Lease Break by Tenant

13 Replies

Hi All,

Here is my scenario. Please let me know your thoughts

My tenant originally signed for a 13 month lease in Arizona: starting from Apr 2019 to May 2019. Now she broke the lease, citing safety issue (due to a guy filing a lawsuit against her). The guy was sent by property manager.

Background:

1) when the lease was signed I had property manager draft the lease. 60 day notice needed for move-out. Full rent due until lease expiry.

2) One day, the property manager sent a guy for repair to the property. Tenant’s dog bit the guy. The guy sued the tenant. Tenant claims (but no proof) that the guy is an illegal immigrant. Now

3) In June 2019 I had to fired the Property manager due to some discrepancies. I am directly dealing with the tenant since then.

4) End of May 2019, the property manager forwarded me a Lawsuit notice for the tenant for the dog bite issue. I sent it over to the tenant

5) Now the tenant says she is feeling insecure as she feels the guy who sued her is an illegal immigrant and that she is a single mom staying in the house. She keeps citing Safety issue with the house due to the above issue.

6) she vacated the home by giving just 10 days notice. She says that it’s a safety issue and she need not give 60 day notice.

I only have her security deposit of 1 month. I am wondering if I should insist her on paying rent for 60 days (30 days of rent from security deposit and ask her to pay remaining 20 days of rent + move out cleanup). I am not aware of any law that allows a tenant to vacate without giving any notice. Please correct me if I am wrong. She left the place in okay condition, but now the tenant is expecting the security deposit back.

Please advice on my questions.

1) After property manager left, is my original lease agreement still valid ? As I didn’t sign another one after property manager left.

2) Am I supposed to honour her safety issue (though without proof) and allow her to leave without proper 60 day notice ?

3) I am happy to get rid of the tenant though, but wondering if I should bear the burden of her moving out of the property, as the property is left vacant now; in spite of having a signed lease in place.

Thanks,

Ravi

If you keep the deposit, make sure you provide an accounting of it to the former tenant per your state/local laws.  ie, what portion was retained and why.

Just to add, if the person filing the lawsuit was an illegal alien, that would be highly unlikely. What person in the country illegally would go into legal proceedings on a voluntary basis? So that part of her story doesn't pass the smell test.

@Ravi Kiran   Whether or not the person who was bit by her dog is an illegal immigrant has nothing to do with it (and I'd find it offensive if that is her reason for feeling unsafe).  If she's claiming 2-3 months down the road that she doesn't feel safe and moved out is odd, but moving forward, get it rented ASAP and let her know you're keeping the deposit until it is rented.  She should have given 30 days' notice.  If you rent it within 30 days of her giving notice, you will refund her the difference in rent.

I would get it fixed up/rented and you can try and go after her for anything not covered by the deposit/rent but I have a feeling you'll be rented quick enough to not suffer any vacancy losses that aren't covered by the rent/deposit.

The reason is definitely BS IMO but at this point she is already out

@Ravi Kiran I would also tell her it is policy to forward all deposits due to new address. Get her address and give to attorney so she is not trying to hide . Her dog bit someone on your property. (You allowed dog or did not evict for having) if they cant find her they may come after you.

I would stay out of all the legal proceedings... especially since you’ve since parted ways with your PM. Find out your state laws if you can withhold one month (or 2) from the deposit for unauthorized move-out. As long as your state allows it, I’d state that it’s 2-months due (since that’s what your lease says) but include in the letter that since you feel uncomfortable in the property, you’ll consider everything paid and balanced with just the 1-month. Shows you’re being a good guy (even if you know you’ll never see the 2nd month paid).

Let your PM know that’s she’s moved out and any legal details need to be handled with her directly.

@Ravi Kiran

Find a new tenant. Keep damage deposit for any lost rents and/or damage to property. If damage deposit insufficient, small claims court for the rest. It’s that simple. Her “security issue” was caused by her and her dog. It has no bearing on you.

@Ravi Kiran Accept the fact that a not great tenant is now gone. Per AZ law you need to take action to market the property at fair market value, re-rent the property and you can deduct the cost of re-renting from the tenant's deposits. Of course, you can also deduct any other deficiencies you were left with as a result of the tenant such as rent for the vacant days. You are obligated to return a Disposition of Deposits Statement and refund with receipts in 14 business days.

The rental market in Chandler is super strong, market the property right away, most likely rent wil be increased over the last lease and you end up with a new tenant for at least a year at little to nothing out of pocket.

The tenant was wrong in many ways, didn't have the right to leave, etc but if you focus on what you can do you will have a rented property performing better than it was previously.

Throughout this thread I have not heard any info about tenant/renter insurance.  It should be a requirement that tenant's have renter's insurance to cover their personal property for loss from fire, theft, negligence lawsuits, etc. 

That being said, it sounds like a bunch of lame excuses for this tenant to vacate.  

If the dog was allowed, there should have been insurance in place.  If the dog was illegal (lol) then the tenant should have had infraction notice and possible eviction proceedings started.  

Those rascally tenants--they do find ways to twist landlords and property managers up into some pretty tight knots, don't they?  Just move forward.  Be thankful the bitten person didn't mention you as the owner in the suit.