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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 an LPA Landlord with a tenant problem you'd like to ask a question about, please 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 (


Recent Court Victory

Warrant of Eviction with money judgment of $18,600.00 AWARDED!


Published 2024-06-12

Dear Mr. Reno:
I want to say thank you so much for your helpful and thoughtful comments. I am a landlord in California and trying hard to be fair and work with my tenants to make their life a little easier. But a few bad tenants make you wonder! I have a tenant that from the time that she has the place started nagging and asking unreasonable requests. Last month she didn’t pay her rent. When property manager asked for rent and told her that $150 late fee charge for late fee she said my contract doesn’t say I have to pay late fee. Finally she paid just the rent by 16 of the May. This month again she didn’t pay by the fifth and Sent this to us. I copy it here. She signed this that said your rent due by first if you don’t pay by fifth you are late but didn’t say how much. Last month PM told her that if you are late you have to pay $150 late fee. Last month paid by 16 and this month again She didn’t pay and when PM emailed her that She owes the rent and two lat fees she text this Good morning, The late fee you speak of was not in my lease. In California a landlord can not charge fees if the tenant didn’t agree to them in the lease, verbal agreement, or through a lease addendum. I have never met the owner or yourself in person for any verbal agreement and have not been given a lease addendum. I will attach a copy of my lease. My question is what is the best way to deal with This situation, Thank you


A: So, the late charges is not in the lease? That's a problem Sue. In any state, its got to be in the lease. Time to put it in, but after their lease expires. The next one, I mean, the renewal.

Published 2024-05-09

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have tenants who have destroyed the property, I have given them a 7 day(s) notice of cure and then a 7 day notice of termination of lease. How do I determine if I need to start the eviction, they denied to leave the property, however I think they are trying to buy time. Their belongings are still in the property but are not living there anymore, how do I take over the property without breaking any laws?
Thank you,

Cristian L., FL

A: Well, that's a problem.

If their belongings are there and they have not surrendered the keys, then they are still in possession. if you enter, they could sue, so that's risky.

The only safe way is to start the eviction. It's your call.

Published 2024-04-23

Dear Mr. Reno:
This is a classic landlord/tenant dilemma b/c you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

1. Do the eviction, lots of time & expense. Is it necessary? or

2. You can notify him (by text?) He has 30 days to get his stuff. Then put it into storage for another 30. There's a risk. He can sue.

Pick your poison.

Oh by the way, you can have the car towed away, but also give him 30 days notice.


A: I have question on eviction process.

I was renting the room in my house to the Tenant. He is no longer living here. But his room is still full of his stuff. He left one car in my driveway. 2 cars in the guest Area. All Three cars have expired registration. He has not paid the rent for March-April, nor he has returned the key to me. He is not picking up the phone & responding to my phone calls & messages. I don't know, where he is living

My question to you is, if I evict him by filing 'unlawful Detainer'.

After the Eviction completed

What do I do with his stuff in the room?.
Can I legally tow his car parked in my Driveway?. will this be Legal?
Can I legally tow his car parked in Guest Area, which belongs to HOA. can he comeback and sue me.
Can I dump his stuff?.

Published 2024-02-06

Dear Mr. Reno:
My tenants know they have to move. & they know my every move. I hear echoes like from a listening device and banging on the radiator pipes AFTER he told me I had problems with the pipes and I hear dripping when the furnace comes on now. They damaged the tub glaze and lied about it and set the fire alarm off. I have to go to my car to have a private conversation and the whole family is involved. Cook County, in the city of Chicago, don't put people out in the winter. Can this be cause for an exception? I don't feel safe here. I'm 73 years old. Please advise.
Thank you,

Marla S., Cook County, IL

A: It's sad, very sad. People just can't act like human beings and treat each other with respect. I hear this more and more.

The only way to get these people out is through the Court eviction process or with police intervention. You can try the cops, but based upon what you've said, as horrible as the conduct is, nothing rises to the level that would necessitate police intervention. They'll probably just tell you to "get a lawyer." Maybe you should do that but with a good lawyer, give them a notice to vacate and follow procedure. They'll be out in a few months. Good luck.

Published 2024-01-14

Dear Mr. Reno:
6 days before rent was due, my brother's tenant came to his house with her adult son and two subleasors who were living on a trailer at the rental property. They kicked in my brothers back door and sent him threatening texts, one saying she, the tenant, was going to stab him. My brother and his wife while concerned, did not call police. The next day, my brother went to the rental property to collect a personal item. Again he was threatened and then the police were called on him. He was arrested for attempted murder. The police admitted to seeing the threats his tenant made against him but she did no jail time. With a public defender who did not return my phone calls to him or ask anyone including my brothers wife to testify on his behalf or at all. My brother has been stuck in prison trying to do his own appeals. This whole thing should have been sent to civil court. I understand its the option of police to charge someone, but the tenant was never charged so it sounds discriminatory. The tenancy was discussed during my brothers trial and after he was sent to prison, due to continuous long time non payment of rent, my brothers' wife sued the tenants and had them evicted from the rental property.

My brother has brain damage from head trauma he suffered as a baby, not once but 4 times had a traumatic head injury before age 10. I have been scouring the internet to find any landlord tenant advocates that can help my brother get out of prison. I see California Apartment Association has advocacy but it seems like they only help all landlords and not individuals.

Just a couple years prior to this incident with his tenants, my brother was also in a major motorcycle accident with a semi and lost his leg. He was awarded a large sum of money but I think his wife gambles so I am not really sure what happened but he said he doesn't have money to pay an attorney. His was just retired from social services and either does not have the capacity or capabilities to help him.

