What to do if a tenant signs a lease but never moves in?

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What to do if a tenant signs a lease but never moves in?

My tenant signed a lease and submitted a $750 security deposit to me on the 18th of last month. Her lease began on the 21st but she didn’t move in until the 28th. On the 28th, she backed out of the lease saying the property was too dirty. She had already seen the property beforehand and had access to the property from the 21st on. She is now sueing me for her security deposit, among other costs. Does she stand a chance and can I countersue for damages and lost rent?

Asked on May 6, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Michigan

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If your tenant has backed out of the lease she entered into, you can bring a lawsuit against her for the balance of the lease with the caveat that you as the landlord have an obligation to mitigation your damages by trying to rent out the rental as soon as possible for as close to the rental of the tenant that backed out of the lease.

The tenant is entitled to the return of her security deposit unless your written lease agreement states that it can be used in lieu of overdue rent.

Had the rental been too dirty, such a comment would have been brought up before she moved into the premises. I suggest you rent out the unit as soon as possible and then bring an action for your unpaid rent which would be for the time period the unit was not occupied.


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