NO, do not drop off the documents because they weren't going to be home. They asked me to drop them in the mail instead. As a result they received the security deposit in the mail 23 days after they moved out. Consequently they sued in small claims court and the judge awarded them double the original amount by default as I was unable to appear at that hearing. I am able to reopen the case now. My question is: do I have a chance of getting a different result from the judge since I have the email which is proof they told me not to return the documents on the 21st day?

Debra W.

A: You've got a shot. Go for it. (Nothing to lose at this point.) Good luck!


Published 2015-08-26

Dear Mr. Reno:
The HOA (Alderwood Ridge) in Lynnwood is trying to create new rules requiring me to hire property management and landscaping services to maintain my property instead of allowing me or my tenants to maintain the premises. Can they do that?


A: Yes they can! The association is supposedly a "democratically" elected body. If the owners don't like what the board is doing, you can vote them out. (Like that would ever happen!) But it's based on that theory, that time and time again, courts back them up.

Another way of looking at it, when you by a condo, a coop, a Townhouse, or any property in an association or "gated community", you agree to be bound by whatever rules and regulations they dole out. You have to know that going in.

Dear Mr. Reno:
The HOA (Alderwood Ridge) in Lynnwood is trying to create new rules requiring me to hire property management and landscaping services to maintain my property instead of allowing me or my tenants to maintain the premises. Can they do that?


A: Yes you can! The association is supposedly a "democratically" elected body. If the owners don't like what the board is doing, you can vote them out. )Like that would ever happen!) But it's based on that theory, that time and time again, courts back them up.

Another way of looking at it, when you by a condo, a coop, a Townhouse, or any property in an association or "gated community", you agree to be bound by whatever rules and regulations they dole out. You have to know that going in.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I recently inherited my grandparents home and my sister was came their uninvited (never paid any bills) before my grandparents passed away. I am in the process of selling the home and the Realtor has given my sister and eviction notice, however, she refuses to leave. What are the proper steps I need to take because my sister is claiming she falls under the squatters law.

Latasha in Philadelphia PA

A: She's not a squatter- she's something else, but it doesn't matter; she still has to get a 30 day notice and be evicted in eviction court.


Published 2015-08-25

Dear Mr. Reno:
I need your expert answer.
What is the difference between dismissed with prejudice or dismissed with out prejudice?
thank you in advance.

Carol P.

A: Dismissed with prejudice means you can't refile, you're done.

Dismissed without prejudice means, fix what you did wrong and try again.


Published 2015-08-21

Dear Mr. Reno:
I am in Washington state with 2 homes on the property. I rent out the second house, and the renters are month to month. They refused to pay rent this month and said in a text message to me, "we're not paying rent so go ahead and evict us." A 3 day pay or vacate was handed to them, that was a week ago and they won't leave. The court said get a lawyer but I don't have the money for one. What can I do? We rely on rent to pay our bills right now.

Keith, WA

A: If you can't hire a lawyer, then you have to do the eviction yourself. Get down to the courthouse and ask for the forms.

I'm not saying it's easy. You probably wont get it right the first try, but it can be done. I see it every day.


Published 2015-08-18

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a house that I have a rent to own contract on. The tenant pays on time but he has violated every other term of the contract including tearing buildings down and other damages. Do I have grounds to evict him and sell to someone else who has the funds to pay for the house. The rent to own contract was actually done with his mom however he has been living there and making the payment so we do not have a contract with him technically.

Jared, Tennessee.

A: What do you mean he's "tearing buildings down"? What does that mean?

You probably are beyond realm of eviction court. You have a purchase agreement that includes a lease- but is more than a lease. You need a real estate lawyer to find a loophole to cancel the contract.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a tenant that has not paid the water bill (she is required in the lease to). She plays games saying “i’ll be right over to pay it” and never shows up. What can I do regarding late fees and/or evictions if she does not pay?
Thank you,

Terri, NY

A: Evictions for utilities is tough. Even if you say its "added rent" in the lease, some judges just wont evict for a water bill or a late charge.

1. You can either put the water in the tenants name, or
2. Tell the tenants that unless their water bills are paid promptly, their lease will not be renewed when it expires. Maybe that will get their attention.


