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Eviction Attorney

Q&A with John Reno, Eviction Attorney

The Landlord Protection Agency® is proud to introduce John Reno, Esq., a highly experienced Landlord - Tenant attorney based on Long Island, NY.

Mr. Reno has engaged in Landlord / Tenant practice in the District Courts of Nassau and Suffolk for the last 30 years. He prides himself on prompt legal action and direct client service.

"Over ninety percent of our practice in the Landlord Tenant courts consists of evictions of tenants, primarily for non-payment of rent. We also assist landlords in preparation and/or review of leases and consultation on other matters affecting the Landlord - Tenant relationship.

We find that Landlords who contact us have often waited too long to commence an eviction, usually in an understandable effort to resolve problems amicably. Landlords need attorneys who will not compound the problem with unnecessary delays or expenses. For this reason, our main priority is immediate action. In most cases, we commence an eviction within 3 days of being hired and have our client's cases in Court within 7 to 10 days of being hired."

If you are a landlord with a tenant problem you'd like to ask a question about, please feel free to e-mail me your question.
Please Note: Mr. Reno is an active practicing attorney with limited time and will do his best to respond to relevant questions. If using an I-phone or mobile device, please use full sentences and punctuation so we can understand you. The high volume of e-mails may require the LPA to enter your question into the LPA's Landlord Q&A Forum.

If you are a landlord with a tenant problem you'd like to ask a question about, please feel free to e-mail me your question.

Submit a landlord / tenant question for Mr. Reno
Please try to keep your questions as short and to the point as possible.

John Reno also does Mortgage Loan Modifications (Nationwide).
(Mention The LPA for a 10% discount!)

If you are a Landlord on Long Island, NY, and wish for Mr. Reno to handle your landlord - tenant case,
please provide your contact information: e-mail Mr. Reno (


Published 2015-07-30

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

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

Linda K, California

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


Published 2015-07-29

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

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

Velma C., Illinois

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

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

Dear Mr. Reno:
Can I have a tenant's guests removed/arrested for trespassing if they refuse to leave the pool?

I manage an apartment building and we have a tenant who's extended family visits often and they continually want to use the pool. After many times of the unruly guests violating the pools rules ( no diving,etc.) I finally sent a letter (9/6/14) telling them that we were no longer allowing their guests to use the pool. Now they are challenging the letter/enforcement saying it's unjust. What else can I do to enforce the rules?

Jeff Sharp

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


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

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


Published 2015-07-28

Dear Mr. Reno:
My houses are rented mostly to single individuals sharing big apartments. It is convenient for both tenants and me to have separated leases for every tenant with percent of utilities payment (for gas, electricity, water) specified.

I understand that this is not quite standard approach for rental. Can I expect any troubles from this method of rental?

Alex, MA

A: I see two problems. First, you're sharing an electrical meter. Some places don't allow that. Second, what you've there is a basically a boarding home. Some places don't allow that ether.

You should call or visit the local building department. Without giving your name or address- just your town, ask them if that's allowed.


Published 2015-07-27

Dear Mr. Reno:
Asking this question for a friend. My friend whom lives upstate NY, her brother owns a condo in Texas who has it rented out. He passed away in February. The sister wants to sell the property but tenant does not want to vacate the property. Would the tenant be able to stay as long as the lease has not expired, or does she really need to get an attorney involved being that her brother left everything to his mother because he was not married or had kids. His mom is an elderly women and so he was in the works of changing that to his sister but landed in the hospital and passed away shortly after.

Concerned friend in NY

A: As far as I know the lease stands, in most places anyway. The estate becomes the landlord- but the lease must be honored. If its any consolation, the rent must be paid. If the tenant doesn't pay, the executor can evict for non-payment. Does that help?

Dear Mr. Reno:
my daughter moved back home and she lived in california and she wasnt in a lease no more and i cosigned for the apt at the time and the landlord wanted her to have a piece of paper stating that she wasnt no longer living there but i lived in tennessee when i cosigned for the apt and has told her that she was getting a deposit and now she has been evicted and charging her 2100 but not getting the deposit back and the deposit was 750 so was wanting to know what can we do thank you she did that

Tracy S, tennessee

A: Say what? Sounds like the girl didn't pay her rent. You say she got evicted. Didn't say why. You cosigned- you're on the hook too. What else can I say?


