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Old 08-28-2015, 10:21 PM   #1
MikeCarrington
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Default Tenant Breaches Contract

A tenant breached her one year apartment lease in the middle of the lease term. We informed her, via written email, that if she left she would be responsible for the payment of the rents for the time it is vacant, and if that was not her understanding to reply saying as much. She did not reply. She forwarded us a new mailing address as well, which is another apartment. We have not rented the apartment yet, and the apartment rents for almost $3,000/mo when leased. Do I wait until we do lease it, which would give us quantifiable damages, and then sue her for that amount? Or should I immediately file suit against her for the balance, roughly $18,000?
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Old 08-28-2015, 10:25 PM   #2
Disagreeable
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Default Re: Tenant Breaches Contract

You need to process her final reconciliation of the amount due including through the end of lease and send it to her within the statutory time. I suggest it go registered at least. You must try to rent the apartment over asap, any rent you received in her period, must be credited to her balance due. You can file now and amend the balance of amounts still due, in court when you are both seen.
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Old 08-29-2015, 01:55 AM   #3
Sax
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Default Re: Tenant Breaches Contract

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Originally Posted by Disagreeable View Post
You need to process her final reconciliation of the amount due including through the end of lease and send it to her within the statutory time. I suggest it go registered at least. You must try to rent the apartment over asap, any rent you received in her period, must be credited to her balance due. You can file now and amend the balance of amounts still due, in court when you are both seen.

Okay, mister self-anointed legal guru (whose never set a foot inside of a law school) if that how you think it works, let's suppose this:

The OP files a civil complaint for the current amount past due of $18K.
 
The OP is unable to effect service of process upon the defendant until four months hence.
 
The defendant fails to file a timely written response to the complaint and his default is entered.
 
Another month passes before the case is set on the judge's default calendar.
 
However, the property has remained vacant over those five months bringing the total arrearages to $33K (11 months x $3,000 = $33,000).
 
Now would you care to offer your "expert" advice as how the OP might deal with the additional $15K that was not prayed for in her complaint?
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Old 08-29-2015, 01:12 PM   #4
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Default Re: Tenant Breaches Contract

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Originally Posted by MikeCarrington View Post
A tenant breached her one year apartment lease in the middle of the lease term. We informed her, via written email, that if she left she would be responsible for the payment of the rents for the time it is vacant, and if that was not her understanding to reply saying as much. She did not reply. She forwarded us a new mailing address as well, which is another apartment. We have not rented the apartment yet, and the apartment rents for almost $3,000/mo when leased. Do I wait until we do lease it, which would give us quantifiable damages, and then sue her for that amount? Or should I immediately file suit against her for the balance, roughly $18,000?
A landlord has a duty to mitigate damages which means put the place up for rent immediately. In all likelihood, you would only be able to recapture a couple of months' rent.

If you do not make any attempts to re rent the apartment, the court is not likely to grant you any more than a couple of months rent because you made no attempt to mitigate your damages.

So, my recommendation is that you immediately put it up for rent and once you have a tenant, then sue for whatever damages you have incurred by her breach of the lease. Should you rent it and only experience one month vacancy, then your damages would be one month's rent. If two months vacant, then two months' vacancy. If more than that, with extenuating circumstances you might be granted more. An extreme example of extenuating circumstances might be that it is an unusual place with limited market appeal -- say, on an island with no reliable way off.

But until you have made an effort to find another tenant, which you need to do right away, you cannot realistically expect a judgment for damages for your tenant's breach.
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Old 08-29-2015, 02:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sax View Post
Okay, mister self-anointed legal guru (whose never set a foot inside of a law school) if that how you think it works, let's suppose this:

The OP files a civil complaint for the current amount past due of $18K.
 
The OP is unable to effect service of process upon the defendant until four months hence.
 
The defendant fails to file a timely written response to the complaint and his default is entered.
 
Another month passes before the case is set on the judge's default calendar.
 
However, the property has remained vacant over those five months bringing the total arrearages to $33K (11 months x $3,000 = $33,000).
 
Now would you care to offer your "expert" advice as how the OP might deal with the additional $15K that was not prayed for in her complaint?
No court is going to hold the tenant liable for time past the original contract. Everyone is assuming OP means at the 6 month mark, following that assumption 6 months would be the max owed. Not to say a judge would even order all 6 months to be paid, depending on circumstances we may not be privy to.
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Old 03-18-2020, 04:36 AM   #6
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Default Re: Tenant Breaches Contract

I agree, landlords think they can sue for every last thing that happens, and it usually is not correct.
I have slowly been convincing mine of that fact!
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Old 03-18-2020, 10:59 AM   #7
adjusterjack
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Default Re: Tenant Breaches Contract

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Originally Posted by kally78 View Post
I agree, landlords think they can sue for every last thing that happens, and it usually is not correct.
I have slowly been convincing mine of that fact!
Good for you. But that comment is useless on a 4 and a half year old thread.
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