Hi Fellow REI, Looking for some advice on refunding the last months rent deposit to a tenant. Here is the situation:
Tenant gave 2 weeks noticed before their 1 year lease was up claiming the unit was unhealthy to live in and moved out with 1 month remaining on their lease. They are now asking for their last months back and threatening to report the building to the health unit. Should I return their last months rent so I avoid the headaches. Or stand my ground as the last months rent was applied to the month they moved out.
The unit is in Ontario, Canada.
@Huong Luu The first question is was there a problem with the house that made it uninhabitable? If there was, then I would return their rent.
If there were no problems with the home, was there a vacancy? Again, if not, then you are not out any money, return the last month's rent minus any penalties for breaking the lease. If you there was a vacancy for which you lost rent, then you may want to recoup that. Presumably they paid rent for their last month prior to moving out, so the 'last month's rent' that you have was never used.
The Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board is totally for the tenant so best to just give them their money and avoid the headache and rent it out to nicer people now.
If the issue was not Brought up earlier during their tenancy, they are bluffing and have no reason to ask for the rent back.
They have probably done something like this before in order to get some money back and inexperienced landlords will fall for it because they are worried what will happen if they don't do what the tenant wants.
If there is nothing that in your opinion would seem the house uninhabitable then do not return it.
The RTA states if the tenant moved out within the 1 year contact you are entitled to compensation for lost rent if you can show you tried your best to re rent it out ASAP.
Assuming you can show this - hold the rent.
Thank you everyone for you input. There was nothing wrong with the apartment. After they moved out, I had my property manager go check and also a new general contractor go and check. They both confirmed there was no insects or mold smell.
I don't know your laws so take this with a grain of salt.
In most states, Tenants have to follow specific steps before withholding rent or terminating a lease. They can't move out and say it's because of mold or a leaky roof or that the fridge won't keep food cold. The tenant is typically required to give you written notice of the problem, then give you an appropriate amount of time to repair the problem.
If they moved out without notice, I would use the last month's rent for rent.