Thank you for your input.

A: He's in jail now! Oh my god! He sounds like he needs a good criminal lawyer- not landlord-tenant lawyer, no? You want a landlord tenant advocate to get him out of prison?

Anyway, isn't that what legal aid is for?

Dear Mr. Reno:
I am about to sign a new tenant to my condo and want to know if there is a legal form that I can have them sign that is a volunteer eviction form. That way if they don't pay rent it states that they volunteer to be evicted?

Rhonda J., TX

A: You're dreaming Rhonda, but that's ok because the world needs dreamers....

The problem with the volunteer eviction, as you call it, is enforcement. You can write it, they can sign it, but you still need your Sheriff, Marshall or Constable to enforce it and they'll still need a Court Ordered warrant of eviction- so you're back where you started.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have tenants with no lease that know they're on their way out. They're running the water non stop. I know I can give them a 10 day notice but the weather will keep them here until Spring. They have damaged the tub's finish (glaze) and lied about it. As well as having unauthorized unstable family members and I feel threatened. I'm 72 years old. Can this move things along a little faster?

Marla S., Chicago, IL

A: Wow! Is the water running even now? That might be a police matter. That's your only chance for a fast result. Of course, they can just keep doing it, but maybe a police visit will deter them.

Long term, you need an eviction lawyer and at least a 30 day notice. (Who told you 10 days? for tenants? Never heard of it.)

Published 2023-12-04

Dear Mr. Reno:
We own a 4 unit apartment complex in Texas. A brand new tenant requested an emotional support animal the day after she moved in (letter attached). This letter looks fake to me and I am able to find duplicates online from other doctors where the wording is exact and no real contact information. Will you please tell me what we can do? It seems insane to me that it happened the way it did. Not only do we have a no pet policy that she knew before moving in, but she never told us about this prior to moving in and the date on the letter was the same day she requested it verbally when we required a letter.

Thank you for any advice. This seems like fraudulent circumstances.

Dennis, TX

A: Did you check out the doctor? Is he a real doctor?
Anyway, I've seen one horror story on this Federal Law so far. A landlord came to me, already spent $15,000.00 in legal fees to fight this in Federal Court. Is it worth it?
How about just don't renew her lease? I know it's a year, but you can have a war on your hands. What's even worse, if you complain about the dog, your refusal will be considered a violation. So if this dog is a big problem, I would keep quiet and then don't renew the lease.

Published 2023-10-22

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a good tenant that had boyfriend move in with her about 2 months ago. He is not on the lease. He has become very abusive and seemingly dangerous. My tenant next door has moved out because of threats he has made to them. I know I need to evict this person, but have never had to evict someone before, much less someone not on the lease. My tenant has tried to get him to leave, but he refuses. What is the process for start an eviction?

Jerry C., Lubbock, Texas

A: You have to evict them both.
You will most likely need a local eviction attorney. If you don't have your own attorney, check with local landlords or management companies.
How to Select a Good Eviction Attorney

Published 2023-09-19

Dear Mr. Reno:
I will try to be as brief as possible. We have a Tenant who broke her lease a few days before we had flooding in the rental property basement. We speculate the flooding was due to the Tenant not shoveling the back deck over the window well during the harsh snow season this year in Park City, UT. During the first few warm days, the snow started melting which we think may have caused the flooding. She then sent us a few threatening emails wanting her last month's rent back before she moved out and also claimed the flooding was not her fault. We told her we have 30 days after she moves out before we have to return any prepaid monies. She was not happy about that and sent more threatening emails. She also got a previous Tenant and neighbor involved. We returned the settlement money by the end of May after assessing all damages (she just cashed the check on August 22).

Now she is calling and saying her insurance company for her renters' insurance needs a report from our mitigation company or a document from us that states what caused the flooding.

We are concerned, do we need to give her any documentation? We do not want to give her any more information that she may try to use against us. Please advise and thank you in advance for your time and expertise.

Best regards,

Jill and Keith Helmke

A: Sorry guys, your e-mail was just forwarded.

I don't see any obligation. You seem like you have no interest in helping this person, so don't. You can blame me. "At the advice of counsel, that information can not be disseminated."

Published 2023-07-28

Dear Mr. Reno:
Well pretty obvious what went down here- this creep obviously bypassed the meter and got free electric all this time. They found out and put the kabosh on it.

They can refuse electric there until its paid So even though technically you didn't steal the electric and they can't hold you personally liable and force you to pay it, as a practical matter, they'll make you pay it if you want electric.

Yes, you can sue him as a default on the lease and I would suggest you get right on that. As long as he's there you can take him to the local small claims court (usually up tp about $5000) and get a judgment and then garnish his wages. Once he moves out, (which should be any minute now since he has no power) it becomes problematic, locating him, which court, etc.

Good luck.

