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Landlords Forum




5/01/2017

Q. (@Nick)

如果房客被驱逐,但是utility欠费,utility公司会要房东付清吗?谢谢!

A. (@Andy)

水费是房子的owner负责, 电气是谁的名字在账单上谁负责.




3/07/2017 - Fay 

我今天刚好上地方法院向房客追缴戶所欠房租,对这方面稍微有了解。根据旧法规,房东可以在处理房东和房客债务纠纷法庭上一起追讨所欠房租水电,迟交费及其它费用。

根据新的法律,只能在failure to pay complaint court 上迫讨房租,其它类型欠款如水电费则要到small claims court (金额
低于$5000) 上追缴,数额超过5000的要去民事法庭进行诉讼。其实是把一部分工作量移到民事法庭,这样会增加房东的负担,既费时费力又费财。




Rental License in MD


08/19/2015 - Jason:

In Baltimore City, all the rental properties need to be registered (not like other counties you need a rental license) by physically going to 417 E Fayette St bringing lead certificate - if the house was built prior to 1978....

06/11/2015 - Julie: 

关于owner occupied,今天问了Montgomery county licensing unit,回答是: As long as one of the owners physically lives there, whether it is 7 days a week, or 3 days a week, it is owner occupied. It does not have to be primary residence. An owner occupying his/her home is permitted to rent up to two rooms in their home without obtaining a rental facility license. However, if he/she rents more than 2 rooms, a rental license is still needed.

06/10/2015 - Julie: 

在MD,只有以下county要求rental license,其它county都不需要:

Montgomery, Prince Geroge, Howard, Baltimore, Baltimore City, Anne Arundel

A renter walked away and left behind unpaid rents


01/12/2015 - Anonymous (a landlord): 
A renter walked away and left behind unpaid rents. Does a Realtor provide the service to find the person's current address?
 
01/12/2015 - David (a Realtor and a landlord): 

A Realtor may not provide the type of service specified above. 
 
You may want to talk with a real estate lawyer, and get a judgement from the court. If you have a copy of the check the person wrote, you could try bringing the copy of the check together with the court judgement to the person's bank to proceed.... 
 
Experienced landlords usually file evictions the first month the tenants don't pay rents. Hire an attorney if necessary. 
 
In Fairfax County, the eviction procedures can be found at:
 
 
If the amount owed is small, consider the Small Claims Court. In Fairfax, the small claims court has jurisdiction over civil cases in which the plaintiff is seeking a money judgment up to $5,000 or recovery of personal property valued up to $5,000.
 
The Small Claims Court Procedures can be found at:
 
Should you do tenant screening in the future, you could try the web sites (if applicable to you):

StarPoint Tenant Screening 


The Tenant is Filing Bankruptcy in Chapter 7

01/23/2015 - Helen (a landlord):

I have a tenant who did not pay rent for several months and told me various excuses. The tenant told me recently that she is filing bankruptcy in Chapter 7. She said that someone put a lien on her husband paycheck which is a fraud and can only be removed unless she files bankruptcy. She said she will not put my name on the list for the bankruptcy case and will pay back rent using the money from her disability case. She had broken her promises again and again for the payment but does not want to move out. Any suggestions on when/where/why to do what? How to get the money back?

01/23/2015 - William (a veteran landlord):
File eviction immediately. Hire an attorney if necessary. I didn't understand why you didn't file eviction when the first month the tenant didn't pay.

01/23/2015 - Anonymous:
It is probably too late to say that, but I want to point out what you should have done in case you face the same situation in the future.You should have sent 5 days pay rent or quit notice on day 6th of the month when you are not getting the rent. Unless you know she is getting money from somewhere, you can wait a little bit. But definitely no later that 10th day of the month when she did this the 1st time. What you need to do now is to send the notice right away. Wait for 5 days. If you still don't get the rent, you need to go to county small lawsuit court to start a Eviction Process. If you win the case - and you probably will based on what you said, the tenant will be evicted. As far as getting the owed money back, it is not easy since she is filing bankruptcy. What you can do is to go one step further - get court order to get her salary garnished. The whole process is not a difficult thing to do - you can find a lot of related topics from internet. If you are not sure, I recommend you consult a Landlord-tenant lawyer.
  
01/23/2015 - Gary, Don, David:
You may not file eviction now. Instead get an attorney to remove the automatic stay. Below are a few attorneys referred by local Realtors and landlords for landlord/tenant concerns:
Susan M. Pesner
Real estate, litigation in real estate and estate planning
EMAIL: spesner@pesnerkawamoto.com
TEL:     (703) 506-9440 ext 222
FAX:     (703) 506-0929

Pesner Kawamoto - a group of established attorneys serving clients with real estate litigation, construction law, small business, family law and estate planning concerns
7926 Jones Branch Drive, Suite 930
McLean, VA 22102

Christopher M. Dove
The Law Offices of Christopher M. Dove, PLLC
20 W Market St
Leesburg, VA 20176
 
Phone:  571 291-2200
Fax:       571-291-2201
 
After the automatic stay is removed, you can file an eviction. 