Published 2015-08-17

Dear Mr. Reno:
My tenant moved out 2nd week of July because he did not want the unit to be shown while he and his partner were still living there. They left quite a bit of work for me to clean up. His deposit amounted to $840 and I am refunding him $171+ I sent him the Security Deposit Settlement refund receipt and release form by certified mail and he said on his email to me early this week that he would mail it back to me.
I have not heard from him since.

I have 14 days from the end of the tenancy to send him the balance of his security deposit.

If he does not send me back the release form and did not meet me at the unit on July 31st to go through the apartment and sign the move out checklist, should I wait until he signs the release form before sending him the balance of $171?

Paulette, Washington

A: It's $171. Send it!


Published 2015-08-14

Dear Mr. Reno:
I own a 4 unit rental building in the state of Pennsylvania. One of my tenants recently told me that the house next door (which has two apartment rentals) had bed bugs. I told my tenant to make sure she did not invite the "neighbors" into her apartment or into the building. On a visit to my rental I saw her bringing two children and an adult from her apartment (people who lived next door who live in the active bed bug building) and they got into a car and left. When I questioned her about this she stated, "the mother did not come into my apartment, just the kids." Last week she went to the beach and I told her I was going to have the apartments checked. When it was inspected bed bugs were found in only her apartment. I sent her a text stating she did have bed bugs...and she text me back, "Get rid of the bugs pls, I will pay u on payday." The house next door was treated last week. I had my 4 apartments inspected and hers is the only one that needs treated at a cost of $2500.00. I feel she was willfully negligent by bringing these people into my building, and very cavalier in her disregard for my other tenants....specifically after I asked her not to bring them into my building. Is there any thing I can do to recoup any of the cost from her?

Pam, PA

A: It will only cost you $20 to find out. It's a small claims case. You could try, but it;s a tough one. They'll say it wasn't their fault. It's up to you to prove. You may need your expert in court too, so that's an expense you may not get back. (so much for only $20). It's a gamble.


Published 2015-08-12

Dear Mr. Reno:
This month, I did not receive rent for August so I called tenants and she said she already mailed her rent. She text me the picture of three (3) receipts of MoneyGram (money orders purchased receipts only) - not actual pictures of money orders. Also sent me the picture of receipt from grocery store's of payment. Rent was $1050 but receipts were for $1150 payment. Rent is not received yet. On August 7th, I gave her 3 day notice to pay or quit. State is California. She called me and said I have all proof and I will fight. Can you please let me know if I am right giving 3 day notice? Can I proceed further if she does not pay within 3 days or what I should do in this case or should have done?
Thank you, Sam


A: So now we're paying our rent with photos of money?

You're on the right track Sam. Next stop Eviction Court. Don't stop until you have the green in your hand.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I own my home. The house next to me and the 3rd house next to me are rental properties. Both are owned by the same landlord. The tenants in both houses are all related to or friends with each other. The tenants have harassed me ever since they moved in in December 2014.

First they had a friend come weedeat their yard a few days after Christmas. This friend came a good 4-5 feet over the property line and cut a 5 year old fig tree to the ground. He killed part of it because the tree had not yet gone dormant for the winter. The tree is now only half the size it used to be.

Then ever since last April I have had to clean up my yard every time before I can mow the grass because the tenants next to me constantly empty the garbage out of their half-dozen or so cars.

The tenants at both houses spend every Friday and Saturday night in the street at all hours of the morning and the noise makes it difficult to sleep.

Between the two houses the tenants now have 2 pit bulls that they allow to roam free. These dogs are constantly in my yard meaning I have to clean up after them too- on top of being afraid to go out my front door because I never know when I am going to be confronted by them. I am in heart failure and have debilitating arthritis. My mother has lupus. We both have drug-resistant hypertension. Neither of us could evade these dogs or defend ourselves against them if we had to.

Yesterday (August 7, 2015) one of these dogs was standing on the hood of my car. I went to the landlord’s place of business the same day and complained. And less than one hour ago (9:30pm August 8, 2015) I had to call the police because these tenants were throwing eggs at my home.

Is there anything I can do under Florida law to hold the landlord personally liable for what his tenants do?
Thank you,

Jon Arnett

A: Oh my God! You got but problems there Jon. If the police and the Town Ordinance Department wont help you, you're s--t out of luck.

