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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 (


Recent Court Victory

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


Published 2016-08-26

Dear Mr. Reno:
My tenant was hospitalized in July, he indicated an agency would be paying his rent payments. I have not had any communications with this "agency". His August rent was late by 10 days and $25 short. We have always had a contentious relationship, I prefer to communicate with him in writing, he insists on a conversation. He has told me that he wonít be paying his September rent, and will see me in court. His lease ends at the end of November. How do I proceed?

Thank you!

Cindy, New York

A: Well you wouldn't go to court over $25, the question is, what do we do in September? I would serve a Notice of Default on 9/2/16. Wait 10 days- then start a Non-payment eviction.

That is, unless you see signs of his vacateur. Has he started packing?

Published 2016-08-25

Dear Mr. Reno:
I manage a small hotel in Colorado. I have 17 rooms rented to a contractor for his employees.
At the start of last month, I told the site manager that there would be no refund for rooms that were vacated early. We agreed on this, however it was verbal. Although, I got 1/2 the rent on the 15th, he has not paid the remainder of the monthly rent agreement and is complaining that this is not fair.
Well, no other hotels in the area give a refund if the tenant leaves early. What recourse do I have if he doesnít pay?
Thank you,

Jean Flaherty,

A: "Sue the bastards"

Published 2016-08-24

Dear Mr. Reno:
Eviction hearing is next week for nonpayment of rent (2 months). Rent always late and history of tenant landlord cases. Will magistrate evict if children in home ages 6 and 10.
Thank you.

Vincene Smith, property in PA.

A: That wont stop the eviction. May give'em and extra couple of weeks or a month at most.

Dear Mr. Reno:
We have tenants of 4 years in our rental house. The wife keeps the house immaculately clean but is always complaining about little cosmetic things that she wants us to fix. Her husband recently called us on the phone and said his wife THINKS there is mold in her bathroom. We went over there an hour later and the baseboard molding outside the shower had a small amount of dry rot and a small hole. The grout on the floor under the molding was cracking. I saw no indication of mold and didnít smell mold. the wall and floor was dry, not damp. I said we would have a mold inspector come out and test. The tenant said we should just have the molding and drywall replaced and painted and that should take care of the problem. If there is mold in the wall then replacing the molding & painting will not take care of mold. If I have an inspection & mold test it will cost me $350. If there is no mold present then I am out that money. Or can I have the tenant pay for it if no mold is present? Should I have the testing done and consider the $350 the cost of being a landlord?

Should I ask the tenant to put his request in writing as required in his lease and then proceed with the testing if he states there is in fact mold?
We live in Arizona where mold is not that common.

Cindy Allison, Arizona

A: You checked it out yourself. You said no mold. So make the repair and forget about the mold.

Dear Mr. Reno:
My question is about the letter that explains why security deposit is being retained.

MA law states: "In the case of such damage, the lessor shall provide to the tenant within such thirty days an itemized list of damages, sworn to by the lessor or his agent under pains and penalties of perjury, itemizing in precise detail the nature of the damage and of the repairs necessary to correct such damage, and written evidence, such as estimates, bills, invoices or receipts, indicating the actual or estimated cost thereof".

What does "sworn under pains and penalties of perjury" mean? Is there some special procedure or a specific language I need to include?

Svetlana Trifonov, Newton,MA

A: Normally, I would just say that just means it get's notarized. But 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.

LPA Landlords usually use these forms:

  • The Security Deposit Settlement Statement allows you to make valid, itemized and explained deductions from security deposits.
  • Property Condition Report

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    I have used a leasing agent to manage my rent home. They have collected money from renters, but suddenly stopped paying me.

    1.) Do the normal eviction rules apply?
    2.) Are there unique violations committed when an agent is basically spending what should be escrowed funds?


    Martin, Houston, TX

    A: 1. Yes, except (see below)

    2. What is going on here? Do we even know if the tenants are paying? If the tenants are paying but the agent is stealing the money, that's not their fault and you can't evict. You understand that, right?

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    NYS case:
    Tenant has a co-signer not living in the premises.
    Tenant breach lease and has past due rent and damages, lives in county C.
    Co-signer lives in county A.
    Going to small claims court in county C to file against tenant.court date set.
    If I recd a judgement on tenant
    Not allowed to file against co-signer in county C.
    Do I file in County A for co-signer action?
    What steps and what do I need to do?
    Thanks for your help and your post are very informative.

    Linda, NY

    A: So on small claims, you have to sue both in their respective counties. There's only one catch is the second person you sue will try to use the judgement as a defense. You can fight that, but to be safe, sue the one 1st that you can garnish.

