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MDLawyer
MDLawyer, Lawyer
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 6130
Experience:  10 years in legal practice. Over 5 years in advising clients on landlord/tenant issues, including on a pro bono basis.
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The below was sent to me by my tenant both by email and a

Customer Question

The below was sent to me by my tenant both by email and a hard copy delivered to my door - from my rental unit at 8:54 PM after returning to the unit an hour earlier where I had posted on the door a notice to quit. The notice to quit was torn down and ignored. I had been in a horrific power struggle over many and all issues with her since she moved in on Jan 2, most especially parking. She refused to comply with my repeated verbal requests as to where to park her and her boyfriend's cars. In the end she vacated on the evening of January 29 (she actually left the day before on Jan 28 with all her belongings and kept the key without letting me have a clue what she was doing but reappeared Jan 29 at what she called 'point of inspection' as I had informed her I would be inspecting on that day Jan 29 due to the unit being in such a sate of uncleanliness and abhorant condition). I know she has to give me 7 days notice by Colorado law, and that I do not owe her back for Feb. She had paid for Jan and Feb in full upon entry and had given me a 600 deposit. She did serious cosmetic damage to my high end and new samsung dryer and refuses to acknowledge this. I will have a repair man come give me a written statement about the cosmetic damage to the dryer within 30 days. What do I owe her back therefore? And with someone as difficult to deal with as she has been, how should I proceed with communication (she left a forwarding address for me to send all funds for Feb and deposit and 'expenses' under threat of civil action - in Vermont at her parents residence). Also please not that my property is a 600,000 log house in a beautiful residential neighborhood and the unit is a VRBO for 250/night but I was offering it for month to month for a greatly reduced price due to serious and chronic health issues. Her allegations in the below are clearly fraudulent, especially with reference to 'lighting' and 'snow removal' - for there has been very little snow this year and most of the property has no snow on it at all (which I have pics of). This is what she wrote (in the evening of Jan 26, ignoring my notice to quit). I will include what she wrote in the next box.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  MDLawyer replied 10 months ago.

Hello and thank you for using the Just Answer website. I look forward to assisting you although I am sorry to hear about this problem tenant.

Just to clarify the facts, you had a month to month lease with the tenant, correct and this was in Colorado?

Are you asking what you owe her in terms of the security deposit?

Please remember that we can only provide you with legal information and not legal advice.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Originally when she answered my add on Craigslist I had asked her (by email) to sign a lease and she agreed. I did want a signed lease which stipulated basic rules. Due to health issues, which I had explained in depth to her via email after she moved in, I was unable to deliver the lease agreement for her to sign until Jan 25 (by that time I was becoming alarmed at her oppositional behavior). She refused the sign the lease and as of Jan 26 began to refer to herself as at will (the same day I had posted notice to quit - which she ignored), which was I suppose a defense on her part to continue to not comply with any verbal requests I had. Yes, this is Colorado. And yes, I am asking for information about how to proceed with communication to her as well as what do I owe her back from her deposit (once I have an estimate of the damage to the dryer, if that even applies because it is cosmetic)
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
here is her statement to me (put on your seatbelt lol)
January 26, 2016To whom it may concern,I am seeking new options for immediate termination of my at will tenancy at,
1099 Pine Glade Rd. Nederland, Colorado 80466.
It is not a safe livable situation, for many conditions as such: improper maintenance of ice and snow removal, improper lighting of entrance, a blatant hostility between tenants, verbal abuse from landlord, unsafe living conditions and in sighting fear, due to invasion of privacy and illegal entry of landlord, without any previous notification or advisement (which there is evidence of). Personally, I would preferred a more civil and peaceful resolution, to a simple misunderstanding of communication, but if these are the options we need to proceed as such.As per advisement of Boulder County Sheriffs Department, and the Rocky Mountain Legal Center, these are the current options which can proceed:( A) I will give a 10 day notice as an at will tenant, vacate the premises within 10 days of today's date, and be refunded the full amount of the existing paid February rent, including deposit, lest the 5 days in the beginning month from this time. So, that would breakdown to an immediate refund upon date of vacating the premises, which would equate to $1200/29= $41.38 x 24= $993.12 to be refunded immediately upon vacating, payable by check, cash or money order, + 30 day allowed period to return depositB)
Title 13 - Courts & Court procedure
ARTICLE 40
Forcible Entry and Detainer - General Provisions
Notice to quit.(1) A tenancy may be terminated by notice in writing, served not less than the respective period fixed before the end of the applicable tenancy, as follows:(a) A tenancy for one year or longer, three months;(b) A tenancy of six months or longer but less than a year, one month;(c) A tenancy of one month or longer but less than six months, ten days;(d) A tenancy of one week or longer but less than one month, or a tenancy at will, three days;As this statement clearly states above, in subset (d), I can give 3 days notice, due to the fact that I have only been residing there for 24 days. I'll vacate property by February 1st and will be returned a full refund of $1200 for advanced paid February rent. As a gesture of kindness, and advisement of my lawyer, I will relinquish 50% of my security deposit, and the remainder will be returned to me within 30 days, lest expenses, as per law.C) If landlord, is not to agree to option (A) or (B), I will still be terminating my tenancy, beginning February 1st, and will be filing a petition with the small claims court immediately to this current situation, with full documentation, of a/v recordings and email interactions, of the course of events in said residency. Then, as per lawyer advisement, I will have no option but to recover the 100% of unused rent and plus security deposit, and other expenses.I will be expecting a response, via email or in person confirmation, as of January 27, 2016, to how landlord would like to proceed in these matters. I would, personally like to, interject that a preference of peaceful and civil resolution of this matter, be chosen, due to not wanting to draw this out any longer, for it is unhealthy to all parties, and would prefer to cut ties cleanly and as soon as possible, and be rid of this negative energy which as come, by poor actions and response of landlord.As of January 26, 2016, I, Allegra Grieco, am hereby giving written notice of at-will tenancy termination at 1099 Pine Glade Rd, Nederland, CO. 80466, beginning February 1st, 2016. Please, notify immediately upon received notification, and which option is to be chosen, and how we will proceed further.Thanks for your attention and prompt response in this matter,Allegra Grieco
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
remember the above was written at 8:45 PM after she returned to the unit and summarily ignored my notice to quit on her door
Expert:  MDLawyer replied 10 months ago.

