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Landlord/Tenant Problem

Old 06-04-2011, 07:15 AM
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Default Landlord/Tenant Problem

Without getting into details (at this point) on a Public Forum -

Is there any reason a tenant can legally vacate a premise without notice, a year before the lease expires? This is in Florida. I know there are a number of attorneys on here, and hoping to hear examples of how a tenant can break a lease without any notice, and not be held liable for the remainder of the lease.

I will PM details if anyone really wants or needs them before they comment.
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Old 06-04-2011, 07:20 AM
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I'm a landlord, not an attorney. A few details about the reasons given by the tenant would need to be produced, IMO. If a tenant up and walks out of a decent dwelling, he's liable. If the dwelling doesn't have working appliances, HVAC, has vermin infesting it from outside the apt. then I'd side with tenant from a personal safety standpoint.

Details....
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Old 06-04-2011, 07:25 AM
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You're probable best attempt at resolution is Small Claims Court and then all you get is a judgment--that will be nearly impossible to collect/enforce

Good Luck on that one
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Old 06-04-2011, 07:55 AM
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Short answer = Negative......

I assume he never defaulted you on the Lease ?

I didnt sleep at Holiday Inn - but I have been a Landlord for 25 years...
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Old 06-04-2011, 08:38 AM
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What does your lease say about vacating and breaking lease?
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Old 06-04-2011, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by triplenet View Post
Short answer = Negative......

I assume he never defaulted you on the Lease ?

I didnt sleep at Holiday Inn - but I have been a Landlord for 25 years...
What do you mean?

Originally Posted by Mr. Demeanor View Post
What does your lease say about vacating and breaking lease?
Lease states that if the tenant vacates before the end of the lease, the tenant is responsible for the remainder of the lease. However, FL statute says the tenant is responsible only until a new renter moves in, and if rented for an amount less then the amount the original tenant was paying, then the original tenant is responsible to make up that difference.
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Old 06-04-2011, 09:04 AM
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I'd send them a bill for any un-paid rent until the date you get a new tenant. If they pay -Wow! I'd be surprised. When they don't you can list that as an unpaid debt on your taxes and the IRS might consider it undeclared income on theirs.

Going to court might get you a judgement that you might be able to use to get an attachment or bench warrant if they don't respond to the court order. That route can take up a lot of your time though and might not really be practical.

Good luck!
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Old 06-04-2011, 09:08 AM
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Has the landlord violated any material conditions of the contract?
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Old 06-04-2011, 09:10 AM
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You know what the lease says, but you ask the question anyway. Why is that? Are there extenuating circumstances that would have provoked the tenant to feel like they had to move?

If not, then court is going to cost you, and it might not go your way if the tenant testifies contrary to what the judge thinks you should have done (no proof needed, so tenant can say just about anything)

Seems like there's a Rest of the Story about this situation?
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Old 06-04-2011, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by NoFearEyes View Post
You're probable best attempt at resolution is Small Claims Court and then all you get is a judgment--that will be nearly impossible to collect/enforce

Good Luck on that one
I agree here...

The only time I pursued a tenant, who seemed to have a good job with the local phone company, it cost us $1700 and we successfully had her wages garnished. One payment and she skipped the state, where we found out the judgement was no longer valid.

In Florida it seems as if the tenants have more protection than the landlords..

We had some tenants we paid to leave and vacate...and offered to move their crap to the curb as we were changing the locks...
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Old 06-04-2011, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by triumphrick View Post
In Florida it seems as if the tenants have more protection than the landlords..

We had some tenants we paid to leave and vacate....

Not just FLA...but a lot has to do with what judge hears the case. First eviction the judge gave her every possible day to do things, then told her to get out, but gave her 60 more days to do that. No recovery.

Second (and last) case, the judge garnished the guy's wages and I got paid in full.