01/24/2015 - Vivian:
Also, I was told that once tenant has filed bankruptcy, the landlord is not able to file a lawsuit to get the money that the tenant owed.  Is this true?
 
01/24/2015 - Helen:
 
Thanks everyone for helping me out. Here is the update:

Every knowledgeable person on this matter has said the same as in the (01/23/2015 - Anonymous ) posted above. Do the eviction as early as possible if tenants does not pay the rent on time.
The tenant is taking budget counseling courses as the first step to file the bankruptcy. The eviction process should be stopped if I receive the court letter for automatic stay, but I can do it  now since I have not received the court letter yet. It is common that bad tenants lie about bankruptcy. The sheriff officer said the landlord must obtain the case number to verify the bankruptcy status if the tenant claims it.
The tenant pointed out again saying she has no money now to pay back rent in full and would like to stay. She said she will list my name in bankruptcy list thus I get no payment if she needs to move out. She promised to pay me back in full with her 401k in the past, but she said she could not use the fund in 401k due to the bankruptcy yesterday. I just cannot trust what she said because anyone can withdraw 401k at any time.
 
01/25/2015 - William (a veteran landlord):
Your priority should be to get her out first so you don't bleed further, then try to collect your loss as much as you can.

01/25/2015 - George:
Being a landlord is to conduct a business, so both sides need to stick to the contract.
You have shown the willingness to ignore the contract term (which is paying rent by due date). No wonder the tenant is able to repeatedly take advantage of your weakness for several months.
 
This is what your should have done (assuming the rent is due on 1st):
 
Call or email on 2nd to inform that the rent plus late fee and interest is due immediately.
Send certified mail notification on 6th to demand pay immediately or vacate the property.
After the 7 day waiting period, file eviction on 13th.
 
If you follow the procedures, you might be able to evict the tenant by the end of the month.
 
01/25/2015 - Helen:
Yeah, I learned from lessons. I should act immediately instead of waiting.
 
Do I need to send the second notice with the total of rent due plus late fees since it is already near the end of month? Does the rent due amount needs to be the same on the court filing form and the eviction notice?
 
Some people used collection agency to collect the money after the eviction on www.wenxuecity.com. Any suggestion on the collection issue? Go to court or through collection agency, or both?
 
01/25/2015 - Marshall (a veteran landlord): 
You should go to the court after sending out notice for 5 days. I feel you might act too weak in this case which allow the bad tenant take advantage of you. The collection agency would only help on getting the money back based on the court judgment, not to mention the chance is normally slim. So please do not put too much hope on collection agency although something you can do after court judgment.
I have done this myself a few times and my experience is that as long as you speak English, you should not pay extra for a attorney. Please remember our government is on your side especially in Virginia. You have signed leasing contract which is protected by the legal system of this country. Normally when tenants did not pay rents, they won't be able to show any solid evidence to the judge since there is no check proof. Please never take cash from the tenants for rent collection since that makes it sound like drug deal. Ask them to deposit cash or check directly into your bank account,  so you have proof.
It would take quite sometime since legal system here would give tenant a chance even after judgment to either pay you some rent or to be evicted, but going to the court is the first right step you need to take. In general tenants might be scared since if this goes to the ear of their employer, there is nothing good about for their employment future. The court judgment would help you to establish connection to their employer to garnish their wage by setting up monthly payment.
Since your tenant is filing bankruptcy so government is protecting him for future rent allocation. In other words, although he has bad credit now, but he may still find a new place to stay since he has proof to show to new landlord that he can pay rent. This is something you should bear in mind. But right now you need to bring him to court and follow the procedure for eviction unless he choose to pay you past due and future rent by agreement.
 

Lift the Automatic Stay in Bankruptcy to Proceed Eviction Process

01/29/2015 - Helen:

Update on my current status:
The tenant did file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Eastern District of Virginia Bankruptcy Court on Jan 15, 2015. The Eastern Virginia Bankruptcy court is in Alexandria.
I spoke with landlord/tenant lawyer. The lawyer told me to go to Bankruptcy court to get the lift of automatic stay first because there is nothing he can do at this moment until I can get the lift from the bankruptcy court.
How to file the motion to lift the automatic stay at the bankruptcy court to proceed eviction? Anyone has the related experience?

01/29/2015 - naive202:

真是老革命遇到了新问题。大家谁知道,分享一下。谢谢!

01/29/2015 - Michael:

The lawyer you talked to, sounds like a guy who does simple eviction only.  What he said is correct, but he should do it for you. If he does not know how to do it, You needs a better lawyer to do it.
 
Last year we spent $1500 (the monthly rent is $3000) for lawyer to file motion to lift automatic stay, aka, bankruptcy protection.  It was in a red neck state, a pro landlord state like Virginia.  We tried DIY, but couldn't make it.

01/29/2015 - Helen:

I called a bankruptcy lawyer office, which was referenced by the eviction lawyer, but do not have chance to talk to the bankruptcy lawyer yet.

Will you recommend your lawyer for the lift motion?