It sounds like she is trying to get out of giving the 7 days notice as required by law since she is not required to give 7 days if the landlord (you) is in breach or if the residence is not in livable condition. I'm not sure why she is quoting Article 40 since that deals with the landlord's right to evict. That's what a forcible detainer is -an eviction. That Article does not apply to her. If she gave less than 7 days notice, you are entitled to keep the rent for February.

With respect to the security deposit, you will need to follow Colorado law on the return of the security deposit. You have one month by law to return her security deposit. If she has damaged the unit, you need to provide a list of what was damaged and what the cost or repair was to fix. The remainder of the deposit should be mailed along with the list. You should send it to her certified mail return receipt requested and you want to be sure that all communications are in writing since she appears to be a problem tenant.

Please let me know if this has answered your question. If it has, please be so kind as to leave a positive rating as that is the only way that we experts get compensated for helping you since we are not Just Answer employees. If, however, you need some additional information from me, please do not hesitate to let me know so that I may continue to assist you.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
just to verify, the unit needs to be condemned by the state to not be in livable condition, correct?
Expert:  MDLawyer replied 10 months ago.

No, there are many things that could make a unit uninhabitable. The state does not have to label it as such. Anything that would make it unsafe or dangerous.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Well three weeks into her refusal to park her car where I had asked, I went to the unit (which is an apartment in our home) and tried again where I was met with 5 minutes of argument, I lost my temper and ordered her to "get her fat ass up and move the car". I admit I lost my temper. Another just answer lawyer I consulted the other day said she could not sue me for mean words. (I have leukemia and have been bedridden for a few years, and was very ill that day, mostly from the insane stress and outrageous emails she baraged me with for the first three weeks - and she was well informed of how illl I am.) So I appeared in my nightgown after having had both my sons, 20 and 18 and even their male and female friends ask her repeatedly to move her car, and now on this day where I lost my temper, her boyfriends car had been parked in our single family car's space blocking our walkway to our front door...to which she replied "where I park my car vibes with me"..that's when I lost my temper. She had also demanded that the entire household be quiet the third day she lived here, after 10:00 7 nights a week, even though her boyfriend was a musician and they were not usually here four nights a week.
Expert:  MDLawyer replied 10 months ago.

That is correct that you cannot sue someone for using foul language. Generally, a dispute over a parking space also does not suffice to make a unit uninhabitable.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
This is what she sites as uninhabitable, none of which are based on fact, remotely :It is not a safe livable situation, for many conditions as such: improper maintenance of ice and snow removal, improper lighting of entrance, a blatant hostility between tenants, verbal abuse from landlord, unsafe living conditions and in sighting fear, due to invasion of privacy and illegal entry of landlord, without any previous notification or advisement (which there is evidence of).
Expert:  MDLawyer replied 10 months ago.