Published 2015-07-24

Dear Mr. Reno:
On June 15 a major pipe had burst in my two unit rental. I had a plumber fix the issue within three days however along the way he discovered a MOLD issue. I immediately contacted a remediation company who came and advised the tenants that he would need them to vacate for two days in order for them to complete the repairs.
I arranged a 4 star hotel stay for them however when they arrived there to check in the hotel required a credit card or a $50.00 deposit for damage and incidentals.  They walked out indicating that they did not have either. I advised them of my position which was that I paid for the arrangements however I was not putting a credit card or the deposit required. They stated that they were not putting a dime out of their pocket. So for three weeks I could not get them to vacate so the work was not done.

On July 5th I approached them again permitting them to borrow the money from the rent that they still have not paid and they refused to do that either. In the meantime they contacted all the authorities in the city possible.

  An Inspector went out and all three of us discussed them vacating the apartment that day for two more days and it was agreed.  I contacted them later that day and asked them if they were prepared to check in and did they have the deposit required. They lied and try to tell me that they Inspector stated that I had to put it up which the Inspector indicated to me that this was not my obligation and that they had to do it. I mentioned my offer to borrow the money from the unpaid rent which he replied that I was doing more than required.  They would not vacate at all. The Inspector then indicating to me to just follow my Attorneys advice. I then received a warning to complete the work within ten days or face large fines.

  The tenants told me that they were never leaving until I had them physically removed. I filed eviction proceedings but that process takes 6 to 8 weeks. No doubt I feel like I am being extorted from with these fines. I also feel that this was these tenants plan once the Insurance Adjuster completed his inspection.   In the mean while my property is getting further destroyed by not taking care of the mold immediately. The are placing my insurance coverage at risk due to the Insurance requiring that the damage be remedied immediately to prevent it from getting worse as well as limiting their liability. This tenants are also making the tenants above them live under hazardous conditions.  I have so much at risk it gets me sick especially when these tenants were making such unreasonable demands thinking that I would deliver. I tried to make my own complaint to the city on them however they were not that interested in doing that. My big concern is also that is the state of New Jersey gets involved they are ruthless with their inspections and fines. Six years ago they fined me $5k for missing an appointment that I never knew about. I appealed it and lost. They eventually collected 100% plus interest three years later when I refinanced. 

  What do you suggest I do in this matter and the fastest way to do it.
  Thank you in advance.

L. Killmer

A: When you get to Court, with any luck, cooler heads will prevail and you'll reschedule the mold treatment pursuant to a Stipulation of Settlement. It's a good thing you filed because you and these tenants can't see eye to eye on anything. You need a third party, like an eviction judge, to talk sense into everyone and resolve this mess.

It;s a shame. All over $50.00.


Published 2015-07-17

Dear Mr. Reno:
After just 3 months a new tenant told me she was relocated to Turkey and she is moving out. I have a one year lease and just painted and put new carpet and appliances before she moved in. What can I do if she is moving to a different country?

Richard Lanzilotta

A: You can wave good bye.

But seriously, after you re-rent- then you can sue for lost rent and damages if you want, but how will you serve them? Also, even if you get a judgment, how would you enforce it if they're in Turkey? Will you seize their camels? (Can I say that?)

Dear Mr. Reno:
I am a landlord.
One of my tenants broke her lease by moving out 4 months early. She did give me a 30 day notice in writing. I am not giving her deposit back because she broke her lease. She says that since she gave me a 30 day notice that I have to. Do I have to give the deposit back?
Thank You,

Shannon E.

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


Published 2015-07-15

Dear Mr. Reno:
A tenant that is 9 months behind in rent and had agreed to move out - slipped and fell on a wet laundry room floor. Her claim is that I (owner) did not unplug a floor drain and that’s why the leaking water heater flooded and she fell -hurting her back and her head. Can I try to get additional insurance before her attorney contacts me?

She had a pre-existing back injury which is why she couldn’t work and got way behind.

Nervous in MN

A: No, no, no. You can't get insurance after the accident. But her pre-existing condition will be a defense used by your carrier so, does that make you feel better?

Dear Mr. Reno:
Once the remnant has been evicted and gone from residence for 55 days what are the laws/ rights for property they may have left? Especially if the house was so trashed and nasty that the cleaning crew (which had to be hired) threw it all away?

Neece N., South Carolina

A: Keep it; throw it away; sell it- it's abandoned (why don't you go the extra 5 days to make it an even 60 days?)

Dear Mr. Reno:
I am a dissabled school teacher who stupidly rented ( i live in home) to a criminal who has destroyed house and influenced other young tenant to also not pay rent send nonthreatening texts etc.
The younger has a good paying job the criminal has drug money hidden. i am broke.. began to pay lawyer ready to evict. we are ready to proceed but i dont have the money.. I can borrow a bit but not all and dont qualify for waiver for filing fees because i get too much from state teacher dissability.. half goes out to medical expenses. one is threatening to have lawyer sue for???