I would look into moving. You can pick your friends, but- not your neighbor's tenants.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a tenant in section 8, that is constantly paying her rent portion late. She pays whenever she feels like, not paying the late fee. What can I do about her?

Harry M.

A: I'm all for section 8, but note you're not getting the cream of the cream there Harry. At least they're paying.


Published 2015-08-10

Dear Mr. Reno:
I took in a boarder (she wrote the word SHARE in the memo portion of the check) for a trial month into a room in my house with kitchen privileges..
I wrote that if I felt this was not a good fit she would agree to leave with a 7 day notice and no courts, no police.. She signed in agreement and moved in on June 4..
I told her I wanted her gone by the end of the month on June 10 based on certain of her behaviors.
She led me to believe she was going but on June 26 when I showed her room to someone else she went off like a roman candle.
She said she would sue me for harassment, discrimination and assault and take me for everything I'm worth and she said my agreement and the rules she also agreed to are garbage, not worth a thing and she intends to stay her for many many months and never pay me a cent.
She called police who sided with her that it is her apartment. (It is a ROOM in my house.)
I then hired an attorney who didn't get my signed forms until July 6 so he sent her a 30 day notice that he said comes to a head on August 31.
In the meantime she claimed and called police and postal inspectors that I am stealing her mail. I think it is to pretend she didn't get the 30 day notice.
She went into me full body blow and claimed I did that to her.
She then hit me in my kidney when my back was turned and said I hit her first.
She called cops several more times saying that I was harassing her.
She went to legal aid and said I was disturbing things in her room and she is a renter and they told her to put a lock on her door.
She called in a locksmith. I told him as homeowner I don't want it.
She called police and the same one who said it was her apartment came and told the locksmith to go ahead.
She is in a room where my second exit door is.
She had been told by me that that exit has to be kept unimpeded. I told the cop she can't lock the door because of that exit if nothing else.v He said many places only have one door and that is nonsense.
When she was first coming in I told her if she did I would be checking that everything was ok in her room and she agreed to it verbally. I have a text message from her thanking me for closing her window one day. Actually, I had to close it for a full 5 weeks.
I recorded events on the day she got the lock.
She came over to me and slammed the cellphone camera out of my hand and smashed the screen after saying that it was fine if I recorded her. When she walked over to me and stood in front of me she said get the camera out of my face, you are harassing me.
but she had walked over to me.
all of this is on the recording.
I had to remove 2 plastic cigarette lighters that she had laying on 3 matchbooks whose covers had been torn off. this was all on the windowsill that gets the midday summer sun, next to a curtain. This was dangerous.
I smelled gas one day and came down and aired out the house. Then she came into the kitchen to document that I had turned off the utilities (apparently the stove gas jet had not caught the flame and she just left it on .) If I had not come down to air out the place and she had relit the stove, we could have been blown up. She said, as she lit the stove, to document that I had turned utilities off but she guesses I have turned them back on since this time the stove lit. My lawyer says it can take over 6 months to get her out if she keeps postponing court hearings.
Isn't there a way to do it sooner based on her recorded attack on my cellphone in my 73 year old hand, and her dangerous actions?
Is there a way to get the door unlocked? Show a document about boarders to the cop or something?
I keep asking my lawyer and his secretary these things through email and am not getting response.
Do you have a better idea?

Mount Vernon Landlord, NY

A: Oh my God! How did you find this nut case?

You landlords renting rooms in your home to total strangers- this is what can happen. Now you're stuck with this lunatic until 8/31/15- maybe longer- but you have to let the process work itself through. No, I'm sorry, I don't have a "better idea". You hired a lawyer, let him do his job.

Dear Mr. Reno:
My question is as a landlord who won a “owner occupancy eviction” case. Once I take occupancy of the apartment is it legal for me to have a roommate in the apartment with me or do I have to occupy the entire apartment? Thank you.


A: As long as you're occupying as your sole residence, take the roommate.


Published 2015-08-05

Dear Mr. Reno:
Lease: I have a Fixed Term Lease for 3 months that Expired on 7/31/2015
I sent the tenant a notice to quit and not renew on 7/13/2015 (Notice Below). I know that I am required to give her 30 days’ notice, which would not be until 8/13/15. The tenant told me that she could legally stay and did not move her things out or return my keys until 8/1/2015 at 10:45PM. She also told me that she was not paying for the month of August, despite her staying an additional day and preventing me from renting the room to anyone else. She also failed to pay the late fee for July’s rent.

