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Tenent Threatened to Short Pay Rent

I have a rental properties in the area of a University.  I rent to college students on a year to year lease.  I have a house I just renovated and rented to three college students.  They have not moved in as they are gone for the summer but will be moving in mid August.  I passed an FHA inspection two weeks ago and I am taking money out of the property to purchase my next rental house.  I received an email from the father of one of the students saying they will adjust the rent because they feel the house is not in move-in condition.  I am working on painting the rear of the house and I was going to put in sprinklers and landscape but the inside of the house is fine.  Here is his email:  "Upon inspection of the house and property on June 14, 2011 it appears it is not in move in condition.  We understood, and you told us, that all work would be complete, the interior clean, and all renovation work done.  Clearly it is not.  There is painting equipment and tools in the kitchen, switch plates and electrical outlet plates, and assorted hardware are not installed, shower doors uninstalled, carpet installation not complete, no mail box has been installed, debris in the back yard and construction materials leaning on the fence, etc. etc.  Michael indicated that you were to move the items in the garage into the house, as a favor, when the work was done on or about the 1st of June, and those items are still in the garage.  The kids could not move in the house in this condition.    Because you continue to work on, and at, the premises, we ask that you notify us of when the property is complete and we will adjust the next months rent accordingly and apprise you of the related utility costs during that time as well. "  Does anyone have any suggestions if they do not pay the full months rent?    
1 Comment

The biggest question I have when looking at this situation is - When are they leased to enter the rental? If they aren't leased until the first of August, than you have till the end of July. If they are renting as of June 1st and there are still things needed to be done - then yes he has a case to withhold money as they can not move in items in a safe manner and the property isn't as it was promised by move in.  

My suggestion is that as soon as the property is done and ready for move in, you contact them back and let them know that it is ready. If it's before the start of the lease, they can't withhold any money - if it's after, you may want to come to a resolution with them before they move in and document it.
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