Jack and Elaine Y., OH

A: I hope you have an answer for our problem, here it is:
We have a rental home in Cleveland OH, rented to the same guy for around 5 years. He's responsible for all utility payments.
In early June our tenant at 3764 E 154th ST, Cleveland OH 44128 contacted us to let us know his electric power had been turned off. He asked us to call The Illuminating Co. and request that the power be turned back on in his name.
We called them. They said he never opened an account with them. They say their records show no one living at that address and no bills have been issued for those years. They also said to him they believe he illegally siphoned off power by bypassing the meter (somehow). He denies this and says he's been paying the bill online via auto pay through his current and a past bank.
They stated that until they received payment for all his electric usage power would remain off. This bill is around $5300!!!
When we asked him for proof he paid he gives us the excuse of not having the paperwork. He says he's contacted his two banks and is awaiting proof of payment from their records. Supposedly still no response from his previous bank.
He also says that one of the banks sent him the records which he gave to his mother to review on 6/20. As of today 7/24/23 he hasn’t showed us any proof of payment.
Be aware that he works as a driver for Cleveland Electric Power!
So he could certainly find out how to steal the power from one of his co-workers that are electricians!
Can they refuse to turn the power back on if we again request the power bill be put back in our name if we don’t pay his back bill?
In any scenario are we legally responsible for the $5300 back electric bill?
He’s moving out the end of July.
What are our legal options in the worst case scenario: no power until the back bill is paid by us?
Set up a payment plan or sue the former tenant or sue the Illuminating Co?
We need to get in there to do painting and any minor repairs before selling or renting it again.
Is there any Ohio case law precedent for this situation?
Ohio law does state that the landlord is responsible for unpaid utility bills.
The electricity was in our name for a few months until we found him as a tenant. On the day he moved in we terminated that account in our name. We asked him to start an account with the Illuminating Co and put the bill in his name.
His lease does clearly state that he is responsible for all utility bills.
Any guidance and advice in this matter is gratefully appreciated.

Published 2023-07-13

Dear Mr. Reno:
1. Since I am renting to students, I am putting bedrooms as rented, while driveway, kitchen, bathrooms, laundry, livingroom etc., as common areas for both tenants and landlord. IS this OK?
This way I can enter the property, inspect and post any notices inside the house.

2. I am getting paid 6months rent at once at the time of signing the 6-month lease subject to renewal if advance 6-month rent paid prior to 6th month.. Is this OK?

3. I am not renting the back or front yard. garage and crawlspace are occupied by me (as storage and workshop) and free to enter any time. IS this OK?

Sunil, Piscataway NJ

A: You seem to have thought this through quite well Sunil. I don't see any problems "1" to "3, but you understood this is a boarding house you're running. Is that allowed where you are? (Not in my neighborhood.)

Published 2023-04-29

Dear Mr. Reno:
Our rental property, located in Baltimore County, Maryland, has a tenant with a year 1 year term month to month lease. Through January 2024. She's a good tenant, very clean and pays her rent on time. However, we have small disagreement over a pet dog. And she has decided to claim the puppy as a service dog and as I found out, later that she had intentions on breeding the dog. I see in the online documentation I need to give her 90 days' notice on a month-to-month lease. I have no intention of renting the property in the future and would like to use it for myself as it's located next door to my daughter and grandson.

My question is; should I wait till the end of the lease (Jan 2024) or just to serve her 90 days' notice now?
What would be the fastest and easiest way to get her out?
Thank you

Fred H., MD

A: If you wanted to use the property for yourself, why did you give her a one year lease? Now your stuck with her. You can't give a 90 day now- "that dog wont hunt." Wait until September, then tell her the lease wont be renewed when it expires. Until then, "let sleeping dogs lie" (there's a million of these!)

Published 2023-03-20

Dear Mr. Reno:
Hi I rented my property in New York to a professional athlete past 2 years left my home with 50 k damage offset by 1 month security. he has been traded and lives in Argentina.
Going forward how can we proceed if he is out of the country

John P.

A: OMG. Argentina? Habla Esponal? Necesite ablogado. (You need a lawyer) in Argentina. You can't sue here- unless he has maintained a residence here- maybe you can. He obviously doesn't live at your place. Even if he's still a U.S. Citizen, you still need a U.S. Address. You have to sue someone where they live-

The only exception would be if the parties consent if the lease to New York having jurisdiction, but I don't usually see that.

Probably a dead end. Sorry.

Published 2022-12-23

Dear Mr. Reno:
Holdover Eviction Case:
I am in N.Y. Over the summer I fell and broke my hip, now I cannot walk. I came home after surgery and rehab to a tenant being really nasty with me. I personally believe it wasn't until all this Black lives matter stuff that she really even started acting nasty to me. I seldom have any interaction with her until rent time, and I only charge her $450.00 for a 3 bedroom apartment. I think she was trying to show me, whitey girl LL that I do not matter. I asked her if she was going to pay her rent on November 1st. She said maybe the 6th or maybe the 16th.

I had an attorney serve her Notice of Eviction for Holdover. Her lease ended June 30th 2022 Not only did the Attorney think it was safer than nonpayment, but I needed her apartment to move into. I cannot walk or get down stairs. Her apartment is a lower. She had been here as a tenant for 7 years.

Now that she knows she is being evicted, she is not paying any rent at all. She thinks there are no consequences for it. She has seldom paid her rent on time, and always lots of excuses and attitude.. I text her about paying her rent and she just ignores me now.

Can I notify the credit reporting agencies on her? Just before I fell and broke my hip, she said she was having a hard time and would not have the rent until the around the 19th. Then the following day came home with a brand new car, brand new cloths and brand new hair extensions. What are the qualifications or what is required to report her if I can?

Judith E., NY

A: Credit companies don't get involved with eviction cases until you have a judgment. That would go on her credit, if she doesn't pay.

Otherwise its like a tree falling in the forest. No one will hear it unless there's a money judgment.

Once she is gone, you can total up the amount owed and use the LPA's Bad Debt Credit Collection Agency Reporting at

Published 2022-09-07

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a tenant who is a landlord himself renting my house. Initially he was going to buy the house but did not qualify. Other outside the box methods to acquire the house did not happen. This upset him. No deposit was received due to having a contract to sell. I know bad move. Was a friend prior to this debacle. We have already sent letter for lease not being extended. Expires October 31. 40 + % of plants are dying in front yard and seems to lack of watering. Lease states he maintains yard. Frisco has restriction 2 hour watering on trash day limit.
1. Can I evict for not maintaining yard.
2. If not can I water the yard myself with his water or bring my own water?

