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We are the landlord. A prospective tenant signed a one year…

We are the landlord...

We are the landlord. A prospective tenant signed a one year lease on September 24 and sent us a security deposit. Accidentally, the effective date in the lease was October 22 instead of September 22. She sent us the copy of the lease via photo copies in text message. After the fact, we found out she had two medium size dogs, so sent a new lease requesting $500 pet security which she verbally agreed to, but we did not get the new lease returned to us. Upon requests to show the place to her Boyfriend ( who is not on the lease), we arranged for the cleaning lady to show it to them. She cancelled on October 18 and wants her security deposit back

Lawyer's Assistant: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?

We told others that the place was unavailable and list income

Lawyer's Assistant: What are the terms of the lease? Any issues related to maintenance or upkeep?

She did not move in yet. The lease was for Dec1, 2017-Nov30,2018

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Think that is he important facts My cell is(###) ###-####

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Answered in 5 minutes by:
3/19/2018
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 10,210
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. Because I want to provide you with the most accurate answer possible, do you mind if I take a moment to review your question?

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Okay

Great, thank you! The system may automatically ask you for a phone call; however, it’s not required that you take it. Bear with me a moment while I review…

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Never mind. Do not want to pay extra for phone call

No problem. Slow typist....

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Still there?

Still here. My apologies. One moment...

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
BTW,
We did get Jan2018 thru March 2018 rented only
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Property is in Florida

Awesome. That helps. Thank you.

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Ok, so I had a chance to review your situation in full. Thanks for your patience. So, if I can clarify this situation, the tenant has issues with the deposit that you requested because of the dogs, but you used her other deposit to pay for the cleaning, and she wants it back. Is that correct?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
No.
She cancelled before moving upon show 5he place to her boyfriend.

I see. So, even though she left, she still wants her deposit back and wasn't willing to pay the pet deposit, right?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Typically, once lease is signed and deposit given, lease is in effect. But, we accidentally wrote Oct 22 on lease for effective date and she cancelled on Oct 18. She never signed amended lease with pet deposit, but verbally said 5he pet deposit was fine
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Lease was for Dec 1,2017 to Nov30, 1028
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
2018
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Only copy of signed lease returned with deposit was photo copy via text message
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Pet deposit was not an issue. That only caused an amended lease to be sent out. Would that cancel the previous even if it were not processed? She cancelled because boyfriend would need to drive too much to get around in 5he area

Ok, one moment while I review....

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
She never moved in
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Are we still connected?

Thanks so much for your patience. Ok, so if this is the case, this is a breach of contract. Even though you accidentally wrote 10/22, if she otherwise agreed to the terms and this was the only thing, then a court would consider this a mistake on a basis assumption of the contract, which ordinarily means that the court will allow the parties to reform that part of the agreement, but it won't make the agreement unenforceable just because she didn't sign.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
She is seeing for her security deposit. We feel she does not deserve it. Worth going to court over?

How much are we talking approximately?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
$2700 deposit plus months we were not able to rent the place at $2200/ month

Interesting. One final question: was there anything specifically in your lease that allowed for lease cancellation under these circumstances?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
No.
Only refund of deposit upon completion of terms of lease

I see. Ok, in some cases, parties have what are called "liquidated damages," meaning that if someone breaches the contract, they agree to pay a certain amount. Without that, then a court would be required to look at the law regarding landlords and tenants to help fix what the appropriate damages would be. If a tenant breaches the rental agreement, the landlord is responsible for a) returning the deposit minus any cleaning, unpaid rent, and damages and b) is required to rent the space out as soon as possible to mitigate their damages. Thus, in your case you can apply the $ toward the unpaid rent and charge her the rent until you find someone new. For example, if you cannot find someone until May, she would owe for March and April and the law would allow you use the $2,700 to cover that amount, and charging her the rest. So, although there are no cleaning and repair issues, she is still liable for the unpaid rent, regardless of the mistake with the date.

Does that make sense?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Okay
How about the fact that when original signed lease was returned to us, it was via text message of photo copies?
And since anew amended lease was sent, but never completed, the original is still in effect???

The court would likely determine that if the parties agreed upon 10/22 as the start date, then that is going to be the start date, even if there were some formalities that needed to be taken care of to reflect this. Regardless, so long as she signed any of those leases, she'll be bound to the terms and the law regarding deposits.

Did you have any other questions for me today that I could help you with?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Now, remember, she cancelled Oct 18

Even then, if she agreed to the lease terms, she'll be bound by them. I can understand your concern, but I have reason to believe a court would agree that you could use the money to pay for her unpaid rent.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
You mean I must return deposit and then ask her for rent for vacant months?
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Sorry, I misread
Thank you.

Oh no. I'm sorry for the confusion. You don't have to return the deposit and you can apply it toward the rent until you find a new tenant. You can also charge her the difference for the months that her deposit doesn't cover.

Legal Eagle
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
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