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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 (info@theLPA.com)






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Published 2016-05-25

Dear Mr. Reno:
Hello. First time as a Landlord and it has been a nightmare. I bought a house for a friend, so doesn’t matter how much you go over things....I know!
I did have a lease and she was late from the first month..rent due on the 1st, no late fees, no grace period. I let her move in early as she was anxious ( Nov 20th) Rent Due Dec 1st.
She paid Dec 10th. I talked to her about this.
Paid Jan 8th AFTER I text her. ( I Gave her a 45 day written notice to move) Because of late rent and safety issues surrounding her stay.

Long story short.. I went to inspect (gave her a 24 hr text notice).

Found marijunna in a bag Called police and they pointed to a scale, which I didn’t notice or know what it was and a box of zip lock bags.

Is this enough to evict?? I took pictures when the police officer was there and also of the scale and zip locks.. and the mess, which isnt against the law.
Thank you!

Andrea L....Ohio

A: Drugs are a common landlord complaint, but, unfortunately, I have yet to see a tenant evicted for pot. She's got a lease. She's late, but she pays. So there we are.

Bottom line: If she defaults, evict for non-payment. When the lease is up, don't renew. (You take her to court for marijuana, your eviction will go up in smoke.)

Dear Mr. Reno:
New tenants moved into my single family home.  After one month, they want out.  That’s fine.  Now she won’t let me show the house to new, incoming tenants till she is out of the house.  Can I keep her security deposit to cover the month of loss rent?

They have since vacated the house, but will not give us the key.  They are paid till May 31, 2016, but the house is vacant and dirty.  When she was asked about getting the house back she replied; May 31, 2016 11:59pm.

Is there any way to take the house?  Abandoned Property?  They are not sleeping there, and had a uhaul take the matresses, table and couch, which are their only fixtures last week.  They were not clean people, and had 2 cats.  I have people moving in June 1, but the house needs to be cleaned, which they are not going to do. 
Your opinion is greatly appreciated.

Claire, Rhode Island

A: It sounds like they've abandoned. If there furniture is gone & their clothes are gone then, I'd say there are out. Retake possession on June 1 because they're paid thru 5/31. you can deduct only itemized "out of pocket" clean up expenses.

Look at the bright side. They saved you the cost of an eviction lawyer like me.

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Published 2016-05-24

Dear Mr. Reno:
My name is David, and I live in Texas. We have a rental property here in Texas, and we plan to sell it this summer. We actually have a potential buyer now. Last weekend we did a walk through and realized that the tenant has his brother living with him, and it does not appear to be temporary. So, is it worth it to address the unauthorized tenant, or should we just sell it and move on?
Thanks

David D., TX

A: Finally, a clear thinker.

I don't know why my readers (mostly landlords) are obsessed with the prospect that someone else moved in. You, on the other hand, are selling anyway. You may have to evict the tenant, unfortunately, and you evict all the occupants at that time.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a family member renting a house from me. It's in Los Angeles CA rent control she bring in a cat and a boyfriend and boyfriend's daughter. Can I raise the rent and make her give me a increase on security deposit.

Bobroy, CA

A: Its probably not that simple, but if it's rent control, you should direct your inquiry to the local rent control board. They'll give you their guidelines.

Dear Mr. Reno:
Was taken to court for no payment do my husband had been lay off. So the agreement with landlords lawyer was on Feb,17, 2016 of 2900.00 payment their after was 800.00 per week to June 30,2016 . With it covering Oct thru Feb and included March to June with those months attached to rents current. Missed 1 payment and have had all money since that landlord hadn't pick . Little did we know that she was evicted us as April 12 to when she filed,but we haven't received till May 17,2016. We've tried get in touch with her but know response. We then since have saved money owned. I appeal this eviction and had it bought to higher court. Now have paid 3000.00 to which I have but they want to pay before my court hearing and next then will statement my case. My BIG CONCERN is that they will take money and still eviction me so that leave me know way to leave. Can this happen or Can she then take let stay. Then when agreement is up have me leave or evicted. Please HELP. My life has been upside down. This all happen the day before and the day of my daughter Stonybrook graduation. Thank you for time . Please help us out.

Michele I.

A: (Since this is "The Landlord Protection Agency", we don't usually advise tenants on this site, but here's a Change of pace.)
So are you paid up now, or what? I'm confused. You paid 3000- does that make you current?

Also, what is the lease situation? Your BIG CONCERN is they will still evict. Well if the lease is up, you've got no guarantee.

Finally, you paid it already. The deal is done. Why worry now. Just make the payments.

Dear Mr. Reno:
We own a trailer park and one of our tenants who rented a trailer passed away, she was the only signature on the lease. A man was living there and wanted to continue, however, he is always late, refuses to pay late fees and has caused damage to the home. Can we evict him due to the fact his name was never on the lease. We are in the state of Texas.
Thank you

Mary D., TX

A: Yes, you can. He has no lease. But you've been taking rent from him, so he's like a month to month tenant now. He gets a 30 or 60 day notice depending on your state.