Is there anything he can sue for? should i focus on his eviction first? how hard is it to get his wages attached for no rent refusing to pay 2 1/2 months utilities? does that happen in original eviction case? he has no eviction case. what kind of other suit does he think he could have? Am i legally obligated to keep his deposit in separate account or can i use it to evict him?

Sandra P., Santa Cruz, CA

A: You're putting the cart before the house. Get these dirt bags out, both of them! Evict them for no-pay. Then you'll re-rent and have your income producing. Until then, you can worry about what you can sue them for, which will probably a waste of time and money anyway.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I'm confident that my tenants are good tenants such that I could take down the doors to the upstairs and downstairs and have a shared living arrangement at least I could claim that it is a shared living arrangement with the people upstairs.

This is in response to the Town of Huntington's threat to get a warrant and search my house for illegal tenants. I've looked into this in NY state law and there is a precedent for it for older people who don't feel secure by themselves living alone.

I'm 60 and am looking forward to my retirement from diesel school bus mechanics which has been rough on my back. 62 and I'm out. I'll find something lighter to do but right now the Town is making a lot of people's lives miserable including me.

Do you have anywhere for me to look as far as the law upon this subject? Before I'm done I may become an expert on this subject, not that I want to.

Bob, LI, NY

A: I would try New York State Jurisprudence under "ordinance", "multiple dwelling", "shared living space"


Published 2015-07-14

Dear Mr. Reno:
In 2013 a husband and wife signed an article of agreement to purchase home within one year….property has a 2 BR unit above detached garage which they allowed man’s brother to move into…’s brother brought in his niece--man’s daughter----brother left, niece stayed, with pit bull dog we told her she COULD NOT have…..she has active warrants for her arrest----she has NO lease with anyone----we believe she is a squatter, but someone told us that now that we have given her dad and stepmom 30 days to move, we can’t get her out any sooner----dog has already done damage to apt.------she can’t even pay her own fines, stepmom idiot is doing it for her----is there any help for us??? Thank you so much!!!!

PA Landlord

A: I had a similar case last week. Are you ready for a shocker? Bro is still in possession. You thought he left, but he didn't. He took in a border. In NY they call her an "under" tenant or a "sub" tenant. I don't know what they call her in PA., but she's not a squatter. Why? Because she entered possession with the permission of someone lawfully in possession. She didn't crawl through a window like a hobo.

Also, since his undertenant is still there, he is still quasi (which means "kinda") still in possession.

Long story short: Serve 30 day notice on her and him at the premises (even though he left.)


Published 2015-07-10

Dear Mr. Reno:
Hi, I’m a Landlord. one of my tenant just came back to ask me for her deposit after one and half years. I remembered that I gave her deposit back by cash. should I worry about this case?

A: The statute of limitations (in NY) is 6 years. That's how long they would have to start a small claims case.

As for the case, its a "he said, she said". Could go either way. Technically speaking, the burden of proof is on you to prove it. Very weird though, that they would wait a year. Judge may take that info into account when deciding. Offer half?

State Statute of Limitations

Dear Mr. Reno:
I'm going to have a sheriff sale on a tenant for back rent , and I was wondering what can I expect from it . how far will the sheriff sale go ?

Don B.

A: They usually only sell big things like a car, a motorcycle (maybe), boat, quad. Did the tenants have anything like that, otherwise it will probably be a bust.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I live in the state of Kansas.
My late fee clause states there is a $10 late fee charged per day after the 3rd of the month. I received no rent payment for the entire last month of the lease. I intend to file in small claims court to obtain the last months rent. Can I also file to collect 26 days of late fees totaling $260 ?

Greg, KS

A: Same answer. Some courts will limit you- knock you down to five maybe 10 per cent of monthly rent. It depends on the judge.


Published 2015-07-09

Dear Mr. Reno:
Our property management company was supposed to have filed a small claims case in our behalf against tenants who broke their lease and left with unpaid rent and damages. In following up, this company is now telling us that they are allowed to file only two small claims filings a year. Does this seem correct to you? Your advice would be appreciated.
Thank you,

Phyllis A.,

A: That make no sense. It must be a company policy- not a State Law. I don't think there could be such a law. Maybe you misunderstood or they mean something else. Somethings being "lost in transaction" here.