The first lady testified that there were big rats, appliances didn't work, holes in walls, toilet didn't work, and I never gave receipts for the rent. That last statement caught the judge's eye because she'd never paid me the first month of rent!
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Old 06-04-2011, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by yarcraft91 View Post
Has the landlord violated any material conditions of the contract?
No. I bent over backwards for the guy. The lease states that if he is/was late with the rent, the rent would go back to the old rent amount ($125 more). I let him slide on that. House is/was maintained in good condition.

Originally Posted by bamaboy473 View Post
You know what the lease says, but you ask the question anyway. Why is that? Are there extenuating circumstances that would have provoked the tenant to feel like they had to move?

If not, then court is going to cost you, and it might not go your way if the tenant testifies contrary to what the judge thinks you should have done (no proof needed, so tenant can say just about anything)

Seems like there's a Rest of the Story about this situation?
He bailed without notice (got an email saying he was vacating that day. He never complained about anything before, and if he did. I addressed the problem in a timely manner. He suddenly screamed "Mold", and is using that as his excuse. He never said anything about it before. I just sent out a mold sampling kit to be tested (I was a home inspector for 12 yrs, and licensed in mold testing), and I expect that to come back normal. There is no evidence of an active mold problem.

Originally Posted by triumphrick View Post
I agree here...

The only time I pursued a tenant, who seemed to have a good job with the local phone company, it cost us $1700 and we successfully had her wages garnished. One payment and she skipped the state, where we found out the judgement was no longer valid.

In Florida it seems as if the tenants have more protection than the landlords..

We had some tenants we paid to leave and vacate...and offered to move their crap to the curb as we were changing the locks...
I know where he works, and am hoping that if I do have to sue, I'd be able to get something back from him. Rent was $535, so not a huge amount.
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Old 06-04-2011, 09:28 AM
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If you know where he works and have his phone number, have an attorney make one phone call to him, offering to let him out of the lease for X amount, or risk garnishment and....AND....a big hit on his credit report.

CR negatives mean life and death to many people. Good luck
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Old 06-04-2011, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by bamaboy473 View Post
If you know where he works and have his phone number, have an attorney make one phone call to him, offering to let him out of the lease for X amount, or risk garnishment and....AND....a big hit on his credit report.

CR negatives mean life and death to many people. Good luck
That's probably the first thing I'll be doing. My attorney is in the Bahamas until Monday, so I'm going to start the ball rolling then.

He (tenant) has no money, but he does have a job. I know his credit sucks, and I think the only thing going for me is that he has had his wages garnished in the past and he stayed put. So if I get lucky enough, I may be able to recoup the lost rent. He owes me for May, and June (didn't return the keys until 6/2). I'm giving the house away, so I won't go after him for the rental amount after the house is out of my hands. I am thinking about (if it gets to a small claims point) to sue him for the lost income (amount I would have 'earned' over and above expenses)had he stayed. Don't know if that would fly though, but never hurts to ask.
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Old 06-04-2011, 09:42 AM
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Rent the house out again and move on. You'll waste your time and money trying to get anything out of him.
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Old 06-04-2011, 09:44 AM
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It's going to cost something in order to get a court judgement. If you don't collect on the judgement, you can (at some point in time) take that amount off your taxes. Is the tax savings worth it?
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Old 06-04-2011, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Wolakrab View Post
Rent the house out again and move on. You'll waste your time and money trying to get anything out of him.
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Old 06-04-2011, 11:13 AM
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We go to small claims and get a judgement against the tenant... At some point he will need to clear it up and u will get a call....
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Old 06-04-2011, 01:56 PM
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If he hasn't done any damage to your place, you're probably ahead of the game. I've seen places thet were totally trashed, and nothing was able to be recouped. Really hard to get anything ($$) from someone who doesn't have anything. Sometimes it just costs more to persue than you'll ever get back.
Of course your attorney will have the best advice for you.....I hope.
Good luck.
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Old 06-04-2011, 02:30 PM
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UP here I would hope they would just move out but no such luck they would stay till the place was a hole! Not pay rent and were ordered by a judge then need to go to court again to hire the sheriff this could take 10 months
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