Dear Mr. Reno:
We have a rental home that is currently in a one-year lease. The lease is getting ready to expire next month. I want it to move into a month-to-month rental. When the lease expires, and if the tenants chose to stay, will it just automatically go into a month-to-month rent situation? Is it necessary to sign a new contract for a month to month? Thank you very much,

Tracy, CA

A: That's the general rule Tracy. But check the lease. Any special provisions for expiration or renewal?

Otherwise, it goes month to month, but note: all of the other terms in the lease continue even through the one year expired.

Dear Mr. Reno:
We received a Security Deposit from each prospective tenant (two $500 checks) because they loved it so much, wanted to rent it, & provided the deposits for us to hold it. I sent the tenant an email the next day stating "the deposit would be held in escrow until the Terms of the Lease have been terminated and fulfilled. Also stated this would be 30-60 days from when tenant vacates the property, etc." Until yesterday, we didn't receive anything from the tenant but questions on how they can move in early since their lease ends on the 15th, a question from the roommate about income verification, and stating only page of the application was sent. I emailed them back stating they could move in early, we would work w/ the roommate on verification of income, etc. Yesterday, I received an email stating they want their deposits back because they found a better place. I took the house off the market on the 11th to hold it for them, and again, until yesterday neither prospective tenant reached out to one of us stating otherwise. Saw on the lpa forum about "holding fee" not being refunded & wanted to ensure we are in the right to keep one of the deposits ($500). Lastly, know you are very busy, completely understand if you don't have time to help with this, but was hoping you have a letter template to send and/or a couple words in what to write with one deposit being refunded.

I look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you,

Andrea Fatell

A: This is the problem of the month. Somehow, nation-wide epidemic of people putting down deposits and backing out.

It's complicated. Was there a valid contract? Is this covered by local statute governing return of security after the tenant vacates? (Not applicable here- they never occupied?)

Why don't you offer to give them each back $250? That might keep you out of small claims court.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a property located in Cook County, Phoenix, IL. I picked it up on the judicial sale. I am not 100% sure if the current owner lives there. I peeked into the mailbox and the mail is addressed at current owner. I talked to the guy who lives there but he refused to provide me his name. I think we will need to start eviction. I believe I need to give him 90 day notice and then turn it over to an attorney to file for eviction. Please let me know if you do post sheriffs sale type of evictions. I would like to get the process started ASAP. Please let me know how to serve the notice so that the judge does not throw it away on technicality. Do I need to put on the notice at least one name or maybe I can just address the notice to “all unknown occupants”. Do I need to serve him in person or mail the notice or stick to the door?

Question 2: The order to evict the owner is included in the OAS (Order Approving Sale). Can I give the OAS to Sheriff and schedule eviction of the owner anyways? I do not want to waste time so I was thinking that if this person who lives there is the owner Sherriff will throw them out. If he is NOT the owner then sheriff will show up and some point in 4-5 weeks and will NOT throw him out ..but the 90 days are already running (as I plan to serve them next week).thanks

Marcin Grzesiak, Cook County, Phoenix, IL

A: Sounds like you want to skip over the court thing & go direct to the Sheriff. I don't think that will fly, although, it would be nice. The "order to evict" means go to eviction court- not the Sheriff, but you could try it. The worst the Sheriff can do is send you to court.

My firm does these evictions but I'm only licensed in NY.

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Published 2016-05-23

Dear Mr. Reno:
New tenants moved into my single family home. After one month, they want out. That’s fine. Now she won’t let me show the house to new, incoming tenants till she is out of the house. Can I keep her security deposit to cover the month of loss rent?

Claire, Rhode Island

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

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Published 2016-05-17

Dear Mr. Reno:
My LPA lease states no trampolines. My tenant just sent me an email stating that his renter’s policy covers $300,000 liability for trampolines. He leased the property with lease stating no trampolines. If there was an accident, the $300K may not cover all. I think I should state policy is “No Trampolines.” Your thoughts. Thanks.

Winnie Stearns, Stearns Property Co., Inc., Texas

A: First of all, now I've heard everything!

Second, his renters policy may not necessarily protect you; it's mainly to protect the tenant.

Last, there is procedure in most leases that allows you to terminate when there's a violation like this, but its a complicated multi-step procedure, way to much trouble.

I suggest if you feel this strongly, let your tenant know if they do not remove it, their lease will not be renewed when it expires.

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Published 2016-05-12

Dear Mr. Reno:
My tenant got summons for her dog (feces in Back Yard) for $ 1000.oo in my name, since I am the landlord. I am trying to appeal this decision. What can say the reason to appeal (what mistake was made by the judge) the inspector could not access my town house, he could only inspect it from neighbor's house. I live on very limited income.
Thank you,

Vlad Shnayder

A: Say you are an absent landlord with no knowledge of the underlying facts. The only problem is your knowledge may not be an essential element of the crime and therefore may not be a defense.
But it's all you got.

