not returning keys
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not returning keys (by rose [CA]) Jun 5, 2018 3:44 PM
       not returning keys (by John... [MI]) Jun 5, 2018 4:26 PM
       not returning keys (by Ken [NY]) Jun 5, 2018 4:44 PM
       not returning keys (by rose [CA]) Jun 5, 2018 4:48 PM
       not returning keys (by Moshe [CA]) Jun 5, 2018 5:52 PM
       not returning keys (by RathdrumGal [ID]) Jun 5, 2018 8:03 PM
       not returning keys (by Rathdrumgal [ID]) Jun 5, 2018 8:04 PM
       not returning keys (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Jun 5, 2018 8:49 PM
       not returning keys (by JB [OR]) Jun 5, 2018 8:54 PM
       not returning keys (by myob [GA]) Jun 6, 2018 4:16 AM
       not returning keys (by Robert,OntarioCanada [ON]) Jun 6, 2018 4:39 AM
       not returning keys (by Busy [WI]) Jun 6, 2018 5:15 AM
       not returning keys (by Kyle [IN]) Jun 6, 2018 6:16 AM
       not returning keys (by Mike45 [NV]) Jun 6, 2018 10:52 AM
       not returning keys (by Dee [AZ]) Jun 6, 2018 11:09 AM
       not returning keys (by John... [MI]) Jun 6, 2018 11:11 AM
       not returning keys (by myob [GA]) Jun 6, 2018 11:41 AM
       not returning keys (by rose [CA]) Jun 6, 2018 2:13 PM
       not returning keys (by Dee [AZ]) Jun 6, 2018 4:14 PM
       not returning keys (by Dee [AZ]) Jun 6, 2018 4:43 PM
       not returning keys (by John... [MI]) Jun 7, 2018 6:59 AM
       not returning keys (by John... [MI]) Jun 7, 2018 7:01 AM
       not returning keys (by Dee [AZ]) Jun 7, 2018 12:22 PM
       not returning keys (by Dee [AZ]) Jun 7, 2018 12:51 PM
       not returning keys (by John... [MI]) Jun 7, 2018 1:12 PM
       not returning keys (by Dee [AZ]) Jun 7, 2018 1:34 PM
       not returning keys (by Dee [AZ]) Jun 7, 2018 1:54 PM
       not returning keys (by Dee [AZ]) Jun 7, 2018 2:05 PM
       not returning keys (by Dee [AZ]) Jun 7, 2018 2:28 PM
       not returning keys (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Jun 7, 2018 9:49 PM
       not returning keys (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Jun 7, 2018 9:57 PM
       not returning keys (by John... [MI]) Jun 8, 2018 5:26 AM
       not returning keys (by John... [MI]) Jun 8, 2018 5:27 AM
       not returning keys (by Dee [AZ]) Jun 9, 2018 1:09 AM
       not returning keys (by John... [MI]) Jun 9, 2018 10:08 AM
       not returning keys (by Dee [AZ]) Jun 9, 2018 10:54 AM
       not returning keys (by John... [MI]) Jun 9, 2018 11:32 AM
       not returning keys (by John... [MI]) Jun 9, 2018 11:38 AM
       not returning keys (by Dee [AZ]) Jun 9, 2018 8:47 PM
       not returning keys (by John... [MI]) Jun 10, 2018 1:03 PM
       not returning keys (by John... [MI]) Jun 10, 2018 1:07 PM
       not returning keys (by mike [CA]) Jun 10, 2018 3:57 PM
       not returning keys (by JB [OR]) Jun 10, 2018 6:45 PM
       not returning keys (by Dee [AZ]) Jun 10, 2018 8:21 PM
       not returning keys (by John... [MI]) Jun 11, 2018 5:25 AM

not returning keys (by rose [CA]) Posted on: Jun 5, 2018 3:44 PM

I had to give tenant 3 day...she then wrote me a long poison pen letter and kept keys. She put keys later out near front door and a few days I found them but she kept a key to another door and told me she threw it in the ocean.with another poison pen letter. I deducted the time the keys were in her possession from sec. deposit. She now is taking me to court. Stating 3 day was illegal and keeping part of sec. also.

not returning keys (by John... [MI]) Posted on: Jun 5, 2018 4:26 PM

Can you give us more details? Was she being evicted for non-payment? And then she did actually leave without having to go to court after you gave her the 3 day?

