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 LANDLORD / TENANT LAW
Questions & Answers
With Kimball, Tirey & St. John
By Ted Kimball, Esq., Partner, Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP
Question: A tenant gave a 30-day notice of move out on the 10th of the month and turned in his keys to the owner 5 days later on the 15th. Is he still liable for the balance of the rent owed through the 10th of the month?
Answer: Yes, the tenant still owes for the 30-day notice period, minus amounts that can be collected from a replacement tenant. The landlord has to make a diligent effort to relet.
Question: Our tenants were supposed to move out in two weeks. However, the house they were moving into is not completed and they need to stay for another fifteen days. I have no problem with this, but my question to you is what if they do not vacate on time?
Answer: You should have them sign an agreement to vacate on a specific date so if they fail to vacate you can immediately proceed with an action for unlawful detainer.
Question: When you return a security deposit disposition to the vacating tenant, what is the statute of limitations if they do not agree with the deductions and wish to sue in small claims court?
Answer: If your rental or lease agreement was in writing, the statute of limitations is four years. If the agreement was verbal, it is two years. The time starts to run from the date of the alleged breach.
Question: My renter was walking down the stairs carrying bags of groceries and fell and broke her wrist. Can I be sued and a judgment obtained against me?
Answer: You would only be liable if you were negligent in the manner in which you maintained the stairs and your negligence caused the injury.
Question: Our window was broken by a ball hit by the tenant of a neighboring property. They admitted they owed me for a new window but moved away before I could collect on it. Is the owner of the property responsible because it was their tenant?
Answer: The owner of rental property is not normally responsible for the unforeseeable acts of their tenant. In order for the owner to be liable, you would have to prove that the owner knew or should have known his tenant would have caused physical damage to your property, and the owner failed to take reasonable steps to protect your property from harm.
Question: I have a resident who was just put in a detoxification clinic. Her sister wants me to allow her inside to remove all of her personal possessions and move her out because she says the resident is not planning on returning. What can I do to protect myself from being sued by the resident because someone took her belongings and management re-rented the unit?
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