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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 2017-10-12

Dear Mr. Reno:
My tenant is 2months past due on rent and moved out and thrashed and damaged the house. I don't have his address to file a claim but I have his parents address and phone number from one of his rent check. I have pictures of thrashed. Can I contact his parents about this. Please advise. Thanks

Lakshmi Srikanth, Georgia

A: You certainly can, but to what end? You need a new address for this dirtbag so you can sue'em.

Dear Mr. Reno:
Question: Do I have to refund the tenant's security deposit?

My tenant had a car accident (June 24). Caused damage to • My interior garage wall, including studs & sewer line • My neighbor's garage wall, studs

Tenant's auto insurance accepted full liability.

Contractor hired to repair my side of the shared garage wall.

Contractor began work on 8/28. Halted work due to permit.

Tenant moved out 9/3.

Contractor got permit, City Inspector reviewed on 9/6. Condo did not pass inspection because the neighbor needs to complete repairs.

Condo has been vacant since 9/3 - and I cannot list for sale (realtor hired, seller disclosure statements completed, unit cleaned top to bottom) until the City Inspector passes the inspection.

Do I have to return the security deposit when the damages were caused by the tenant, and they were not yet completed by the time the tenant vacated the property?

I have suffered damages (loss of rent, and unable to sell) because of the auto accident. Thanks, Jennifer


Full Story:
My tenant had a car accident in June, running into the inside garage wall. It caused damage to my garage (studs and sewer line) and also damaged the studs in the adjacent neighbor's garage. The tenant did not call or email me to advise of the accident. But I happened to be in town and asked to stop by to inspect the condo. I was there for 30+ minutes before I asked to look at the garage on my way out, and that is when the tenant came clean about the accident that she said happened two days earlier.

The tenant's auto insurance company accepted full liability and covered the damage to my garage. It took some time to get quotes from three contractors. The tenant got the quotes, and I selected one of them. The repairs finally began two months after the accident, and we expected they would be completed in one day (Aug 28). Unfortunately, a permit was required, so the repairs came to a halt. In the meantime, the tenant moved out of the condo (Sept 3). The permit was obtained and a City Inspector came to review the repairs (Sept 6). The City Inspector did not pass the inspection as the adjacent neighbor had damage. The neighbor had not been willing to file an insurance claim as it turns out, they had illegally converted their garage into a living space. I immediately brought this to the HOA management company with this information, and also filed a Housing Habitability complaint with the City.

In addition to the garage damage, the condo was a mess. I do not think they ever cleaned the window blinds or cabinets. The refrigerator, toilets, showers, and bathroom sinks were immaculate, but the rest of the place was a disaster.

I have spent numerous hours on the phone with the HOA, the City Planning & Building Department, met with City Inspectors, talked with the HOA Attorney, talked with the neighbor and a Chinese translator for 1.5 hours on a Sunday. At this point, the condo has been vacant for 4.5 weeks and it still is not on the market. The real estate agent was hired, the condo was cleaned from top to bottom, but due to the tenant's car accident in June, I have not yet been able to list the condo for sale. I expected the condo would be in escrow by now, and it's not even on the MLS.

The tenant is now asking when she will receive her security deposit back. Because of her car accident, the condo was not returned to me in rent-able or sell-able condition as the garage wall was still open and not fully repaired.

Am I on the hook to refund the tenant's security deposit?

Thank you for your input.


Jennifer Maher, California

A: (This takes the cake. Now the tenants are having MV accidents IN THE UNIT!)

If you're planning to hold this money until you find a buyer, that's not going to fly. You need to itemize your out of pocket repairs and clean up, and refund the balance within 30 days of move out so get going.

You may be interested in the following LPA Forms,
Settlement Charges Guide,
Property Condition Report checklist
Security Settlement Statement

Published 2017-10-11

Dear Mr. Reno:
EVICTION COURT: I asked the judge if I could get reimbursed for the gas expense. I have to travel 350 miles round trip to take the Tenant to court. The judge said no. Is she right?

Elias Nieto in NEW MEXICO

A: I've seen leases that give landlords late charges, court costs, legal fees & sheriff fees. But travel expenses? Never saw that one. Never heard of it. I guess the judge is right.

Dear Mr. Reno:
If tenant is on a year lease and signs an addendum that allows owner to give 30 days notice in case of a sale does tenant also have a right to give 30 days notice before leaving?

K, Angelo, Illinois

A: No. Not really. You're asking shouldn't it work both ways? Good for the goose, good for the gander? I don't think so. I have heard that if the landlord gets lawyers fees in a lease, than the tenant can get lawyers' fees if they win, whether or not the lease says. So that does work both ways.

But on right to terminate, I don't think so. It would have to say the tenant can cancel.

Dear Mr. Reno:
Hope you are having a nice day sir.
I'm dealing with a tenant who was convicted of domestic abuse charges (which took place on my property) and consequently fled the country and broke his lease in the meantime. He gave no notice before leaving Los Angeles and returning to his home in England. We have taken his entire security deposit but he still owes $2500. Do you have any advice as to how I can get the remaining money owed to us from him? Hope to hear back from you Mr. Reno and thank you for your time!

Matt Willens, CA

A: Collect a judgment from another Country? That's what we lawyers call a "tall order" Matt.

Well if he's there, you cant do it here. You'll need an English "solicitor". Got any frequent flyer miles? Just kidding- try the internet- (The "inter" is short for International.)

Dear Mr. Reno:
Is a North Carolina landlord allowed to order tenants to move their bed from in front of the window? My apartment is smaller than I was told, and the bed fits best in front of the window. I just received orders to move it, because they claim it is a fire hazard. They inspected the apartment, allegedly to see if their were any problems with appliances. Now, they say they are inspecting again to make sure the bed is moved.