Did you properly account for the security deposit (i.e. deduct for the damages and then return the rest along with an accounting of those damages) within the legal timeframe?

Why does she think the 3 day was illegal? (Assuming she was behind on rent, issuing a 3 day NOTICE would be weird to be considered illegal -- unless there was more to this story.)

Give us more details and we can give you better advice.

- John...

not returning keys (by Ken [NY]) Posted on: Jun 5, 2018 4:44 PM

I hear that a 3 day is illegal all the time,low end tenants all seem to think that my handyman or friend cant serve it legally and the sheriff has to serve it,i just tell them to tell the judge when we get to court,chances are this tenant may want to tell the judge everything you have done illegal,just let them rant to the judge and they will hang themselves

not returning keys (by rose [CA]) Posted on: Jun 5, 2018 4:48 PM

interfering w/property handling by me. Big thing..Calling sheriff on tenant she didn't think was acting right and creating a scene.Upsetting other tenants. I saw it as a nuisance. Returned sec. dep. on spot but not two weeks rent due to her withholding keys.Prepared move out list and deducted charge for locksmith. After that charge she will get remander of money.Big thing was withholding keys so unit was still in her possession. She takes it on herself to meddle in other tenants business and had verbal warning.

not returning keys (by Moshe [CA]) Posted on: Jun 5, 2018 5:52 PM

Only a very old-fashioned and non-cooperative judge will accept that she did not vacate when she was gone and left the keys near the front door. I predict that he will disallow your deduction of 3 days worth of rent from the SD.

not returning keys (by RathdrumGal [ID]) Posted on: Jun 5, 2018 8:03 PM

One valuable life lesson I have learned is not to argue with crazy people.

I would have changed the locks myself -- a good skill to learn as a LL -- and charged her SD for the lost key charge ($35) in my rental agreement. I always keep a copy of the keys, so I would make more keys and put the old door locks back into my lock rotation.

not returning keys (by Rathdrumgal [ID]) Posted on: Jun 5, 2018 8:04 PM

And kept the poison pen letter in the tenants file.... to show the judge, if it came to that.

not returning keys (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Posted on: Jun 5, 2018 8:49 PM


Tossed in the ocean!? (We donít have that problem here in Indiana!)

Wanna be right or rich? And stay alive?

This is obviously a crazy, unpredictable person. In addition to crazy California.

Me? (Over 1,000 court appearances) send her a check for the 3 days of the missing keys so she has no case to sue you. If she does sue, you will have to pay her court costs and her atty. Cheaper to return a few bucks and be blameless.

Keys: another sad case of Wimpy Lease-itis. Your lease and move out packet should clearly state the policy for returning keys so you can declare she did not follow the lease.

And pa-leese! install locks. 3 seconds to swap out with your master key, no tools. No more worrying about unreturned keys when they have obviously moved out.


not returning keys (by JB [OR]) Posted on: Jun 5, 2018 8:54 PM

You are mishandling withholding of rent. The locksmith should have been paid out of the Security Deposit, not the rent. The judge is likely to let you know you did this wrong and give her back most or all of the money you withheld. Next time, keep the SD and return what you don't spend on repairs/damages and unpaid rent...not the other way around.

not returning keys (by myob [GA]) Posted on: Jun 6, 2018 4:16 AM

I can't tell who is the fool in this. Does it really matter how many keys were left-- all you need is one--. Take your key, change your locks and move ahead with the inspection and billing.

This is a mess you've created not your tenant! The mention of returning f security deposit on the spot-- that peeked my interest. WHO does that?

My suggestion is return her money and start studying up on LL'ing 101.

When a tenant calls the authorities -- and she's being evicted for that -- you should be very careful about that action. Let the police handle it--- hindering others from contact police in an emergency could be considered a felony.

not returning keys (by Robert,OntarioCanada [ON]) Posted on: Jun 6, 2018 4:39 AM

Take the all the locks out to lock smith then have the locks rekeyed as there can be copies made of keys. It is more cost effective to take the locks for rekeying then have a lock smith visit. Never depend on a tenant to return keys. It is a security risk here. Pass the cost of rekeying locks on to rent where $10 to $20 per month will cover the cost. Sometimes at the Habitat for Humanity restores there are complete lock sets available for a reasonable cost. Often larger urban areas have a few restores. What is not available at one store is available at another store.

not returning keys (by Busy [WI]) Posted on: Jun 6, 2018 5:15 AM

Have locks rekeyed between tenants, rather than reusing locks is my fix for all of this. One key back would indicate she has 'returned possession.' Costs me six dollars to have a lock rekeyed. Front door, back door, garage, $18, and done.

