If a tenant moves out mid-month, what if anything should a landlord refund?

UPDATED: Aug 27, 2011

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If a tenant moves out mid-month, what if anything should a landlord refund?

We rented an apartment to a tenant with no contract. We asked if this was a short time thing and she said no. She was to pay the utilities. She saw the apartment and wanted it. She paid 1 month rent and a cleanup deposit. She had the gas changed over to her name but not the electric because she still owed a bill. In 4 days time she left a letter in our mailbox along with the keys to the apartment, saying she was vacating and send her the rent less the 4 days and the deposit back to her. No explanation. We rent by the month not days. Do we owe her and what?

Asked on August 27, 2011 Oklahoma


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You do not owe her anything--she owes you. When there is no written lease, a tenancy is month to month. That means that either party can terminate the tenancy with one month's notice; the converse of that is that a tenant is always obligated for at least 1 more month of rent from when they give notice, since one month's notice means the tenancy or rental ends one month after notice. Therefore, this tenant owed you a month (not 4 days) of notice and a month of rent. You could take the month of rent out of her security deposit then send the balance back to her, with a letter explaining what you did and the calculation. Good luck.

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