I am a landlord in Florida, and we would not be allowed to do this.

Gina Presson, FL

A: That's a new one! Is that legally a violation? Maybe you need to call the local building department.

If its just a matter of personal preference, the landlord has no right to dictate where you put your furniture. But if you're in violation of a local fire code, then maybe the LL has a leg to stand on.

You need to make a call.

Published 2017-10-05

Dear Mr. Reno:
My name is Kris. This situation occurred in Hawaii.
My father recently passed away and I went to take care of his affairs. I informed his landlord of the situation on the phone when I got there. We discussed that his house had been left in some dis-array and that I would be doing what I could to clean it out. I also discussed with her about 2 old cars that he had left on the property and that I might have to leave before getting the death certificate. She said not to worry and that she could take care of the cars and the house and would be keeping the deposit. I agreed with this. She never came to look at the house while I was there. When I prepared to leave I called the landlord multiple times but she did not answer her phone, her voice mailbox was also full. So there was no way for me to get in touch with her and I had to leave without her being able to see the house. I left the keys hidden outside and got her email address from my Grandmother, I sent her an email with the location and she replied that she gotten them.

The house was a bit worn-down. My father had lived there for 12 years. Also as I said the house was left in some disarray. My father was not very mobile the last couple of years so things were pretty messy. I did what I could to clean some of it out though, I rented a dumpster and filled it up with garbage. But there was still quite a bit of his stuff all over. Seems he became a bit of a hoarder.

She has now contacted my grandmother saying that she has sent a bill for $3300.00 to my grandmother for cleaning, replacing carpet , towing the cars and various repairs etc. He was living month to month on military disabilities and had no assets of any kind and there was no will etc.

I am under the impression that we have no obligation to pay this bill, is that the case? As our names are not on the contract and how his house was left was his problem not ours. We unfortunately did not have a very good relationship and had not seen each other for 20+ years. Can my Grandmother just ignore this bill? The bill is made out to my father’s name too, not my grandmother’s.

Thank you!

Kris, HI

A: Not so fast. Were they still married? Spouses are responsible for certain debts of each other.

You're in the proverbial grey area. I wouldn't pay it, I doubt they'll sue.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I need to know if in maine i can evict my ex wife from my house for non payment of the mortgage. Mine is the only name on the loan but i put both our names on the deed mine is the first and main name. If i can legally evict her id like to hire u to help me do it properly and swiftly before i get any further behind. Thank you for ur time when u email me about weather i can plz send ur phone number if i can so we can get this done i dont want to make any payments until i know my rights. If theres nothing i can do to get her out i might as well just let the bank take it back

A: Sorry Sarah's Ex..
You need a divorce lawyer- not an eviction lawyer. I know you said "ex" wife, but you're still in that realm. Most landlord tenants court's wont touch it.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I am a landlord and a tenant is moving. I just pulled her lease and realized she has been paying less then here lease calls for.

Lease is $875.00 per month and we have been collecting $825.00 per month. Can I ask for the remaining money with out penalties of corse?


A: You can ask. Maybe work out a payment plan?

If you can't work it out, it's a small claims court case.

Dear Mr. Reno:
We evicted a tenant for non-payment, however this tenant also had a lease for a garage unit on the multiunit property which he have evicted him from. This person according to other tenants is now “living” in the garage where they do not have to pay electric, there is a toilet and hasn’t been paying the rent for this unit either. How do we go about finally getting rid of this tenant?

Tanya, PA

A: You can move in, anytime, as a guest of your mother- the occupant- but I can't promise it wont get ugly. There may be court if you can't work it out; That's up to you guys.

Dear Mr. Reno:
Tenant withholding 2 months rent for minor repairs. Tears bath floor then doesn't finish. Does not maintain septic so it backs up. I haven't been able to repair all issues coz of financial difficulties. Now being threatened to have red tag house & demanding hotel if eviction occurs. Has 3 months left on lease.


A: This is going downhill fast. Time to start a non-payment eviction proceeding (first threaten to do so.) You can't have this rent withheld willy nilly. Also, the tenant is obviously bad new and so good riddance.

Published 2017-08-30

Dear Mr. Reno:
Hi, we have a garage apartment that was leased to a tenant before we bought our house 4 months ago. The previous landlord said that the tenant would like to stay and told us that she was a good tenant, not true. We had a 3 month lease to try her out. She hasn't paid any rent, the utilities are on us. She was supposed to be a nonsmoker with no dogs and children but smokes, has one dog and two children and the apartment is a one room efficiency . All of these are not allowed per the rental agreement. We initiated eviction after the first month's non payment of rent and finally after two months going through the courts, she has been given 48 hours to get out. She is not planning to get out and the sheriff's office said that it will take them two more weeks to get her out. Can we hire an independent someone to get her out, off duty officer, someone?
Also, can she plead to the courts to stay because she has children? We have a new baby and a toddler. Please help. She needs to go.

Thank you,

Grace, Nottingham, Alabama

A: She's going. You've gone through the entire process! You're almost there- don't interfere.

The wheels of Justice grind slowly (at times.)

Published 2017-07-24

Dear Mr. Reno:
If the tenant has not paid any rent for any given month, At what point do you start the eviction notice. 1 month late or longer?

Julian Ornelas, Texas

A: You can start on July 2nd. There's no requirement that you wait unless your lease has a grace period. Then you should wait until the grace period is up.

Also, most states require some Demand For Rent, or Notice of Default to be made first. In New York, the standard is three days notice of default.

Most landlords don't start until one month passes. That's a gamble. Once the security is used up, the eviction process is all on your dime.