    Published 2016-08-19

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    I have a new tenant moving in 9/1. He has a 1 year lease at his current location that has expired or is beyond the 1 year term. When he approached his landlord about moving, he was told the lease automatically renewed for another year therefore he must continue rent payments until landlord finds another tenant. And, the landlord is increasing the monthly rent from $850 to $950 for new tenant. Can landlord enforce an automatic annual term renewal?
    Thanks for any help or considerations.

    Jerry Barry, Sulphur, LA

    A: Definitely maybe.

    If the lease automatically renews, that's a problem.

    Now in New York, they outlawed those clauses. The lease automatically goes month to month.
    But in LA, I don't know. You need to ask a local.

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    After I form an LLC, will it be necessary to rewrite the leases so the name of the LLC is on them ? Or am I protected by the LLC provided the rent checks are now written out to the LLC, instead of me personally ?

    Thank You -

    Tim F. , Schenectady, NY

    A: That's an easy one Tim. You do an assignment from the present landlord (you, I assume) to the LLC. You notify the tenant that you have assigned your rights to the rent to the LLC. When the lease expires, you amend it to change the name of the landlord to the LLC.

    There you go.

    Published 2016-08-11

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    I have tenants would be turning keys and move out by 08/14/16. Tenantsí last month rent was used and the landlord is holding one month of security deposit . However, he is not responding by email nor by call or text message for the time to turn keys. In this case, what should the landlord do? Can the landlord still go to the property on the 14th and change the lock? We have the proof of email that she stated to move out by 08/14/16 and their request to use the last month.

    Thanks you & Best regards,


    A: If they move out like they say, and you want to change the locks, that's fine. But if you go there on 8/15/16 and all their stuff is still there, you're on shaky ground, even with the e-mail. You can't move in until they're out. Got it?

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    Is it possible to change the date that rent is late from the 10th to the 5th prior to the expiration of the lease. Our lease says that rent is due on the 1st and late on the 10th. We would like to change the 10th to the 5th.
    Many Thanks,

    Debra King, Alabama

    A: You can always amend a lease. But an amendment has to be signed by both parties. You can't do it unilaterally mid-term.

    Will the tenants sign up for that?

    Published 2016-08-08

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    I have a tenant that sent me notice that he is moving out September 6th and to apply his security deposit as last months rent.
    Unfortunately I can not find the lease that I had signed with them and do not know if I have a leg to stand on without having the lease. I know that I gave them a copy, but can not find mine.
    So I have any recourse with this situation.

    Janet McKain

    A: Number one, don't worry about the lease. Your only options are to wait and see or evict now for non-payment.
    Its a tough call Janet. It depends on the tenant. Can you trust him? Or will he stab you in the back and make you evict anyway, except a month later.
    Pick your poison.

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    If a tenant is required to provide a 30 day notice in writing to vacate and does so but then vacates the apartment before the end of the 30 day time period, does the tenant forfeit their right to receive their security deposit back??

    Christine, Illinois

    A: Well that's the first time a landlord complained that the tenant left too soon, but 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 "forfeit" here, you're on thin ice.

    (Check out The LPA Lease)

    Published 2016-08-04

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    We have a warrant if eviction, stating tenant has to be out by July 31,2016 or she owes us $5100. Can she get an extension?

    Sebrina B., Long Island, Suffolk County

    A: Always.

    Published 2016-07-29

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    I have a 5 unit multi and recently had to hire an exterminator for a bed bug infestation. A tenant in the building wrote me a letter when I first purchased property a year ago admitting that it was because of his actions the bed bug infestation occurred. The tenant shared with me that because the washer and dryer were broken he was forced to do laundry at a local laundromat. The tenant stated that the use of public laundromat was the cause of the bed bug infestation in his apartment and subsequently spread to other units. He attempted to self remedy his unit with no success and ultimately reached out to me for help, way after the fact. I hired a professional exterminator at a cost of $4,200 to treat and then retreat building and subsequent inspection to verify.

    So, my question, do I have the right to bill my tenant for this expense? Via his own admission it was his actions that caused this bed bug concern. Your thoughts and perspective are greatly appreciated.

    Richard Schultz Ė Cleveland Ohio

    A: A lot depends on what your lease says. If the lease makes the tenants responsible for their own pest control, then you have a leg to stand on. Otherwise, probably not.

    Just because the tenant caused it, that doesn't necessary mean its his fault. The infestation wasn't intentional, obviously, and from what you say, doesn't even show a reckless disregard. It just happened.

