What options do I have if my tenant is not paying rent?

UPDATED: Oct 12, 2011

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What options do I have if my tenant is not paying rent?

New tenant was given keys andgarage door opener, mailbox keys upon signing a 1 year lease beginning the first of this month ($1300/mont rent and $1300 security). She has moved stuff into the garage but has not paid any rent and only $1080 toward security deposit. I have had many communications via email, as she avoids my phone calls. She keeps promising to money into my account but has not. I threatened her with a notice to quit and told her the lease agreement states if she breaches the agreement, she is liable to pay rent until it is re-rented.

Asked on October 12, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New Hampshire


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You seem to know your options:

1) You can evict a tenant for non-payment of rent. Remember: you have to do this through the courts--you can't just change locks, etc.

2) You can sue her for the rent which she owes you under the lease; you could sue her in small claims court if you wanted (as long as the total owed is under the court's threshhold level) and represent yourself, in order to save on legal fees. (Also: small claims court tends to get to cases faster than other courts.)

3) If you have a security deposit, once you terminate her tenancy (e.g. by an eviction proceeding), you can apply that to the unpaid rent.

4) At some point after you get the tenant out, you'll be able to get rid of her stuff--it would be a good idea to check with a local lawyer for the time frame and procedure.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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