Dear Mr. Reno:
If a court appointed or private paid Marshall removes a tenant property from an apartment is the landlord responsible for damages to the tenants property while removing.

Charmaine, Brooklyn, NY

A: Hell no!

That's why we have them- so we're not responsible.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a tenant using rental property as a residence and a registered business address. What is my recourse for this and things to know and consider?
Considering renewing their lease.
Thank you,

Candice Q., VA

A: What's the beef Candice? Doctors and dentists do it!

(You may want to check your local zoning regulations and make sure the tenant is doing anything that may cause fines you my be responsible for.)

Dear Mr. Reno:
We just evicted a tenant for non payment of rent. We know that we have to keep her stuff for 2 weeks. However how much can we charge her for storage and rental value per day.


Monique P., CA

A: Haha! Very funny.

(It doesn't work that way. Wouldn't it be nice if it did?)

Dear Mr. Reno:
In doing research for a drama, I wonder if a child can given an eviction notice in the absence of the leaseholder parent? And would the person handing the eviction notice to the child say, "You’ve been served" or request a signature even though the child is most certainly not the responsible party?

Many Thanks,

DJ Salisbury, Director-Choreographer, New York, NY

A: That's an ongoing debate. You need to serve a person of "suitable age and discretion". Someone who understands and can be expected to give it up. Fifteen, Sixteen, (I've even heard Thirteen.) No one knows for sure. Depends on the kid. You're in a big legal grey area. No real answer.

Published 2017-07-17

Dear Mr. Reno:
I am a tenant. I sublet to sub-tenants (roommates). Everyone has a written agreement with me, month-to-month. A problematic sub-tenant has decided she has no intention of vacating, even though she signed an agreement that terminates (without auto-renewal) in August. I served her a notice to quit (after she was severely late with rent in June, and breached several items in her agreement since signing it). She laughed at the notice. What are my options? Lawyer friend said to file complaint with local magistrate/judge (complaint stating to reclaim possession of room, non-conditionally). Can I do this, even if I don't own the house? Or does the owner have to get involved? Is it smart to have owner grant me power-of-attorney regarding proper evictions (I have not had any issues in the 8 years I've been the property manager). Thank you!

Harold, from Pennsylvania

A: You can evict. Even though you're tenant, you're also a landlord. You don't need to get the owner involved- and he shouldn't be involved.

Dear Mr. Reno:
Thank you Mr Reno for taking my question. Once an eviction takes place, what is the status of the Lease Agreement as it pertains to lost rent? Is the evicted tenant still liable for lost rent for the remaining months of the Lease?

Charles Jay Conover, State of California.

A: Yes, yes, yes, the tenant is liable for the remaining months- but there's a catch: Once you re-rent, you no longer can claim damages for lost rent. So you have to wait until you re-rent so you know how much to sue for.

Published 2017-06-27

Dear Mr. Reno:
Can you please help me?

My renters want out of their lease because they bought a house. I cannot even entertain this right now because my mom is very ill right now.

They say they want to sublet but lease says they can't.

I do have two months deposit. There is about 5 months left on the lease. They have said they would pay rent whatever the case is.

They said that if their parents died prior to the lease ending they would not break the lease but they did die and now they want to break the lease. They do have enough funds as they got an inheritance. I will not allow subletting and am out of town and cannot even look into renting it out. What can i tell the renters in order for them to stop bugging me.
Also if the renters move out before lease ends what do i do. I dont want subletters
And they have threatened to get some in.


A: Sounds like to me you've kept a stiff upper lip- not giving in- so good for you! They asked to breach the lease or sublet and you said "NO". So there you are.

As far as the "bugging" goes- sorry. Can't help you with that.

Dear Mr. Reno:
Have a tenant who calls for repairs without my knowledge.
Told her the first time that was not acceptable. $180.00 bill received after the fact.
Her unapproved pet chewed the account wires.
Now today same story. Ac people called said I owed for first bill $180.00 plus another bill I know nothing about again. Made it clear to Ac company not to do ANY repairs without my authorization as I am the owner, not the tenant. Obviously w vm message it's happened again.
What do I do?
Tenant is horrible anyway. On month to month lease. Late payer. I have no lease, verbal only.
Preparing lease now for 3 to 6 months.

Donna T., Tyler, TX

A: Well, month to month, no lease, that's your answer: Serve a 30 or 60 day notice to vacate.

But first ask yourself, how big a deal was this? It's $180., perhaps, at least a portion, legit. Are you sure you want a vacant unit one or two months over this? That's your call.

Published 2017-06-26

Dear Mr. Reno:
I’ve been a landlord for about 15 years now, both commercial and residential and I use the LPA forms.

I have a commercial tenant under the LPA Commercial Net Lease Agreement who is up for renewal on a 5 year lease. He was a good tenant but we disagreed on the rent increase because of interpretation. Unfortunately, I wrote 'inflation USA rate' which I interpreted to be general inflation in our area taking into account the increases in local property tax and he interpreted USA GOVERNMENT rate. He immediately got a lawyer and while I was expecting we would be doing some negotiating his lawyer say I cannot speak to my tenant, I must go thru him, and by his calculations the rent increase should be $18 more a month. My actual increases work out to a 28% increase over the last 5 years. I gave the tenant a good deal in the beginning, lowered rent for a year and early occupancy etc. so this is really bad. We’ve looked at building more closely and have several clauses that he has not adhered to mainly damage to the exterior of adjacent parts that he is not renting…his attorney says he’s not liable for areas he is not leasing. Any advice, at this point I just want him out, I can’t even speak to him.
Thank you,

Ruthie, Oregon

A: This is a huge mess. You gave a 5 YEAR LEASE and you are vague on the increases. Big mistake!

