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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 2015-05-22

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a couple provide 30 day notice to leave. The date was April 30th and then they extended it until 5/10/15 when they finally moved out. The property was a mess and in the process of getting the list together to send to the tenant. The house was vandalized on May 17th and when calling the police department they said it was a civil suit between us and the renter. All the keys were not returned and the security deposit was not given back (which they did not know yet of our listing out the damages) MI- I have 30 days to return the security deposit or provide a list of the reasons why.

On the 17th the police told us to call the renters and see if they can come make a statement at the police station on the condition they left the house. If they call back then they most likely were not involved but if they do not then I should have enough to have a case. Today after daily calls and text messages the renter said they are too busy to meet us and they see nothing in the lease that they have to meet? 2 keys were not returned either.

What do I do?

Tracy

A: I feel your pain.. But, I'm a little leery about advising you there because so many states have enacted strict laws on returning security and the landlord 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.

If its any consolation, you may have a small claims case for the May rent seeing as they didn't leave on 4/30 & didn't give the keys. Does that help?

Dear Mr. Reno:
I'm in Ohio. I have 4 rental prop., 1 of which was converted to land contract. Buyer has been in default for around a year, not paying full monthly mortgage amount. I didn't evict since she's paying partially each month and better a warm body in it than vacant. It's in shall we say a less than desirable part of town.

I signed land contract with them on 4/30/2010. I myself am filing bankruptcy and surrendering properties back to banks since all upside-down & getting out of rental business. I wasn't sure if I needed to do anything special with the Land Contract house/buyer. Would my foreclosure on it, negate her contract with me? Or do I need to get her out first so I can surrender the property without her in it?

She's been there just over 5yrs., so I believe we'd need to do a full Foreclosure instead of an eviction. I was wondering if I had her sign a Quit Claim Deed back over to me, (which she has already agreed to) would that let me avoid having to do a full blown Foreclosure on her. The mortgage is still in my name and I pay taxes and insur. whenever she paid me.
Thank you,

Joel P., OH

A: When you file bankruptcy, the Bankruptcy Trustee temporarily takes title to all your property. So they may just sign it over to the bank if it's under water.

Then the bank will deal with the tenants. There's recently been some Federal legislation that makes banks honor some leases after foreclosure, although these tenants may not qualify because they're not current and it's a land contract, not a lease.

But in any case, the tenants are not really your problem anymore. The land contract wont stop your bankruptcy and the bank & trustee will figure out if the tenant's can stay and how long.

Dear Mr. Reno:
My tenant filed for bankruptcy. She is not behind in her rent never was late Itís 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 Vogin, 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 not 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.

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Published 2015-05-20

Dear Mr. Reno:
I gave my renters 90 days to move out and they still are not out and I have new tenants waiting.

Julie M., Kaukauna, Wisconsin

A: You're gonna need Court here Julie. You've done the prerequisite notice, now it's a "Hold-over" eviction.
Hire a local atty?

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Published 2015-05-19

Dear Mr. Reno:
Had a lease with tenant and her mother. Tenant broke lease, abandonment, by moving out before lease period was over. I made verbal agreement with mother to help her out due to being on fixed income. Couple of months later, mother(now tenant) allows daughter to move back in. I donít say anything to tenant due to her financial situation. Now mother and daughter are not getting along and I want daughter to move. Do I have to go thru eviction process or can I have police remove her for trespassing? Daughter also moved in girlfriend and dogs.
Thank You,

Eleasar P., in Houston TX.

A: You'll have to evict the whole Cabal in one action. No, they are not trespassing because they have permission from a lawful occupant. In other words, your tenant's guests, no matter how obnoxious, they are not trespassers.

Dear Mr. Reno:
Currently rent a condo in MD, Price George's County, on a one year lease, LPA.

Tenant has not returned condition report, after a moth now the washer/dryer combo is not working.

I went and drained water from machine and removed from premises, tenant now requesting reduction of rent of $50 per month for not having it.

I have the LPA Appliance Agreement stating repairs less than $100 are deemed minor and paragraph 14, SERVICES & FACILITIES, REPAIR DEDUCTIBLE, tenant agrees to pay $100 per service trade fee.

What are my options?
Thanks,

Earl, MD

A: That clause is iron clad. Don't give the reduction.

What are your plans for the washer? Are you keeping it, or fixing it and giving it back?