    Stuff happens.

    Published 2016-07-22

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    This is rather involved but I'll try to condense as much as possible.
    I have a permitted "rec room" for my autistic son and later added a tub/shower in hopes someday he'd like to stay back there on his own.

    The woman who was to become his legal guardian when I died was about to be homeless so I allowed her to stay in the back rec room. She knew full well it wasn't legal and agreed to pay a stipend.† When she began taking advantage of my good nature I stopped allowing her usage of my washer/dryer, as they kept breaking and she offered no contribution to the repairs, and I changed the locks to my home so she had no access to my house. †I †then wrote a rental agreement from May, 2015 to May 2016 which she broke in Sept., 2015, the last month she gave me any money for anything.† She then reported to the Bldg. & Safety the illegal tub/shower so I had to comply and have it removed. She became belligerent, cops were called, she doused me with a hose and threatened me, cops called again.† She filed a case with the Rent Stabilization Board but it was closed and they said no relocation fees would be awarded at this time.† However, she refuses to move. We have no conversation. The last time we spoke she said she could be out in July but I had to comply with the City and remove the tub so I could get my permit for the rec room back, which happened. †

    She now has "strange" people coming and going at all hours of the day and night, leaves the side gate open when my son is playing in the backyard, blows her marijuana smoke out the door so he has to breathe it in and I'm a senior citizen, on 24/7 oxygen and can't handle that smell or smoke. †

    I want to serve her with an eviction and have no intention of paying relocation fees, especially since she's been living rent/utility free for almost 11 months now, but I was informed the wording cannot contain monies.† Safety would be one but what else can I put on an eviction and would a judge award her relocation fees even 'tho she hasn't paid a cent for all this time? †

    I live in Los Angeles, a tenant friendly CityÖ..I'm out of money and have no clue what to do at this point.† I just know I want her OUT and as soon as possible. †

    Any suggestions?
    Thank you for your time.

    Roni Perlut

    A: Your solution is with the rental agreement. She signed it, that makes her a rent paying tenant in default.

    Forget the pot. Forget the strangers and the washer. This is a nonpayment of rent eviction. Keep it simple.(KIS) = Keep it simple.

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    Is it legally sufficient to have a guarantor sign a guarantor form only, or is it better to have them co-sign the lease agreement as well? Thank you.

    Vicki Seabrook, New York

    A: Either way gets the job done, but the lease is intended to be signed by the tenants which means the occupants.

    Published 2016-07-21

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    I live in NJ and rent the 2nd floor apartment in my home (which I occupy the 1st floor). Tenant's one year lease expired Oct 31 2015 and I let it slide into month-to-month. Upon move-in she had 2 small dogs and 2 cats along with her daughter. She gave me 60 days notice on June 1, 2016 when she paid June's rent because she was buying a home (closing was set for June 30th). On July 7th she was mostly out of the apt.but not completely until July 10th. When I asked her about July's rent on July 5th she said she wasn't planning on paying. Upon walk thru of the unit with a realtor, I was told I needed to have the carpets professionally cleaned because the unit smelled of pet urine. I have her security deposit of 1 1/2 months' rent. Am I entitled to withhold July's rent since no definitive move-out date was stated in her notice to vacate along with cost to clean the apartment?
    Thank you in advance,

    Pat Paretti, Garfield, New Jersey

    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 to deduct lost rent, you're on thin ice.

    Published 2016-07-13

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    I have a tenant in my coop who owes part of June and all of July rent. 2 days ago the hot water heater broke. I do not have the money to fix this and cover the bills without her rent. Her lease is up September 1st. I intended to let the bank foreclose on the property after her lease is up.
    Can I begin the foreclosure process now and not fix the hot water heater?
    Do I have to give her security back?
    Can I just sign off on the property?

    Kristen Dross from NY

    A: 1. No
    2. Maybe
    3. Ask the bank.

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    Quick question: if I am going to small claims court to file breach of lease and damages , do I add name of co signer to the case ? or file separately? The co signer lives in different county in NY.
    Also you represent in Westchester ? Thanks

    Lyn A., New York State

    A: Both tenants should be named, but in small claims, I don't think they'll allow it. The Court will probably tell you to sue other tenant separately in his County. :(

    Published 2016-07-12

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    I have tenants who are consistently late with rent. This month, they are not just late, but refuse to contact/talk with me at all about it.
    It's been 8 days thus far.
    I thought they had vacated property without†paying the†rent. I put a 24 hr. notice to enter property. I entered and some of their things were still there. The place was a disaster.