Here's a thought: After one month- small claims court. You're probably only suing for $50, but that will resolve it. Any way, that's about the cheapest way. probably get your answer for $20 instead of litigation for thousands.

Published 2017-06-21

Dear Mr. Reno:
Evicting subtenant or licensee -

I want to evict the executor of my deceased tenant's estate. She claims succession rights to the rent-stabilized apartment as the deceased tenant's non-traditional family member (probably lover) and long-term resident of the apartment. The only leaseholder is the deceased tenant. Do I have to sue the estate in its own name or is it enough to sue the executor as "Voluntary Administrator of Estate of Sue H."? In other words, does that language nail her in her personal as well as representative capacity, or only the latter?

By the way, is she a subtenant or licensee of the estate or just what? And is the executor or the estate the holdover tenant? I am not aware of any complication beyond the above facts.


A: The best way to handle these dilemmas is to name everyone. As a general rule, an eviction will be dismissed as defective if you fail to name someone, but usually will NOT be dismissed for naming extra people.

So you evict the deceased tenant, the Estate of the Tenant, and the subtenant and best of luck.

Published 2017-06-20

Dear Mr. Reno:
Just had a tenant leave w\o paying 4 months rent. Never got oil in Jan.feb causing damage to heating system 120 bags of trash removed from just cellar..old torn furniture left..pot growing..broken windows. Doors torn off hinges if we go to court and WIN...HOW DO WE ACTUALLY COLLECT THE MONEY?

Kate, Belchertown, Ma

A: You need to find an alternate universe & then go there.

You can sue. (Usually throwing good money after bad.) Fix'er up, rent'er out, then calculate total damages including lost rent & make a decision.

(Small claims court up to $5000.)

Published 2017-06-16

Dear Mr. Reno:
I am an LPA member and would like to have a question answered by Mr. Reno.
We have a small apartment with a non conforming bedroom due to window size. It is possible to rent the apartment with a written acknowledgement from potential tenant. Would that release the landlord from liabilities?

Thank you,

Katie S.

A: The acknowledgement may hep if ever the tenant tries to sue, but it wont be a defense if the town gives you a summons for a violation. One person can't give another person permission to break the law, but they can say "I'm assuming this particular risk."

Dear Mr. Reno:
We have a tenant that has a son who is 17 and is smoking pot. Our previous tenants that lived upstairs from this tenant that resides downstairs said they used to smell it. They have since moved out. Now we have new tenants upstairs and they said they have smelled it in the hallway. We have repeatedly had conversations with the mother of this teenage son about his pot smoking and she agreed to have a talk with him. My husband has knocked on the door several times to talk to the son as the mom works odd hours. He refuses to answer the door.

Our question is, can my husband legally go in the apartment without notice to this tenant if he smells it again? Or does he have to call a cop and have the cop have entry? We live in NY state and are not sure what our rights are as Landlords. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Elaine Walker

Elaine, Elmira, NY

A: Why go in? What's the point? You're opening up yourself for a law suit for no reason. You'll be sued for stealing things that don't exist.

Published 2017-06-08

Dear Mr. Reno:
I had a tenant who vacated and did not clean the home and there was close to $1,400.00 in damages which he refused to pay. I had 21 days to return his security deposit and I completely forgot because I was so overwhelm with the work that had to be done to the home. He sent me an email reminding me that I was late. I apologized to him and told him I would it send right out. He preferred to pick it up. His $3500.00 security deposit was minus the cleaning and the damages. The next day he spoke with a Lawyer and he threatened me with legal action and that he was entitle to a full refund of his security deposit. He took no ownership for his actions. I did return the remaining deposit because I had no time to go to court.

He rented the place for 3 years and he did not qualified to rent the home per our Property Management Company. I gave him a chance. I also told him before all this that if was to leave before the end of the lease I would only charge him for the days he will be there.
I would like to have my portion returned to me. Can you help me.


Albert C., Clayton ,CA

A: You have won a no expense paid trip to small claims court to sue for your $1400 plus whatever. Good luck.

Dear Mr. Reno:
My tenant in my duplex in Philadelphia PA's lease was up in July 15th, however she left June 1 with just 5 days notice given. Can I keep the security deposit as the rent for June – July? Is it ok if I find a tenant in the meantime? Thank you.

Anu T., PA

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 forfeit security for breaking the lease, you're on thin ice.

Dear Mr. Reno:
The renter has put locks around the outside of the property so I can't get to the front door is that legal?

Linda L., Woodland Hills California

A: Well it's not a crime, so it's legal- but it may be a lease violation. Does your lease say no locks? Otherwise well, there you are.

Published 2017-06-06

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a ranch house in Reno nv, they where currently on a 2yr lease,,as of. Mother,son ,girlfriend** 5/31/17 one Tennant has moved out
In the lease the mother was the strongest in getting the lease,,
In the past many issues with remaining tenants. Rent being late many times,,Running dog sitting from propertys,Next being more recent the outside of property condition cleaing,,now that the lease is broken currently we would like to take the opportunity to have the other tenants move, can this be done legal, we have offered two month free Rent and full deposit to have them vacate the property, or rewrite the lease for a shorter time 6 months and Advising them that there will be No renewal on the short term lease once over, also rent increase. We like to know what our legal rights are when the lease agreement has been broken with remaining tenants on the property. thank you.

Theresa, Reno, NV

A: As long as they pay the rent, they can stay until the lease is up.