Dear Mr. Reno:
If two people are on a lease one head of household n another person and a eviction goes thru who will be responsible for the broken lease

Melinda

A: Two on lease. That's what it goes by- not head of household.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a high end rental house in Orange County, CA. My tenants are very high maintenance and have unreasonable expectations. After staying at the property for 2 years now, they have sent a letter of complaint through their lawyer:

They have listed every single repair problem that occurred during their stay (everything was repaired promptly and properly). They are not claiming that repairs were not done, but are claiming "deprivement of comfortable and safe use and enjoyment of the property". They are claiming 125k in damages! We are currently scheduled to go through mediation. From all my research they have no legal ground to stand on.

The only significant issue that occurred was a water damage event 3 months ago that resulted in small area of mold growth. This was handled professionally through, water restoration, mold remediation, pre and post-testing. Intitialy complaint was around mold but since that was fully taken care of they changed their tune and sent the above complaint letter.
Their lease ends on 05/31/16. Please advise
Thanks

Bijan, CA

A: This law suit is an absolute disgrace, but, on the other hand, why should I be surprised. Another loser, full of self-entitlement, looking for a free meal ticket- who can I sue for what nonsense. Its a shame. But these are the times we live in.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I am looking into a 1031 exchange or a deferred sales trust on a rental property I am wanting to sell then reinvest in another rental property. The problem with the 1031 exchange is finding the replacement property in the 90/180 day required identify/close time frame. I feel this time frame is too restrictive and I would like more time to locate the replacement property. Can I sell the existing rental property and put the proceeds from the sale into a deferred sales trust and then locate the replacement rental property and purchase it with the deferred sales trust monies and complete this purchase on my time frame? I am thinking more like 6 to 18 month time frame if possible. Thanks,

Eric Lundgren

A: They're very strict on the 180 days. I don't think that will fly. But you have to talk to a tax guy or a 1031 specialist.

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Published 2016-05-11

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a tenant who rented an apartment from me for him and his two children every other weekend. He has a girlfriend who started visiting only weekends, now she has been here for two weeks. I approached my tenant and asked him straight out if she was moving in. He said no that they were thinking of buying a house in the spring. I also told him that the apartment is for him and his kids. And that if she moves in she has to go on the lease. I live in Connecticut and would like to know what is the length of time aloud before I can approach the tenant and have his girlfriend added on the lease.
Thank you

Nancy from Connecticut

A: What is this obsession so many landlords have with adding people on the lease? That should be your biggest problem. Is he paying his rent?
He's a single guy (w/ kids). Now he's got a girlfriend. Big surprise . Did you expect him to remain celibate?
Wait for the lease to expire. Add her upon renewal. Don't go to war over this. Life's too short.

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Published 2016-05-10

Dear Mr. Reno:
Return of security. Leased unit for 1 yr held 2 mo security
Boyfriend and girlfriend signed. 2 mos into lease girlfriend moves out,domestic violence she says. Lease up,boyfriend moves. Girl wants me to mail her half and refuses to give me permission to make check in both names and send check to boyfriend .there is no way boyfriend would be able to get girls signature and boyfriend wants both months. What do I do?

Connie LaVoie, Connecticut

A: You can not interfere with "affairs of the heart." You give her half- then he sues you because he paid it all. One check- both signatures, MAIL IT! Don't dawdle. If they forge each other's name (or tear the check in half fighting over it) that's their problem.

Dear Mr. Reno:
My tenant has not paid April or May rent and says she is in the process of filing bankruptcy. PACER search does not indicate a bankruptcy case for her yet. Is my best next step to go through the eviction process and try to get what I can out of her, or could it make better financial sense to try to just get her out now without payment if she agrees to an early termination of lease?

Thanks in advance.

Steve

A: You can ask, but I don't see it- She's broke- now, she likes the rent at your place (it's zero per month).

Start the eviction. Once in court, you can explore these options.

Dear Mr. Reno:
My question is how do I get my boyfriend of 14 years old out of my house, the house is solely in my name. He did give me a gift for the down payment. But for the last few months it has been tough living in the same house with him. I have two children he raised both of them they are 15 and 17 now. Well one of them is in St. Lukes Medical Center for wanting to kill his self because of his step-dad. My boyfriend (the step-dad) has a bad habit of calling them names and starts fighting with them. He doesn’t know how to talk to them he is always screaming. Well since my son hasn’t been home I haven’t went home till late at night to stop from fighting. And the counselor at the medical center expresses the safety of my son they won’t discharge him because of this reason and I can’t get him to leave or to go to a family session to talk the issues out. Can you tell me what I can do please.

Brenda K., Phoenix AZ

A: Oh my god. Tiene muchos problemas Brenda.
You belong in Family Court- not eviction court. Go for a restraining order. It's much quicker.
To evict in these facts is hard. You can serve him a notice to vacate, but you'll need a lawyer that knows what they're doing.

