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Landlord threatening to sue

Discussion in 'Commercial Landlord & Tenant Issues' started by Hugh O'Neill, May 21, 2019.

  1. Hugh O'Neill

    Hugh O'Neill Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
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    So my landlord is threatening to sue us if she cant rent out her property by the end of the lease. Shes claiming she cant rent the house to anyone because of the state of the house and that shell take us to court to compensate that. In the mind of full disclosure the house indeed was a mess but it was nothing that breaks the lease and it was just our own mess from living in the house me and my roomates rent, and from my understanding she has no say in that unless it damages the house. We agreed to clean up the house just to get her to back off but my question is can she really sue for the loss of income if she cant rent out the house next year? That dosnt seem legal to me because im sure landlords would be doing that left and right if they could.
     
  2. Disabled Vet

    Disabled Vet Active Member

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    Yes, If you leave the place damaged, dirty etc.... She can say it took X amount of time to get the place put back together.
     
  3. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    She can sue you for cleaning costs, not for rent. She would have to prove expenses for cleaning minus any deposits you paid.
     
  4. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Ohio security deposit law = Lawriter - ORC - 5321.16 Procedures for security deposits.


    When your lease ends, make sure you document the EMPTY unit with video and photos AFTER you have removed all your belongings and cleaned the unit to the best of your ability.

    Document the status of the empty unit by taking pictures and video of the EMPTY unit.

    If you are sued, bring the video and photos to court, along with your notes on damages (if any) to court.

    Ask the landlord (or her/his agent) to accompany you as you do your move out inspection.

    If the request is declined, document the answer.

    Nevertheless, do the inspection and documentation yourself, capture photos and video.

    Ohio security deposit link: 6 Basics of Security Deposits at Your Rental Property

    The state of Ohio’s landlord tenant act includes specific rules for the security deposit.

    These rules are meant to protect the rights of both landlords and tenants by explaining the obligations of each party.

    Specific terms include how much can be collected and how long a landlord has to return the security deposit after move out. Here are five security deposit rights in Ohio.

    Each state has different reasons a landlord can make deductions from a tenant's security deposit. In the state of Ohio, you may be able to keep all or a portion of a tenant’s security deposit for the following reasons:

    Unpaid Rent
    Damage in Excess of Normal Wear and Tear
    Unpaid Utilities
    Late Fees

    As you can see, nothing on your state's security deposit law allows the landlord to retain ALL of your deposit for cleaning.

    Don't worry about threats of a lawsuit, just handle your business.

    If necessary HIRE a service to clean the ENTIRE premises, or do it yourself/yourselves.

    Ohio's landlord tenant law sets a time limit for landlords to return their tenants' security deposits. Tenants in Ohio have the right to the return of their security deposit within 30 days of move-out What Is a Move Out Inspection for Landlords and Tenants? .

    Written Itemized List:

    If the landlord has taken any deductions from the tenant’s security deposit, the landlord must include a written itemized list when returning any security deposit amount owed back to the tenant. This list must itemize:
    Each deduction taken from the security deposit.
    Specific reason for the deduction.
    Amount of each deduction.
    For example, if a landlord deducts money from the security deposit for “cleaning,” this may not hold up in court. Even though the landlord could have meant, “cleaning for damages caused in excess of normal wear and tear,” if this is not specifically stated in the written itemized list, it would be interpreted as money withheld for basic cleaning costs, which is not an allowable deduction from the security deposit.
    Forwarding Address:

    In Ohio, it is the tenant's responsibility to provide the landlord, in writing, with a forwarding address where the security deposit can be sent. If the tenant fails to provide the landlord with a forwarding address, the landlord will not be penalized for failing to return the deposit within the 30-day window.

    Landlord Fails to Return Deposit:

    If the tenant has supplied the landlord with a proper forwarding address, in writing, and the landlord fails to return the tenant’s security deposit within the 30 day window, along with a written list of itemized deductions, if deductions have been taken, the tenant is granted certain rights. The tenant is entitled to the money owed to them, plus damages in an amount equal to the money wrongfully withheld plus any attorney’s fees.

    If necessary, you can hire an attorney to defend against a lawsuit.

    If you prevail, the landlord is required to pay for your attorney's fees.