I am surprised at how many tenants and neighbors know where my other properties are located. Apparently, because I do the outside work, I've been spotted in my yards, and the neighborhood grapevine is keeping track.... I don't want the risk if a past tenant having a copy of a key, and trying it on another house.

not returning keys (by Kyle [IN]) Posted on: Jun 6, 2018 6:16 AM

Once the tenant said she was moved out, you can take back possession. Charge for re-keying and any keys that are not returned, but not for additional rent after the tenant tells you they are gone.

not returning keys (by Mike45 [NV]) Posted on: Jun 6, 2018 10:52 AM

Rose, if I were your judge, well, you would not be happy.

I would not allow you to deduct from the Security Deposit the cost of the locksmith to change the locks. that is a Landlord's operating cost, a normal cost of doing business between each tenant. It does not matter how many keys are returned by the tenant, you need to change the locks. And that is not at the T's expense.

I would not allow you to charge the T rent for the days that the keys were not returned. Return of keys is symbolic, and rent stopped once possession of the premises was given to you.

not returning keys (by Dee [AZ]) Posted on: Jun 6, 2018 11:09 AM

You gave her a 3 day notice to fix or quit (move) because otherwise you would either have to give her 30 day notice to move or evict for breach after the 3 day notice period expires if you still have problems. You have this nasty note which I am guessing states she is moving and apparently you confirmed but she did not give you the keys. You legally can not take possession until you get the keys from her or go through do process to get possession back such as abandonment which takes 10 days to accomplish and only after the paid rental period has elapsed. Once you she told you were the keys were and I would take a picture of where the keys were left and hopefully you recorded the conversation or have a text for proof, the clock stops at that point and you can charge her rent for all the time up to when she gave up "possession" by giving you the keys back. I have won this in court. Until the tenant gives you back the keys, they maintain possession of the rental and can be charged rent and your only recourse is an eviction or in this case you could of pursed abandonment. If you didn't get the keys until two weeks after she moved, you can charge her rent legally because you are prevented from entering and or re-renting during that time.

not returning keys (by John... [MI]) Posted on: Jun 6, 2018 11:11 AM

I agree with Mike45. You need to hope she doesn't go to court with this. And you need to be better prepared and informed for next time.

- John...

not returning keys (by myob [GA]) Posted on: Jun 6, 2018 11:41 AM

John MI I see you agree with Mike45-- I think then you would agree with my post-- paragraph 3?

not returning keys (by rose [CA]) Posted on: Jun 6, 2018 2:13 PM

Thank you everybody...and yes I have to go to court. I gave her the sec. deposit on the spot because she was such a troublemaker. However I kept a couple hundred from rent because she did not give me the keys/would not. I was going by she still had possession until she released keys to me.

However I have a long poison pen letter to take w/me, and an ad from the newspaper saying I keep rent,etc. wth my name for all to see and requesting other witnesses who had dealing w/me. That isn't true.

not returning keys (by Dee [AZ]) Posted on: Jun 6, 2018 4:14 PM

This is Landlord 101. Until you get the keys back regardless if she left them somewhere on the property, she did not return them to you and or inform you as to where you the keys could be found either (until later), so you were unable to take over possession by law and she is liable for rent until you get possession. You can prorate unpaid rent up to when she told you where the keys are and you were able to take possession back. You can legally deduct this from her security deposit. If you took more than you should have, you will have to return the difference. I would never give back cash security deposit refunds on the spot without documenting and having receipts and that may be your akelias heel legally in this situation if you don't have at least a witnesses and it's your word against hers, the judge with have to make a reasonable judgement call, good luck. Additionally, if a tenant just moves and returns the keys and you have a 30 day notice or a lease period left, they owe you rent too. I would suggest getting a copy of the Tenant/Landlord book which contains a lot of tenant situations and also a copy your state tenant/landlord laws. Good Luck!