    † I left on the†floor inside of house by door, a three day or quit notice.
    I also told them I would deem the property 'abandoned if i didn't hear from them.

    If I don't hear from them within 3 days, what should I do?
    If it's deemed abandoned, what are my rights?

    Thanks so much for your help. †

    Sally Barrett, Eugene, Oregon

    A: I think you're okay. Sounds like they abandoned. Hold onto the junk in storage 'til the end of month. Let me know if they return.

    Published 2016-07-07

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    I have a situation,and need advise on which letter use.
    I have a tenant that it's months late. She lost her job. Do I send a late, breach of contract,and vacate to move letters?

    I do want her to move immediately.

    My second, can u garnish someone wages from work for back rent and what is that process??


    Jennifer Aaron LPA Member

    A: 1. You send a Three day Notice of Default. (Notice to Pay Rent or Quit)

    2. Do the eviction first. As part of that process you may get a money judgment you can use to garnish the wages.

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    We have a tenant whose lease is coming to an end. The other day, she said "I'm leaving, and this is my 30 days' notice." But, the lease clearly states, "If the Tenant decides not to renew the lease, Tenant must provide Thirty (30) daysí notice to the other party. Said 30 day period shall begin on the first day of the next ensuing rental month and NOT on the day upon which the termination notice is served upon the Landlord. The Tenant must continue to pay all Rent and Additional Rent during the thirty (30) day period prior to vacating the premises."

    So, she SHOULD pay until the end of August. What is our recourse if she leaves early and doesn't pay until then?

    J & L, Bethpage, NY

    A: Well technically they should have given notice prior to 7/1/16. SO when did she give it? You said "the other day".

    If you got it around 7/2, & you want to sue for August rent, the judge may say its a "nitpick" & not award you August. It's happened to me.

    Published 2016-07-06

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    I own a condo in Greenville, NC. The condo is managed by a property manager. In late April, I requested an on site visit of the unit with the property manager. When we entered the unit, I found that the unit was completely destroyed. Walls were filthy, ceiling fans were filthy, the carpets were completely destroyed and had to be removed, cigarette burns were in visible on a bathroom floor and walls, toilets were loose. The appliances are so filthy that they need to be replaced. The unit is loaded with insects. The tenant occupied this condo for four years. The property manager never indicated that there was a problem.

    There is approximately $14,000.00 of damage caused by the tenant. The property manager described the as "hard living". I have 100+ pictures of the filth and damage. I feel like the property manager did not perform his "fiduciary" responsibility to protect the property from waste and destruction.

    I feel that the property manager is responsible for the extensive damage that occurred as a result of not inspecting and actually managing the property on my behalf. He was negligent. I would like your opinion regarding suing the property manager to recover the cost of the damage from his liability insurance.

    Your comments will be sincerely appreciated.

    Best regards,

    Joseph O., CT / NC

    A: It's a tough case. You would need a written, signed contract between you and the PM where he accepts responsibility for making sure the tenants aren't slobs and generally maintain the unit. Preferably requiring scheduled periodic inspections. Even then, how are the cigarette burn's his (property manager's) fault?

    You could try it. To me, it sounds like throwing good money after bad. You won't likely get a lawyer to take this case on contingency. You'd have to pay upfront.

    Good luck!

    Published 2016-06-30

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    I have a tenant that signed a Lease on June 27 with a start date of July 1. He paid me first month rent and security deposit of $1350 and $1600 respectively. He called late the same night and said he wants to cancel the lease and will not be moving in.

    Can I keep is security deposit of $1600? The lease says he will receive a refund of sec deep if he fulfills the terms of the lease. He did not because he did not give me notice, etc. BUT he also did not move in yet. He was not given keys either. I will stay in the vacant unit until I find a tenant. So I guess I must refund the rent he paid. But can I keep the security deposit?

    I had to cancel my flight back home and had other expenses as well as a result of him canceling.

    Thank you,

    Tom Palmisano, Tennessee

    A: If you want to give him the rent & keep the security, that's not a bad settlement- but I personally think you can keep it all. He signed the lease- that's a contract. He breached it.

    Published 2016-06-29

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    We rent out the an apartment in our two family home in NYC, there are only two units so I believe it is non-regulated. The tenants moved in with one year lease 5 yrs ago, no renewal of lease was ever done. Recently there have been problems, and arguments with tenants, resulting in two complaint emails from them about dog poop in the backyard. My main question is, to get rid am I better off raising the rent substantially that they would not want to or be able to afford to stay, or simply issue a 30 day notice to vacate. Can they fight the 30 day notice to vacate because of the 2 complaint emails, I feel they are laying ground work with complaint emails in order to fight leaving(canít ask to vacate in retaliation). Can they fight rent increase?