Published 2015-07-08

Dear Mr. Reno:
Our current tenants have a 12 month lease, which ends on August 1st. They gave 60 days notice as required, and it was mentioned that they were trying to purchase a home. Today we received a call from our tenants neighbors, and though they complained about several other issues, my main concern was when the neighbor said to me the tenants had completely moved out already. For two weeks now I have been providing 24 hours notice to our tenants since it is required by our lease to provide notice to the tenants. However, my husband and I are trying to find new renters before August 1st, and both are self employed with very busy schedules. Since the tenants no longer reside on our property and all of their furniture is gone from the premises, are we still obligated to provide 24 hours notice to the current tenant?

For the past two months (June and July) the current tenants have been late with their rent. As stated above, their lease ends August 1st. They have been late with their rent numerous times, but it was when they first moved in and it was due to a miscommunication so we let it go. Last month we had three very close family members pass in a matter of a three week time frame, and approaching the renters for a $50 late fee at the time was not of importance. Since they have been late for a second time now, is it okay to deduct $100 from their Security deposit for late fees? I have the checks/envelopes for documentation purposes to prove when the checks arrived to the mailing address, and will include a letter to the tenants explaining the reason for holding back $100 of their Security (and copies of the checks/envelopes).
Thank you, A Fatell

A Fatell

A: I wouldn't worry about the 24 hr notice, that is now what we lawyer's call a "moot point" issue.

As far as security goes, I would not go there. Security is generally for damages-not late charges. Does your lease expressly authorize it? Otherwise, for a $100, I wouldn't risk it.

Dear Mr. Reno:
How do you get Adult children out of your home when you have asked them to leave and given them a written eviction notice?

Ann K., Florida

A: Big controversy. Take a look at my decision in Sporazic which is on the LPA website or you can go to

Dear Mr. Reno:
We advertised an apartment as a one person, one bedroom, no pets apartment. A women called looking for an apartment for her and her husband and said they a dog. She confides in us, that she has a mental impairment that limits her ability to concentrate, relate to others and care for herself. Turns out she has a letter from her doctor that states her need for a service/emotional support dog. We had other applications and gave it to a single girl.

Now, we get a formal complaint of discrimination from the PA Human Relations Commission and we have to go to a fact finding conference for a this complaint…not sure what to do?

Chad S., PA

A: Get a lawyer. You did nothing wrong- but with these people, they presume you are a viscous hater & a bigot. You need a pro to put your best foot forward and squash this thingy before it gets out of hand.
It's a dog eat dog world out there!


Published 2015-07-07

Dear Mr. Reno:
My tenants moved out Jan 31, after 28 months. After months of repairs I am ready to rent, and have the septic system pumped, as I always do every 3 years, or between tenants. The septic company informs me that there is lots of kitchen grease, cloth wipes, paper towels, tampons and items that are not allowed in the septic system. The main pipe was clogged with these items, and the tank pipe had to be snaked in addition being pumped. This system was less than 9 months old when these tenants moved in, and it was pumped prior to their move in, with no problems. The septic company has informed me that these wipes, towels, tampons etc, have greatly reduced the years on my $38,000 septic system. What should have lasted years, has now been reduced by at least 5 years due to this damage. They also did not use the provided monthly septic treatment Lenzime. I provide the treatment, they are to empty the packet into the system once a month. The unused packets (2 years worth) were left in the closet. How do I recoup the damage they have caused to the system? How do they pay for flushing items that are specific in the lease, cannot be flushed.?

Claire, Rhode Island

A: If the system had failed, and you paid out of pocket- you would have a case. Under these facts, however, you have, no chance.

you say the life of your cesspool has been reduced by 5 years. That's what we call in court "speculation". You'll never be able to prove that. Even if you could, reducing that to a dollar figure? I've never seen it.
Never heard of it. Sorry Claire.

Dear Mr. Reno:
What is your opinion about changing locks on a rental house before a new tenant moves in. Is this the safest thing to do to prevent liability?

Margaret Wakefield, North Carolina

A: Most landlords change'em, but I would save the $20. Here's why:

The chances of the old tenant using his key to break into the new tenants unit is slim to non. (I've never seen it in my personal experience.) Even then, its very debatable if you would be liable. (One person is rarely responsible for the criminal act of another.)

Finally, if you're still worried, just note in on the lease "Tenant has been provided the keys to the present locks." You're off the hook.

That's my take.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have had a renter for over two years in a second floor illegal apartment. I am looking to sell the house. I gave her verbal notice the first week of March asking her to leave by May 1rst. She ignored my request and stopped paying for a month (equal to the security deposit). She started paying rent again as soon as her security deposit amount was up, but she is still not leaving. She promises she is "trying" but it has now been 4 months! I offered to pay for her moving costs and loan her $1,000 to get into a new place. She still has not made any indication she will move.

