Tenant is moving out

6 Replies

HI everyone. Need some advice here.

Tenant is been there 3 years and was always on time. The lease states It is a 1year lease and will automatically renew if 30 days written notice is not giving at the end of the lease ( Only told them this when we signed the lease and went over everything before signing) I got a text from them few weeks ago, 6 months into the new lease and they said they bought a house and will be moving in a few weeks. I told them I would let them use their last month rent for December. I still have their security deposit. I did a showing a few days ago and the place looks ok. They messed the railing up on the wall and also seen scratch marks on the one cabinet so they must have had a pet. Lease clearly states no pets. Also they cancelled the utilities on 12/10 so I will be stuck with them now. Also they said a scrap person took the lawn mower by mistake I have provided them so Im out a lawn mower to

What should I do? Its going to be vacant till i can find someone but they will be upset if I keep the security deposit also but they did brake the lease several ways.


You don't mention how much the security deposit was. Does it cover all the damages? If so, there's no real question here, you write them up a checkout invoice, and keep the security deposit. 

They've violated the lease agreement, so you could make an argument that you're entitled to the entire security deposit, regardless. I've heard some possible concerns with a judge seeing it that way, but it's never stopped me from keeping the entire security deposit in this case. It's happened to me a couple of times over the last few years, and every time it's been a tenant I was happy to get rid of.

Yeah, they're going to be upset that you kept the security deposit. In that case, they shouldn't have violated the lease. Your job isn't to make sure no one gets upset at you. Get over that, or you'll be taken advantage of all the time in this business.

I'd keep the deposit, without question.

I'm not sure on the grade of property you're dealing with here, or the tenants that you attract. Did these people have a solid rental history before you let them move in? One thing I've started doing, and it has been a great mitigator of this exact situation, is to require first and last month's rent up front, along with the security deposit. If the potential tenant has any kind of blemish on their rental history, I don't budge on that. This exact thing happened to me in November, and it was a tenant I'd had pay first and last month's rent up front. That rent was long spent by me, but at least I got it at some point!

@Jimmy S. So if your question is to keep the security deposit or not. The answer is ABSOLUTLEY. They clearly didn't follow rules provided to them 3 YEARS AGO. So therefore, you owe it to your business to do what states will happen if they don't abide by the contract that they signed.  Also does the security cover all the costs?

@Jimmy S.

Don't replace the lawn mower as this is a huge liability no-no on your part.  Charge fees accordingly to the damage.  If its in the lease you provided a mower then charge them for a new.   Take pictures and provide receipts for work to repair damage.  The tenant should be responsible for utilities until the last few days of there lease so if they need to turn them back on, oh well, there issue and cost.   I would add a new clause to your lease on the utilities.  Always point back to what the lease says and enforce it. Remind them you are giving them a deal by not holding to the remain months of there lease.  They will be mad but too bad. I just did this in March.  Remember to be professional and keep your cool.  Meet in a public place like a coffee shop if you need to.  If you think its going to be a big argument then bring another person along.   

After a 1 year lease I would allow them to go month to month vs 1 year renewals.

Get it fixed up and rented as fast as you can and move on.

Part of my utility clause:

Utilities shall be kept in Tenant’s name until transferred to the Landlord no more then Two (2) days from the last day of tenancy provided in the written notice to vacate.

When no occupant is in the house (vacation etc) the indoor temperatures must stay with the temperature ranges as stated below. Temperatures outside of these ranges can cause damage to the house which the tenant will be responsible for.Temperatures selected are very energy use friendly. Winter temperature must stay above 62 degrees. Summer temperature must stay below 83 degrees.

Thanks everyone.

Yes everything is covered in the lease. I did get first, last, security upfront and its a very good area and very nice house.  $965 x 3 upfront.

I wont lose any money unless its vacant until around January 15th. I guess the bottom line is its not my job to inform them and its there job to read the lease we all signed.

Thanks everyone, makes me feel better. I just need to stand firm and tell them to read the lease.

This is why I no longer do security deposits. I charge a moving in/out fee that is equal to a months rent and is due up front just like a security deposit. It is non refundable, I'm keeping it EVERY time.

A security deposit is for exactly that.  To cover damage caused and any unpaid rent.  Even if they have moved out, they are responsible for the rent until it is re-rented.

I'm assuming you will be sending a letter with the accounting of their security deposit.  If some of your damages are lost rent due to breaking the lease, then just include that as one of the items in your letter.

If they are upset about that, too bad.  They could have taken steps that would have allowed you to mitigate those damages.  Like, informing you about the home purchase earlier and allowing you to do showings.  They chose not to.

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