You can bribe'em, if they'll bite- but you can't force'em.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I am a landlord who is awaiting the writ of restitution signed by the judge in order to call the sheriff to evict my tenant. The property is in Hagerstown, MD. The tenant told me that they will be asking the judge for an additional 30 days to delay eviction because they have kids. I am very concerned i have already lost 6 months of no rent payments. My question, how can i avoid them getting extra time from the judge and delaying the eviction? Can i submit something to the judge before they do pleading no to consider their motions to delay eviction?
Thank you,

Jorge P., MD

A: Sure, write it up and send it in. They have problems? Well so do you- so tell the Judge. Make sure you put the case # on your letter so it finds its way into your file.

Published 2017-06-05

Dear Mr. Reno:
I am a new landlord, i had a renter, who in the middle of a rental contract, asked me to let him get out of the contract because he can not afford the rent as he is going to lose the job and his financial situation changed.

I have got a Lease Breaking Agreement signed by the tenants, With a close.

" Landlord is allowing the tenant to break the lease contract in a good faith, as tenant says, he is going to lose his job and may not be able to afford the rent.
The Landlord also reserves the right to collect damages, if correct termination reason has not been given."

Later we come to know that Tenant Purchased a Primary Residence and provided false information on potential job loss. Tenant is still working till date in the same company where he was working before.

I lost two months rent and tried everything to rent it out. Can I take this Tenant to Small claim court to collect the damages, which is a loss of rent and Leasing fee paid to a real estate agent?

I did send him two notices and an email and he denied paying the damages.


Satish Kumar

A: Sue the Bastard!

Dear Mr. Reno:
I recently bought a triplex, on the condition I occupy one of the units. I signed my loan documents acknowledging two occupied units, and one vacant, but when I arrived to start moving in, the third unit was occupied! The sellers management company moved someone in days before I closed, despite written knowledge I was planning to live there. Can I legally evict these tenants?

Thank you,


A: You can evict but you should also sue the sellers management for damages. "tortuous interference with contractual relations" which is a fancy way of saying "screwing up the deal.:"

Published 2017-05-30

Dear Mr. Reno:
I'm Maggie. My husband Flynn and his brother own a lot that a step-relative is earning income from a shack he put on the lot and renting as a home.

He put it there before we had knowledge of it. We pay the taxes and when we spoke to him about it being illegal to earn money on our property he got irate and cussed us out and accused us of being shady and threatened us to not try to stop him.

This is on the island of Kauai, Anahola.

Maggie, Kauai, Anahola

A: The Island of Kauai? Anahola? Are we talking U.S.A. here? It sounds Hawaiian. Is it Hawaii? Or are we talking Mongolia?

Any way, what a mess you've got here, again, with the kinfolk. I thought I've heard everything- this is a new one. Someone built a "house" on your land.

Not knowing more info, hard to advise, except everyone needs a Notice to Vacate. That's where it starts- but not where it ends. Good luck.

Published 2017-05-25

Dear Mr. Reno:
Tenant sent letter (reg. Mail - May 15th) that they are moving out (June 3rd). They have an annual lease that expires on July 31st. I have a last month's rent deposit and a security deposit. Each deposit is equal to one month's rent. They have informed me that I am to use their last month's rent for June and that I should send them a bill for any damages to a forwarding address provided. Obviously what they say and what they do at this point is what matters. With only 2 weeks to go, I thought perhaps I should sit back and wait to see what they do and not respond to the letter?

Less said the better???? Obviously they can't use last months rent for June, but then they are saying they will be moving out before I would normally issue a 3-Day Pay or Vacate (on the 6th.) Bottom line, I am thrilled they are leaving and even happier that it will be early June, giving me an opportunity to clean up and re-lease without having to show the place occupied. I do have an early lease termination clause in the lease, but they signed the option to forfeit the early termination fee as follows. _______I do not agree to liquidated damages or an early termination fee, and I acknowledge that the landlord may seek damages as provided by law.

So, my question(s) is/are: 1. Do I respond to their letter and what do I say other than goodbye and good luck? 2. If they don't leave and don't pay, follow normal default in payment eviction? 3. If they do leave, am I obligated to return any of the deposit and how should it be worded on a security deductions notice? Usually I get them a typical FL State Security notice for deductions along with an itemized list & refund check before 30 days. At this point I don't know if I will get it rented for July 1st or even August 1st. FYI - This tenant has used legal council in the past in an unrelated matter and can be VERY difficult on very small matters.

Karen, Florida

A: You need to respond. Your silence may be deemed an acceptance of them living off the rent.

If you object (as you should) please say so. No rent, start the eviction.

Deduct rent from security? Only if the lease says you can.

Published 2017-05-15

Dear Mr. Reno:
I took a percentage deposit on a home with property in 2014 with a 24 month lease with option to buy. It ended in nov 2016. The tennants did Excercise but have had a hard time getting a jumbo loan . In my contract i specifically stated if they did not excercise the right then the money $15990.00 would then be applied to rent.

They have now not paid march april and now may rent. Can i evict them on this? Also they did not pay the property taxes as agreed this year. Can i evict?

Paige Cloud, Killen, AL

A: Definitely maybe.

If your lease was prepared properly, it would provide that the taxes are like rent. That way, you could evict them as a nonpaying tenant.

Otherwise, not so much.

Published 2017-05-08

Dear Mr. Reno:
Tenants gave 20-day notice that they would not be renewing a 1-year lease. This is a standard C.A.R lease agreement. Can I deduct 10 days rent from security deposit?

Also, they had a pet which was not allowed. The pet caused damage to blinds and carpet. How do I figure out the useful life of these things that are not repairable? This is a high-end home furnished with the best quality carpet and pad available at the time, not cheap 5-year carpet. I called the blind company and over the phone they said with care their blinds should last 20 years and gave me a replacement quote. But I can't get anything in writing from them.

Some of the damage requires the new tenants to be out of the home for repair, so I will likely have to put them up in a hotel. Is that a charge that I can deduct from the security deposit?