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Published 2016-05-09

Dear Mr. Reno:
A potential Tenant executed a lease for a house , but before paying rent and security deposit or accepting keys, he decided to back out because of personal issues. Can I receive damages for lost rent until I am able to find another tenant?
Warm regards,

Sharon K., State of Texas

A: Fine! Do it! If you feel that strongly about it. Wait until you rerent, calculate the lost rent & then...
Go for it!

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Published 2016-05-06

Dear Mr. Reno:
One of my rent controlled units has 2 people named on a 1 year lease in 2004. In 2010, I noticed 3 people not on the lease coming in and out of the unit and they identified themselves as children of the tenants who have moved in to take care of their parents. In February 2016, I hadn't seen the parents in awhile but another 2 new people were showing up. The 2 new people identified themselves as the adult grandchildren of the original lessees and took residence after their grandparents recently passed away.

The current 5 occupants are paying less than half of the market and I want to know if I can evict them because the original lessees are no longer there without paying for their relocation costs?

Regards,

Kevin Kim

A: So you may be renting to Ghosts?

This is a rent control situation. Not really my forte. But I always thought the children of tenants with rent controlled apartments have certain rights. But I'm sure they have to register. I think you should direct your concerns to the rent control board.

Dear Mr. Reno:
My tenant paid Mays rent 5/3 and after receiving I Evicted them due to not wanting them having kids playing in my Units yard. If my tenant leaves the premises within the next couple days am I required to give them Mays Rent Pymt back? As they were only in the premises 7 days out of the month? We have a verbal agreement no written lease

Ross, NY

A: You can keep it (legally) but if you can get them out that fast (faster than I could!) maybe you should be a little flexible on the money issue. If you can just give them 1/2 & get rid of them, count your blessings.

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Published 2016-05-04

Dear Mr. Reno:
My girlfriend lived with me for six months. We didn’t have any written agreement. It didn’t work out for various reason. One was that she is an alcoholic and was drinking to much in my home. I asked her to move out by May 1. She took most of her stuff but left large pieces of furniture in my home. She also, took a futon without my permission. My question is can I get ride of the furniture since the end of lease was May 1. She never gave me the key to my house and she send me a treat on my tex saying she want to come to the house and kick my ass. Sorry! I don’t feel comfortable with her having a key to my home. What are my options on the furniture and feeling safe.

Grace Redden, California

A: It sounds like you kicked her butt out & she left. Good for you! All my readers should be so lucky.

Change the locks June 1.

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Published 2016-05-02

Dear Mr. Reno:
Hi there. I have a quick question.
I am a landlord and my prospect new tenant has an open chapter 13. They are on a payment plan ($1500 per month) which is almost paid off, plus selling their home and paying their mortgages off. They make $200k+per yr. The only reason I'm considering not renting is IF they can possibly add me as a debtor to their BK? Does that make sense? Just wondering what my added risk exposure might me with someone with open BK CH 13. Thanks so much!

Megan

A: If the rent gets paid it's all just rosy, but if there's a default and you take them to eviction court and that bankruptcy is still open, you'll be drawn in like moths to an open flame.

So beware.

Dear Mr. Reno:
California law. Tenant signed a 1 year lease through December 31,2015. Stated verbally she needed to move out by the 18th of November. I had her sign a early termination of lease agreement.  I told her she would not be responsible for December rent if I was able to rent to tenants during that month. I gave back her entire security deposit immediately (even though the place was not clean and had damage, and a deck full of furniture and “stuff”. Glad to be rid of her. I found new Tenants that were able to move in immediately after previous tenant vacated (11/18/15), but because of the amount of cleaning and repairs that needed to be done, they were unable to move in until December 1, 2016. Previous tenant texted me and asked if she was going to get the remainder of the November rent back for the 12 days she wasn't there. I said yes, UNTIL I started going through the house and realized that the cleaners had barely surface cleaned, i had to fix, replace and clean the entire house. The new tenants were unable to move in so I refunded their early occupancy deposit back.  The previous tenant has now sued me for Novembers rent, and i am due in court this Monday. 
She signed a legal and binding contract that clearly states that she is responsible for payment until the end of the lease unless i can re rent it to another tenant. It also states that it is her responsibility to help find someone.
She is also suing for a plane ticket, loss of wages, hotel accommodation etc.
Is it really possible that after signing a legal contract she can win in court plus expenses?
thank you 

Miksu, CA

A: I don't get it! She signed an early termination agreement. Everything was agreed to. What went wrong?

If she expected to get a refund for 12 days, that should have been in the paper she signed. She has no leg to stand on. Also, you need t counter-sue for your renovations.