not returning keys (by Dee [AZ]) Posted on: Jun 6, 2018 4:43 PM

I would like to just say this in closing, until you are given the keys back by law they still control possession of the rental.....period; returning the keys to the owner is how giving up possession is defined by law, otherwise you are illegally entering the rental no matter if you think they moved out (look through window and no furniture), you got a note stating their intent to move or gave notice to quit but still no keys and you don't have to get necessary every key just a key that opens the door, you have to follow the laws of abandonment (10 day notice to enter in my state) or eviction. You can also check with a tenant/landlord attorney and verfiy. If you do your own thing to avoid the delays involved, you risk being sued by the tenant and judges are tougher on landlords than tenants because they expect you to know better. Additionally, the cost of changing locks is not chargeable to the tenants since you have to do that upon changing of tenants anyway. I have invested in locks now that I can quickly redo myself anyway and highly recommend.

not returning keys (by John... [MI]) Posted on: Jun 7, 2018 6:59 AM

myob: Yes, I agree with you too, in general -- but I didn't say it here because you immediately went to implying that a new landlord visiting for a the first time was a "fool." So, I went with Mike45's version instead. :)

That being said, yes, I think she needs to return it and move on. She keeps thinking some "poison pen letter" is going to save her in court and the judge isn't going to care at all.

Also, she thinks that "an ad from the newspaper saying I keep rent" is going to protect her -- and it isn't.

Rose: As others have said, you need to get some training on how to be a proper landlord and follow the laws. They do not work the way you seem to think they work. I think you'll have a real lesson soon in court, unfortunately.

I wish you luck though -- and hope that you visit more to learn more about the right way to do things so that this doesn't happen in the future.

- John...

not returning keys (by John... [MI]) Posted on: Jun 7, 2018 7:01 AM

Dee: Is that Arizona specific that the law actually defines return of possession as giving back the keys? It certainly isn't defined that way in MY state. It is more the "traditional" indicator, but certainly isn't defined that way by law.

Also, in this case, they DID give back MOST of the keys, right? So, like you said, they don't all have to go back to be able to say "Ok, NOW possession has been returned."

- John...

not returning keys (by Dee [AZ]) Posted on: Jun 7, 2018 12:22 PM

It appears my first response will not be posted so here's a simple analogy of "Possession" which is the actual legal term. You must have "exclusive control" to have possession.

Sometimes it is enough for a symbol of the object which enables factual control to be handed over (e.g. handing over the keys to a car or a house).

not returning keys (by Dee [AZ]) Posted on: Jun 7, 2018 12:51 PM

FYI, the cover page of the AZ Residential Tenant Landlord ACT issued by the AZ State Dept of Housing Authorities are.... believe this....."two keys" LOL! google it up.

I'm pretty sure most if not all states interpret "Possession" of a rental dwelling as having possession of the keys that control entry. And although landlords are entitled to have duplicate keys, you do not have the legal right of entry to take possession back until a tenant surrenders the keys back to you for you to legally have possession again or you must pursue possession through the legal system and once you have a court order, you can enter and change the locks.

Once the tenant told you where the keys (or entry key) were (and they were where they said they were) rent stops because they surrendered it back to you.

not returning keys (by John... [MI]) Posted on: Jun 7, 2018 1:12 PM

While, yes, keys are a traditional sign of return of possession -- there are OTHER ways to do it. If the person gives written notice that they are out and that the place is the LLs again, then they have returned possession -- regardless of if they gave the keys back. (You should have your own keys, of course.)

Also, in THIS case, the tenant even DID return the keys -- just not ALL of them. Clearly, I think possession was returned. I think a judge would very much agree. That is all that really matters here.

- John...

not returning keys (by Dee [AZ]) Posted on: Jun 7, 2018 1:34 PM

I'm sorry I disagree, a written notice is nice but no where have I read anything that a notice is legal surrender. Tenants are supposed to give a notice of intent to move but that is not a surrender. Especially with a troubled tenant I would not dare to deviate from what I know I am covered to do legally. They could come back and make false claims including missing property way!

