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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
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Experience:  I have 30 years of legal and litigation experience.
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What Do I do if my tenant vacates the house before the 10 day

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What Do I do if my tenant vacates the house before the 10 day notice to vacate. But does not leave a forwarding address and does not surrender the keys to the property?

Good morning Marvin,

Thank you for asking for me.

One of the unfortunate drawbacks to being a landlord is that tenants are not always all that honorable. Some tear up your house, don't pay rent and leave without returning your keys.

When that happens, if you have planned ahead and have their security deposit, you can take the unpaid rent, damage to the property and the cost of re-keying the locks out of the deposit. If you don’t have a deposit, or it isn’t big enough to cover all of your losses, then you suffer a loss. The loss is deductible on your tax return so that helps a little.

And, if you can locate the tenant you can always sue them for the loss in small claims court. But if you can’t locate them, and you are not willing to hire an investigator to find them, then you are out the money. I'm sorry, but that is just the risk that a landlord must be prepared to take.

That is why it can be so important to do background checks on your tenants before they move in, that you collect first and last month's rent and a deposit if allowed under the law, and that as soon as the tenant misses a rent payment that you immediately begin legal action so you don't lose money.

I wish you the best in 2013.

I understand that you may be disappointed by the Answer you received, as it was not particularly favorable to your situation. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a successful legal outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so.

You may reply back to me using the Reply to Expert link if you have additional questions.

Kindly take a moment to rate my service to you based on the understanding of the law I provided. Please understand that I have no control over the how the law impacts your particular situation.

Thank you,



LawTalk and 3 other Personal Injury Law Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you once again for your positive rating of my service, . It is always my pleasure to assist you.


I wanted to thank you once again for using JustAnswer Marvin, and invite you to contact me again with any questions you might have in the future.

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Thank you very much and take care.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Your information has been most helpful.



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