Jon Teschner in Frisco Texas

A: I have never heard of an eviction based on landscaping, so that would be a no. Wait until the lease expires and evict on a holdover.

Nothings stopping you from watering the grass, as long as there's no police intervention. If the police are called , they'll probably tell you to take a hike. They don't want any shootings over plants.

LPA note: Have you tried using an LPA Grounds Lease Violation Notice?

LPA Lease Enforcement Forms

Published 2022-08-26

Dear Mr. Reno:
I rent to my Brother month to month lease. He has a move in girlfriend not on the lease and refuses to leave. Can I evict her without going to court?
Thank you

Gordon B., IL

A: I don't see how.

Published 2022-07-08

Dear Mr. Reno:
Is there any type of "voluntary eviction" form that you can have a tenant sign at the beginning of a lease that states if they don’t pay rent that they volunteer to an eviction? Basically, that they can not fight it in court and must move out. I am in Texas and I have had someone tell me that they had renter’s sign this upfront.


A: Yes, you can get that signed- but there's a problem:

In every jurisdiction, there's a person that actually does the eviction, I mean that actually knocks the door down and drags them out kicking and screaming (usually not so dramatic) That person is sometimes called the Sheriff, or the Marshall or the Constable. That person needs a special type of court order to leap into action (ie. a warrant of eviction). They're not going to act based upon something your tenant signed.

So regardless of what you get from the tenant, you're still going to have to go through the eviction process to get the warrant. So how much is that really helping you?

Published 2022-06-16

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a very bad Tennant owes 1 year of rent all kinds of violations but the worst is they forged a lease and forged my name on the lease and put another Tennant's name on the forged lease. The water dept. called to verify the lease is how I found. The Tennant owed water dept water cut off they were trying to get water turned on. What should I do?

Ronald C.

A: The tenant owes one year? Isn't that your answer? Nonpayment proceeding may seem slow, but it's actually the fastest legal proceeding on the planet.

Why are you still sitting there?

Published 2022-06-14

Dear Mr. Reno:
So I have a tenant who moved in last month (same floor, opposite my unit). Just a few weeks ago I discovered he happens to be an active meth addict based on a few signs
*His mother used to live with him but moved out after a few late-night quarrels. His mother did come to us and told us about his condition and he takes meth regularly.
*his abnormal behavior (jerky movements, hyperactivity)
*late night activities (going in and out of the building a few times, slamming door very loud, jumping around and making noise)

We tried to mind our own business, but he really affected us and other neighbors, and he refused to talk to us. We called the police twice within a month due to his late-night (2-4am) activities, but whenever the police came, he would defend himself by saying that he was suffering from drug addiction and toxicity, and needed medical assistance, and the police would just send him to an ambulance (and he would smile at us). And a few days after, he would come back to the apartment and repeat doing the same thing again. There are already 3 neighbors complaining about this, and it seems like he is going to use the same tricks (saying he is toxic) whenever we call the police, and we just can't do this forever. We really wish to evict this person from our apartment ASAP (not being discrimination or anything), but we don't know which would be the best way and the procedures (eg: how to proceed, how to obtain evidence).
Any suggestion or advice you could give would be greatly appreciated.


A: That's a tall order, Gary, if he's current. Evicting an up to date tenant for behavior is difficult. If the lease is up, start with a Notice to Vacate. If you're in the middle of the lease...then see a lawyer. It will be heavy lift.

Published 2022-05-19

Dear Mr. Reno:
Thanks for taking this question. I own a business suite in Torrance, California and my tenant has not paid rent during the Covid Moratorium. He now owes me more than $20K. Since the Covid Moratorium ended in January of this year, do I need to wait 1 year before I can take him to court for my money? Thank you.

Jimmy C.

A: What's this about waiting a year? Is this a California thing? Here in NY, the moratorium also ended in June and we are going for it. What's this about waiting a year? I've seen some rules about not evicting for a year when you receive government rent relief funds, but you haven't, so why wait?

Published 2022-05-16

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a tenant who refuses to move and to pay after our lease ended on 4/30/2022. I started the eviction process with an attorney already. When the processor server went to serve the notice yesterday, no on opened the door. However, the tenant downstairs claimed that no one goes by her name Tiffany ****. Please see the attached background check she provided us before moving in. It seems that the bank statement and W2 are fake. I don't know if everything else she provided is also fake. How do I find out?


A: Well you really need a private detective to investigate that, but as far as the eviction goes, I don't think it matters. But your attorney may need to proceed against Tiffany **** and "jane Doe". I say that b/c if you only proceed against Tiffany, and she isn't Tiffany, that might be a defense. But we can and do evict people that we can't identify by evicting Jane doe or John Doe.

Published 2022-05-11

Dear Mr. Reno:
A neighbor who was a handyman and had worked in various "construction" jobs over the years and did some work for me off and on over several years got a divorce and they (Jeff and X-Heather) sold their house. He needed a place to store his equipment and asked if he could "rent" space in and on my property outside of my barn. My barn contained no animals. His rent was to do some projects for me (he only finished one). His “equipment" ended up being a massive amount of heavy equipment (trucks, bull dozers, tractors, saws, etc.), hand tools, large tool boxes and much more usable equipment. But also includes piles of broken and non-usable heavy equipment, tools, etc. and junk, cans of paint, old furniture, exercise equipment, pellet stoves, an old falling apart boat with outboard motor…. You can not believe the amount of stuff there is. As it turns out he was a hoarder that took anything, even if it was ancient, or broken, or useless.