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Published 2015-05-15

Dear Mr. Reno:
This girl who was my brother girlfriend is "living" with us for free. She was never invited to live with us and every time we asked her to leave she says we have to give 30 day notice even though she pays no bills, no rent, and she even does drugs while she's here. Is there any possible way we can get her out sooner.

Jessica, Reno, Nv

A: First step: Call the police. Tell them she's an unwelcome guest and you want her out. Maybe they'll help, but it usually depends on how long she's been there. Rule of thumb: over 30 days, cops probably wont help. If cops wont held, them freeloaders is correct- probably need to give 30 days.

Dear Mr. Reno:
My husband and I own 7 rental properties in Texas. We decided that we would sell them, starting one at a time. I notified the tenant on April 22 that we were putting it on the market. The property had a contract for the full amount in a week. Unfortunately this buyer wasn't an investor and wants to move into the property. I waited to make sure everything was going to go through before I notified her last night that she needed to move by June 20th. I got a text from her this morning stating her lease trumps the sale. Her lease isn't up until September 30th. I use the LPA lease and I didn't find anything in it about the sale of a property.

I admit I should have checked into this before we put it on the market. What do we do now? What are my legal rights?

Ann, TX

A: Oops! You jumped the gun there a little, Ann. But Don't lose sleep. The worse that can happen is your buyer doesn't want to wait, cancels the contract and you would have to give back the down payment and find another buyer. In most cases, if it's an investor, he'll wait until you can deliver vacant possession.

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Published 2015-05-13

Dear Mr. Reno:
What is considered legal notice for tenant to vacate premises? My tenant considers two weeks enough.
We have a lease which states that notice is explained in The Act. I assume this is the Landlord Tenant Act. I have never heard of notice being less than 30 days unless specified in the lease.
What is specified in Landlord Tenant Act?

Sue Ellen

A: You are correct. I've never seen it under 30. I've seen it more than 30, but never less.

Dear Mr. Reno:
Courtney Davidson, State: Mississippi I severed a 30 day eviction ( which i picked up from the justice court) notice May 8,2015 along with a walk through inspection notice. Inspection notice was torn up and tenant said they would not admit to receiving 1. 1 tenant signed the lease and it stated on the lease that any guests could reside at the property for 7 days per month or 35 days per year. Tenant moved his mother, father, brother & girlfriend in. There was a verbal agreement that the girlfriend was not allowed on the property at all & now she's living there. Whether or not they are considered girlfriends or immediate family to the tenant, that's still considered guests since they weren't on the lease right?

Courtney Davidson, Mississippi

A: Yes, they are guests, but that's too many & too long so go ahead with your eviction. (I'm not saying it's easy, to evict on these grounds- but go ahead and see what happens.)

Dear Mr. Reno:
I'm a Property Manager. Before I became the manager, the contractor rehabbing the property illegally gave access to an apartment to someone who is a squatter. No screening, lease, or payment. The occupant will not meet, or return calls. What steps do I need to take to remove this person from my unit?

Gwen Barnes Robinson
Prestige Properties Real Estate Pros, Inc.
Lansing, Illinois

A: I would call the cops first. Since the contractor has no authority to give permission, I would say these people are trespassers.

But will the police give them the boot? I don't know. If it's around 30 days or more, you'll probably have to serve a 30 day notice and evict in court. Good luck!

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Published 2015-05-12

Dear Mr. Reno:
Good Morning, please help!!
Have a horrible tenant that I have had issues on payments and fees for 10 months. 2 weeks ago we finally served her with a demand letter for rent or eviction - she agreed to move out today May 8, 2015. Last week she sent me an email, text and certified letter stating what she would pay me, that she would be out today and she would meet me with a cashiers check and the keys today.

Wednesday I emailed and texted her that we were taking possession of the house at 12:01 May 9, 2015. She replied and said yes, she understood. She would be out of the house.

As of today nothing is moved, nothing! Can I take possession at 12:01 and place her things in the garage? Or do I have to still file for formal eviction.
Many Thanks

Peggy M., MO

A: That's a tough one, Peg. Let's play out the scenario. You start, she calls the cops. First question: Do you have eviction papers? No, okay, then what are you doing? You show cops her certified letter. She said she would move- but she didn't. Does that tacitly authorize your self-help? I doubt it. You could try it. You're on thin ice.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I rented a house to a young couple. They couldn't get the power put on in there name because they owed to much to the power company. So my daughter put it in her name.we found out the power was gonna be cut off by April 27th.i also told them they can have the first month rent free because of some plumbing needed fixed.20$ of little pipe elbows and they wanted it repainted.so my son painted it for them.i never received any rent money.on april 17th when i got a email about the power bill.i called them and they said they just paid it.that was the last time i seen them.until 2 days ago.they came to get some of there things.i told them they need to get everything out that they want because i dont want them back on my property because alot of lawnmower and weedeaters things like that have been stolen off my property late at night.and i bought all of this 13 years ago and never had this problem. I want to know what my legal rights are.i already went to the sheriff's office and filed a criminal trespassing report.and i told the sheriff's about the stolen property i found in the house. Do i have the right to keep them from getting anything else out of the house .witch isnt much.until they pay me for back rent and the power bill.