    John, NYC

    A: Don't do the rent increase. That only complicates it. Just a 30 day Notice. Keep it simple. These e-mails don't amount to a hill of beans.

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    I'm writing you concerning attendant that I have.

    This tenant is claiming she has bedbugs. I have rented out this dwelling before and I never had a problem. The only problem I had was with fleas leave and we bomb for them and got rid of them. Another is headed moved in and he lived there for about 3 to 4 weeks he never complained of any bedbugs anything not even the even the fleas. This tenant moved in after the gentleman moved out and we also clean the place out do our regular bombings and everything. She moved in March 21, 2016, and now June 26, 2016 we heard about bedbugs. She accused me of moving her into an infested home with bedbugs. I immediately told her I nothing about no bedbugs but I did remind her about all that trash she had on the back deck and I kept telling her to get rid of it taken to dump you got a car and she never did. We know kills for snakes at her back deck. I did offer to go out and check the place out for myself and take care of the bedbug situation.

    I went out one day she wasn't home and she call me again on a Sunday and I told her I was out there she was not home. I offered to buy the stuff and get the place bombed out bedbug I told her at the same time they would have to remain out of the house for at least four hours or more and I will be there the first thing the next morning. I further told her that all food and everything will have to be secured and put away this is chemicals we will be using in this process all all food needs to be wrapped up and put away. The next morning I was calls and it was stated by her roommate she don't have time for that now, she has to fix her car. Space from then on I have not heard from this tenant until last night when the when the rent there was all this uproar about the bedbugs. The tenant never once told her mother that I offered to do it she declined wasn't there she decline she was there.

    In my lease it states any infestation must be taking care of the tenant. But I offered to help and what I received was her mother calling my cell phone calling me and every afterword and afterword and threatening to take me to court and telling me I would have to pay her daughter rent from the day she moved in.

    I would like your advice on this matter because I looked it up about bedbugs decay from anywhere anybody coming in your home staying in your home somebody sitting in your furniture.

    Please respond as soon as possible
    thank you

    Denise M.

    A: Well you offered to bomb and she blew you off, so, I don't know what her beef is.

    Also, is this a single house or an apartment in a multiple dwelling? That makes a big difference. In an apartment, its very hard to establish its the tenants fault. But if they're all alone there, where you never had bed bugs, they they brought them, obviously.

    Either way, you offered a treated, so you have fulfilled your landlord duty.

    Published 2016-06-28

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    If a tenant has told me they have a PFA on an ex and even gave me their photo to id them if they come around the rental property. Can I order that person off my property even without the tenant knowing? If I see him at her porch lurking around?

    Thank you

    Sylvia, New Castle, PA

    A: Call the cops. (Don't be a vigilante like Charles Bronson in Death Wish.)

    * PFA = (Protection from Abuse Order)

    Published 2016-06-24

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    I hired a property management co. one year ago and decided not to renew with them (they were slow in finding renters for my 2 units). I sign with new company. After old co. finds out I will not renew with them they QUICKLY find 2 renters before their contract is up and sign them up (without my knowledge or approval) for both of the units. Renter has credit score in 500's and co-renter is unemployed). They stop paying rent after 1 month.

    QUESTION isn't old property management company responsible for this situation? I may have to go to court to get them out. I say they failed to do their due dilgence. They also failed in their fiduciary duty. I'm also concerned people in other unit will stop paying also. It's clear they signed these people up just to collect their finders fee. Can I take legal action against old management company? I paid these people and it looks like they found anyone off the street, again just to collect finders fee. Look forward to hearing from you shortly.

    Albert Broussard, California,

    A: I feel your pain Albert. But it's a tough case. Why don't you sue for about $5000 in small claims? Only cost about $20 & no lawyer.

    Because if you have a lawyer for this, you could be throwing good money after bad. You have to prove your case. It's not a slam dunk- believe me.

    Published 2016-06-23

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    Unit was rented with One portable air conditioner unit in the living room .
    The tenant is asking (will send receipt for credit )for a unit for his kids bedroom as "it is not safe " due to extremely hot(temp 100+ today)

    Is Landlord responsible ?
    Thank you

    Angela A.

    A: No way Ray. Never seen it. Never heard of it.

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    Thanks for taking your time to provide this service. My name is Dave and I live in Georgia. I gave a tenant 30 days to move out and a few days before the time was up he asked if he could stay another month because he couldn't find a place he liked and because I had not found a new tenant I let him stay. Now this month is almost up and I found a new tenant but he will not leave and says I have to give a months notice again. I took his word and did not make a contract for the 1 month (my mistake) so I wanted to know If there is any way around this?