Do I have any rights since it is an illegal apartment?
I know the town of Huntington has come down hard on illegal apartments, which is why I have been reluctant to try the courts - not sure the costs of trying to evict her. Do I have any rights?

Kara, Long Island NY

A: Well if you think the landlord has "extra" rights because it's illegal, forget it. The correct procedure would be a written 30 day notice to vacate by 8/31/15 which must be served by July 31st. Then evict as holdover 9/1/15 if she's still there. Cost about $1200 (Call me- I handle your area- 667-RENO.)

Now it's true Huntington is cracking down. And some tenant's do report you when they get the eviction papers, and that could be a fine of $2000 to $5000.

So that's a big risk, but what's the alternative? Wait for her to leave voluntarily? How long would you wait? Forever? Life's too short.


Published 2015-07-06

Dear Mr. Reno:
My last tenant left without paying last months rent. (long story) So I have their deposit which will not be returned obviously.

I have additional expenses such as Atty fees and cleanup.

Can I file a small claims case to retrieve Atty fees and cleanup from the tenant? Overall condition of the home is good. Only minor cleanup is required such as yard work and the kitchen. I always have the carpets professionally cleaned after a tenant leaves. Can this expense also be charged to the tenant?


A: Atty fees: Only if your lease says so; (You didn't mention your state)
Clean up: Only out of pocket with proof of payment.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I served my tenants with the LPA Notice to Vacate form on May 4, as well as the LPA Termination of Tenancy, effective July 3, 2015. It included the holdover penalty paragraph stating they would have to pay $200.00 a day after July 3. They said they called the CA Dept. of Consumer Affairs, and that I cannot charge $200/day. They said they will pay a daily fee equal to their rent, with no specific date that they plan to vacate. I'm worried if I agree and extend their move-out date, which has not been determined, that they will just keep saying they haven't found another place to rent. I already have new tenants waiting to move in. I don't want to lose them. Thanks.

Helen Wheeler, California

A: You need to start a holdover (eviction) proceeding.

If you extend the move-out date, that's a problem, because you reinstate (extend) the tenancy which voids the 30 day notice.


Published 2015-07-02

Dear Mr. Reno:
I just learned my tenant has a full size goat and it is in my house...What can i legally do today to get her and the goat out asap?????

ps she never signed nor sent the lease I sent her over 2 months ago she did sign a list of rules to follow as my tenant.....


A: There's no law against it. And you cant change bad behavior. Serve a 30day notice; get the tenant out with her goat. Or at least-that-gets her attention.


Published 2015-07-01

Dear Mr. Reno:
Pennsylvania I had a 12 year tenant who moved out nearly two years ago who is now suing me for $11,000. He paid his rent reliably and was a tenant at will for the final 6 or so years. The claim is for water damage to his possessions stored in basement plus rent reimbursement because he claims he used a percentage of his apartment for storing what needed to go in basement.

He says he sent me an email about it in 2006 but feared I'd raise rent or terminate tenancy because I was hostile -his word- every time he asked for a repair, and that he has a 2008 voice mail from me threatening a rent increase and termination over a maintenance issue - I admit i did some unwise things as a landlord around that time.

But is a magistrate even going to listen to something from this long ago? He made another Tenant move a few years ago because he evidently went crazy for a while talking and shouting to himself and she could hear him through the floor. Can I counter sue him for my vacancy loss for that?

Tim M., Pennsylvania

A: Don't lose sleep over this. His whole case is bogus and has a million holes in it. He would need to show that his right to the storage space was part of your contract. He would also have to provide the value of personal property-almost impossible to do. He's probably, hoping to get a payment. to settle. If he really sues, you'll need a lawyer, but he will lose in the end.

Dear Mr. Reno:
Can we dispose of a friend’s belongings that stayed with us for a few weeks who is now in Jail? He left his belongings behind even though he was not staying with us anymore. We have now moved to a new apartment and we do not know what to do with the belongings and do not have the space to keep them.
Thank you

Erin K., North Carolina

A: He wasn't a tenant, just a guest? I would consider that abandoned property . Dump it.


Published 2015-06-29

Dear Mr. Reno:
My tenant filed for bankruptcy. She is not behind in her rent never was late It’s a modest 2 bed one bath apartment with average rent Cant the courts and or trustee break the lease?
Can there be any affect against us. Can they tell me that the payments are on hold (even though she is current)

Scott V., Pennsylvania

A: Yes, a bankruptcy court can do anything, as far as I can tell. If they can tell an employee that your pension is now cut in half, they wont have a problem ending your leasehold.