Jeanette K., Alabama

A: Oh Boy! What a mess! But I don't get it. You say you "don't want them back" on the property. Are they out? If they're still in there, you've got problems. If they're out, you can keep'em out, but if they're still in there, you'll need to evict them. Start a non-payment proceeding ASAP.

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Published 2015-05-11

Dear Mr. Reno:
Greetings Ė My mother lives in NY, and owns the house my now (3 months) estranged husband and I have lived in for 15 years, in New Jersey. We pay rent. No formal agreement.
He will not leave. We will not be reconciling, and he is not cooperating with divorce filings. What recourse do(es) Mom or I have to get him to leave? The children are both adults.
Cheers,

Rachel, New Jersey

A: You should probably start the divorce ASAP. Mom could evict him, but here's the rub: She would probably need to evict him and you together. You came as a package deal. Of course, she could always let you back in later- but how complicated is this getting? Me thinks divorce court would be simpler. They'll tell him to split.

Dear Mr. Reno:
My question is do you need to return a security deposit to a tenant that you needed to evict that broke the lease rules? In my research most states only talk about if they fail to make payment. My tenants paid but are being evicted for drug use, tampering with smoke alarms to hide their drug use, disturbing the other tenants and also using other tenants utilities. If I terminated the lease then with the eviction do I need to give their security dep. back even if they leave the apt. in good condition?
Thank you,

Dan, Pennsylvania

A: You have to give it back, Dan. Sorry.

If you had damages, you'd use the deposit for that.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I'll try to keep this brief but this is a fairly complicated situation.

I am a professional landlord of around 12 years in Louisville, Kentucky. I have an interesting issue that seems to be becoming more of a trend in my area specifically with Section 8 tenants. About 5 years ago our local Housing Authority decided to switch from using 'in-house' inspectors to 'city' inspectors and changed their standards from Housing Quality Standards to Metro Standards. For the first few years there weren't really any issues but boy how the years have changed. At least in my particular circle of contacts, tenants have stopped reporting to landlords issues with the unit. Instead they go to the Housing Authority and we get notified by the Housing Authority. This causes a major issue for the landlords as we are now an 'offender' in the system and a 2nd call places us as a 'repeat offender' and subject to a lot more scrutiny by the inspectors and immediate fines.

Last summer I receive a call mid morning on a hot Friday from an inspector doing a Section 8 inspection stating that the air conditioning isn't working for this single family house and that I needed to provide window units for the house immediately and that she would be back out at 8:00 AM Monday to verify that I have done what 'I was supposed to do'. Side note: new HVAC system was installed July 2007 - shouldn't be any problems.

I showed up with our HVAC contractor around noon the same day - knocked on the door - nobody home - walked around back and was flabbergasted by seeing the cover off of the condenser unit and a stick holding down the contactor (the part that makes the outdoor unit kick on and off). The HVAC contractor at least made the condenser safe as exposed 220V is a hazard. Being a request for repairs (as provided in the lease) we decided to go in to see what the problem was. Unfortunately for me the locks had been changed, a dog had been added to the house (Lease Violation), and the tenant's phone had been disconnected.

I left notice in the door and mailed a copy to the Housing Authority about the dog, locks, and not being able to gain access to perform necessary repairs that were due Monday morning and to call the office ASAP (our lines are monitored 24/7) so that we could get the repair performed.

Needless to say the weekend came and went with no call from the tenant - we missed the inspector that came at some point later on in the day on Monday and our Section 8 payments were terminated that Monday.

Letters and calls to the Housing Authority (Section 8) were left unanswered. Even though the renewal of the Section 8 lease was a month-to-month my attorney told me I could not terminate the lease with notice because it would be construed as retaliation.

When the tenant finally contacted us (about 2 weeks later) we were out the next day with our HVAC contractor. The cause of the problem was the tenant or someone in the tenant's control had gone into an unfinished utility only attic and stepped on/smashed a sensor that prevented water from flooding the ceiling should the condensate line get stopped up.

