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Tenant Filing PFA, Wants out of lease and S.D. back Security Deposit

Discussion in 'Other Residential Landlord & Tenant Issues' started by LandlordWoes, Oct 29, 2015.

  1. LandlordWoes

    LandlordWoes Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I rented an apartment to an unmarried couple we shall call Jim and Jill. Within the first month oif the lease they broke up, and Jill is filing for a PFA against Jim. She wants to be off the lease. I agreed to let her off the lease given we all sign an addendum to the lease stating all parties agree. Jim said he is fine with letting her off the lease and covering the monthly rental payments himself. Jill is now demanding that she gets the Security Deposit back, or at least the part that she is claiming she paid.

    I have not yet received confirmation of Jill actually getting a PFA against Jim. If she does, will she be legally released from the lease or will I still need to add an addendum and have everyone sign it? If she gets the PFA again'st him, is she then legally entitled to any or all of the security deposit? If she does get the PFA and requests that Jim be evicted, and he is, how soon after she is unable to pay the next month's rent (because she definitely won't be able to) can I evict her?

    Thanks,

    Landlord Woes
     
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    "I have not yet received confirmation of Jill actually getting a PFA against Jim. If she does, will she be legally released from the lease"

    No. Neither the PFA nor any of her issues with Jim have any affect on your lease or their joint obligations at all.

    "will I still need to add an addendum and have everyone sign it?"

    You can do that if you want but that also has nothing to do with the PFA. In fact, no landlord in his right mind would relieve any tenant of a joint obligation. Having two to go after is always better than having one to go after. Even if Jim leaves, he's still obligated to you if she fails to pay rent and you can go after him, too, if she doesn't pay.

    "If she gets the PFA against him, is she then legally entitled to any or all of the security deposit?"

    Hell, no.

    "If she does get the PFA and requests that Jim be evicted, and he is"

    Uh, you have no obligation to evict Jim upon her request. In fact, you shouldn't.

    I'm beginning to suspect that you are an amateur at being a landlord. But I'll continue my comments.

    "how soon after she is unable to pay the next month's rent (because she definitely won't be able to) can I evict her?"

    The first day after the rent is unpaid you properly serve the "pay or quit" notice. The day after the deadline you file eviction in court.

    Study the PA landlord tenant statute thoroughly and carefully.

    https://www.thelpa.com/PA_landlord_tenant_act.pdf

    Here's a legal guide. It's old but helpful and you can buy a more recent edition (very advisable) online.

    The Landlord's Legal Guide in Pennsylvania

    Bottom line, your response to Jim and Jill's shenanigans should be (in writing):

    "Dear Jim and Jill, whatever is going on between you two has nothing to do with your joint lease and your obligations to me under lease and law. You are both bound by the lease until expiration and I am not getting in the middle of anything. Upon expiration of the lease and your joint departure from the premises, a final inspection will be made and your security deposit, in accordance with lease and law, will be refunded jointly to the two of you for you to divide as you please. You are both still equally obligated to continue paying your rent and any failure to do so will be met with appropriate consequences."

    Then shut up, stop talking to them, and stay the hell out of their business.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2015
  3. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    adjusterjack gave you some damn fine advice that you're probably going to ignore. If you do ignore his advice read on. If you follow his advice, stop reading now.
















    Okay, so you've chosen to ignore adjusterJ's damn fine advice, I suggest you make one change to your plan.

    If Jim is willing to let Jill off your hook, when you create the addendum, add a clause that states Jim give Jill her half of the lease deposit or security.

    You should also only release Jill from her monthly financial obligations as long as Jim remains current in the rent, and does nothing that would cause you to evict him. If Jim breaches the lease, Jill would be held jointly and severally liable with Jim for all resulting damages.

    If you still wish to bestow generosity and forbearance on these two, you might want to exact an early out penalty from Jill of $1,000 or $1,500 in an effort to ease the pain if these two clowns try to screw you.

    My philosophy as a landlord is to say YES, but not for FREE.

    Once they see there's no get outta lease free card, they suddenly get a change of heart. But, they still think if you as a nice guy, not the average sucker.


    That allows you to return the entire amount to Jim alone, at the termination of his tenancy.

    Good luck, mate.
     
  4. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    And all of that in reverse if Jim goes and Jill stays.
     

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