Tenants skip out on rent after finding free rent through HUD

Posted on September 8th, 2008 in break lease by ohiolandlordtenant

Q: Tenants moved out of my home, after 5 or 6 months of a written year long lease. They gave me 3 weeks notice they were moving and gave a reason. They claimed Hud had just found them a place to rent( I don’t accept Hud). I explained to them they could move if they want, but that they were in a year’s promise to me and still had to honor lease referring to rent, utilities, etc., until I found a replacement.

I had replacement in 5 wks later. Naturally I billed them for unpaid rent, yardcare(a part of their lease) and a few damages. The bill exceeded their sec dep about $400. They may be pretending to be dumb, but they claim they don’t owe me anything because Hud offered to pay me their rent had they stayed, but since I don’t accept Hud I forfeit my claim to all their obligations. I told them I have no contract with Hud, but with them; and it was their choice to move simply for their budget, so they still owe until replacement. They are getting their legal advice from her father- who is, by the way, an absolutely top-notch auto mechanic. I have urged them to get their legal advice from an attorney.

Is there a specific place in ORC or similar forum that I might copy to show them they owe- that their reason to be excused from their lease isn’t valid? I realize they may be playing dumb in hopes I’ll question myself or let it go. If I could show them specifically and say “see? Here it is.” Then they might believe I am correct and believe I don’t intend to let it go.

A: We have reprinted the section of the Ohio Revised Code governing landlord tenant law at this link. I can’t find a specific provision governing your situation; however, your situation would be governed by the lease. I assume that there was nothing in the lease giving the tenants an out if you don’t accept HUD. I’ve never heard of such a thing. It sounds like the tenants are just trying to get out of their obligation to pay rent because, according to them, you owe it to them. Happily for you, you found new tenants within a short amount of time. You can pursue the tenants in court for the extra $400 if you so choose but it may not be worth your time, effort and money to do so.

If you do decide to pursue your tenants in court, we offer a guide to getting and collecting upon judgments in Ohio at this link.

7 Responses to 'Tenants skip out on rent after finding free rent through HUD'

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  1. A said,

    on February 7th, 2009 at 3:59 pm


    I have signed a lease with three other people. One of those tenants has invited his girlfriend to stay at our home for extended periods of time, without consulting the rest of us. What are my rights as a tenant to prevent this from happening? Are there laws which require him to give us notice? If I tell him she can’t stay with us, does that hold any weight? If, in the extreme, I call the police, who would they side with: a tenant who does want someone in the house, vs a tenant who doesn’t?

  2. scunningham said,

    on May 12th, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    I have a similar situation as the above, but the tenant is moving because their house was broken into. They say they don’t feel safe. We changed the locks for them, but it appears to be an “inside job” or someone they know as there was no forcible entry. They even admit it was probably someone they knew. We’re under no obligation to let them terminate their lease early, are we?

  3. Jan said,

    on June 5th, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    I have a situation where the copule stated their past landlord was going to throw them and their children out in the street. I allowed them to move in in the middle of a month and they promised to pay on a certain day , the rent and the deposit. They signed a years lease. Todate, they have paid nothing, and that is going on two months now. They won’t put the utilities in their name and I am told I can’t turn the utilities off. So not only are they living free in my home but they are using my utilities as well. It is a nightmare. I have issued an eviction notice and have a court date but these people say they know their right and it looksl ike this could go for some time. what to do?????????

  4. penny said,

    on July 28th, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    i feel like the court is not on my side even tho i won the judgement due to default, it may taketime to get my deposit back they still can contest, i think thats not fair i was there not the landlord.

  5. Julie said,

    on August 1st, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    I know exactly how you feel Jan… I had the same thing happen to me except now my “rental” is going into foreclosure..
    I went through a modification two years ago after a horrible divorce and the ex chose not to pay his court ordered half of the payment.
    It took me almost a year to the day to get through a Court ordered modification only to find myself with out a job three months later… I chose to move in with my then boyfriend and rent the house. Seemed like a pretty smart decision at the time… I cannot believe how wrong I was…
    The “tenants” paid me two months rent and the deposit and refused to acknowledge my letters, answer my calls/txts or the front door when I would go over.
    Now, they moved out without notice AFTER they got the foreclosure paperwork in the mail… They also would not have the utilities transferred, so now I am getting THEIR utility bills also…
    I am going to an attorney today to see what I need to do to get the house mess cleaned up and what I can do about the situation with the former tenants…

    Good luck, Jan… I hate to say it, but I feel better knowing I am not alone…

  6. ohiolandlordtenant said,

    on January 4th, 2013 at 2:43 am

    You are generally under no obligation to let them terminate their lease early unless you made specific promises of safety/security or did something to jeopardize their safety.

  7. ohiolandlordtenant said,

    on January 4th, 2013 at 2:47 am

    You could inform the landlord that an unauthorized occupant is living in the house. Of course, the landlord could evict not just the unauthorized occupant but all on the lease for the leave violation.

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