Needless to say, because the Housing Authority paid full rent, the tenant got to stay for around 6 months completely rent free - at least until they terminated their assistance with her for failure to comply in December 2014. In January 2015 we filed eviction for non-payment and sucessfully gained control of the house after eviction proceedings and warrant for possession was fulfilled. Is there any recourse on the Housing Authority for back rent owed because the problem was fixed as soon as it was allowed to be fixed by the tenant?

Sorry this is such a long email and thank you very much for your time

Rick, Louisville, KY

A: Yes, there is recourse, it's called a law suit. Do you have the stomach for it?

Also, I have 2 questions:
1. Does the statutory scheme which establishes Section 8 grant the Housing Authority immunity from law suits from landlords. I don't know the answer but it wouldn't surprise me.

2. How much will a lawyer charge you to do this?
You need to ask a local atty with knowledge of Section 8 the answers to 1&2. I think its a non-starter.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I had a tenant that just passed away, I received an email from a person I don't know claiming to be Executor of her estate and that they will be taking care of all the tenants material goods.

I went over to see what was going on, I entered the apartment, took a video of the place for my records. Upon leaving I saw 2 chairs outside that I was interested in so I emailed the person who is supposed to be Executor asking about these two items. I got a phone called from one pissed off person saying I wasn't to step inside this apartment, my question is what are my rights? Should I get a legal copy from this person who claims to be Executor that states she is? Also, shouldn't I have the right to say who can go inside the unit, she is not on the lease? Thanks ,

Tim Rittenhouse, California

A: She should show her Court Appointment as Executor. She could also show the Last Will, but technically she has no authority until the Court appoints the person.
Once appointed- that person has all rights of the tenant including who comes and goes.

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Published 2015-05-09

Dear Mr. Reno:
We have a tenant that has always vested interest in purchasing the home once a settlement came through or credit was cleared. Payments have been on time but there have been issues with pets being brought in (pitbull) and additional adults not on the lease occupying the home. Requested a 24 Ė hour inspection and suddenly the settlement is final and willing to purchase outright but they keep finding ways to stall the process, finally handed a 30 day notice to vacate, am I still within legal rights to present a contract to purchase at the same time continue with the eviction process if she doesnít follow through? Thatís about as short as I could make it.
Best Regards,

David, Texas

A: The only problem is that the tenant may use the contract as a shield to protect from being evicted. Can your lawyer or broker add a clause, "the seller/landlord reserves his right to proceed with an eviction if this sale is not consummated by (add date)?

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a rental property and the tenant had an illegal gas set up and PGW cam a removed the gas meter from the home and shut off the gas I served her with a notice to quit already and am waiting on a court date, the question that I have is if she has a serious health condition (lupus) will I still be able to evict her on the above premiss?

Felicia P. in Pennsylvania

A: I don't see Lupus coming into the case. (Maybe the judge feels sorry & gives her an extra 2 weeks?)

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Published 2015-05-08

Dear Mr. Reno:
How can I get a person out of the house I rent to my daughter? He is not on the lease. My house is in Florida

A: Sorry, it doesn't work that way. He is your daughter's guest, I'm assuming. She let him in, she has to get'em out.

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Published 2015-05-04

Dear Mr. Reno:
I lost my copy of lease and need to go thru with an eviction what should I do...

Lisa A., St.Louis Misouri

A: I've been there. Fill out the petition from memory and just plow right right through. You don't have to produce the lease, usually. Most times, no one even knows you've got no lease. If it comes up, wing it.

Dear Mr. Reno:
Sir, recently my father was abandoned by his wife of 20 years. One of her sons lives in the townhouse they own. There is no signed lease agreement. This "step-brother" only pays the base house payment along with the HOA, which totals $550/month. My father, who now lives with me, has been deemed incompetent. As the co-trustee, I believe the "rent" should be increased. This is being disputed by my step motherís co-trustee. Can I raise the rent or evict this step-brother or does it take both of us to agree?

Glenda, Arizona

A: I am assuming your step-mother is or was an owner (otherwise she'd have no say) You need to sell this place and divide the proceeds. Otherwise, this war will never end. The co-trustee is going to fight the increase- and you are stuck.

