If a friend rented a room from me but moved out to day after she paid her rent, do I have to give her a refund?

UPDATED: May 30, 2012

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If a friend rented a room from me but moved out to day after she paid her rent, do I have to give her a refund?

I have a friend that rented a room from me. Nothing was ever put into writing. She paid her first month and stayed. She payed her second month but moved out 2 days later. When she handed me the check for rent, I specifically told her that there were no refunds. Do I have to give her a refund?

Asked on May 30, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Maryland


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Although there wasn't any formal lease, the payment of rent by the tenant and your acceptance of the rent payment means that there is a month-to-month tenancy.  A month-to-month tenancy requires thirty days written notice in order for the tenancy to be terminated.  Since your tenant did not give you thirty days notice, she is liable for the rent for the entire month. However, if you find another tenant before the thirty days are up, you would have to refund the prorated amount for the time from which the new tenant takes possession through the remainder of the month.  For example, if a new tenant moves in on the fifteenth, you would have to refund one half the rent paid by the previous tenant for that month.  You will need to mitigate (minimize) damages (the amount you are claiming you are owed) by making reasonable efforts to find another tenant and cannot allow the rental to remain vacant for the duration of your former tenant's tenancy without making reasonable efforts to find another tenant. Failure to make reasonable efforts to find a new tenant would be a failure to mitigate damages and your damages would be reduced accordingly.  Reasonable efforts to find another tenant would be determined by what other landlords in the area are doing to attract tenants such as posting a sign advertising the rental, advertising in the newspaper, a local rental guide or online, etc. 

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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