    Make sure you thoroughly clean (or pay to be cleaned) the unit.
    If the unit is cleaned and you document the cleaning, you have NOTHING to fear!
     
  5. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Are you still living in this house, or have you moved out? If you're still living there, are you planning on moving out at some point in the foreseeable future? If so, when are you moving? You mentioned "the end of the lease." When is that? How much of a security deposit did you give the landlord?
     
  6. Hugh O'Neill

    Hugh O'Neill Law Topic Starter New Member

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    We are currently living there and our lease ends in. August. We definitely plan to move out when it ends. The security deposit was 1600
     
  7. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    I don't get it. The condition of the apartment NOW has no bearing on the condition when your lease expires.
     
    army judge and justblue like this.
  8. Hugh O'Neill

    Hugh O'Neill Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Shes claiming shes gona sue for the rent she would have received from a tennet if she cant find a tennet by the end of our lease. As I said she claims its our fault she hasnt yet leased it out and is trying to lay all the blame for that on us.
     
  9. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Ignore her threats for now and just do as you were told with regard to cleaning, etc., in the prior posts.

    As a non-legal piece of advice: It's much easier to clean as you go than it is to let messes grow before cleaning them.
     
    justblue likes this.
  10. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    Just adding something that I hear often from landlord tenant disputes - an attempt to justify why the landlord should be entitled to keep a lease security deposit. Some tenants decide to use the security deposit as rent for the final month, which is typically a breach of the lease (and which is why some landlords require more than just one month deposit.) When a landlord decides to use the security deposit, the landlord must justify the reasons. In the event the security deposit is depleted, the landlord must sue and demand payment from the former tenant. It's not a situation a landlord wants to be in and pursue unless the circumstances warrant such action.
     
  11. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Ok, then your question and your landlord's concerns are premature. The current level of cleanliness doesn't make any difference, and I'm wondering why the landlord even knows about that.

    I suggest you familiarize yourself with Ohio's security deposit law and make sure that, when you do leave the premises, you leave them clean and in a condition as close as possible to the condition of the premises when you moved in. Contrary, to one of the prior responses, your landlord most certainly can sue you and claim lost rent as an element of damages under the law (of course, you'd be entitled to an offset in the amount of your security deposit). Whether the landlord could adequately prove such damages is, of course, impossible for us to predict.

    I think what you're saying is that the landlord is claiming that, because of the current condition of the apartment, she hasn't been able to get a new tenant to move in once your lease expires. Any such claim by her would be untenable and, if she withholds from your security deposit for this reason, you should strongly consider suing yourselves.
     
    Michael Wechsler likes this.
  12. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    This is true. As I stated, not paying the last month's rent (and relying upon the security deposit) is technically a breach of the terms of virtually all leases I have seen. What some have done (when they leave with the premises is reasonable condition and as per the lease terms) with regard to not paying the last month's rent is a essentially a gamble that the landlord will not sue them to obtain money that the landlord would likely not be entitled or for negligible amounts which aren't worth the effort and costs. The bottom line is, when you leave, make sure it is clean, broom swept, and there isn't any material, visible damage for which you should be held liable under the terms of your lease.

    I think that what @zddoodah says makes the most sense of interpreting the situation. Perhaps the landlord believes your apartment looks like a mess and will not be able to get anyone to rent the apartment in such a state? If so, you do need to look at your lease to determine what the provisions are regarding showing the apartment. The clauses I have seen have been typically the landlord's right to show the apartment upon reasonable notice to the tenant. I haven't seen a lease which requires the tenant to clean up, e.g. all dishes must be cleaned and put away and the floors in broom swept condition. If a landlord can't rent out the unit because it is simply in a messy condition, there is no recovery of which I am aware.
     
  13. Hugh O'Neill

    Hugh O'Neill Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Upon rereading the lease there is nothing in the part about showings stating we must clean for them so I guess shes just making demands she cant back up. Regardless we cleaned as she asked so I hope at least she wont try to demand anything else as we move out.
     
  14. Hugh O'Neill

    Hugh O'Neill Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you all. I definitely understand the whole process better now and am not worried about her suing me for a years rent now. I appreciate all the input!
     

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