Dear Mr. Reno:
Tenant caused a fire due to a grease fire and fully admitted so to firemen and fire chief. There is a lot of smoke damage to the unit. We feel that tenant needs to clean smoke damage from the unit since tenant cause the smoke damage before we proceed with repair. Tenant feels that it is the job of maintenance to clean the smoke damage. we will likely take a loss on this repair because even if taken to court for the damages tenant does not have the funds to pay. Do we legally have to clean the smoke damage? Thank you

Allyson, Cranberry Twp Pa

A: Use your insurance. That's what its there for. You say its the tenants fault. Fines don't happen by themselves. They're always the tenant's fault. Smoking in bed, whatever. That doesn't mean you don't repair.

Dear Mr. Reno:
If I have a tenant that has a dog and that dog attacks a neighbors dog, am I liable?

Chad S., Pennsylvania

A: You're only liable if the dog has a history. So we lawyers say: "Every dog gets one bite."

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have been collecting rent on a trailer on behalf of my son in law who is in the army . The trailer is on my property and the renters have abandoned the property leaving almost a house full of items that I need to clear out . They had not paid rent in 3 months but the bigger problem is they ran out on a $1000. Water bill and now I'm being told that more than likely a lien will be put on my property. The property is actually two separate lots. I cannot find the renters , there was only a month to month lease with no deposit . My question is do I have a right to sell the so said property to recoup my losses? Thank you.

Joyce, TX

A: Yes, but you should wait 60 days after they vacated.

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Published 2015-04-30

Dear Mr. Reno:
Great column. I have a California house I've rented for several years. When the tenants moved out in Dec 2014, I remodeled the house in Jan 2015, then put it on the rental market and interviewed several parties. All wanted financial or pet concessions which I wouldn't make. In the end, due to medical issues and not wanting to deal with tenant problems, I moved in the property myself. Question: Can I deduct the costs of remodeling even though I will have no rental income for 2015 since I had it on the rental market during and after remodeling and before deciding not to rent the property?
Thanks,

Mike E., CA

A: That's a tax question and I'm not a tax guy, but my first response when you say "can I deduct it" is "deduct it from what?" You have no rental income to deduct it from. You want to deduct it from your pay at the post office? That wont fly.

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Published 2015-04-29

Dear Mr. Reno:
My cousin has his gf living with him and heís the owner of the house. She got an order of protection against him and now heís living at his sisterís house. He is trying to get her evicted from his house. How long will it take him to get her out?

Diana M., Long Island, NY

A: He has to serve 30 day notice, then evict as holdover. Why don't you call me? I'm on the Island- 667-RENO.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have given storage unit tenant the required "written 30-day Notice to Vacate on April 15, 2015." He has 2 autos and 3 motor cycles that are torn down and probably do not run. Can we pull his vehicles out of our barn and leave them on the farm property for him to pick up? Would you advise that I contact an attorney or is this something we can do ourselves? My original lease did not have the required lien language listed below: 14. ABANDONED PERSONAL PROPERTY: ------, LLC has a lien on personal property stored in the leased space and that the ------ LLC may satisfy the lien by selling the personal property, as provided in this section, if the lessee defaults or fails to pay rent for the storage of personal property abandoned after the termination of the rental agreement.
------ LLC has the right to satisfy a lien against any vehicles or personal property that is not claimed within 30 days of the end of a lease period. Also any additional storage charges and any reasonable legal or other charges associated with removing or disposing of the Tenantís property will be charged against the Tenantís account. ------, LLC has the right to use any legal action necessary to remove any abandoned personal property of the Tenant.

Please advise at your earliest convenience. Many many thanks!!!

Linda K., WI

A: As long as you're not selling them or scrapping them, I don't see any problem with moving them.

Dear Mr. Reno:
Long story short. My sister has a verbally abusive boyfriend that lives with her that she is trying to remove him from the house. He has never paid a bill or helped around the house. He doesnít have a job. My sister owns the house, his name isnít on anything and this is no contract.
Does she have to get an eviction notice?
Thank,

Zak Tennessee

A: Yes.

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Published 2015-04-27

Dear Mr. Reno:
If I have a single-family living on my property in a separate building from my home, and they pay no money towards any rent/bills and have changed the locks (and not given me a key) as well as been a nuisance to other people on the property, what can I do in order to evict them and what can they do? Thank you

Jessica, California

A: Say what? You mean like squatters, renters, kinfolk? What's the deal Jess?