But I would be surprised. What makes you think the tenant wants out? They have to live somewhere. Bankruptcy for tenants is usually a credit card thing. You're probably only listed as a creditor as a formality. That's my take.

Dear Mr. Reno:
If my tenant, in a two family owner occupied house, has changed the locks of the front door and back door to the apartment, can I change the locks without notification?


A: If you're talking about your locks, go for it. But if you're talking about the tenant's locks, not so much (can't do it.) Maybe I didn't understand the question? Somethings missing from this scenario. They're not locking YOU out are they? Is there a reason you need access? If not, don't go to war over this- it's not worth it.


Published 2015-06-27

Dear Mr. Reno:
Hi I am a landlord via inheritance. My dad died and left the property in New York for my mom and me. 50/50. We have a tenant at will (my cousin) that is abusing my mom not paying rent and is occupying the apartment that can be bringing in money. What can I do to help rent wise as my mom might be too soft on my cousin? I am willing to take action.

Akeel S., NY

A: Who is the Executor? Executor must act. May need Surrogate's (estate) Court appointment.
Executor needs to serve 30 day notice. Evict deadbeat as holdover.
Any questions?


Published 2015-06-26

Dear Mr. Reno:
multi-family, NON owner occupied, in NJ I have a tenant that has constant interaction with the police, she has restraining orders against a boyfriend (so police are called every other week on him), a son on probation where police are always looking for him, there was a fight with another tenant that police where involved in etc… Is this any grounds for eviction? The police won’t give me a police report due to privacy laws.

Peter S., multi-family, NON owner occupied landlord, in NJ

A: I've been saying this for years: You can't evict for bad behavior. That's why I start with a 6 mos. leave, especially when I live in the building. What if you don't like them? You stuck with them until the lease is up. Then, you don't renew and evict as holdover.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a very old carpet in rental unit that was clean with no stains when tenants moved in per witness statement but now has 5-6 big dog urine stains in it plus damage to baseboard where dog pissed on corner. Can I deduct for replacement of carpet or only the removal, deodorizing and cleaning of it?

Mary K., WI

A: If you need to replace it, then you can deduct it. Your decision can be challenged in court. But usually, if you saw fit to buy a new one- the court will assume it was necessary.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a car that is not running parked on property, can a landlord put a lien on it?

Jesse C

A: Not exactly. You can seize it, through the sheriff or constable, assuming you have a judgment against the owner. Who owns it? Is it a tenant? If it's just abandoned, the police will usually tow it after 30 days. If it's a tenant's it gets more complicated. Is it a lease violation? What's going on here?

Dear Mr. Reno:
I need help evicting a tenant for non payment. It's in yonkers. I don't know how much it would cost and how long it would take. Please help. I also want to know if I can affect her credit for the amount due.


A: After you win your case, you'll get a judgment for moneys owed and that will affect her credit. But I can't help you find a lawyer, that's why we have the yellow pages- I mean google (Showing my age?)

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a single LODGER that has been with me since May 13, 2015, which is pro rated rent. She never paid first month's rent for June, instead served me a 21 day notice to vacate, and we agreed that she can use her dep. to cover her notice. She has disappeared on June 11 and has been gone since and has not removed her belongings. I gave her a 3 day notice to pay or vacate through text message. If she doesn't respond, can I pack her things, place it in a secure area, and give her ten days to retrieve her things? My Lodger has breeched our rental agreement, her 21-Day Notice to Vacate that she has served me, and had told me that she would come to get her things after her notice to vacate expired. All this and did not keep her word.

Tiana Asis, CA

A: You're looking for a shortcut Tiana & that's a risk. I know you think she's out, and you may be right but technically she's still in possession, she hasn't been legally evicted and if she shows up you're out on a limb.

Dear Mr. Reno:
My tenant just informed me that there is a bed bug problem in the apartment any suggestions on how to handle this problem.

Jim B.

A: I'm no expert on that, better off surfing the net (do people still say that?)

One thing I can say is, if its an apartment, everyone will blame everyone else & you can't prove where it started so the landlord (building owner) ends up responsible.


Published 2015-06-25

Dear Mr. Reno:
I gave a tenant a 3 day notice for not payment of rent and then filed the eviction. The tenant left property before the court date but left damages in excess of $2,500.00. Can I get a judgement for the damages during the eviction hearing or do I need to file small claims?
Thank You,


A: Small claimsville.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a renters that will not pay utilities for the sewer in the town in which they live. They have signed a one year lease the states that they are responsible for all utilities.

