Tenant Moved-out a few days early and want credit back in rent?

10 Replies

06/03/19- 1 of 5 tenants emailed stating they will submit their last payment (due on 7/15/19 for the last month of their lease of 07/15-08/14) and everyone will be out by the end of the month. 

06/15- Tenant Paid for last full month while knowing it would be vacant by the end of the month. 

06/17- Tenants texted me they'll be cleaning up this week and moving out and everyone will probably be out at the end of the week. And mentioned if there will be a new tenant occupying, they felt it would be fair they get a credit back in rent. 

06/18- Tenant e-mailed me stating everyone has moved out and called the day before to say keys are in the drawer. 

06/19- New tenant moves in. 

I have sent the security deposit back to them in a timely fashion(which they already accepted) and only deducted 1/2 the cost of damages in the property since they were so cooperative in their move out, which I regret already. Now they are calling and texting me stating they want the 2 weeks of 08/01-08/14 back in rent. I've spoken to a lawyer and he explained that the tenant forfeited/surrendered the property the moment they returned keys and they were in no way obligated to return possession prior to the end of the lease. From my understanding, once the tenant returns possession, the lease agreement is terminated. I understand the security deposit is different from this rent credit they are requesting for. My thought process is the same as the lawyers. I'm not sure if the notice on 6/3/19 counts as a 30 day notice since the lease states all notices must be sent to my address but then this would invalidate their move out. I also understand Michigan Law requires that a landlord makes effort to re-rent the premise in the event of an early termination and tenants are to pay for the cost/loss until a new tenant is found. I also had to pay my agent 1 month rent for commission which it seems like the 27 days they've paid for would just about cover. However, this is unique in that it isn't an early termination and we did not require them to vacate early so I'm iffy on how to approach this situation. They are now threatening to reach out to a lawyer. I am pretty confident in my rational but I'd like opinion from others who may have experienced this situation or any legal input! 

You don't owe them a rent credit for the remainder of the month UNLESS you happened to rent the unit on the day they moved out. You can't collect rent from two parties on the same unit for the same days. If they left early, that's on them.

If their lease ended Aug 14 and they moved out at the beginning of the month, that's on them.  Had the new tenants moved in PRIOR to the 14th (ie you were collecting rent from two people at the same time), it might be different.

Originally posted by @Maggie Ng :

I rented it out a few days later. The double rent I believe references if they early terminate which is not the case. 

 How quickly you rented it out doesn't matter.  They paid up until the end of their lease and they chose to move out a few weeks early.  You rented it out for the new tenants to move in after the previous lease naturally expired.

My apologies, they want 7/1-7/14 back. The 8 is a typo. They want 2 weeks prorated rent back since they aren’t there anymore. But from my understanding they voluntarily forfeited the premise. They could’ve kept it until the end of they wanted to. That was their decision. 

Originally posted by @Maggie Ng :

My apologies, they want 7/1-7/14 back. The 8 is a typo. They want 2 weeks prorated rent back since they aren’t there anymore. But from my understanding they voluntarily forfeited the premise. They could’ve kept it until the end of they wanted to. That was their decision. 

 You are correct.

I am not sure why you are referencing Michigan law about early termination and your releasing fees, because neither is relevant. By your own admission they gave proper notice and paid through the end of the lease. 

There is only one situation that would require you to return those two weeks worth of rent. If you had another tenant living in the property from 7/1 to 7/14, then you would need to return rent to the previous tenant for that period.

If nobody was living there, just explain to the tenant that they are obligated for rent through the end of their lease term. If someone was living there, do not try to cover up that fact.

Lesson to everyone, you can't double dip rent.

I agree with @Jason D. on this; not allowed to collect rent from two separate leases on the same unit at the same time; that timing is key. But, sounds like the new tenants moved in after the lease expired, so even if they moved out a few weeks early, it was rented out to the new tenants after the previous lease expired, so I don't believe you owe them for those two or so weeks they moved out early. As a heads up, there are a lot of platforms that can help to try and automate some of this process for you, if that's a route you'd like to take. @Maggie Ng