Dear Mr. Reno:
Is the house considered abandoned and can I begin clean up and change locks to prevent further damage and theft if a tenant: has not paid and/or completed a task that has been agreed upon in lieu of month rent, has stated they will move prior to the next month rent due date; all closets, drawers and cabinets have been emptied and with items taken that were to remain in the house as well as property has sustained documented damages; and keys were left on the counter. The deputy took pictures and filling out report, stated it appeared abandoned and to put up paper stating taking possession of property, no trespassing. But to check with magistrate court to see if I have to file eviction notice. Magistrate court personnel says that no advice can be provided and sent me to legal advacocy. Legal advocacy sent me to ga legal services, ga legal services said they can not advise and gave me the LPA website to contact.

Wanda St., state of Georgia

A: You convinced me. They're out. Move in Wanda.

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Published 2015-04-24

Dear Mr. Reno:
Both my daughter (32) and I (her father) are on the apartment lease until Aug. 31. I (father) want daughter evicted for illegal drug use (meth). Help!

Keith M., Colorado

A: I'm so often asked this question. I know of no way one tenant can evict the other. Unless you own the property, there has to be some form of a landlord-tenant relationship. If you find a way- let me know. I'll make millions.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I served a 14-day notice to a tenant with an unauthorized dog (pit bull) on 4/1/15. She failed to cure the violation by 4/14/15 (end of 14 day cure period) and has texted me she isnít getting rid of the dog. Kansas law indicates she now has to move by the 30th day after the notice date.
My question is, do I have to wait for her to not move out by the 30th or, am I able to proceed with suit for possession now?
Thank you for your help!

Steve, F., Johnson County, Kansas

A: You have to wait.

"The waiting is the hardest part."- Tom Petty

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Published 2015-04-23

Dear Mr. Reno:
If a tenant moves out and has the electric shut off without notifying myself or electric co. that the responsibility reverts back to me, and by doing so causes damage to rental property, can I use the security deposit towards the damages? Thank you.

Carol - PA

A: That's a new one! 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. If the tenant caused this damage, fine, but please follow proper procedure.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a situation the renters are not allowing me in the house to get things done with those in need. Such as reality company's for appraisals and repairs needed for value and repairs on the house, i have a contract and it says 24HR NOTICE. They also breach the payment agreement. I really prefer to talk via phone over email only cause its what i know at this ole age. About phone calls.... I am a bus driver so plz know the best to leave message if no answer and i will call back as soon as i can!! Thank you so much on this matter. I have also left you a message earlier.

Kimberly

A: As I've said many times on this website, those clauses allowing access on 24 hrs notice can not be enforced legally. So if it bothers you that much, wait 'til the lease is up and evict their butts.
Now non payment, that's different. You can bring them to court now for that and maybe you wont have to wait until the lease is up.

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Published 2015-04-22

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a tenant whose husband left her for another woman, then he ended up in jail on forgery and other charges.
Their lease has expired and per Florida statues they are on a month to month lease. The wife does not want him back.
My attempts at getting him to help her catch up the rent and give notice to get his name off the lease prior to his incarceration were met with hostility because they had been arguing on the phone before I called him.
v He told me not to contact him anymore. I sent him a text explaining that all legal notices would be sent to the lease address and I have not contacted him further.
The wife is continuously paying late despite my best efforts to work with her.
She caught up three months arrears with her 2014 tax return, but is again late with April's rent.
Can I non renew the lease to get him off the lease, assess damages and deduct from security deposit (Dog peed and pooped on floor before wife got rid of him) and require additional security deposit from her for slow payment history, but allow her to sign a new lease with me if she comes up with additional deposit?
Probably week to week?
Thanks so much for your assistance!
P.S. The floors have been damaged and I do not want to spend the cost of replacing them just yet. The house was built in 1927 and they only have the subfloor.
Sincerely,

Stephanie, Florida

A: As long as she consents, you can do your master plan, but when he gets out of the clink and returns, the fireworks will begin. In his mind (and legally) it's still his residence and the only way to end that is to evict him & her- which you sound like you don't want to do. I can understand you wanting to salvage this tenancy so you don't have an empty unit. But until you make a clean break with her, you may not be done with him.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I was wondering if the process for evicting a tenant is the same for a relative. I recently let my drug-using granddaughter into my house to get her into recovery. She has totaled my car and has brought drugs into my household. Do I have to file an eviction lawsuit against her even though we never agreed on rent? Thank you!

Edna W, Pennsylvania, Landlord

A: You should read the Sporazic decision on this Website. A case I won- Dad evicting grown daughter. The judge discusses these issues in depth.

