Tenant Late Every Month with Rent, Can I evict?

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Old Jun 3rd, 2010, 09:06 PM   #1
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Confused Tenant Late Every Month with Rent, Can I evict?

I have a house in New Jersey, I have a tenant in the house now since Feb. He has been late since april with the rent. He also has taken money off the rent for things around the house, that i have not given him permission, like uncloging the gutters . . . He's has told me that the washer is leaking after 4 months, (not sure how much damage it has done) so i try to get a plumber in there and he will not set up a appointment with the plumber. I live in another state so it is impossible for me to get there. He also has 3 dogs in the house that i did not give him permission to have. The lease says 2 small dogs. He has 2 small dogs, but one huge dog too. Thanks!! T.
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Old Jun 5th, 2010, 09:26 AM   #2
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Default Re: Tenant Late Every Month with Rent, Can I evict?

I wish to inform you that you may terminate lease agreement after giving notice to your tenant. In this notice you can inform your tenant that as he has caused violation of lease agreement, therefore, you will terminate the lease agreement and he should leave the premises. If tenant still does not leave then you may file a suit for eviction because of breach of lease agreement and because of damage done to house because of acts of tenant like not giving appointment for plumber. Further, the lease provides for 2 small dogs but the tenant has kept 2 small dogs and one big dog.

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Old Jun 5th, 2010, 12:36 PM   #3
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Default Re: Tenant Late Every Month with Rent, Can I evict?

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I have a house in New Jersey, I have a tenant in the house now since Feb. He has been late since april with the rent. He also has taken money off the rent for things around the house, that i have not given him permission, like uncloging the gutters . . . He's has told me that the washer is leaking after 4 months, (not sure how much damage it has done) so i try to get a plumber in there and he will not set up a appointment with the plumber. I live in another state so it is impossible for me to get there. He also has 3 dogs in the house that i did not give him permission to have. The lease says 2 small dogs. He has 2 small dogs, but one huge dog too. Thanks!! T.
Under certain conditions, tenants can use the rent money to make the repairs. After making the repairs, the tenant subtracts the cost of the repairs from the rent instead of paying it to the landlord as rent. This is called repair and deduct.

There are certain rules for repair and deduct that you must follow:
• The conditions that are in need of repair must be serious enough to affect the tenant’s health or well-being.
• The tenant must first give the landlord proper notice stating that repairs are needed and then give the landlord a reasonable amount of time to make the repairs. The notice should be in writing and sent by certified mail, return receipt requested.
• After waiting a reasonable amount of time, the tenant should have the repair done and pay for it with all or part of the rent money.
• The cost of the repair must be reasonable.
• The tenant then should deduct the cost from the next rent payment and give the landlord a copy of the receipt for the repair.

If the tenant never notified you of repairs needed, did not allow you to make repairs that he claims were needed, and the lack of repair did not affect tenant health & safety, then they cannot justify using repair & deduct. Effectively, they short-paid you on rent, and this is one cause of action to evict them.

Additionally, they violated the lease by having the additional dog in the house, and this lease violation can be used to start the eviction process as well.

You could start with a notice to cure: demand payment of the the unpaid rent they used for "repairs", and that they get rid of the other dog. Or you could just give notice of your intent to terminate based upon these violations and be done with it.

Since you are out-of-state, I recommend hiring a local eviction attorney to handle the paperwork for you.
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Old Jun 5th, 2010, 01:03 PM   #4
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Default Re: Tenant Late Every Month with Rent, Can I evict?

A couple of points on sc's excellent advice. Read your state law (the law of the rental property's state) to see what is says about repair and deduct. Not all states have this remedy. (17 states have no such law.) In states with this law, some require the notice to the LL be sent certified before they can take this remedy (not just mailed first class). Many states list a specific amount of time (not a reasonable amount) the tenant must wait to allow the LL to make the repair before they can do this. Some have limits on the percentage of rent that can be used for R&D remedies. Some limit the number of times a tenant can do this remedy. Some even list the exact reasons the tenant can use for this. Read through the rental property's state laws to see how this must be used.

If the tenant uses repair and deduct without notifying you first, I would simply refuse the short rent. Let the tenant know they cannot use repair and deduct unless the specific laws for your state are followed and that you are notified in advance and allowed time to make repairs.
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