Of course, if she gave back just one key of several, she still surrendered and that's that. Charge her for the missing keys if it causes you to change locks you would not otherwise have to do for a new tenant like a mail box key. pool gate key, etc.

Now I had tenants give me 30 days written notice they intended to move but did not return the keys back at the end of the month and they did not answer their phone. So, I went to the property but did not use my set of keys to enter. I did checked the doors to make sure the property was secure (Locked up). Turns out the back door was unlocked so now I had a right to enter due to the circumstances and in the process found the keys on the counter...... Boom took possession.

not returning keys (by Dee [AZ]) Posted on: Jun 7, 2018 1:54 PM

John, I think you should read his original post again. It says she wrote a letter but kept the keys and only later returned one.

When she did finally return the one key to him which means "when" she informed him where she left the key and it was indeed there, she surrendered and rents stops.

It is my understanding she did not leave any keys initially until the SD became an issue and rent was withheld did she surrender the keys or key technically returning possession to the landlord/owner.

not returning keys (by Dee [AZ]) Posted on: Jun 7, 2018 2:05 PM

My opinion from the sounds of the tenants behavior not leaving the keys was deliberate to inconvenience the landlord and she might have a history of tenant problems where she is knowledgeable (since she was getting involved with other tenants issues) and setting him up for further legal problems. I think the public notice in the paper was unique and might go well with the judge too. Shows due diligence to reach out and inform the tenant of unresolved issues. Not sure if that worked or how they made final contact but she did impede him from taking possession so he doing what he needed to do to re-rent so she is liable for rents until he did have possession.

After this she might take her tenant responsiblities and obligations more seriously and who knows she might be your next tenant!

not returning keys (by Dee [AZ]) Posted on: Jun 7, 2018 2:28 PM

It might help to look at this from another advantage point. If the LL rents to a new tenant with a occupancy date of the 1st but for some unexpected reason the LL could not give the tenant the keys so they could take possession and move in on or before the 1st until the 7th, the tenants would surely expect to not pay rent for that week and you would find that reasonable and reduce their rent. Well, it works both ways!

not returning keys (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Posted on: Jun 7, 2018 9:49 PM


ďAd on the paperĒ!?!?

Yes, she is going to sue you for the momey and you will lose.

Give her back every penny so she has no case.


not returning keys (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Posted on: Jun 7, 2018 9:57 PM

Hmmm..I better feed that little hamster inside my computer that fixes my spelling.


not returning keys (by John... [MI]) Posted on: Jun 8, 2018 5:26 AM

Dee: I'm not going to argue more about this. The original post actually says that she put the KEYS (not "key" like you keep saying) "out near front door." Apparently, one was missing and she said she "threw it in the ocean."

Put simply, I don't think we have all of the information here. I was just saying that if they returned all of the keys except for one copy or something, then possession has been returned.

I also would argue that (in OTHER situations, not THIS one), if you get a written statement from the tenant AFTER they have moved out stating that they are out and have returned possession -- but happen to not have the keys themselves -- then you are still safe to go in at that point.

You said that the law specifically defined return of possession as having given back the keys. I asked if that was specific to your state because I'd like to see that law -- and you replied that the cover page of booklet for your state happens to have a picture of two keys on it. :)

So, I don't see a reason to discuss this further. I don't think we have all the info from Rose here -- and most of her posts are a bit rambling and repeated statements about a "poison pen letter" that she thinks a judge will care about. The judge won't care. None of this really matters much. :)

- John...

not returning keys (by John... [MI]) Posted on: Jun 8, 2018 5:27 AM

I should clarify that I agree that a written notice that they WILL move out doesn't necessarily mean possession has been returned.

I thought this was a case of a written notice AFTER they were out. That's very different.

- John...

not returning keys (by Dee [AZ]) Posted on: Jun 9, 2018 1:09 AM

I'm not arguing! But I do wish the person who posted this problem took more time to articulate the events better because it can be interpreted different ways and I think maybe the reason for some confusion here.

Let me be clear.....Yes, Yes, Yes, if she gave just one door key, as I have already stated previously, back to the owner, she returned possession even if she didn't return all the keys because the owner could then just change the locks. The most he could do is charge for the rest of the keys she didn't return from the security deposit usually 5.00 per key but could be special keys that can be very expensive to replace too like club house keys or mail box keys. He can only charge add'l rent up to the point she "surrendered possession" which at that point if the ex-tenant tried to re-enter (even with a duplicate key they kept) they would be trespassing or breaking and entering. So I hope this clarifies things and puts this to rest.