01/29/2015 - Marshall:

I agree with Michael that if he is a good lawyer, he should know how to proceed for this simple first step.

Well as landlords, should we be protected by the law as creditor from bankruptcy law unless the bankruptcy court notify us the tenant is bankrupted?

I have tenants who filed bankruptcy before they came to me as applicants. I accepted them since the court judgment would allocate sufficient fund for their rent from their income.  So far I have no problem and they tend to be nice persons. One left after a year, leaving property in good shape and the other is still living as tenant paying rent on time.

I think if we act early to bring tenants to court as soon as they fail to pay rent, we can avoid a lot of trouble down the road.

01/29/2015 - Michael:

Unfortunately the good lawyer I mentioned doesn't have the Virginia license.

As we (real estate investors) joked on other landlord forums, landlords are bunch of losers(or 卢瑟). Nobody really give us any mercy.  Always keep in mind, this is a business, not a charity.  If rent is late, even for a day, immediately post 3-day notice, then file eviction case to the court. 
Folks in Virginia should feel fortunate, compared with our peers in Maryland, New York and California. 

01/29/2015 - David:

This article talks about lifting the automatic stay. Hope it helps.

01/29/2015 - Jiemin:

I am reading the article shared by David.  http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/creditor-lift-remove-bankruptcy-automatic-stay.html.  Here is the last section in the article:

“ A landlord may seek relief in order to evict for non-payment of rent. A bankruptcy debtor’s rent obligation is divided on the bankruptcy filing date into pre-bankruptcy and post-bankruptcy debts. Pre-bankruptcy rents are dischargeable, and post-bankruptcy rents are not dischargeable and not subject to the automatic stay. This means that while the automatic stay would prohibit the landlord from collecting on unpaid pre-bankruptcy rent, the landlord may evict if post-bankruptcy rents are not paid. 

My reading is that after they filed bankruptcy and they are not paying your rent, you can evict them without a lift.  

01/29/2015 - Hung:

I'm learning a lot from reading this email thread. I have been a landlord for 10 years, and I have to say that I have been very fortunate because I didn't know much about any of these laws. I wouldn't know what to do if something like this happened to me. Now I am a little - just a little - bit more educated. Thanks all for such great information, which I hope I would never have to use.

01/29/2015 - David:

I am also learning a lot from this email thread. I have been a landlord and a Realtor for a few years, but have not run into such or similar issue myself.

I feel the information we are sharing here is valuable to the community, especially to the coming landlords. I am wondering if everyone agrees to have the information archived somewhere for future reference and sharing - before it gets lost?

The Community Info Share (www.cinfoshare.org) website has a section Landlords Forum. Could we add the information there for the time being? If all agree, could we have the individual names removed for privacy consideration?

Just my two cents.


Shall I replace the AC?


05/29/2015 - Helen:

I have a question about the repairs. The tenants who filed bankruptcy and did not pay rent for many months. I have asked what to do with such tenants several months ago. I got lift of automatic stay and filed eviction. They did not resume lease after 60 days of automatic stay. The hearing date for eviction case is July 6. The tenant rejected to sign or pickup my mail for eviction notice. But, I have sent the eviction email to them anyway. Today, I received text message from the tenant saying the AC is broken and asked me what to do. Shall I fix the AC for them or just tell them to fix by themselves since they occupied my property without payment or permission?

05/29/2015 - Jian:

in most of the states, AC is not a requirement for rentals, only heat is.

05/30/2015 - Zhaoming:

I think this is legal question.  You may want to get professional help.  


Some info I can share with you.

1. Once Tenant file bankruptcy, he/she is not responsible to any missing rent.  One of my tenants filed bankruptcy, I am lucky as he send me email and paid me 6 months rent in advance to continue stay.  I did get notice from a credit org.

2. You have to get eviction notice from court to get rid of junk.  the delivery service is available in court clerk.  You will win case in 5 mins hearing.

3. Fairfax county tenant and landlord law requires AC keep temperature below 80 degree if AC equipment provided

 

You want to avoid tenant sue you on medical issue due to excessive hot room temperature.


Good luck


Other Topics

01/30/2015 - Anonymous (a landlord): 

Generally, who is paying the renter's agent commission? And how much is it?
 
01/30/2015 - David (a Realtor and a landlord): 

Typically the landlord pays the renter's agent commission, usually 25% - 50% of first-month rent for a 12-month lease (pro-rated if the lease term is less than 12-month).
 
01/30/2015 - Anonymous (a landlord): 

Which season is best for renting? Is it July or August?
 
01/30/2015 - David:

The rental market usually picks up from late spring to middle summer, then slows down from late July. If your rental property comes to the market outside the peak season, you may consider a 18-month lease or similar.
 
01/30/2015 - Anonymous (a landlord): 

Someone is interested in my rental and would like to know the room dimensions. Where could I find that information? 
 
01/30/2015 - David:

You can check the Appraisal Report when the house was purchased or the mortgage was refinanced.

 
 
 
 

Last Updated: 08/31/2015