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Published 2016-04-29

Dear Mr. Reno:
I am selling my property, and there is a contingency with the sale that I have a tenant sign off that they will vacate the property (with proper and legal notice). The new owner is buying the house as an owner occupied and their financing requires them to live there. Is there a form you have for this? Or should I just edit either the nonrenew.doc or the pftermination.doc? Neither of those forms have a place where the tenant signs and agrees to move out. What is the legal and correct way to handle this? Oh, the tenant is currently month to month, and the property is in MA. Thank you for your help. Warm Regards,

Lisa T., MA

A: I have never heard of a form like that. LPA has lots of forms on this Website https://www.thelpa.com/lpa/forms.html , but I don't think that's one. You can edit the non-renew doc, but you'll have to add "I agree to vacate on __________"

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Published 2016-04-28

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a tenant that is due to sign a new lease on the first of the month. The tenant has been consistently late every month in paying rent. Sometimes 4 - 5 days, sometimes 10 days, depending on their payday. Is there any thing that I can add to the new lease that would encourage payment on the first of the month? I charge $15.00 per day for every day the rent is late after the 1st of the month. I have allowed them to paint the inside of the house in exchange for the late fees. I furnished all the material and they did the work. I allowed $12.00 per hour for them to work off the late fees. I think I should do a walk through before the new lease is signed Is that legal to do before I allow them to sign a new lease? They want to pay month to month. What is the best way to handle this situation? Thank you,

Loretto Cook

A: That's a lot of wheeling & dealing. I hope they did a good job painting.

The walk through is perfectly okay. If they want to go month to month, I'm on board with that too b/c you're really not thrilled with these tenants and may not want to be stuck with them another year.

Dear Mr. Reno:
Question: if someone signs 1 year lease on house rental property and gives deposit, and than decides to retract lease, not move in and terminate lease agreement, puts a stop pay on deposit, can landlord go after tenant? Lease agreement was signed Friday April 15 at 10:30 PM for a June 1, 2016 move in date and request to terminate lease agreement was Thursday April 21. The termination was requested 4 days after signing lease. Reason given was house needs lots of work and is filthy. Not happy with living conditions after viewing home 2nd time Thursday April 21, 2016. Tenant was unable to get back into house for second walk through due to realtor schedule. Once tenant finished walk through April 21, 2016, the termination request was given in writing and stop pay on deposit check was issued.

Their are several other interested parties in property and can rent for June 1, 2016. Their are no monetary losses as it stands now to either party.

Again, question is can tenant be sued for deposit?

Any questions, please contact me as I don't know how to handle this?

LR

A: I get this question a lot in one form or another. It's a fact based dilemma. What was signed, what was said. There are so many details & even if I knew every detail I still couldn't predict what a particular small claims judge would do. And on top of all that, even you admit to no monetary loss. So give it up, L.R.

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Published 2016-04-27

Dear Mr. Reno:
Question. My Sister moved in. 9 months later she is ruining our property, verbal abusing and accusing me of things. We(husband and I) want her out what can we do?

Renee, WA

A: 9 months is too long- cops won't help you.

She needs a 30 day Notice to Vacate. You're gonna need a local atty. This will be tricky.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have two persons on the lease as leaseholders. To take them to court, do I need to take both or just one person.... ?

Rosio Velazquez, Dallas Tx

A: Ah. A softball.

You should name everyone on your lease as defendants because they're all jointly responsible for all of the obligations under the lease.

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Published 2016-04-26

Dear Mr. Reno:
I reside in . Our tenants caused a house fire 2/5/16. The lease was terminated a week later (officially). Due to fire investigations to determine cause of fire, tenants belongings weren’t moved out until 3/22/16. The state law requires 45 days for the security deposit to be returned. The tenants caused the fire (left a clothes steamer on and caught a power strip on fire and caused significant damages >$75k). Additionally, there was no forwarding address left. Do the 45 days begin from the date of the fire, or from the date they moved their items out? The house restoration services began the day after they moved out 3/23 and I was able to view the property for damages unrelated to the fire.

Am I still within my rights?

Your advice is greatly appreciated!

Nicki Thorne, Virginia Beach, VA

A: It's supposed to be from the date they gave possession, which is quite murky here. As a general rule, if their possessions are still there, they are still technically "in possession" So I go from there.

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Published 2016-04-25

Dear Mr. Reno:
Your Advice please
Tenant decides not to renew 1 year lease. Gives 30 day notice, out by April 30, 2016. Tenant requests preliminary – pre walk though. Done 4/17. We all agree. Final cleaning done 4/30/2016. Final walk through schedule 4/30/2016, keys returned. We have listed property for Lease and are currently making necessary arrangements, etc.

Today tenant contacts us and says her new place will not be ready for 5 more days meaning May 5 is.

The only reference I saw in your tips to address this issue is to file a legal notice to leave. I’d prefer not getting legal if possible. Do we request rent for May, and prorate difference once she leaves? Or, state sorry, we have property on the open market? What is best customer service for current interested tenants?