In addition, when taking some of her belonging out of my condo on 7/31/2015, she left every light on in my condo and left the door completely unlocked for the entire night and following day. I have documentation in a text message from her actually admitting leaving the lights on, but no proof of the door.

Can I take her to court for the full months’ rent for August (or at least the extra day she stayed), since she did not leave at the expiration of her fixed term lease( 7/31/15), even though I sent her my notice to quit?
Can I take her to court for failure to pay the late fee ($22.50)?

I didn’t make her pay a security deposit (lesson well learned) and I waived all other late fees (to be nice because I felt bad) and she only paid $450 a month total and was late every single month, but now I am in a bad position and am out a roommate for an entire month. She took advantage of me and put me in harm…. Had someone been in my home when returning to an unlocked place and/or stole my belongings, I don’t know what I would have done. Thank you,
Great full Single Mom,

Christina, Maryland (Anne Arundel County)

A: Well Mom, there's good news and bad news: The good news is you are technically correct. The tenant is liable for the whole month, even if only there one day.

Bad news is, I've had trouble getting small claims judges to enforce this. Maybe you have to be a landlord to understand. They just don't care. Some do, most don't. You'll get your late fee and probably just one day's rent.

Dear Mr. Reno:
Hi there. My name is Jeanne and I own a duplex (two separate units on one parcel) in San Diego, CA. The rear unit is over a shared carport that also has shared coin laundry, a water heater that serves the laundry and the rear unit, and a storage unit. The gas and electric for the carport/laundry is billed to the rear tenant. I pay water for all.She has lived there since March 2011 and I have never increased her rent.

She contacted me today to say that she didn't know she had been "subsidizing" the shared gas and electric for the carport lighting and laundry, and that her SDG&E bill has gone way up in recent months, and she contacted them and they said her hot water usage is much of the bill. She says it must be the front unit tenants using hot water for laundry because nothing else has changed. If this is the case, I doubt it would increase her bill significantly (she says her bill averages $65/month for a 1BR, 600-sf unit). She has implied that she wants payment for the expenses incurred from the shared utility. I explained that I set the rent for that unit (which is considerably below market) to account for the additional expense of the gas and electric used for the carport and laundry.
What should I do going forward to resolve this and eliminate any problems going forward? Thank you.

Jeanne, San Diego, CA

A: You've got tenants sharing gas and/or electric bills, you pay 1/3, you pay 2/3- no wait- you've got more kids, I'll pay 1/4- ok now someone got an extra A/C, so pay more, and yada, yada, yada- you're gonna have disputes.

Now in NY we've had legislation- no shared meter- period. You want the tenants to pay elec, they need separate meters. And the landlords who violate this are getting their butts sued off. The legislature decided that if you try to apportion it- no matter how hard you try to be fair- someone always thinks they're getting screwed (pardon my french) and they are right.

Solution: Unless you've got separate meters, pay it yourself and raise their rent so its included. Otherwise, you're going to continue to have these problems.


Published 2015-08-04

Dear Mr. Reno:
I am a landlord in Palatine, IL, Cook County. I have a lease which was in effect from August 1, 2014 through July 31, 2015. My lease clearly states termination on July 31, 2015 unless there is a written and signed agreement to continue or if I willingly accept rental money for additional time which has not happened in either case so I don't understand why a 30 day notice would be needed to evict?

There was only one tenant named on the lease with a reference that his two daughters both around 20 years old would be living there also. My tenant moved out of the property a little while back which I was not aware of and left his two daughters there, in addition his ex wife and her husband/boyfriend moved in along with another child who is high school age and their two dogs and cat.

I was never paid July's rent and obviously everyone is still there which is why I'm emailing you. I served the ex wife the 5 day notice of termination yesterday due to non payment of July rent. I get the feeling she's been down this road before and she has that attitude of knowing what her rights are. To make matters worse I believe they are dealing drugs from my home, I don't know how to prove it but from information I've gathered from my neighbors it sure seems to point to that.

I'm sorry one more question, am I obligated to give 24 hour notice to enter premises? My lease does not state that, only refers to any reasonable times and reasons.
Thank you!