    Dave, GA

    A: If he stopped paying the rent- evict now for no pay.
    Otherwise, give him notice b/4 7/1 to leave 7/31. But if he doesn't pay rent on 7/1 then evict in July for no pay.
    Got it?

    Published 2016-06-20

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    I own two properties. I just need to know what is really considered wear and tear. My tenants think that anything it breaks or cracks in the house is wear and tear. I would love to discuss with her what reasonable wear and tear means. Please let me know.

    Sara in Florida

    A: According Black's Law Dictionary (i.e "the Bible") "Natural wear and tear" means "deterioration or depreciation in value by ordinary and reasonable use of the subject- matter." In my experience if something "breaks", that's not wear and tear.

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    My sister was staying in a trailer on 1 acre of land belonging to my parents. She volenrarily vacated the residence over 2 years ago but her and her husband left property at the residence. What are the rules of thumb regarding abandoned property, can we get rid of the existing property?

    Charles, Callahan, Florida

    A: It's been 2 years! What were you waiting for, "end of days"?

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    If I allow my niece and nephew to live in my home rent and utility free with no rules other than no law breaking drugs etc am I a landlord?

    Would I be required to evict either of them if they failed to move elsewhere at my request?

    Agnes, Duval County Florida

    A: 1. No
    2. Yes.

    The misconception here is even though there is no landlord/tenant relationship - that doesn't mean you won't still end up in eviction court. You've got squatters, unwelcomed guests, invitees- all sorts of characters. You still need a warrant of eviction from a court before the Cops, Sheriff or Marshall will boot'em.

    Published 2016-06-15

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    I am renting my townhouse to a lady and she had her boyfriend bring a pitbull over night with out my permise. I also live in the townhouse. Can I evict her for doing that. Also I am renting the master bedroom to her and her 16 year old daughter. The mother has been having guys over night in the room. Is that legal. There also a couple of other things.

    Thank you for any information

    Kristi Fuller, OR

    A: Tough to legislate against bad behavior. Her Guests are her choice- I hope nothing too weird going on with the guy & the daughter. But no legal recourse there.

    The dog can be a technical lease violation. You can start with a letter & then a Notice of Default. Maybe that will get a reaction?

    Court process is very difficult in this area. Very few tenants successfully evicted for improper pets. You could try. Do you want to go to war over this? Could be some battle.

    Published 2016-06-13

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    Hello I am Adriana S. a landlord from Addison, IL, I have a tenant that has broken their lease by being late for the last 8 months, they now owe me 2 months rent, have left the apartment for the last 30 days, both vehicles have been gone also without notifying me, i have asked to enter the apartment they have not met me for entry. Now they are not answering their phones or responding in any way. I believe they have gone out of state to California to move back home without paying the back due rent. Rent-a-center has been coming to the apartment to try and collect the rented furniture for non-payment. Is this considered abandonment? What is my remedy as a landlord in the state of Illinois? Thank you.

    Adriana S., Addison, IL

    A: You are right smack in the middle of the proverbial "gray area." HAVE THEY VACATED OR NOT? That is the question.

    So, there's no law that requires you to evict if they've already left, obviously. But have they? If their valuables are still there, they're still in possession. Big screens? Clothing? Good furniture? You tell me.

    Published 2016-06-10

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    Hi. I live in colorado. We had to move quickly for a job in a different town. We posted the house for rent and were contacted by a family. My husband and I realized traveling 4 hours for maintenance would be too difficult. †We advised interested party we decided not to rent. They said what if we do all maintenance? Ok. Done. Instead of a deposit they agreed to do a few things we couldnt do before we moved. Anyway. Nothing repaired. Rent 4 to 15 days late. Water bill still in my name, almost disconnected. †We drove by property to see deck destroyed and unsafe as well as a brand new swing set we couldn't take. Trash everywhere, lawn dead...etc. posted a notice that we would be down in 1 weeks to.fix things. I have not been able to contact them since. Told me last time i talked to them that i was harrasing them because i would ask when rent would be paid after they were late. Any advice? I just want them gone. † †


    A: Oh boy, †Big problema.

    You didn't mention about the lease. †I hope you didn't give them a year or more. †This is why, I don't like the one year lease to start with new tenants. †I prefer six months. †Now if these people don't pay, you'll do a non-payment eviction. †But if they pay, even late, your going to be stuck with them until the lease expires and then evict as holdovers.

