What are my rights to collect for non-payment of rent once a tenant had moved out and their security deposit was used for repairs?

UPDATED: Jan 27, 2011

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What are my rights to collect for non-payment of rent once a tenant had moved out and their security deposit was used for repairs?

My renters moved out 12/20/10 after 12years of renting and stuck me with Decembers rent. They told me to take it out of their security deposit. The problem is that the place was left a filthy mess. The security deposit went for the cleanup and repairs of the rental unit. Can I still collect for rent for December? It’s 0127/11.

Asked on January 27, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If they owed you for a month's rent, either under a written lease (e.g. moved out a month before the lease was over) or an oral lease (did not provide a full 30-days notice), you may sue them for that amount if it is not otherwise covered by the security deposit (e.g. deposit used up with repairs, etc.). Note that if the deposit was insufficient to cover all the repairs, you may sue for your additional costs as well. For a small amount (1 month's rent), you are probably best off suing the tenant in small claims court, where you can represent yourself and minimize your costs; it's almost certainly not worth retaining an attorney, unless it was a very high monthly rent. Good luck.

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