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ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 11317
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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I rent a room out of my row home to help pay my bills. My

Resolved Question:

I rent a room out of my row home to help pay my bills. My last renter left with giving me 5 days notice. When our e- mail discussions clearly state 30 days notice will be given for move out, is this considered a breach of our lease and entitle me to his deposit.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 1 year ago.

ScottyMacEsq :

Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.


 

ScottyMacEsq :

When did he move out (specifically) and when did you inform him of your keeping the deposit?


 

Customer:

He moved in 9/9/12. He moved out on 9/23/12 and informed me that he was leaving on 9/19/12. He didn't give me a forwarding address so I sent an e-mail on 9/29/12 outlining my reasons for keeping the deposit.

ScottyMacEsq :

And he had a written lease with you?


 

ScottyMacEsq :

Was it a monthly lease, or for a year?


 

Customer:

He has the lease, and it was month to month.

ScottyMacEsq :

And the lease actually started on his move in date?


 

Customer:

yes


 

ScottyMacEsq :

Did he pay the first month's rent on that date?


 

Customer:

yes


 

Customer:

and deposit


 

ScottyMacEsq :

The repairs that you made, was the damage caused by him>


 

ScottyMacEsq :

? >


 

Customer:

yes


 

ScottyMacEsq :

What was the nature of that damage?


 

Customer:

Just repainting the room. I quoted $25 for the repairs.

ScottyMacEsq :

He painted it, and you had to paint it another color to bring it back to the original condition?


 

ScottyMacEsq :

Or did it need to be painted before he moved in?


 

Customer:

It was freshly painted before he moved in and when he left there were markings and scuffs all over the walls that needed to be painted over.

ScottyMacEsq :

A security deposit is not completely forfeited by a tenant upon his breach of the lease. Rather, it's a "fund" that the landlord can use as damages, but any excess needs to be refunded to the tenant after the actual damages are deducted. So the fact that he did not give you 30 days notice does not necessarily entitle you to the entire amount (or really, anything). Rather, you can charge rent for the 30 days after he actually gave you notice. So, for instance, if you take the 10 days that he stayed before giving notice and the 30 days after, basically you can charge for 40 days rent. If you already have one months rent, you can essentially only charge for an extra 10 days. Furthermore, you can deduct the actual damage for the wear and tear attributable to the tenant (not ordinary wear and tear). In PA, you have to give 30 days notice of your intent to do that, but this duty only runs from when you have a forwarding address.


 

ScottyMacEsq :

So what you should do...


 

ScottyMacEsq :

Get an address. Tell him that none of your duties even start until you have an address. If he takes you to court, the court will dismiss it because you did not have a forwarding address to send it to.


 

ScottyMacEsq :

Then send him a detailed breakdown of what you're keeping (the rent plus the 30 days notice period minus the prorated amount of the second month, as well as the damages and utilities that he did not pay for that time period)


 

ScottyMacEsq :

If there is anything left over from the security deposit, you have to give that back to him.


 

ScottyMacEsq :

If you don't, he can take you to court for that amount, as well as punitive damages and attorney's fees.


 

ScottyMacEsq :

And that would almost certainly be more than the entire amount of the security deposit.


 

ScottyMacEsq :

Again, you don't necessarily get to keep the entire amount of the deposit, unless the actual damages that you incurred as a result of his breach were at that amount or higher, and you could reasonably prove it.


 

ScottyMacEsq :

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck to you!


 

Customer:

Ok, thank you.


 

ScottyMacEsq :

My pleasure.If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!


 

Customer:

Can i charge him for utilities he didn't pay?


 

ScottyMacEsq :

If he had the responsibility to pay, yes.


 

ScottyMacEsq :

(under the lease, that is)


 

Customer:

Ok, thanks again


 

ScottyMacEsq, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 11317
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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