But as long as she didn't return "any" key at all, she could be charged rent because the owner cannot take legal possession of the property until they do regardless of any note stating they are moving and the only recourse the owner has at that point if they can't get any door key back from the tenant is to take legal action to evict, if the property is empty of the tenants property (look through windows or find a reason to enter) then you could precede with an abandonment to take back possession. If the owner does otherwise and takes possession without the returning of the key(s), especially with a problem tenant like this one, there is the risk of bigger legal problems the tenant can cause the owner. I'm imagining the owner had trouble making contact with the tenant about returning the keys and or add'l rent charges and why he must of decided to post a public notice in the local paper which is something debt collectors do but that's not a major point of concern here anyway. If he withheld add'l rent improperly, then he better give back.

not returning keys (by John... [MI]) Posted on: Jun 9, 2018 10:08 AM

I agree with everything you said EXCEPT that I think there are situations were possession could be returned without keys being returned. Again, if a written notice was given AFTER they were out (NOT a notice that they "are moving" at some point -- but an actual notice that says "As of today's date -- blah, blah, blah -- we have vacated the unit adn give up any such possession of it"), THEN a LL could retake possession without having keys.

In other words, while keys are traditional as return of possession, it CAN be done other ways. Keys are not the only "by legal definition return of possession" (as I thought you were suggesting before). They are a common and traditional method -- but there are exceptions.

(But, yes, of course -- if you don't have that letter and no keys, then that is very different. We'd do abandonment here since it is much easier than eviction and Michigan has good laws for that.)

- John...


not returning keys (by Dee [AZ]) Posted on: Jun 9, 2018 10:54 AM

You can always do things as you decide to do them, weather it will hold up should it go to court is another matter. Owners can suffer damages double the actual amount in some cases. If you follow the legal standard of surrendering possession you will always be in the right otherwise you take your chances all works out ok. Given this mans troublesome tenant, I would not advise otherwise. Also, no reason why someone should not return the keys if they moved out and that would give me pause because they could just include the keys with the letter, I have had them returned that way too they do not necessarily have to put them in your hands just return them as long as you know they returned them and where they are. If you have some other "legal" definition to offer, I would be interested in seeing where that exists. So your telling me that when you have a new tenant, the point in which you "give them the keys" to the rental thus "giving them possession" is just symbolic. I don't think so. Apparently we will not agree on this subject but this person has enough information to work with and research what to do next.

not returning keys (by John... [MI]) Posted on: Jun 9, 2018 11:32 AM

Again, you keep repeating that the "legal standard" is keys being returned. You said specifically that, in your state, it is actually DEFINED that way in the law. I asked you for a reference to the law and you could not provide one.

I think you are making an ASSUMPTION about what is the "legal standard."

The whole point is if the tenant is still in possession or not of the unit. If they return the keys, it is assumed that they are not in possession. If they give a WRITTEN NOTICE after they have vacated that they are out and possession is being returned, then I think that would easily hold up in court that possession had been returned even without the keys.

As I said before, we can agree to disagree on this. I don't intend to continue it further.

- John...


not returning keys (by John... [MI]) Posted on: Jun 9, 2018 11:38 AM

Also, just to note it, I double-checked and the word "key" or "keys" does not appear in ANY of the state laws in Michigan related to landlord/tenant rights except for one mention that if the LL changes the locks during a tenancy, then the tenant must be provided with the keys, of course.

In other words, there is no legal definition related to possession or a "possessory interest" that LEGALLY defines returning possession by returning the keys.

Yes, it is tradition and common. But that doesn't mean it is the ONLY acceptable means by law.

- John...


not returning keys (by Dee [AZ]) Posted on: Jun 9, 2018 8:47 PM

Here's an example of why "surrendering the key(s)" is the one act that the legal system recognizes and uses to determine liability and damages. So you can split hairs all you want but it is what it is. There maybe many situations when it comes to tenants, but once you have the keys back from the tenant even if they ran out on a rental contract, you can legally change locks and move forward with peace of mind to do repairs and re-renting the unit no matter the remaining issues you have to take care of with the last tenants. The courts will not let you sit on a vacant rental even if the tenant ran out on a lease and just expect to charge them rent so forget that but you do have to re-take possession properly.