Toni, Cook County, IL

A: I hate to be the one to tell you this- but- until you evict these people, you're really not supposed to be in there. You have to go to court. If you could just take possession, I'd be out of business.

Dear Mr. Reno:
My husband is a landlord and he has a tenant who has been living in the same unit for more than 2 years. She said that she thinks she has bad bugs and wants my husband to pay the exterminator.

Since she was probably the one who brought these bugs in, who is responsible to pay for the exterminator, according to Maryland law?
Thank you,

Denise , MD

A: It depends on the unit. If there are other units connected, you best get it going or you'll have major disasters on the horizon.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I took tenants that owe rent to court and won a default judgement, then at the garnishment hearing tenant did not show, Now I'm to hire the sheriff to have the tenant arrested , called an attachment. What is an attachment? He's to list his assets ? Than what?? Thanks Michael Thomas

Michael Thomas, AR

A: You need to get the name and address of his job so you can garnish him.


Published 2015-08-03

Dear Mr. Reno:

A: You can't control bad behavior, but a notice like this will get their attention:


Based upon the refusal of your guests to respect the rules of this facility, this is a formal notice that your lease WILL NOT BE RENEWED upon it's expiration. Please make arrangements to move out at that time.

Feel free to contact the management if you would like to discuss this.

non renewal Notice of Lease Non- Renewal

Dear Mr. Reno:
My LLC owns a two family house on a residential street in the Bronx, NY, and I am renting the second floor unit. I may rent to a couple who has a six year old child from a previous marriage who will visit on alternating weekends. Am I obligated to place window guards on the windows? NYC law is not clear when I researched it on the web, so I would appreciate your help.
Thank you,

Antoinette M., New York

A: Try the NYC Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene. See attached. attached.

Dear Mr. Reno:
This question may be different than the usual issue. How do get a bank and/or servicer evict a bad tenant from a house in foreclosure?

We are neighbors to a two-family house that is in foreclosure. One of the tenants in the house is creating safety problems to the neighbors. The Nassau County Police department has responded to several calls regarding disturbances and alleged gun use. The tenant is boarding and breeding pits bulls and the tenant and their friends are confrontational to all neighbors.

We have contacted the Mortgagee (US Bank) and Servicer (BSI Financial) but have been told that they cannot take any action against the tenant (see attached).

Do you have any advise on how to handle the situation? Can we sue the bank and/or the servicer to force them to evict the bad tenant?
Your advise will be greatly appreciated.

Long Beach, NY

A: Not a chance, neighbor. The bank has no control over tenants. If its any consolation, after the foreclosure sale, the bank will evict the whole bunch, owners, tenants, squatters, whomever.

Until then, if the police wont help you, you're out of luck.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I am a landlord of a rental property in Downers Grove, Illinois. My lease agreement did not state how many days should landlord return security deposit to tenant, my tenants want their security deposit back on the day they return possession.
Will I violate any law if insist to return in 30 days?
Many thanks,

Phyllis, IL

A: Most states give you 30. Some 14. These people seem in frenzy, do it in 14.

Here is a list that may help: Avoid lawsuits and comply with state security deposit return laws. Security Deposit Return Time Chart State by State


Published 2015-07-30

Dear Mr. Reno:
My previous tenant moved out and I deducted $125 from her security deposit for my time cleaning plus supplies. I sent a detailed email stating that, with pictures. She responded in a very hostile manner, demanding the return of the money. She cited cases of successful tenant law suits against landlords, berated my condo, ordered me to cease contacting her, and said that I was harassing her. She informed me she was going to file for 3x the $125 in small claims court, and cited emotional distress as well.

I am stunned anyone would go to these lengths and actually file a suit over $125. What are the chances of her success in this, and in your experience, is this just bullying to get her way or would the court take this seriously? Thank you.

Linda K, California

A: I can't believe it either, but she will win because you can't bill for your own time.


Published 2015-07-29

Dear Mr. Reno:
How do you evict a tenant's son after filing to evict the tenant?

Also, how do you retrieve 3 months rent and late fees from a tenant who has moved out of town?

Velma C., Illinois

A: What went wrong here? You were supposed to evict them all together. Now you have to evict the son as a holdover. Sounds like you may have goofed.

As to the second question, you have to start a small claims action in the town they moved to.

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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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