"Recent Courtroom Victories"

Dear Mr. Reno:
I sent a polite, Iím sorry but, notice to my month to month tenants giving them 2 months to vacate. I need to move back into the main floor of my house due to family member illness and more space needed. They responded that my timeline was not good for them. That, they too, have family sickness and money issues and their son was getting married so they will be away and lose 2 weekends to look for something. I responded, extending them the 2 weeks, to June 15 2015. I have not heard from them and they have built a mistrust that they will actually move.

My questions:
Did I properly give them notice or ďlegallyĒ should I have them served?
What should my next step be and how soon should I do it?

Dorothy A., Suffolk County, New York

A: You can't give notice to vacate verbally. I mean, you can, but then if they don't leave, you can't start an eviction on that. Also, I know you were trying to be nice, but you can't ask someone to leave in the middle of the rented month.

You should call me. I handle your area 667-RENO.

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Published 2015-04-20

Dear Mr. Reno:
I (landlord) received Judgment notice with disposition date 2-6-15 for non-payment of rent. The tenant paid all but the filing/server fees which was also granted to me at that time. Did not pay any rent for next two months so took back to court. I received Judgment notice with disposition date 4-9-15, and grant possession if money judgment is not satisfied by the time of eviction. The tenant has paid nothing towards this. I want to evict. What do I need to do now? Thank you.

Carol N., PA.

A: You seem to have managed quite well so far. At this stage, you need to get the court to sign the eviction warrant to bring to the sheriff, Marshall or constable. See the Court clerk about getting the warrant (you may have to type an affidavit saying they didn't pay by 4/9/15.

Dear Mr. Reno:
On 4/13/15 I was noticed late in the day by my renters that the Power company removed the power meter from the property on 4/9/15 and that they have been without power. They are Vietnamese and speak very poor English. I immediately called an electrician, the electrician went to power company in the morning (I had to pay $465 permit/reconnect fee). He went to the house and found out that the elect. panel and meter had been tampered with. I have pics from Power Inspector and Electrician (I paid $800 to electrician) showing that the tenants removed huge added fuses to the panel, ran wire to meter, then ran out (underground/hard to notice) possibly to the abandoned house behind rental house on property. Evidence shows that the renters removed huge quantities of wiring and fuses (have pics) prior to calling me. I googled everything and I now fully believe they are running an illegal marijuana growing facility in both the attic of the old house and in my rental house. By the time I figured this out I immediately called an attorney who hasn't returned my call and I reported my possible suspicions to the Pierce County Sheriff departments drug line, in which I had to leave a recording. I. Am. Freaking. Out! Have I done the necessary steps? Can I do anything more? I want them out immediately!!!
Sincerely,

Meegan N., Landlord of residence in Tacoma, WA.

A: I know you'll think it's crazy, but one thing has nothing to do with the other. They may be criminals, but they're still tenants and still have a lease and pay rent. Most likely, they're not going anywhere until their lease expires.

If you want to give it the old college try, however, start with your lease. Some leases have clauses regarding termination for violation of law. Those clauses are hard to enforce, I'm sure its been done- but I've never seen it.

Second, does you lease make them liable in any way for your electrical expenses. If so, you could add to the rent and if they don't pay, evict for non-payment.

Now you have your homework assigned.

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Published 2015-04-16

Dear Mr. Reno:
If a tenant sends in a partial payment for rent do I still add late charges?
Thanks.

Carol

A: Yes. Of course.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have tenants who said they want me to apply their Security Deposit to April's rent, and they said they are making a good faith effort to move out by the end of April ... No assurances, though.

I am furious. They have been hostile and insulting.

I hold myself back from calling them, but no lawyer in my area wants to represent landlords. I've sent them two consecutive emails saying that they must be out by April 30 or sooner. I've also advised them that late fees are accruing and that their insulting and hostile emails have me concerned about possible malicious intent.

What should my next step be?

GK

A: So today's the 16th. Two weeks to go. You can start the eviction now for no pay April- or wait 'til 5/1 to see if they leave. That's your call. Good luck.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I live in Arkansas and I owner financed a house to a guy that now has decided that he will pay me when and if he decides to, and he's past the due date and penalty days and still has not paid. At closing the closing company had him sign a quit claim giving the house back to me if he defaulted, the theory being, all I would have to do is have it filed and recorded if he stopped paying.
My question:
how long do I have to wait before using the quit claim and does that give me immediate possession of the house if he's not physically there, but his possessions still remain inside? Do I have to give him notices and allow him time to get his stuff and destroy my property while he's moving out?
Thank you!