I have talked to them on the phone, in person and sent a certified receipt requested letter that was never picked up at the Post Office and it was returned to me.

Just recently I sent a letter by regular mail stating that if all of the back payments were not made by a certain date that I will have to start eviction action.

My question is, so I have the legal right to do so even though they have for the most part paid their rent on time.


A: It's complicated. In my area, Long Island, New York, the eviction court will only evict for unpaid rent. But if you expressly state in the lease that utilities are "deemed added rent" the court can evict. But last year an eviction judge in my area said he wont evict just on paid utilities- no matter what the lease says. So it's controversial and I'm not even sure what the answer is right downtown let alone in your state.

LPA note: The LPA Lease is very good at making as many tenant responsibilities "added rent" as possible.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I am a landlord who owns a double in which I reside. I am extremely sensitive to household chemicals and products such as Glade Plug-ins, air fresheners, strong scented laundry detergent and fabric softeners (all which are harmful to the environment, and have harmful effects on the body, as they can be cancer-causing and disrupt hormones, not to mention wreaking havoc on the respiratory system). My former tenants have used some of those products and it is very bothersome to me, since I have to live in this house. I am now drawing up a new lease for potential renters. Is it legal for me to include a paragraph in my lease, prohibiting tenants from using those products?

Thank you for your time!

K. Kester

A: I guess the short answer is "yes". You can include such a paragraph. But can you enforce it? Not so much. Maybe the clause will have a positive effect as a deterant, but if you try to evict a tenant for a violation, it'll be an uphill battle for sure.

Dear Mr. Reno:
A good tenant allowed a relative to sleep on the couch for 3 nights...relative placed several boxes and bags in a spare room. Upon leaving he did not take the items with forward two weeks ...relative is claiming to live there because his belonging are there. When, I, the landlady requested him to remove the above mentioned items Local police were called.
The police sided with the tenant...they hoped I would cooperate by letting ,now, the relative, young gal & a baby enter with intent to stay until I filled an eviction notice! I stood my ground all the while remaining level headed and polite. Addressing the office nearest to me; " you may have to arrest me because these people will not be allowed back in this house" Cut to the end of story...I was not arrested, the free loaders removed their things while the police were there, end of [that] story.
Common sense ruled the day. What are the laws regarding tenancy of an overnight guest that refuses to leave?

Peggy JE Johnson, Landlady @ large

A: Unwelcomed guests can get the boot, even w/o an eviction. Problem is. they weren't your guests! They were the tenants and they have to kick'em out. You can't walk into your tenants' apartment and throw out his guests! So you were way out line, Peggy and lucky you didn't wind up in the pokey. But they left, so, I guess, all's well that ends well?


Published 2015-06-24

Dear Mr. Reno:
Squatters Law for Eviction by Damage of Property
First, Thank you for answering the question that has been pertinently vital to alleviate distress to property and personal injury. Briefly, there are the formalities of scenario, which are as follows: I purchased the property back in 2007 with shareholders and they released their interest the preceding 2-3 three years later with no knowledge of the resolution. I was personally attending college and therefore any financial assessment e.g., taxes for property legal documentation etc. was assumed to be handled by the shareholders. Ideally, there should have been a contractual breach processed, although nevertheless, there is no record of the other members of board whereabouts. Complacently speaking, the City of Atlanta tax assessors and Code enforcement have been relentless in threat of taking the properties that were enlisted as condemned. I paid off the penalty only by percentile amount there is still a sizable amount that is in arrears. Focally, there was a significant retention to renovate the property and I was given a bridge window to accomplish the feet with diplomacy. To date the Constable of the County (Fulton) has not been helpful in allocating supportive measures. Conclusively inquiring, due to irrefutable damage both physically and surpententatively with malicious intent, what are the how to's to retain any judgement through legal action such as credit report filing, small claims excetera?

LaVerne C.

A: You don't have to find them, but if you want to enforce a judgment, you will have to sue them first & that will require at least an address. Credit Report comes later. Start your law suit.

Dear Mr. Reno:
Please provide your opinion on the following addendum I wrote to allow my tenant to terminate the lease early. "Tenant agrees that a 60 day notice is required to terminate his/her tenancy. Tenant understands that they will remain liable for a maximum of three (3) months’ rent after vacancy or until a new tenant is found to take their place. Landlord will mitigate his damages as prescribed by state law."

Michael Slattery, Oregon

A: In the event tenant seeks to terminate this lease prior to its expiration date, tenant will be liable to the landlord for loss of rent and other damages as provided by law. Notwithstanding the above, tenant's liability for lost rent will be limited to three months provided tenant gives 60 days advance notice of early termination. (I like mine better!)