What is your best advice. Note: she is a control freak and always tries to get the last say, etc.…,

Your assistance is greatly appreciated. Sincerely,

Kathryn McLaughlin

A: Well it's too late for a 30 day Notice. Why don't you get her to sign a paper that you can deduct a pro-rata from the security? If she wont sign or if she's not out by 5/5 let me know.

The other possibility would be to serve a 30 day notice to vacate by 5/31/16 just in case she doesn't leave 5/5. But you said you didn't want to get legal, so that's your call.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have been the leaseholder for an apartment in Palmdale, Calif. I allowed my daughter to move in here without an agreement about 1 1/2 years ago.. She pays half the rent. I want her out, and she refuses to go. Can I give her a 60-day notice? And would she have to abide by this?

Diana T., CA

A: Well that would be the place to start. But it may not end there. Let me know if she doesn't get the message.

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Published 2016-04-21

Dear Mr. Reno:
Brenda let her daughter’s boyfriend move into the house, There was never an agreement made about paying any kind of rent beyond verbal but he does pay $100.00 monthly. He has become abusive to her daughter and threatening to her husband and has destroyed their personal property (a 27” flat panel TV Not sure of the value). After the abuse and threats started the police were called but they refused to do anything as he was paying rent. I am not sure any of this qualifies as a Renter/Landlord eviction case, but can she kick him out of the house legally and change the locks or will doing these things mean more trouble for her and her husband down the road?
Thank you.

Brenda K., Maine

A: Okay, so you change the locks when he's at work? Then he kicks the door in. Someone calls the cops. I wonder what they'll say. Oh, wait- I forgot.

We already know what they'll say.

(Serve 30 day notice to vacate.)

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have been staying with who I thought was my friend since 2010 for free. Known this person for 30 years. I now have been asked to leave. I am 60 years old disabled with bad heart, jobless and soon to be homeless I am scared , I have two cats I love, and don’t know what to do.
Thank You,

Marcia M. Woodbridge, Va.

A: So let me get this straight. You've been living rent free since 2010? And now you've been asked to leave and you want help? Seems like you've been given 5 years of help. What more do you want?

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Published 2016-04-19

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have tenant who I brought a non payment petition and petition against. We went to court, and I settled to get them out by waiving the back rent owed, and got a stay of eviction through April 30th. They moved this weekend, took everything but the little odds and ends I guess they didn't want, couple glasses, broken bookcase, etc. The apartment was a new renovation when they moved in with top of the line everything, which the caused considerable damage. I overheard them talking about coming back to steal things ..new area rugs etc. When they were leaving I asked for the keys, and was told its still their apartment until the 30th and can come and go as they please until then and was warned not to change the locks or they will call the police. I am not a young woman, and am scared to death of what they will do in the next two weeks. Is what they say true?

April C.

A: Scared to Death! Why? Is there a history of violence?
To me, things are going just swimmingly. They obviously will be out by 4/30/16 (unlike most of our lyin' tenants.) And they're not even keeping you in suspense to see if they'll leave since they've almost completed the move. So what's the beef? They'll be out in April, April!

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Published 2016-04-15

Dear Mr. Reno:
We own a house with a legal accessory apartment. We were using the whole house until my daughter, her boyfriend and their child needed a place to stay. We put a door up to divide the downstairs and charged them a low amount of rent for the accessory apartment. They pay when they can and other times don't. We now feel the need to have our whole house back as we have custody of two grandsons and 2 dogs. We need more living space. We are cramped. We do not want to rent to anyone anymore. My daughter and her boyfriend refuse to look for another place. On what grounds can we evict them? There is no working this out. It is a toxic relationship of take and take some more.

Barbara L.- Long Island New York

A: Here we go again, Kinfolk misbehavin'. You should serve a 30 day Notice. Give them until 5/31/16. Serve the Notice by April 30, 2016 (tick-tock).

When June 1 rolls around, you'll need to evict as "holdovers".
(Maybe they'll vacate when they're supposed to, but I wouldn't count on it.) So sad.

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Published 2016-04-12

Dear Mr. Reno:
I'm a landlord . My tenant was scheduled for a lock-out this Thursday.However, MY TENANT went to court and asked for 3 more month extension .Please help me to Get her out. This is her second extension .I lost faith in the system .she Violated the lease and still get her way with the court system,She always put her children as an excuse to stay , She's horrible...please help

Nawal A., Brick , NJ

A: Not much info here, but I doubt very much they'll give her three months. At most another 30 days. (They love to do that.)

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Published 2016-04-11

Dear Mr. Reno:
My fiance and my father in law co-signed on our house, they had a falling out and now my father in law is drawing up legal documents to have us evicted. We have made every house payment on the house, we have paid for all the renovations on the house (carpeting, finishing walls, plumbing etc) there is no written agreement about the house being his v.s being ours. We have two small children....is there anything we can do or are we just out?
Thanks,

Samantha

A: You say Fiance cosigned? what did he sign? If he's on the deed or mortgage, you may have a leg to stand on.

You should see a lawyer. If he's taking you to eviction court, you need to remove it to a higher court, like Supreme Court.

