What can I do if my tenant stopped payment on their last rent check?

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What can I do if my tenant stopped payment on their last rent check?

They have since moved. I do have an address of where they went. Can I press charges ?

Asked on March 21, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Arizona

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

This is a breach of contract matter; not a criminal matter so pressing charges isn't going to help you. You can certainly (verify through your state's statutes) keep the security deposit and if that covers the last rent plus any cleaning fees (which you must immediately have provided with reasonable costs and an accounting thereof to the tenants), then you don't have any recourse left against the tenants. If, however, the last month's rent and cleaning costs equate to more than what you have in security deposits from the tenants, then you can search for them, serve them with a civil lawsuit (probably small claims or landlord tenant court) to obtain the remaining amounts owed. If this was the tenants' last month, then you cannot charge any monies for advertising the premises for new tenants, but if they skipped out mid-lease, you must mitigate your damages by trying to locate a replacement tenant as quickly as possible but you can probably seek the advertising costs from the former tenants.


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