Gary Pruett, Arkansas

A: He's already defaulted so you can file it any time now, assuming there's no written agreement to the contrary. But Possession, that's another matter. If his stuff is there, he's in possession and you must evict. If he fights it, it could take a while.

Dear Mr. Reno:
Tenant paid first. Last & sec. 3 days into first Mo anoust the that there were Fleas. Tons of them. I wanted to go in and check it out. she said no that she had set off Flea bombs. Not Safe. 2 day later.

I stopped by she was not home. the locks were changed. 12 days later she came home saying she was not going to pay the amount of rent stated in the lease. on the 1st of 2nd month said she wasnít paying anything till thee 3rd mo. and if i wanted her out it would cost me $1400 Cash.

John , Florida

A: Start the eviction for non-payment on May 2, 2015. Don't dawdle.

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Published 2015-04-14

Dear Mr. Reno:
We live in Maryland and rent our townhouse in South Carolina. Our tenant signed a 1 year lease beginning January 2015. We just received the following text message from him:

"Just wanted to let you know that we have left the country. I have a lot of health issues and without insurance or a job in SC it's hard. We left some things behind in the house it's yours. The house was cleaned and keys are in the lock box. Sorry for the sudden news and thank you for helping us."

Now what do we do? How do we respond? Are we just left with a broken lease?
Thanks,

Kelly, MD

A: 1. Take Possession.

2. Renovate and rerent.

3. Calculate your damages (lost rent, etc.)

4. Get back to me, but note: if they really are out of the country as they say, Que Sera, Sera.

Dear Mr. Reno:
What do I do when the tenants caused over $4,000.00 worth of damage but only $1,100.00 in security on deposit?
I have after photos, but I do not have before photos. However, I do have a signed move-in inspection report listing the good condition.

Brenda W., Pennsylvania

A: Usually them things are resolved in small claims court. (Got New Address? You may need it.)

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Published 2015-04-11

Dear Mr. Reno:
My tenants took it upon themselves to get a plumber to fix a small leak in the bathroom and presented me with a receipt for parts and labor totaling $57.00. I was informed of the leak and told the tenant we would be there as soon as we could get there. It didn't sounded like it was anything major but just a small drip. The next day or 2 days later, I received a text letting me know the leak was fixed. I asked what was wrong with it and never heard from the tenant. When they paid their rent the following month, they gave me their receipts. Am I required to reimburse them for the repair of this "leak," which was most likely nothing more than a washer needing replacement? I'm sure we could have fixed the "leak" for a mere $2.00 or less for the washer. The receipt presented is just a receipt from a regular receipt book with no name or address on it from the person who supposedly fixed the leak.

Martha F.

A: Fifty-Seven dollars? That's your beef? I'm amazed that they could get a guy in for that.

Now I do agree that they were wrong to do the repair without notifying you first and giving you a chance to fix it. So you are right and they are wrong and you should send them a certified letter "Don't do that again!", etc., but please, don't go to war over this. Life's too short...

Dear Mr. Reno:
My question is if I suspect illegal activity at my property, what's my recourse and can I lose my property?

Tim B. in N.Y.

A: Yes, I have seen that usually when drugs are involved. In one case my old firm had, the owner was a woman in New Jersey that didn't know her son had turned her Long Island house into a crackhouse. The gov. seized the house. We spent 4 yrs in court to win it back b/c the owner had no knowledge.

Oddly, the landlord-tenant court will not let you evict on those grounds. You'll need to let the lease expire and not renew. Or give a 30 day notice if its month to month. You could tell the authorities, now about your suspicions- but I wouldn't recommend it. You'd be opening a can of worms.

Dear Mr. Reno:
have a lockout date in 10 days but my tenant has moved out already.
My question is: if I take possession and she shows up before the lockout date and wants to get In to my property can I be in trouble for taking possession before the lockout date?

Emilio, San Diego . CA

A: Got keys Emilio? Did she drop'em off? If not, probably a bad idea to enter. I guess is she's 100% out, lock, stock & barrel, you could say she's abandoned. But w/o the keys, you're on thin ice.

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Published 2015-04-10

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have an evicted tenant who has a substantial balance overdue. They filed chapter 7 but did not list me as a creditor on the bankruptcy paperwork. Can I still garnish her paycheck despite the bankruptcy filing?

Mitch and Jennifer

A: It sounds like they dropped the ball there. If you're not listed as a creditor, you're clear for take off. (Probably should wait 'til bankruptcy is done so they don't amend the petition.)

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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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