Lastly, aside from actual damages caused by the unauthorized pet, do I have any claim for breach of contract? The extensive damage to wood fixtures and irrigation has been nightmarishly time-consuming to deal with and is costing me time away from my business. I have to say, rulings seem skewed in favor of tenants. Are my chances any better if there is an obvious breach of contract?

Thank you,

Caren in California

A: All bad news...

So you have a 1 year lease that expires on a specific date. There's no law requiring notice to not renew. Actually the tenant could legally just walk out the door on the last day!

All of this however, assumes that your lease doesn't specifically require advance notice. Does it?

Damages is simple (but you wont like it). If you need to replace the rug do, you can deduct it. If you're going to keep the rug, you can't deduct. You want to say the tenants have reduced the life expectancy of the rug? That wont fly. it's too subjective.

Hotel bills? Never heard of it.

Yes, you can sue for breach of contract- which it was, but you shill have to establish damages by out-of-pocket expenses- so you're back where we started

Dear Mr. Reno:
My name is Dave, I recently bought a 3 - bedroom, 2 - bath manufactured home in Grand Haven, MI the end of March 2017. My fiancé had her niece, boyfriend and their 3wk newborn move in with us. All of us had to be put on the lot rental lease. Niece and boyfriend were paying me $250 a month, but with a back rent of an additional $50 until the end of June 2017. The rent agreement was not documented.

Upon moving into my new home, the boyfriend broke my New TV and never said anything. One of my friends seen him break it and told me. I confronted the boyfriend and he agreed to pay me $400.00 of which he paid $100.00. The middle of April they decided to move out, and verbally told me they would pay me the monies they owed me. Now at the first of the month, they receive SSI, they are refusing to pay me. They actually left personal items we were going to give back upon receiving the money. Can I take them to small claims court?
Thank you for your time and cooperation with this matter.

Dave N., MI

A: Yes, sue the bastards (am I allowed to say that?)

Small claims costs about $20 and usually can get a judgment between 3000-5000..

Don't worry that its verbal. These verbal agreements can be enforced!

Dear Mr. Reno:
I own a Four Plex in Colorado Springs, CO. My question is: What can I do if I suspect drug dealing activity in one of my units? There's been so much traffic at all hours of day and evening as well as several neighbors have voiced there concern and just flat out told me my new tenants were definitely drug dealers. I have other tenants that have stopped there children from playing outside on my property due to these new tenants and there constant company. Please advise me if possible.


Marci Kramer, CO

A: You are not Starsky & Hutch and this aint Miami Vice. Don't get involved. If they pay, they stay, until the lease is up. Then you tell them your not renewing because your sick aunt has to live there or she'll die.

Published 2017-05-04

Dear Mr. Reno:
Do NOT want tenant to pay rent after lease expiration but am worried that they will and not leave!

Tenant has said in a text that they will not renew lease (expiring June 30). I have requested "Intention To Vacate" form to be signed and sent back but this has not happened.

I have a weird question: They have been paying by check directly into my account at a local branch of my bank and so they have my account information. If they pay rent with a check on July 1 and refuse to leave (even though I have given them a 60 day notice) how do I prevent this (aside from changing my account number)?

What alternative do you recommend for the future tenants? We are a long distance landlord and want an automatic deposit made but don't want to give out our account information anymore.

Nancy, California

A: This has come up before. You don't want the $, but they can pay without your permission. What to do.

1. First notify them they are not to pay rent past the expiration date and if paid without permission it will be returned.

2. Return it promptly, if paid.

LPA comment:
About your account #... even if the new tenants paid you rent with their check, they'd get your account # on the back of their check.

Check with your new tenant's bank for an automatic payment set-up in which the bank mails you the rent for your tenants on a specific day each month. That works well for us.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I closed escrow on 4/24 on a property I've bought. The Purchase Agreement has a Residential Lease Back After Sale for a term of 30 days starting the following day of escrow. My realtor used one of the California Association of Realtors forms for that and he usually includes in every of his leasebacks a clause where the 'tenant may provide 30-days notice for early termination without penalty, rent will be pro-rated to move out date'. So it is kind of standard language for leasebacks of 30 days or more, and that's why it was included, even if it doesn't make sense on a 30-day leaseback. But the former owner gave 30-day notice on 4/6, that is 18 days before close of escrow and before the lease was effective. And now she wants the rent prorated to 5/6, which is 12 proration out of 30.,p> I never expected she could give notice before the lease even started. Per the Agreement the full-month rent was collected through escrow, as well as the deposit. Am I obligated by the Agreement and by the Law to prorate the rent?

The only additional clause in the Agreement related to this matter says: 'in event of termination by Tenant prior to completion of the original term of this Agreement, if applicable, Tenant shall also be responsible for Lost Rent'.

Thank you very much.

Fernando Garcia, California

A: There's no prohibition on giving the notice before the closing- so the 30 day notice is valid.

But the clause relating to lost rent completely contradicts the 30 day notice option- so I don't get it. I know the lease is a form- but somethings either wrong or being taken out of context. Your agreement is sckitzoid.

Published 2017-04-26

Dear Mr. Reno:
I could really do with some advice please. I am the Landlord
Nevada Reno is where the property is located. Washoe County.
My renters broke lease I was Okay with it and did my best to find new renters so that they did not have to pay the remaining one months rent.

I found new renters they are going to move in May 20th the day the lease expires for the previous renters. (They wanted to move in even later but I said May 20th was the deadline)

Old renters have gone, and I have their deposit $2,000. They have not kept to their side of the bargain and paid rent for the month of April-May on April 20th.