He passed away 13 November 2021. I do not know if he had a will or if there is an executor.

I am now dealing with the X, who is of the mind that she will be able to sell everything for big money but is in no hurry to deal with selling or removing anything and she is not paying me any rent. People have asked me to offer her some money for a few things but it’s never enough. There is also their son who is about 21 years old who lives with mom and Jeff's grandson who is 14 and autistic who is now also living with her. When the son and grandson have come to pick up some stuff without her they have gotten nasty with me.

I could probably rent out stalls to some horse owners and make a little money to pay my bills if the stalls weren’t full of junk.

What do I have to do to get rid of all of this stuff! People have told me that all I have to do is write her a letter telling her she has a certain amount of time to come and get it all or it’s mine. I can't believe that I don’t have to fill out some type of form or go through the county or something more "legal". I’ve tried calling Washoe County, NV and no one seems to be able to tell me what I need to do. The free attorney service at the senior center (I’ll be 67 in April) will only deal with renters.

Thank you for your help.

Sally Armstrong, NV

A: This is a tough one because you're in a grey area. Is this a rental or not? If it is, you have to evict him for non-payment of rent.

You can go the route some have suggested and send the certified letter (give him 30 days) and that will "probably" work- but there's a risk. he may sue you for conversion of personal property.

The only safe way is the eviction- but it will cost you. And when the eviction is over, you still will need to pay the local Sheriff or Marshal to haul it away, and that will cost you again.

So, its a dilemma. Go cheap- take a chance. Go legal- pay a lot.

Pick your poison, Sally.

Published 2022-04-05

Dear Mr. Reno:
The gas and electric has been shut off in the house is there anything I can do? The weather is still freezing most days and I am afraid the pipes will burst.

Thank you for your help in this matter.

Kevin C., Ohio

A: If they're out, retake possession. If they're still there, how is that possible? If its freezing?

Are you evicting these people or what? I mean, as the owner, you could turn on the heat, if you want, but what's going on here?

Published 2022-01-25

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have tenant from 2013 up to the present time.
From 2013 up to 2020, he had been a good tenant.
On June 2020, there were three persons joined his apartment. The apartment is very small about 450 sq. Ft. only. Since these three persons came in his behavior changes. He became very abusive and aggressive to me and to my super, becomes more demanding and for any problems in the apt. he reported it directly to the housing department rather than reporting to me as the landlord.The wear and tear in the apt. become more common.

We tried to evict this tenant, but my lawyer said that if the tenant claim that these people are related to him, no judge will ever evict him.

I was planning not to evict the tenant now but I want the three persons remove from the apt. because they are my liabilities and the wear and tear of the apt. will progress.

The lease of my tenant expired as of Dec 2020. I am obligated to renew his lease contract with this problem on hand? Thank you.

Sixto A. Siasoco

A: I just had this question. It's like an epidemic; trying to pick and choose which tenant you like & who you don't. It can't be done. Your tenants are a package deal, & their guests too.

You don't have to renew. But wither they all stay or they all go.

Dear Mr. Reno:
Hello! If two tenants are both on a lease but we would like to legally evict one tenant and not the other is that something the court would award us the rights to do? We are located in PA.
Thank You,

Nikki S., PA

A: That's a problem. You're asking for what is called a "partial eviction". The Court's don't like that. The Sheriff and Marshalls like it even less. Fraught with legalistic and logistical complications. Sorry, you must evict both & rerent to a good tenant. If you really want to keep him, he may have to vacate temporarily.

Dear Mr. Reno:
After my tenant in a single-family home moved out, we received a $242 bill from the trash company that she didn't pay. She has ignored our requests to pay it. Am I responsible for paying it?
Thank you.

Phil U., Corona, CA

A: If it's a private company and the account was not in your name, then no. But if it's public- it could create a lien.
(By the way, the private companies, they have been known to get a little nasty.)

Published 2022-01-18

Dear Mr. Reno:
I obtained possession and $s damage against a tenant. I manage the property for the property owner and have a management agreement. . The application and lease is through my company.

The property owner wants me to give the tenant’s SS#, etc to a collection company he wants to use. Can I give that information? I am in Tennessee.

Dan C., TN

A: Yes you can! As long as it's not being done for fraudulent purposes, give it up!

Published 2021-12-09

Dear Mr. Reno:
One of my tenants has caused a roach problem in the building along with other challenges we are having with them. We have a month to month tenancy with them. We gave them a 45 day notice that we are not renewing their lease. I had an appt today to go and spray for roaches and was told I can come back on the day they leave which is January 31st at 12:59 am. Until then I cannot enter the apartment. This is a legal 3 family home. What are my rights?

MC Staten Island, NY

A: Unfortunately, no, you have to wait until they're out. Unless they let you in.

I'm surprised, they have roaches- you want to spray, and they say "no"? What's up with that? They want the roaches?

Published 2021-10-25

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a tenet who is month to month (never a lease). When I rented she was told 1 person only living here, her brother came to visit from Columbia and has now been here 4 months. I told her I want him to leave, she says he is just visiting not living here. I want to end this rental for good, can you help?

Michael Smith, Long Island NY

A: Are you familiar with the "Roommate Law"? Probably nothing illegal about one acquaintance or relative cohabitating. But you're on a month to month. That's your solution. You need to serve the appropriate notice to vacate and then start the eviction process.