That would be up to a court to decide if she wishes to take it that far.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Ok, another question. Is she in breach for refusing to respect parking rules the whole way through ?
Expert:  MDLawyer replied 10 months ago.

Were the parking rules in writing?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
No, verbal only.
Expert:  MDLawyer replied 10 months ago.

Then she would not be in breach unless you can prove that there was an agreement that she was only allowed to park in a particular spot.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
The lease made them clear which I presented to her on Jan 25, which she then ignored, which is why i was forced to post notice to quit, which she also ignored
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Would other witnesses to the parking argument over a three week period be proof that she was given instructions where to park?
Expert:  MDLawyer replied 10 months ago.

I thought that you had stated that the lease was never signed. Did I misread that?

Witnesses over an argument is not proof of a contract, unfortunately.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
No you did not misunderstand that, there was no lease signed because she refused to sign it.
Expert:  MDLawyer replied 10 months ago.

Yes, in that case, it would not be a clear breach, unfortunately.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
this is the other lawyers response friday. is there anything he said that you agree with (and this would be my final question) ?Barrister
Expert
Your notice to quit is first in time so it has the highest priority. Her immediate termination only is effective if there are problems that make the property uninhabitable (i.e. no water, sewer backed up, no electricity, no heat, etc.).I think what is going on is she is preparing to sue me for "verbal abuse from landlord, unsafe living conditions and in sighting fear, due to invasion of privacy and illegal entry of landlord, without previous notification or advisement (which there is evidence of)"....That is all just the ridiculous ramblings of someone who is getting thrown out and is now trying to come up with a case against the landlord...Can she sue for the charges she states above in her Immediate Termination ?.Sure, anyone can sue anyone for anything. That doesn't mean she has a chance of winning..If so would this be criminal or civil?.Civil entirely..Have I violated a law by verbal abuse ?.No, talking mean to someone is not a crime. She may try to sue, but no judge is going to take someone like this seriously....suing someone because they hurt your feelings and said something mean to you.... really? And she would have to prove the the property is uninhabitable which means that it is in such bad condition that it would be condemned by city officials.. So the likely isn't the case here.. And even if you did enter without giving at least 24 hours notice, she would have to prove some type of money damage in order to recover..She is going to sound like a disgruntled tenant who got thrown out by the landlord and is now trying for a money grab...thanksBarrister
Expert:  MDLawyer replied 10 months ago.

It appears to be exactly what I have said to you today.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
If I can ask one more question: From all the above, do you feel that she was in breach or anything? 1. refusing to sign the Lease when I did present it to finally clarify my rights as landlord to enforce parking rules 2. refusing to acknowledge notice to quit and vacating according to her termination of tenancy instead ? There were small patches of ice on the walkway she used (and there are two alternate routes around that walkway with small patches of snow) Most of the property was completely snow free the time she was here (with pics). I think the ice issue is the only weak argument she has. My property is in excellent condition in all regards, ***** ***** night lighting. 3. She is claiming I incited fear because (not clear) I either lost my temper with her over the parking, or this claim that I entered the unit without 24 hour 'advisement'. So, in her claim that she is vacating as stated above in her Jan 26 to whom it may concern notice to me, do you feel she has any valid legal arguments against me?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I see that I just asked two questions. I. IS she in breach of anything? 2. Do you feel she has any legitimate claim against me to vacate without 7 days notice?
Expert:  MDLawyer replied 10 months ago.

Based on what you have told me, she paid her rent and so she is not in breach of that. I don't know what other agreements other than parking you had with her since there is no written lease. If she refused to sign the lease, the time to have done something would have been before she moved in. Generally, a landlord has the tenant sign the lease before they allow the tenant to move in. I'm not sure what you mean by acknowledging the notice to quit. She moved out before you could begin eviction proceedings is what I thought you stated. With regards ***** ***** of the apartment, a landlord is not allowed to enter an apartment without notice unless it is an emergency.

Again, I cannot give a legal opinion or legal advice - only legal information - since giving advice or opinion when you are not my client would potentially violate professional ethical rules in many states.

As stated earlier, her only claim would be if the residence was uninhabitable , i.e. unliveable.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thank you so much for your time and excellent help MDLawyer !
Expert:  MDLawyer replied 10 months ago.

You are most welcome and good luck to you. Thank you for allowing me to assist you and thank you in advance for your positive rating.

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