I am aware that I can use the deposit as payment for the non payment on the 20th.

1. They have broken the yard gate and a couple of other things (nothing drastic) But the repairs will cost more than $200 the surplus of the $1,800 rent = $2,000 deposit.
I assume they obviously realized this and decided to cut and run. Can I still claim the extra $$ for the damage from them please.

2. I would like to change the locks now that they are no longer living there and not paying rent or are they! If I am paying it from the Security Deposit (Is that still classed as payment of rent)
Am I within my rights to change the locks please. By the 25th of April they will of defaulted by 5 days.

Thank you so very much for any advice.

Susie, Reno, NV

A: You can go ahead and change the locks. They're gone. You don't need to evict if they're out. As far as the security goes, I'm a little leery about advising you there because so many 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 other deductions, you're on thin ice.

Published 2017-04-20

Dear Mr. Reno:
Renting a church in Baltimore city which is on a month to month lease. He always pays 15 days late and now has not paid rent for March nor April and not responding to my messages.
What is the process in this situation?
Thank you

Irit G., Baltimore City, MD

A: Serve Notice of Default. Then commence Non-payment eviction. (God help us.)

Published 2017-04-13

Dear Mr. Reno:
My tenant who signed a year lease in Sept of 2015 paid the rent for a year (late several times) and refused to renew the lease that based on the lease then becomes a month to month, he owes 5 months’ rent. I just won a District Magistrate decision for money owed and possession, after the 10 days he didn’t move and I had to get an "Order of Possession". The tenant who lived at the apartment with his teenage daughter ended up going to jail prior to the DM hearing for a domestic dispute with his girlfriend at the apartment. The tenant after 3 weeks gets out of jail the same day the constable placed the order of possession notice on the unit, that night the tenant dies of a drug overdose or apparent suicide. The daughter is still living at the apartment.


1. The daughter just turned 18 (week after DM hearing, Mar 20th). Is she legally able to stay at the apartment since she was never on the lease?
a. If so, is she liable for the money owed now that she’s an adult?
2. Order of possession date is this upcoming Monday. Does anything change due to his death?
3. He owes $3100 from the DM hearing. I identified multiple issues/damage to the unit, can I get any money from his estate?
4. Can I take possession of the unit now based on his deceased status?
5. What needs to be done with his possessions that are left in the apartment?
b. Keep in mind that the order of possession was in place and set for this upcoming Monday, April 10th.
Thank you for your time

Todd F., PA

A: You're finished with the Court- now you're dealing with the Constable. Will he evict the daughter based on your court case? Give it a try, we'll see if you did your eviction correctly.

You can't get daughter to pay because she didn't sign the lease (his estate is liable.) But she should have been named on your eviction papers. That's what worries me.

Dear Mr. Reno:
I have a Rental Home in Kingman Arizona. Last year the Tenant was to Purchase the home through a Lease/Option to Buy, but did not qualify with a Mortgage Company. I provided them with another year Lease; the tenant said he might be in a better situation to qualify for the Option to Buy after April 17th 2017 Income Tax Filing. His Lease ends August 31, 2017.

I am prepared to call the Tenant (After the 17th) and ask him if he IS in a better situation to purchase the home, taking advantage of the Lease/Option to Buy. If he feels he cannot purchase the home, by again, not qualifying with a Mortgage Company, I want to prepare for him to sign a {Lease Change Form}, Changing the Lease to Month-to-Month, and while he is in the home, Allowing me to Hire a Neutral Real Estate Firm to Start Showing the House to potential Buyers.

I have downloaded a Lease Change Form. Question: What should my LEGAL Wording be on the Lease Change Form?
Thank You.

Harry H., Anchorage, AK

A: The terms of this leasehold shall hereafter be "month to month".

The tenant will make the house available to the landlord's real estate agent upon 48 hrs. notice.

Published 2017-04-12

Dear Mr. Reno:
1. I own a residential home that I rent out. If I have an event occur such as fire, flood, etc., and the home is rendered uninhabitable: a. What happens to a 1-year lease if say we are in the middle of month 6? Do I refund unused prepaid rent on a pro-rated basis and somehow end the lease as of the date of the event that caused the home to be uninhabitable? b. If so, how would I end a lease in a situation like that? Certainly I cannot keep or collect any funds paid or due past the date of the event? c. My insurance will cover me for lost rents due to me during the time of repair while home is uninhabitable, so if the lease does not somehow end, does that mean the lease will somehow resume when the tenant is able to return? d. Property damage claims involving a move-out for the occupant are typically 14-21 days in duration, which is a relatively short time frame that a tenant may wait out and return to the home and the lease…to that end, do you know if renters insurance automatically includes Additional Living Expense coverage? If not, should I specifically require tenants to not only have renter’s insurance but a line item minimum for ALE? Thank you very much, I have learned a tremendous about my rights and responsibilities and the pitfalls of being a landlord from the LPA and especially from your Q&A database.

Gregory, CA

A: So the contract would be terminated based upon what we lawyers call "impossibility" or "impossibility of performance." All bets are off- Any prepaid rent prorated and returned. Security refunded. Parties part ways.

They can come back- but no obligation to do so.

Published 2017-04-10

Dear Mr. Reno:
A new tenant and her boyfriend of one month has done nothing but lie to me. She refused to sign the rental agreement that afternoon stating she wanted to read the whole thing over and that sounded reasonable so she told she would sign it and return it to me in the morning and I have never seen this document since that night. whenever I have asked her about this she always comes up with an excuse and she just won’t return it to me. She lied about having a job and when I asked her about this she has given me three different jobs titles and yet she never leaves to go to work at any of these places. I stated no pets and she sneaked her giant lizard into the bedroom which I asked her to please remove and she has ignored my request .