Are you sure you want to go to war over this?

Published 2021-09-02

Dear Mr. Reno:
I own a property in Wheat Ridge Colorado. Tenants out, was just awarded over $5900 back rent and second judgement over $600 for damages (net security deposit). Tenants currently reside in Cheyenne Wyoming. Local banks told me on the phone that they will not accept Judgement and that I need paperwork from an attorney. They own two cars and are currently renting an apartment. They dont have much money but I want to get as much as I can without spending more money/time.

1) Do I have to hire an attorney to collect?
2) Can I seek Title of vehicles

Have an Awesome Day!

Laura M., Denver Colorado

A: You need an attorney because you've ventured into another state. Your judgment needs to be filed in that state to be recognized there.

As far as the bank accounts & the cars, it can be done but do you have the forms & how good are you at playing attorney?

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have an unmarried couple that moved in May 2021 and have not paid a full months rent yet (other than May). Do I have to take them to court before reporting then to the credit bureaus? Any advice on how to garnish wages?

Steven Roberts

A: That's many steps ahead of where you are. You need a money judgment first, b/4 you report or garnish. Commence a nonpayment eviction at this time.

Published 2021-07-06

Dear Mr. Reno:
I am trying to track down an address for a moved out tenant who did not leave a forwarding address. This is about to happen a second time in two months for me. In both situations, there will be no security deposit refund due to property damages. These damages exceed the security deposit, so I am in need of finding an address to serve the claim in court I'm filing. When it comes to getting an address and eventual workplace and/or bank account info, I was told to hire a private investigator.
I know I must have the tenants authorization to run a credit report, so that won't be an option. Would I be able to attempt to obtain this information from an online service such as "peoplefinder" or "beenverified" and remain legal (i.e. is this a valid/legal reason to utilize an online service in hopes of getting an address to sue them in court? Or must I use a private investigator to perform and obtain such information?

Thank You.

Mark R.

A: I have the same problem. I don't know a short cut other than the private detective. They have access to data banks that I don't. (Personally, I think they're doing it illegally! But that's not my problem.) The problem is the expense. And you may be seeking a judgment you'll never collect- so that's a dilemma.

As for "people finder", etc., my understanding is that they want $ up front. I suspect they are also illegally accessing data banks, or maybe they have some way of circumventing the law- I don't know- But again that's their deal. My problem is the expense.

In my case, I'm looking for a judgment of about $2000. Don't forget, finding them is just the beginning- you still have to sue them. How much time, effort and expense should I go through to get a $2000 judgment which may be uncollectable anyway?

If you have success with this, please let me know. I am "needing direction."

Published 2021-06-29

Dear Mr. Reno:
My brother is currently unable to go to the eviction courts at the moment because he is in the hospital and unable to walk/stand right now.

Question: I do not have Power of Attorney, but I do have two letters signed by him stating that anyone can speak to me on his behalf on matters concerning him and stating that I am his Property Manager /Landlord Representative. Is this good enough for me to take a tenant to eviction court without my brother with me?

Patricia C., Texas

A: Maybe, but probably not.>p> You are not a licensed property manager. You have no documentation, such as a lease, that designates you as property manager. So it's a stretch.

You're better off with a power of attorney that lists "litigation" as a power. (Note: even that's not a guarantee. Some judges still wont allow it. But your chances are much better.

Published 2021-06-16

Dear Mr. Reno:
Condo assoc board president is a bully to the older residents in the community (60+ years of age and up) and using the association funds for his personal use. A few former board members have proof of this misuse of funds.He is a control freak and not going to step down easily. The other 4 members of the board are on his side. For example: dining out for behind closed door meetings, glasses of wine, painting the inside of his own condo, paying himself above market wages for menial jobs relating to the up keep of the road & landscaping, paying to have new front door, digital lock hardware installed on his personal front door and the list goes on and on. All are clearly not part of the associations responsibility.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you

The plan is to vote him out with more than 51% of the votes. A group of 10 residents are planning to go door to door and acquire the voters signatures. We think we can easily obtain more than 60 votes for the new president.

Robert S., Michigan

A: Well good luck with the vote. This guy sounds like a real ____ bag (fill in the blank!) But he's got the support of the Board b/c they're enjoying the wine & other perks. If you don't win the vote, you'll need a lawyer to sue the Board for Breach of their fiduciary obligations. I haven't personally ever seen it, but it has been done.

Published 2021-06-08

Dear Mr. Reno:
I live in California and currently renting a ADU to a couple. The husband listed as the only signed tenant on the lease and he has been the one paying rent. The lease expired this Sept 1st, 2021. The wife and her 10 year old son are listed as authorized “occupants” on the lease.

The husband has issue with the wife and texted me a 30 day notice last month ( May) to end the lease early. He already left the house but the wife and her son still live there. The wife and her son just came to America less than a year. The rent for this month (June) has not been paid. Do I still post a late payment notice even though the husband does not live there anymore? Am I okay to refuse rent from the wife? If she still refuse to leave, what is the process to evict the wife? Thank you so much for your help as I’m still new to this.

Koden, CA

A: Yes. No. Here's the deal:

You say the Husband "left the home" but he really hasn't. He's still there "in spirit" b/c he left the kinfolk. Legally, under landlord-tenant law, he's what we call "in possession".

You give him all the notices and follow all the procedures as would evict a non-paying tenant still in possession.

Published 2021-05-05

Dear Mr. Reno:
Unfortunately, I just learn my tenant died, and has two other people still living in the home. Beside hiring an eviction attorney, which LPA form should I use first to evict them.

