My first rental. Tenants are not leaving after lease, please help

13 Replies

Hello BP, new landlord here.  I need advice.  My property is in Fl. I bought my property in August and took over the lease for the previous owner.  My tenants lease is up Jan 31.  They told me they were leaving last month which is fine with me for many reasons but I have a feeling they  wont be leaving.  Its clear they havn't started packing and I just have a feeling they can't find a place or mabye now realized even tho I raised their rent in the new lease proposal they wont be able to find anywhere that compares for the price. I have already started to market the place and have plenty of people who want a viewing as soon as it is vacant.  What should I do besides talk to them and try to work it out if they are not out by Thursday?  To my understanding I need to give them a notice in person which states they have 72 hours to vacate, and if they don't then I need to file an eviction at the courthouse.  Is this accurate?  Aren't they trespassing after the lease expires?  If they write me another rent check because they say they want another month should I not accept it?  I want them out because they were not willing to pay the increased rent which was still under market but anyway please help me this is my first rental property and I need to go about this professionally and legally.  

First, don't borrow trouble.  People procrastinate. So they may well be out as you expect.

Second, it sounds like you don't have a landlord/tenant attorney.  You need one.  Today would be a good day to find one.  You'll need one if you end up doing an eviction.  Hopefully you'll get replies from someone in FL.  But even so you'll need an attorney if you have to take action.

Chapter 83 Part II. Does your lease have a provision for holdover and possibly additional rent?

Has any official notification been provided by you or your tenants or is it just a verbal notification from the tenant.

If there is nothing in writing and they want to pay February rent you would be wise to accept it. Make sure you give legal notice to non renew immediately if you have nothing in writing.

@Thomas S. the last check they gave for December had written on it, "Final Rent Payment" that is when they told me they were leaving.  I have a copy of it.  I did not collect the beginning of this month and they did not attempt to pay me because I had their last months rent in escro.  I guess I should give them written notice that I will not be renewing with them?  How about the 72 hours to vacate notice hand delivered if they are not gone on Thursday?  

On an annual lease you are not required to give notice of non-renewal. If you gave them verbal notice, they KNOW. I would contact them tomorrow and let them know you will be forced to file an eviction if they are not out timely.  If you accept a check for February, what do you think they will do in March? Present you with another check.

We all have been in a situation where we were mad and wanted to screw the person we were angry at. Don't be the person a tenant wants to screw. People are wired to dig their heels in and fight. I would try and work with them. If they haven't found a place, they are probably thinking the grass is greener right where they are. I would offer month to month at a higher rate. A tenant that leaves without a fight is always better then one who leaves with one. Its about solving small problems not big ones. Plus you would be better looking for tenants in the spring. People pay more in the spring

Call:

"Hi [Tenant], is your plan to still move out by the end of the month?"

YES - "Ok, just needed to know because I have to schedule my turnover crew to get in their asap. Could you give me your new address so I can forward the security deposit? (so you can be 60% sure they aren't bluffing)."

NO, they want to stay - "Great, I'll stop by with the new lease / send the docusign link later tonight. I'll need that back by tomorrow so please confirm you received it in the next 15 minutes."

NO, they need more time - "OK, we can continue on a MTM tenancy, but I'll need you to sign an agreement that you'll give me at least 30 days notice prior to moving out. I'll need that back by tomorrow so please confirm you received it in the next 15 minutes."

On either of the NO's, if they don't reply/sign asap: "Just following up. I really need this signed, because if we go past Feb. 1, I have to file for an eviction, and listen, as soon as that is filed you'll have a very difficult time finding a landlord to rent a unit to you. I'm willing to work with you but we have to get something in writing asap."

AGAIN - this is over the phone or in-person, not via text/email.

Why won’t you show the unit while tenants in place?

People sometimes hire professional company to come pick and move.

Originally posted by @JingJing He :

Why won’t you show the unit while tenants in place?

People sometimes hire professional company to come pick and move.

 I agree. I would be advertising it immediately. Show when you have enough interested parties. Keep us informed on what happens. Hopefully all goes well.

@John Thedford they ended up leaving last minute.  They didn't clean at all, left the place mess, and left furniture and garbage in the apartment but on a positive note they never asked me for their deposit or gave me their new address when I asked them (proof in text messages) so I guess they are not concerned about it.  I apologize to everyone for posting about something that didn't actually happen but I really learned a lot anyway.   Thank you all again!

Originally posted by @Paul Tibok :

@John Thedford they ended up leaving last minute.  They didn't clean at all, left the place mess, and left furniture and garbage in the apartment but on a positive note they never asked me for their deposit or gave me their new address when I asked them (proof in text messages) so I guess they are not concerned about it.  I apologize to everyone for posting about something that didn't actually happen but I really learned a lot anyway.   Thank you all again!

Unless I misunderstand, didn't you write that they didn't pay January rent and you didn't ask because you had their deposit? Was the deposit only 1 month? If so, they had no incentive to clean anything, because they no longer had a deposit with you.  

You should still create an accounting of their security deposit and the charges against it.  Send it to the last known address - probably your property.  Send two copies, one with "address service requested" on the letter.  Its possible they set up forwarding and you'll get a new address from the PO.  Keep the copy that goes to the property, unopened, and add it to your file.

You can always try to go after them in small claims court.  You'll only get a judgment, not money.  But you can the pursue them for the judgment.  You can just turn the judgment over to a collector and maybe, someday, you'll get a check.

First,  read your lease and know everything that is in it.  Post a notice of Termination/Maturity of Lease.  Read your state real estate laws on the notice period for non-renewal of leases.  If you have questions, get a local Lawyers help, take notes and follow his advice to the letter.  

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