Dear Mr. Reno:
Is nonrefundable portion of security deposit legal in NC?
  I have a tenant of 7 years who is now in arrears and is demanding their deposit back unless i give them an itemized list.  She just requested notice to vacate in 30 days.

  Back then, I used one of the original LPA forms that stated the following language....(see red) - i tailored the sample given as much as possible.  

"The $820 deposit shall be held by Landlord   __ with    "X" without   liability for interest as a cleaning and breakage deposit and as security for the faithful performance by Tenant of the terms of this Agreement.  $120.00 of the deposit shall be non-refundable for payment of carpet cleaning upon vacating the premises.  

I just found out that in NC - it says that we are not allowed to make part of the security deposit non-refundable due to carpet cleaning, etc.,   The tenant did sign the lease back then and is currently living month to month.  Am I lawful to still withhold since she signed the lease in 2009? or am I in error? I'm not sure when the NC law went into effect or did I just happen to use a lease that had language in it that should've been removed.  

At a minimum, I'm sure I can deduct the unpaid rent portion.  
  Thanks in advance for your counsel

J. Gowen - NC

A: First of all, the deposit is not even up for discussion until after the tenant vacates. Then you'll give the itemized list. (Security Settlement Statement) If the arrears in rent offset the security, won't that make the $120.00 a moot point?



Related Forms:

LPA Security Deposit Settlement Statement

The Security Deposit Return Time Chart

Landlord Tenant Law - State by State


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Published 2016-04-07

Dear Mr. Reno:
my best friend needed a place for her and kids I said ok just pay me $333 like ur apt she owes me money. And is not moving out and took stuff out of room I put what left in garage with all her other stuff. Can I say she cant have until pays? Can I charge storage?

Hillary, ca

A: Can't. Can't.

You would need a detailed agreement (like at a storage facility) to do that. Do you have anything in writing? No? I didn't think so.

Dear Mr. Reno:
Looking for answers to questions Landlord-Tenant issues

1. When can a verbal contractual agreement supercede a written contract in landlord tenant case? Case law in Penn.? (A tenant told us he was going back to his homeland and might not be back due to visa problems. He offered that if we did not hear from him by November 26, we could give his apartment to someone else. When we did not hear from him by November 28, we took him at his word, cleaned out his apartment and rented it to someone else. Now, he is suing us for entering his apartment before the end of the month and clearing out his stuff. (Of course, we realize now, we should in the future get such an agreement in writing)

2. Is there countering case law regarding whether triple damages were NOT awarded to tenant in such cases where malicious intent could not be proved? In a case cited by opposing counsel, treble damages were awarded for reckless disregard for others, in that they threw away all the tenant’s things, especially that they callously threw away the tenant’s precious family momentos. In contrast in our case, although we removed all of the tenant’s possessions, we carefully and respectfully preserved and placed them in storage, including a separate bag of his diplomas and personal photos,etc.

3. Or cases of treble damages awarded in cases similar to our anticipated countersuit for abuse of process?

4. Is a “Warrant of Attorney” clause, which we routinely have included in all our leases for the last twnety-five years, actually illegal as claimed by defendant’s lawyer in initial Complaint? i.e.,“Furthermore, the lease improperly contained a Warrant of Attorney” clause, which is illegal and unconscionable in a residential lease.” ) Such document was drafted for us by a prominent Real Estate attorney, when we first bought a rental property
Thanks for any help.

H. Lerner

A: 1. If you can prove he said what you say, you've got a shot. I wouldn't argue that the verbal supersedes the written; it probably doesn't, but if he really said that, he authorized you to enter his apartment and do what you did.
But can you prove it?

2. Again, it all comes down to who the judge believes. If you are more credible than the tenant, the judge wont award treble damages. Also, your conduct in preserving his items is strongly in your favor.

3. Your counter-suit for abuse of process is a real long shot. Those suits never go anywhere. 4. Sorry, three to a customer.



LPA Note: On #4, In the event you are using an LPA Lease, the illegality clause may help with any clauses that are unenforceable locally .

Dear Mr. Reno:
If a tenant has been at the residence of a home for the more than three years , can they just take the tenant off the lease because he went to jail ?

Yesenia B. , San Diego California

A: The lease is the lease. It stays the way it is unless all the signatories (the landlord and ALL the tenants) agree to amend it.

Now once the lease expires, all bets are off. The remaining tenants tenants can sign by themselves.

I hope that answers your question.

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Published 2016-04-06

Dear Mr. Reno:
We live in a 3 family private home. Our cars have been vandalized on the street and the man downstairs (in the basement apartment) threatened my cars a few days ago. We are not getting along with the people on the 1st floor and basement. They are a family. We have an absentee landlord. He agreed for us to put cameras outside our windows outside our 2nd floor apartment, which we did. The people downstairs complained and demanded we remove them. Now the landlord said we must remove them. Do we legally have to remove them or can we leave them up to protect our property? We were threatened and do not feel safe. Thanks so much! Sincerely,

Skye, NY

A: As long as the cameras are pointed at the cars only and don't view the interior of the house, it's not an invasion of privacy. Why you ask? Because people have no "expectation of privacy" in the street or on the driveway.