I was in the process of finalizing the sale of the home to the man that died, so now I need to find a new buyer. The lease said only one person was allowed to live at the home, so I don't know who these people are. The one year lease had expired and it was month to month plus utilities.
Any direction would be appreciated.

Eric F.

A: What a mess! You need to serve a notice to vacate on the tenant (who died) by "substituted service", and on John Doe & Jane Doe. You'll need an attorney for this. Very complicated. Worse case scenario, you may have to apply to have an administrator appointed for the tenant's estate.

Start with the notice to vacate. (Termination of Tenancy Notice) Good luck!

PS: Keep in mind that depending on what state you're in, you may be limited by your state's limitations on evictions. For example, in NY just extended the moratorium on evictions to September 2021.

Published 2021-03-09

Dear Mr. Reno:
I own 4 efficiencies in a condominium complex.
The HOA is charging me a huge amount for utility bills and does not want to provide any details about how they calculate it. There is no meters and the calculations is done through an allocation model by a third party. I finally decided to pay a fix amount for my utility bills ($20 instead of $80 or $100) in order to push them to provide more information.
What should I do?

I appreciate your help.

Patrick A.

A: You're on a course to eventually get sued and/or evicted, and here's the thing: If you go to war over this, you will end up in court where your legal fees will be 10X what you're complaining about. So that's a problem. In Court, you'll get full discovery of every tidbit of info, but it will cost you thousands in legal fees- so that's a non-starter.

All I can suggest is an avid aggressive letter campaign. Carbon copy everyone, second request, third request, certified mail, etc. etc. Eventually, they'll come clean just to get you off their back.

That's my advice.

Published 2021-03-07

Dear Mr. Reno:
Tenant is leaving of free will ­ been a good tenant - no rent due. However, he has a 14'x16' shed on the property that he may not move on or before the final day of his Lease ­ which states that he must remove all personal property on or before the expiration date of the Lease.

What is my recourse?? Can I take possession of the shed (which I just found out he never got a permit to install nor wire up)? It¹s blocking access to the rear of the property and thus the rear entrance, which the new tenant needs.

Being in the state of Maryland, - if he in fact does not move it on the due date ­ how should I proceed to acquire his shed - so I can move it from blocking access without the worry of damage due to the move, etc.???

Martin, Easton, MD.

A: My tenant left me a shed and I was glad. I've been using it for years. You no like? I don't get the part where it blocks in the new tenant. Isn't the new tenant replacing the guy with the shed?

Anyway, if it is not nailed down with a foundation then it's considered "personal property." If the tenant doesn't take it, you can consider it "abandoned" after 30 days and dispose of it.

As far as how to move it- sorry- not my department.

Published 2021-01-12

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have some questions since I have a situation with a tenant.

They have not been paying the rent and were refusing to leave, finally I had to pay the first month for a new apartment and help them to move out. They already left my property but they took the keys with them and still they have stuff at my house.

It is my understanding that the law protects them In this case, and technically I am not allowed to enter to my property? I need to have their stuff out but they are not reply ion to my phone calls or give the keys back to me.

What can i do?

I would very much appreciate some guidance


Alexander Fernandez, MN

A: To enter or not to enter: That is the question.

I would say what it comes down to would a reasonable person, given all the circumstances, conclude that the tenant has abandoned the property? So you say they left stuff. Is it garbage, any TV's, any valuables? That's the issue.

It's your call, but if they're really moved out, you shouldn't have to go through the whole eviction process. Well, that's my opinion.

Published 2021-01-06

Dear Mr. Reno:
I recently sold a duplex in Philadelphia. The title company tells me that I have to pay past due gas bills for the first floor tenant who still lives in the duplex and still pays something on the gas bill monthly as well as the second floor tenant who moved out and had an outstanding bill which the gas company states that tenant is also paying something on the gas bill monthly. The gas bills were always in the tenants name and I never had a gas account for that property. The gas company does not have a lien on my property for that and I was never given any notice from the gas company about any past due bills that I would have to be responsible for. What can I do to fight this?

Best regards,

Ron B., Philadelphia PA

A: They say "you can't fight City Hall" so that's where you are. Those governmental agencies have the power to lien your property without taking all the steps of a normal creditor. You say there's no lien- I disagree. If there was no lien the title co. wouldn't be raising it.

Pay it. Sue the tenant.

Published 2021-01-05

Dear Mr. Reno:
My question is...
If tenant owes 500 dollars when I filed in small court and then pays 500 dollars but again owes $ 700 when we got date for hearing. Will my case be dismissed or I can continue to demand $ 700 under breach of contact?

Shah, LPA Member in NJ

A: Not to worry. These things happen. As long as the tenant was in default when commenced, you can amend at the hearing to reflect payments and/or new arrears.

Published 2020-12-21

Dear Mr. Reno:
We have 15 low income units in Spring Lake, North Carolina which the tenants we inherited when my husband bought the properties in March. Because of the Covid 19, the tenants not only have stopped paying rent for months and continue to trash their units but are also not willing to move out when the lease expires. One of them also is involve in drug dealings that recently there was a drive by shooting where this tenant occupies. There was a police report with the incident. My question is what can we do as landlords to evict these tenants?
Thank you for your response.

Jessica, Spring Lake, North Carolina

A: The quickest way is nonpayment proceedings. Are the eviction Courts in Spring Lake open? You'll have to wait for that. And you need assignment of the lease to you from the prior owner. Did you get that at closing? Hope so.