Published 2015-06-23

Dear Mr. Reno:
We’ve been approached about renting half of our row house in Manhattan to a ‘corporate rental’ company, small but apparently reputable at first glance.

The C of O for the building is two family & it is a market rate rental, so we would not run afoul of any regulations to the best of our knowledge. The company claims it pays NYC Hotel Taxes as it is required to do for stays of less than 180 days.

This outfit works thru HomeAway & other agencies to find short term rental tenants, usually for stays from 3 days to 3 weeks, with the shorter stays predominating.

No stay is ever booked anywhere near the 30 day mark which gives anyone “tenant rights”. They claim to take great care vetting tenants, but we’re used to doing that ourselves & know how hard it is to get right.

We’re interested but not in love with the idea - what are the insurance & liability issues with the best of such middlemen, and what else should we be wary of?

The money is better but the churn & possible negative impact on our long term downstairs tenant are among our concerns. Thanks.

Mailer, NY

A: You have to ask, who are these people needing to rent a spot in NYC for a week or two. Probably businessmen, I would think, or vacationers? Am I off base? They don't sound like the riffraff type- probably good people. So I'm for it.

If you're worried about insurance & liability, advise your carrier. If they have an issue, they'll let you know.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I had a tenant call the police for some things and decided to get rid of him. I kept his rent checks and never cashed them and filed and eviction. He said he is going to subpoena the rents checks from me.
I didn't give him his security deposit and said I was keeping it for rent and cleaning.
What can he do to me? If I didn't cash the checks will I be in trouble?

David from Pa.

A: You may have some troubles there. As a general rule, if you hold on to rent checks, you can't say you weren't paid. The rent was tendered. You may as well deposit the checks now.

What is the basis for this eviction? You can't say it's non-payment if he's giving you rent checks! Did you give a 30 day notice? If so, you should have returned his check. Oh boy.


Published 2015-06-22

Dear Mr. Reno:
Good day,
I know Pickering v Chappe, 2010 NY Slip Op 20326 (29 Misc 3d 6) can be used to argue the collection of past due rent for an "illegal" apartment in Suffolk county NY, are there any cases that support the collection for damages to the apartment caused by the tenant? Example- scratched hardwood floors.


A: Probably not. As you may or may not know, the reported cases are all appellate division (appeals) cases or some Supreme Court (over $15,000) cases. The scratched floor cases would probably wind up in small claims court. There may have been a thousand cases, but probably none "reported" as you say.


Published 2015-06-19

Dear Mr. Reno:
My husband and I were advised by a deputy to evict our 19 year old daughter. She is disrupting the household in Which our two other minor children also live. My question is can we evict her without our landlord's involvement? We are on great terms with him and are a little embarresed of our situation. Also if we can evict her without his involvement, will it go on her permanent record? Thank you for your time

Dawn, FL

A: O.M.G. you couldn't even do this in my state (NY) b/c they'll send you to Family Court.
Also, if she's listed on the lease you can't evict her. If she's not on the lease, you may serve a 30 day notice, but the whole thing may still end up in family court.
What a mess. Your landlord can't help you. He would have to evict the whole family to get her out.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have won my case in an eviction process. Tenant did not even show up in court. How can I get my money that they owe me since I don't have their current address?
Please advice. Thank you.


A: Congrats on the case. But collecting is hard. I usually only have a shot if I know either their bank or their employer. Any info there?


Published 2015-06-18

Dear Mr. Reno:
After evicting a person legally and allowing them to pick up their property in a timely manner, am I allowed to keep this person from returning to the property because he/she has caused trouble in the past. If so, do you know the Nevada law that covers this situation.

Thank you for your time and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Mike D., Lyn Capri Apts. in Las Vegas, Nevada

A: Once they have been legally evicted, you can call the police if they return and they should be removed as trespassers. But here's the catch: If the new tenant invites them, then they are guests of a lawful tenant- and you can't tell a tenant who to have over as a guest- even if it's someone you just evicted.

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Legal Disclaimer
The Landlord Protection Agency's "Ask the Attorney" column is for informational and entertainment purposes only. The questions answered by Mr. Reno on this site do not constitute an attorney - client relationship and are not to be considered legal advice. Not all questions will be answered and some may appear in the LPA Q&A Forum.
The Landlord Protection Agency recommends that you seek legal advice before using any of the material offered on this web site, and makes no guarantee on the effectiveness, compliance with local laws or success of any of the material offered on this web site. The Landlord Protection Agency is not engaged in rendering legal advice.

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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