    Just to top it off, you let them in without security. †Another "no-no".

    Another lesson learned.

    Published 2016-06-08

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    Am I responsible for safety brackets and installation of air conditioners in my rent stabilized 8 family building?

    Josephine A., New York

    A: Jo, you have stumped the panel. I have no idea. Try the rent stabilization board.

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    I have a California home tenant whose 2 year lease expires 8/1/2016. Due to their constant fix-it demands, (all taken care of), I have decided NOT to renew their lease and sent the LPA 60 day non-renewal lease notice on 5/31/2016.

    Apparently they are out of the country for 3 weeks and have requested that I extend their lease for an additional month to Sept. 1 so they can have "adequate time" to find another home. I'm concerned that extending the lease for an additional month may lead to additional requests for more time as the rental market inventory in SF Bay area is very limited.

    These haven't been bad tenants - only very demanding, and their housekeeping is poor.

    Should I consider extending for an additional month or am I better off sticking to terms of the lease and avoiding future headaches?
    Also how does one even extend an additional month that would include an ironclad finish date? Thank you,

    Peter, CA

    A: Oh, give'em one more month. They're given you advance notice. Most tenants just sit there and make you evict them.
    Do a lease extension to 9/1/16 on the LPA form which will have a clear termination date.
    (Don't be a meanie.)

    Published 2016-06-06

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    I manage a property CA and realize that you are not in this state...but hopefully will know the answer..

    † I have a tenant whose lease expires end of June.† The owner decided NOT to renew the lease and had me advise tenant that the lease was not going to ve renewed and also give a 60 notice to move.

    Question is"
    Tenant seems to think that the 60 notice to move negates the lease and that he does not have to pay for June.† He has moved effective tomorrow, June 3rd.

    † Is he liable for the rent to the end of the lease of is he correct in his information?

    † Thank you for your time

    Cheryl Harmon, CA

    A: Yes, he is still liable for June.

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    Thank you for your help.

    Iím Carrie from Evanston, Illinois. Iím a landlord and my tenant Joyce broke the leasing contract 3-month ahead. She also burned the countertop. Iím holding her one-month rent as deposit. What I can do to recover my loss?

    Carrie, IL

    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 for lost rent, you could be on thin ice.

    Published 2016-06-03

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    I am in Arizona. We have a commercial building that we rent out. The tenant just moved out and we discovered that two commercial grade deadbolts have been replaced with cheap residential deadbolts, and the tenant only gave us the key to one. When they moved in all four locks ( 2 deadbolts and 2 door knobs) were all commercial grade and keyed alike. Now we have 2 cheap deadbolts that are not compatible even with our other locks, and 3 different keys. I know we are responsible for rekeying the locks, but can we deduct the replacement of the missing commercial grade deadbolts from their deposit?
    Thank you,

    Anna, AZ

    A: You go right ahead & deduct that (the nerve of some people.)
    Please save your receipts.

    Published 2016-06-02

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    Thank you for your attention. real short. my brother, who I allowed in my home while I traveled nurse, March 2015, With no rental contract. A case of He said, she said.

    He met woman on date site, married May 9 2016. He moved her into my house April 2015. I have been telling him to get out. Being in Wisconsin and NC and Texas in 2015 did not allow me to process through courts. In home state, in March, 2016 I started process of eviction. Because I accepted money during eviction process, I have to start over. My 1,000 dollar attorney knew this up front about money acceptance. Case dropped to restart process.

    Now, brother has locked screen doors and changed garage door keypad code. Refuses to cooperate to let me in house. Water was in his, then fiancee, name, up to today, in which she told water company she will no longer be residing there, as of June 1, 2016. Water company called me and asked for my address. Well THAT is my address! Now, water in my name, they are both in there, won't let me in.

    Can I legally turn water off? Electricity company has not called. I will call them and water in morning. I'm homeless, feeling helpless and angry. What can I do?? I live in OH.

    Dana L., OH

    A: What a mess!

    Turning off the water (or lights) is generally a "no-no." You can get a summons from the Health Department- or even arrested for that. So that's not the answer.

    You had the right idea- an eviction. Sorry it didn't work out- but that was the proper path so if you want possession, all I can say is don't give up.

