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barristerinky
barristerinky, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 33798
Experience:  Attorney for over 15 years, landlord 26 years
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As the Landlord, we needed to exercise the tenant/landlord

Customer Question

As the Landlord, we needed to exercise the tenant/landlord military clause in our lease as we are being transferred back. Rather than giving the tenants 30 days notice as indicated in the terms of lease, we provide over 90 days notice to give them more time (notice given in April with a termination of lease day 8/15/16). Tenant responded in May that they are moving at the end of June. We offered to meet with "in the middle" and have the end date be 07/21/16. We notified the tenant that we will deduct the pro-rated amount of their rent from their security deposit. Now they want they entire security deposit returned ( which is one month's rent) and are stating they will take us to small claims court to obtain full deposit.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  barristerinky replied 3 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply,but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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I am sorry to hear you are having this dispute with the tenants...

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What is your legal question I can help with tonight?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
We are in the State of Virginia. Copies of the original lease arre attached along with the lease extension. Please refer to the military clause for termination as well as item #42. I already submitted the question so here it is again. As the Landlord, we needed to exercise the tenant/landlord military clause in our lease as we are being transferred back. Rather than giving the tenants 30 days notice as indicated in the terms of lease, we provide over 90 days notice to give them more time (notice given in April with a termination of lease day 8/15/16). Tenant responded in May that they are moving at the end of June. We offered to meet with "in the middle" and have the end date be 07/21/16. We notified the tenant that we will deduct the pro-rated amount of their rent from their security deposit. Now they want they entire security deposit returned ( which is one month's rent) and are stating they will take us to small claims court to obtain full deposit.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Tenant is referring to #42F that they never mutually agreed to the end termination date of August 15 or the compromise date of July 21. It's my understanding that the tenant/landlord military clause is not affected by #42 F. Who is correct? Are the tenants legally able to "counter offer" the termination date of the military clause and create a new lease termination date?
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Oops - hoping I didn't accidentally click on the "Call me" option - please kindly disregard
Expert:  barristerinky replied 3 months ago.

Just a minute while I type out a response..

Expert:  barristerinky replied 3 months ago.

Ok, that I can answer..

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The military clause isn't something that the tenant has to agree to... It is a right that the landlord retains, just like the right the tenant has if they are in the military to get out of the lease.

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So as long as you give them at least 30 days, then you have complied and they have no legal standing to object.

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If you gave them a longer period, then that is your choice, not your obligation and you are correct that 42F has nothing to do with the military clause and relates to extending the lease contract once the initial term expires..

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So you can terminate as long as you give them at least 30 days notice.. And the tenant is liable to pay rent up until the last day of the tenancy. So if they moved out July 21, they still owed the rent on July 1, and if you allowed them to use the security deposit to cover that, then that was you being generous as you have no legal duty to do so.

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But you still have to send them an itemized list of any "damages" and any deductions for rent within 45 days in VA after the tenant has moved out.

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Thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thank you - what is the best way to convey this legal advice to them?
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Just not sure if they will believe me if I state the advice is from justanswer.com....sorry, but that is not intended to be derogatory towards you at all!
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Wait - I think you misread the question - they moved out on June 30 not July 21 as stated in your response. More specifically, they moved out on June 30th but the military clause was exercised for August 15 (with a compromise date of July 21). Please confirm that if they chose to move out on June 30 they are responsible for rent up to August 15 or the compromise date of July 21.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I will wait for your response. Thank you.
********** **********
Expert:  barristerinky replied 3 months ago.

Hello again, something happened so you opted me out of the question so I couldn't respond until now...

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
The dates were confusing in your final response. The tenant moved out on June 30 not July 21 as stated in your response. More specifically, they moved out on June 30th but the military clause was exercised for August 15 (with a compromise date of July 21). They were notified on the termination date of August 15 and acknowledged receipt of this clause being exercised with the new lease termination date of Aug. 15 Please confirm that if they chose to move out on June 30 they are responsible for rent up to August 15 or the compromise date of July 21.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Sorry but not sure what happened that you were blocked from further responses. I called customer service twice so hopefully all works now. Many thanks.
Expert:  barristerinky replied 3 months ago.

It still looks"stuck" to me, but hopefully this will get out to you.. The question is did you try to re-rent after they vacated or did you take possession and move in ?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
We did not move in or re-rent although we did switch the utilities to our name as of July 1 so the bills would be paid and service would not be cut off. We did place items in the house after the July 21 "compromise" date but we are not living in the house yet.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
they did return keys on June 30 to the property manager.
Expert:  barristerinky replied 3 months ago.

Ok, if you took possession of the property, but didn't try to re-rent, then you can't hold the tenant liable for any rent past that time because you suffered no "damages". If the tenant moved out early and you tried to re-rent and couldn't, then you are "damaged" and can hold them liable for any lost rent until you re-rent.

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The law is odd and if you had tried to advertise for that 21 days, as silly as that sounds, then you could hold them liable for that rent because they would be in breach for not complying with the agreed on date of July 21..

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So you can hold them liable for rent up to June 30 if you retook possession and didn't attempt to re-rent.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thank you for your advice- it sounds like the law is in favor of having them move out early since we didn't try to re-rent for the 21 day period. Odd it is!
Expert:  barristerinky replied 3 months ago.

Yes, unfortunately the law requires you to "mitigate your damages" in the event of a "breach" and to do that, you have to try to re-rent..

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I am sorry the news isn't better..

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thanks

Barrister

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