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    swdctracy's Avatar
    swdctracy Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Mar 10, 2007, 10:26 AM
    DC-Tenant never paid first month's rent
    My new tenant signed a lease, paid a security deposit, but never made her fist month's rent. She had some ridiculous excuses, but I gave her the benefit of the doubt. It has been a week since the start of her lease. She has not taken possession of the unit. Can I cancel the lease and keep the security deposit?

    Washington DC

    The lease reads "In the event that this lease shall be terminated by the Tenant prior to the expiration date, all or part of the Security Deposit aforesaid may be retained by the landlord as damages for the loss of rent resulting from such premature termination and without prejudice to the landlord's rights regarding any further obligations of the tenant."
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,304, Reputation: 7692

    Mar 10, 2007, 10:50 AM
    You can cancell the lease ( which I would) but you can't keep the deposit unless your lease agreement gives you that right.

    Your being nice may just be the cost of this,
    Cvillecpm's Avatar
    Cvillecpm Posts: 553, Reputation: 28
    Senior Member

    Mar 10, 2007, 02:34 PM
    Don't provide keys unless the money is paid... if she has keys and has not moved in - change the apt unit locks to prevent move in... She has cancelled the lease.
    landlord advocate's Avatar
    landlord advocate Posts: 283, Reputation: 36
    Full Member

    Mar 11, 2007, 06:03 AM
    It isn't that easy. Two people have now signed a legal agreement. The tenant has the right to live in the property for the term of the lease. Just because her circumstances have changed, that does not mean she does not intend to move in at some time in the future. Unless she has provided written notice that she does not intend to move in, it is still her property. We have to move slowly here, or the landlord is going to be held responsible for expense to possibly store her goods until she finds another place, the security deposit and a temporary place for her to live. Please find out if the utilities have been changed into the tenant's name. That is our starting place. If the answer is no, then there is a chance she has changed her mind and is not moving in at all. If the answer is yes, then she may be planning on moving in but for some reason has been delayed.

    Since the rent was due and not paid, post a 3 day eviction notice for non-payment of rent. Do not change the locks. If she does not appear or call you within the 3 days, file the eviction and go to court. The security deposit (actually called earnest money prior to the move in date) now becomes "rent". If she is garnishable or you can see a way to collect additional expenses incurred to re-rent the property, think about taking her to small claims for damages.

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