I am a widow, no children with a big house that is way to quiet without people here so I rent for the company and my house is paid off . I had some friends over to play cards last week and this woman demanded to speak to me at 9:15pm and said it was very urgent . I excused myself from my friends and escorted her to my den for privacy . She sounded off to me for 30 minutes! She told me my house wasn’t cleaned to her satisfaction ,she had seen a cockroach in the kitchen, the restroom we share was always to filthy to use, and the couple who rented the front bedroom had had a major physical fight this morning and she’d made several frantic attempts to reach me, knocking and pounding on my door , trying to “wake me up” but couldn’t. She then stated the woman in the front bedroom was getting abused daily and what was I going to do about it ? I asked her if she called the police so told me that’s hat she was trying to wake me up for, I said I’m been up since 9am and nobody had had knocked on my door . If she had tried to wake me I’m a very light sleeper but where were her phone calls , or text messages on a note from her on my door ? She has used all of those messages prior to this day and nothing was there on this day she needed me so much ? I clean the restroom we share every five days with no help from anyone and if she wanted in cleaner she should do it. And I don’t have any bugs in my house . She wanted me to give her this last week for free and demanded answer right then . I told her I needed to speak with the couple in the front bedroom first . When I spoke with them they knew nothing about it . She quit paying her rent to me and I really don’t care anymore . My family called me and wants me to move up to northern ca. and I agreed to go . Another friend of mine has offered to stay in my house rent free to watch it and we have been transferring the utilities over to his name, I told her she would have to work it out with him and he don’t care if she’s here or not either . She’s says I can’t do this . She says I have to stay and rent to her.I told her I’m not renting to anyone anymore. Can you advise? thank you

Debbie Lopez, So. California

A: Sharing living space with total strangers can be a risk, so here we go. Its a good thing you're out at the moment, since this girl obviously needs to be evicted. Best you not be in striking distance when she gets her papers.

I believe a Sixty Day Notice would be step one.

LPA note: Here's what the CA Dept of Consumer Affairs says about this kind of agreement, since you don't have a signed rental agreement:

>> Oral rental agreements

In an oral rental agreement, you and the landlord agree orally (not in writing) that you will rent the rental unit. In addition, you agree to pay a specified rent for a specified period of time - for example, a week or a month. This kind of rental agreement is legally binding on both you and the landlord, even though it is not in writing unless a tenant and a landlord agree to the lease of a rent unit for more than one year, the agreement must be in writing.55 If such an agreement is not in writing, it is not enforceable. If you have a valid oral agreement and later have a disagreement with your landlord, you will have no written proof of the terms of your rental agreement. Therefore, it’s usually best to have a written rental agreement.

However, even if the agreement is oral, the landlord must give you a written statement regarding the name, street address, and phone number of the landlord or agent for receipt of legal notices; the contact information for the person who is to accept the rent; and how the rent is to be paid (for example by cash, check or money order.)56

It's especially important to have a written rental agreement if your tenancy involves special circumstances, such as any of the following:

You plan to live in the unit for a long time (for example, nine months or a year);
Your landlord has agreed to your having a pet or water-filled furniture (such as a waterbed); or
The landlord has agreed to pay any expenses (for example, utilities or garbage removal) or to provide any services (for example, a gardener).

Dear Mr. Reno:
My tenant who signed a year lease in Sept of 2015 paid the rent for a year (late several times) and refused to renew the lease that based on the lease then becomes a month to month, he owes 5 months’ rent. I just won a District Magistrate decision for money owed and possession, after the 10 days he didn’t move and I had to get an “Order of Possession”. The tenant who lived at the apartment with his teenage daughter ended up going to jail prior to the DM hearing for a domestic dispute with his girlfriend at the apartment. The tenant after 3 weeks gets out of jail the same day the constable placed the order of possession notice on the unit, that night the tenant dies of a drug overdose or apparent suicide. The daughter is still living at the apartment.

1. The daughter just turned 18 (week after DM hearing, Mar 20th). Is she legally able to stay at the apartment since she was never on the lease?
a. If so, is she liable for the money owed now that she’s an adult?
2. Order of possession date is this upcoming Monday. Does anything change due to his death?
3. He owes $3100 from the DM hearing. I identified multiple issues/damage to the unit, can I get any money from his estate?
4. Can I take possession of the unit now based on his deceased status?
5. What needs to be done with his possessions that are left in the apartment?
b. Keep in mind that the order of possession was in place and set for this upcoming Monday, April 10th.

Thank you for your time

Todd F., PA

A: You're finished with the Court- now you're dealing with the Constable. Will he evict the daughter based on your court case? Give it a try, we'll see if you did your eviction correctly.

You can't get daughter to pay because she didn't sign the lease (his estate is liable.) But she should have been named on your eviction papers. That's what worries me.

Dear Mr. Reno:
Our tenants installed a hot tub in our back yard without permission (a few years ago). I am pretty sure that a permit is required for this and as the owner, I know that a permit was never given. If I do nothing, can I get in trouble for this? What are my options?

Joyce, California

A: You could start by telling the tenants to either legalize it or remove it.

Also, check the lease. That's probably a violation. You can tell the tenants that their lease may be terminated or that basis.

Published 2017-03-30

Dear Mr. Reno:
Do you have a template or suggestion for a simple document that assigns the right to collect on a rent/eviction judgment from one LLC to another?

I sold a property owned by one of my LLCs and want to dissolve that LLC, yet still want to start collecting on the court judgment in the near future using another LLC that I control... thanks! - Les

A: I doubt you'll find an "Assignment of Judgment" form. It's quite rare.

Just use a standard "Blumberg" form for assignment of contracts & modify it.

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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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