What to do if tenants file for a Chapter 7 and want to vacate their rental early?

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What to do if tenants file for a Chapter 7 and want to vacate their rental early?

Chapter 7 filed but not yet discharged. Tenants up to date on rent. They are abandonning the property 5 months earlier than the lease term. Can I keep their deposit because they are breaking the lease? They are also refusing to repaint rooms back to original colors even though they signed a lease addendum to this effect.

Asked on February 10, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Ok, so they had two options when they filed: to assume the lease, which would mean they would have signed a lease assumption agreement, which is a binding contract wherein they agreed to abide by the original lease terms. Once signed they are bound by it. Then back rent will not be discharged if they assumed the lease. The other option would have been to reject the lease by indicating their intent in your bankruptcy paperwork. If they did so they should have moved out. Understand that back rent is dischargeable as it becomes unsecured debt once the time to pay has passed.  You can sue them each month that is upcoming and they do not pay if the lease was not dealt with as indicated above.  Security deposits are generally for damage to the apartment or it could be for the painting but it depends on state statutes.  I might check with an attorney on this.  Good luck. 


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