Published 2020-12-14

Dear Mr. Reno:
Hello, I had a tenant who destroyed my home. I had to incur a lot of expense to repair the home and I need to recuperate the money I had to spend. I live in the NY, my property is in NY but the past tenant now lives in Florida and I have all of their new contact information at their new Florida address. Can you please tell me the process to recuperate the expenses I incurred from these damages and losses? Thank you

Paul, NY

A: That's a pretty tall order Paul. You've got at least two big problems.

Number one, I hope you like to fly. You may have a few plane trips in your future. As a general rule, to sue someone, you go to them. New York Courts will not have jurisdiction to nonresidents. You need to file in Fla.

Number two, if you won a judgment, you would need to know their employer to do a wage garnishment, or where they bank. Even the banking wont help unless there's enough money to grab.

So that's a real long shot, but may be worth it if they own or plan to own real estate in Fla. If you think they value their credit, you may want to post the debt on their credit report. This ability is a free bonus with your LPA membership!

Published 2020-12-07

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a signed commercial lease (the form created by LPA). The commercial building is located in Georgetown South Carolina. The term of the lease is three years. After only five months, tenant who is a realtor has sent an email on 12/3/2020 saying he plans to vacate in 30 days. He further indicated that the LPA commercial lease is not enforceable in South Carolina. Is this an accurate statement? If not, what should I do to offset/minimize my losses? How should I respond to his email.

The tenant has indicated that he would work to find someone to sublet. However, he sent the aforementioned email saying he plans to vacate is 30 days which is not in compliance to paragraph #25 or #27 in your commercial lease agreement. Not sure what to do?

James Mobley, SC

A: There may be individual penalties and charges that are unenforceable as the laws change in various states- but that doesn't mean the whole lease is null & void. He's still on the hook for three years.

Tell him you'll give due consideration to an assignment- but if that falls through, you expect rent paid or you'll SEE HIM IN COURT!

Published 2020-10-13

Dear Mr. Reno:
Can I terminate the lease of a tenant in a rent control area who has only occupied rental for less than 12 months?

We are in the process of completing the purchase for a duplex in Los Angeles (area code 90038). The duplex is in a rent control area and the one side of the duplex is occupied by a tenant that signed to lease the property until 2021 for $800 below market value.

After doing some research I found this:

"Vacant Units and Removing Tenants: If a rental unit is vacant, a landlord is permitted to reset the gross rental rate for the unoccupied unit to market rental rates. (Civ. Code § 1947.12(b)). The statute, however, prevents a landlord from terminating the tenancy of a tenant that has continuously occupied a rental unit for at least 12 months, unless the landlord has “just cause” for removing the tenant. (Civ. Code § 1946.2(a)). The statute establishes two different “just cause”

Will we be within our right to break the lease?
Thank you!

Andre, California (90038)

A: Probably not. How would you explain it? You're just doing it to raise the rent. They don't want that. That's a rent control.

Published 2020-10-01

Dear Mr. Reno:
Tenant Landlord laws for residential security deposits
Can you help me with a question I have regarding security Deposits on a residential lease when a tenant moves out of a residential property and does not leave a forwarding address or does not return the key to landlord?

What is the landlord obligated to do if they don’t have a forwarding address to send the tenant the required inventory checklist of deduction charges from their security deposit via U.S. mail with any money owed back to tenant as required by law?

The tenant also did not return the key.
If you can point me to information on this particular situation that would be great.


Jeree, Lake Stevens, WA

A: You send your personal check to their last known address (your house) certified mail. If they don't claim it and they haven't forwarded their mail, oh well- not your problem. (Check is only good for six months.)

Published 2020-09-25

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have the attached writ of possession issued, but the Sheriff’s department refuses to execute it. According to the legal department of the Police, the refusal is based on oral instruction from the Miami-Dade Mayor to the Police Department.

My eviction is not COVID-19 related and there is no legal norm in Miami-Dade that bans all eviction, except those related to COVID-19.

What can I do to force the Sheriff’s department to comply with judicial order and execute the attached writ of possession?

Milena M., FL

A: This is happening all over. It's the governors. They're issuing executive orders that warrants (or writs) from before covid will not be executed unless they're re-conferenced. What a pain! The governors, tell the mayors & on and on.

Published 2020-09-15

Dear Mr. Reno:
Hi, I rent a room out in my house. I also live with my 19 year old daughter so three of us live in the front house. I rent out an adu on the same property, it's r1 zone. I'm in Burbank Ca. I would like to get some help on getting rid of the tenant for being a nuisance. She is up to date on rent but a horrible nuisance to us all. Is the person living in my room a tenant or a lodger? Do I have to register my room as a rental before getting started on the notice for her to quit. I would like some help and get started asap. Please let me know if you're available. Thank you,

Karen K., Burbank, Ca

A: Well for starters, she is a tenant- not a lodger. A lodger would stay like for a week or month. This is a long term month to month tenant.

You have no rent default, so she needs a Vacate Notice. I'm pretty sure that California required 60 days. She needs to be served.

By the way, you can forget the "nuisance" angle. That wont fly. She just gets a Notice to Vacate like any other tenant.

Published 2020-09-11

Dear Mr. Reno:
My tenant is running up high water bills. Previous bill was $500, this month $600, recently found water hose running in backyard, this morning locked faucet running. Plumber reports no leaks. What do I do ? Thanks.

Beverlee K.

A: What's up with the lease Bev? Ending soon, I hope.

Not much here except you can serve a notice to vacate when the lease is up. Would the tenants clean up their act if they understood this is a problem and if they don't knock it off "we will not be inclined to renew your lease upon its expiration". Try that?

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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

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