But you've got problems that go beyond the law. For example, what makes you think these cameras wont be "disappearing" on their own. Also, your landlord has asked you to remove the camera. So now you've got a problem with the landlord. I don't know how long your lease goes, but I'm sure it's not forever.

A mess.

***************

Published 2016-04-05

Dear Mr. Reno:
My husband and I have a two family house. We live downstairs and we rented the upstairs to a gentleman and his daughter five years ago. Both of their names were on the 6th month lease. After it expired we did not renew and he continued living on a month to month basis. His daughter did not continue living here though and visited her father at times. Within the past year or so the father had a on and off again girlfriend or wife (not sure, don't even know her name) who I guessed stayed at times. We did not ask questions because with the exception of a few months the tenant paid rent.
Well the problem is that unfortunately, our tenant died at the end of February. All of his stuff is there. The girlfriend and the daughter have been coming and going since. I am not sure if she is upstairs (sometimes I hear them and sometimes I don't). Not sure if they are using the space for storage or living. Also, all of a sudden his/her family, whom we have never seen when he was alive are coming out of the wood works. We heard them one day upstairs and decided to ask them what was the situation (if they would pay rent or leave and they were very nasty) but still did not tell us their intentions. We have texted the daughter multiple times but no response.

So now we have a lady, whose name we don't even know and her family and friends who are basically squatting in our home.
We do not know what to do....any advice?

Michelle

A: You have to commence eviction proceedings. There may be complications. But you have to start somewhere, and that's where to start. Do a non-payment (I'm assuming dead guy stopped paying.)

Unless you want to go in guns blazing and take matters into your own hands. (Not advisable.)

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Published 2016-04-04

Dear Mr. Reno:
My brother has been living at my sister’s home for a few years, however has not been paying rent for months. After some violence and police being called he agreed to move out in two weeks, this is in the police report. He is now refusing to move and my sister is scared for her well being. Can the police make him move out?

Debbie

A: If you can find a cop who will do that, get me his badge #. I'll be calling him regularly.

I really doubt it. They'll tell you to hire a lawyer and evict.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have advertised on the Westchester, NY, MLS to rent an apartment in a 2 family house that I do not live in. The apartment is an excellent unit and always gets offers quickly. I have received two full offers but I do not wish to rent to either one:

1st applicant:
A single man with bad credit and no job but has wealthy attorney brother (who will not live there) who will co sign and wants to pay rent in full for 1 year. He cannot supply tenant references as he has lived with his parents for appx. 50 years. The MLS listing states references and excellent credit required. Must I accept his brothers excellent credit when he doesn't live there?

2nd applicant:
Wants a military clause even though we are not in a military area -I simply cannot take that risk with the high cost of turning over the apartment to rent again. He has good credit.
The realtor is trying to tell me I have to have good cause for refusing a full offer, I always refuse tenants with bad credit but have not been approached with a cosigner before.
Can I remove the listing from the MLS and put it on the market again in 1 month to rid myself of the applicants that I don't want or am I bound to take one?

It's a legal 2 family with my nephew living in a 3rd unit in the garage as a caretaker. I sometimes stay with him and receive mail at the property. would this be considered 'owner occupied'?

Regards,

Lisa

A: Not my gig Lisa. (Check my answer to Manoj 3/31/16.)

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Published 2016-04-01

Dear Mr. Reno:
I am new to the rental world and I thought you would be the best one to clarify my question below.
I have a potential tenant that I am screening currently. The applicant on the rental application states he owns the property he is living currently and is paying the mortgage for the last 6 months. However, the credit check through Experien or a Deed record search under his name on county records did not show any evidence that he owns the property. Is that good enough of a reason to decline his application?
Thanks,

Manoj, TN

A: It is, but you're out of my area. My job is getting'em out, not picking who gets in! But as far as I know, as long as you're not practicing unlawful discrimination, you can deny they app.

Dear Mr. Reno:
thanks, landlord is afraid husband will return and cause additional problems with the neighors, etc. cops have been called on numerous occasions and husband is accused of being very violent. it's at this point, landlord is leaning toward putting the house up for sale. he's had to evict the prior tenants and that took him over 3 years

Sue, NY

A: I would estimate- serve 30 day in April for 5/31/16. Court is in June. Probably out July, Aug. or Sept.

Dear Mr. Reno:
about co-signer not going into eviction because primary residence fail to pay rent? Thank you,

Rory, Orlando, FL

A: Well you're not giving me much info there Rory, but when the rent isn't paid, regardless of by who, an eviction ensues. Then whoever's on the lease, gets named in the eviction. So the co-signer can get a money judgment against him if the primary doesn't pay.

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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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