    Published 2016-05-31

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    Hello: I am in San Diego and in Sept 2014 had a young military couple with 2 standard boxer dogs move into a single family home with a large, well landscaped, sprinkler/drip system yard. The lease is specific on them returning the landscaping in the condition they received it and I have a gardener who comes in 2x a month to mow the lawn and trim the flowers/bushes (lease states they are still responsible for landscaping nonetheless, ie watering hot spots, calling me if gardener doesn't show etc). †

    The dogs are horrific, untrained, large, rambunctious, dig, and have over this time ruined the outdoors/yard.† It has been addressed many times, including the removal of the feces which is a constant mess. They have made promises about training, fencing, supervising, but the destruction continued. It seemed senseless to replace the sod and landscaping/ground cover until they were leaving. ††

    About 6 months ago I saw another boxer there. They lied about the dog (said: it's visiting) but as the destruction continued (borders torn up, sod is dead and down to bare dirt, digging until tree roots are exposed and chewed, borders dug up exposing weed cloth, drip system dug up) I gave them a 3 day notice (5/25/16) because I saw the 3rd dog present 3x over 10 days.† Tenant admits today they snuck in and own a third boxer, which is against city rules (2 dog per household maximum) and was not permitted on their lease.† ††

    The husband was transferred to Virginia last month, the lease ends Aug 31, 2016 and wife, working FT, cannot control the dogs.† †

    † I wrote them on April 3, 2016 that seeing the 3rd dog again would be grounds for eviction. So the 3 day notice ends next Tuesday (may 31) and I truly do not know how to remedy it because they aren't going to get rid of a family pet. I feel if I evict a judge won't allow it (because they pay rent on time).† If I ask for additional security to pay for the damage later, it is like saying it's OK to have the 3rd dog and destruction continues for 3 months (and how can I complain because I said it was OK to have 3 dogs?). †

    † I do not want another 90 days of destruction.† I feel bad about evicting with the wife home alone but I would like to give them 30 days to get out.†

    † The question of how to renovate the yard is also looming because tenants say don't worry, they will 'seed it' before they go which is impossible in the SoCal heat plus new tenants would have to water it, baby it, not use it for weeks; seeding is no way as effective a ground cover as sod, which had an indefinite life until it was pounded down to dirt.† There was also groundcover & bushes when they moved in (done by a licensed contractor), now I plan to renovate using less sod and more DG which is cost effective for them versus replacing all the sod which was killed, but I don't know how much of the renovation is allowed in landscaping ruination? It is so much more clear when a tenant damages a house. Naturally the tenants are planning a cost of $300-$500 when it will be 6x that cost, AND they want to be part of the decision making and plan to do the renovation themselves. ††

    In 30 years of tending rentals, I have not had to deal with this kind of destruction.† Tenant said today her parents are moving in with her next month (?!!) and can help manage the dogs and they 'have done lots† of yards' and I do not want to get into arguments with her father about how to renovate that yard or who is going to do it. I have been told I should have fixed the yard as time went on and continued to bill them as the dogs continued to be unsupervised, but this seemed senseless after the first sprinkler/flood incident. ††

    I would like direction on: can I evict them (will a judge uphold an eviction because of the dogs destruction)? should I take additional security deposit on the dog? Am I liable breaking City Law because they have too many animals? Is there direction on what I can withhold from their security deposit in the matter of yard/landscaping renovation? (I have before photos) ††

    I am dreading this going on another 90 days and feel as if I am watching dollars fly out my window day by day with no control.† Thank you for any advice and direction.† †

    Jackie Mitchell, California

    A: No. The City may give them a summons, for the extra day- but that wont evict them.
    If you can get it.
    After they vacate, out of pocket expenses only- you may deduct.

    Published 2016-05-25

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    New tenants moved into my single family home.† After one month, they want out.† Thatís fine.† Now she wonít let me show the house to new, incoming tenants till she is out of the house.† Can I keep her security deposit to cover the month of loss rent?

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

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

    Claire, Rhode Island

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

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

    Dear Mr. Reno:
    Hello. First time as a Landlord and it has been a nightmare. I bought a house for a friend, so doesnít matter how much you go over things....I know!
    I did have a lease and she was late from the first due on the 1st, no late fees, no grace period. I let her move in early as she was anxious ( Nov 20th) Rent Due Dec 1st.
    She paid Dec 10th. I talked to her about this.
    Paid Jan 8th AFTER I text her. ( I Gave her a 45 day written notice to move) Because of late rent and safety issues surrounding her stay.

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

    Found marijunna in a bag Called police and they pointed to a scale, which I didnít notice or know what it was and a box of zip lock bags.

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

    Andrea L....Ohio

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

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

    Published 2016-05-24

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

    Tracy, CA

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

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

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

    David D., TX

    A: Finally, a clear thinker.

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

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

    I look forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you,

    Andrea Fatell

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

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

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

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

    Bobroy, CA

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

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

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

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