Here is a post from another landlord that exemplifies what I've been saying. Getting possession back of the rental door key(s) establishes relinquishing of possession. Possession and Keys goes hand in hand both ways and is referenced throughout every site I research. I'm sure it's in the Tenant/Landlord 101 book on this site too.

They wrote:

"I understand locks must be changed anyway before the next tenants can move in, and have done so in the past. The problem is, when they don't surrender the keys, I really can't just go ahead and change the locks myself, because they can accuse me of stealing their things, as they did regarding the mail. They still come back (avoding us, of couse) to take some random crappy stuff out of the house. I believe they have nothing valuable left behind, however, they still won't surrender the keys, so they can claim they still live here and sue me for damage if I actually went on to have the keys changed."

Final Note: You can do what you want, but when you advise someone else I would be careful to tell them to ignore the tenant not returning the keys, aka surrendering possession.

not returning keys (by John... [MI]) Posted on: Jun 10, 2018 1:03 PM

You keep saying this: "surrendering the key(s) is the one act that the legal system recognizes and uses to determine liability and damages."

But when I ask you to tell me the law for your state that says that, you don't provide it.

I searched my entire state's laws related to this and the word "key" or "keys" simply does not occur.

Therefore, your repeated statement that it is the ONLY act that the "legal system recognizes" seems a bit odd. If it is the only act recognized, then please tell me the specific law that addresses this for your state.

It is NOT the case in MY state. I doubt it is the case in yours.

Again, tradition is NOT THE LAW. I still maintain that there are exceptions that would be clearly recognized as returned of possession by a judge.

- John...


not returning keys (by John... [MI]) Posted on: Jun 10, 2018 1:07 PM

Also, I didn't "advise" anyone to "ignore" anything. In the case here, KEYS WERE RETURNED. Therefore, NONE of this applies. You seem to have gone off on a tangent about keys not being returned when that didn't even HAPPEN here. So, I continued to discuss it with you as a point of interest -- but, again, it does NOT APPLY to the situation this thread is about.

So, when you start warning me about "advice", it seems really weird -- since most of your "advice" about keys not being returned doesn't apply to this thread at all!

Again, I didn't give "advice" on what to do to Rose at all. I said that I agreed with Mike45 (and some others) that gave her advice.

After that, it was just me asking you for the Arizona law that define keys being returned as the only form of possession being returned -- because YOU SAID that it was defined that way BY LAW. So, I asked you to tell me the law that defined it -- and you never did.

You were the only one of us giving advice to Rose here. Not me.

- John...


not returning keys (by mike [CA]) Posted on: Jun 10, 2018 3:57 PM

change the locks, bill her for it. move on. she told you she did not return the keys...let her tell the judge too. he/she will not care that she float tested it in the ocean.

her ranting letters will reveal her nature to the court. presuming you complied with the move-out laws here (civil code section 1950.5) you'll be fine.

learn the law, follow it and you will be fine. CA is NOT the tenant friendly place they make it out to be. san fran and LA excluded

not returning keys (by JB [OR]) Posted on: Jun 10, 2018 6:45 PM

Little late to bill her for the locks Mike. The deposit has already been returned. Legally it very likely can't be withheld from the rent that has been prepaid...judge will say, NO! You can still send her the bill for it, but she'll just throw it away.

not returning keys (by Dee [AZ]) Posted on: Jun 10, 2018 8:21 PM

The LL poster has confused things a bit with just giving back money from SD not properly itemized and documented first. I do hope the landlord did not give her cash so he/she has a check or money order receipt. The LL should now follow up with a security deposit refund form, providing the LL does everything else properly & timely regarding the laws governing the return or withholding of SD's should be ok.

I would charge her rent up until she returned the "1" key to the LL from the point of when rent was paid last. You can then figure out if she owes you more or not.

I would show where you enter how much SD she paid, the amount less what you gave her back so if you originally had 500.00 and gave her 200.00 back I would show she only gave you a 300.00 deposit and then itemize any and all deductions from the 300.00 including any rent owed and then figure out the balance owed or to refund and get it sent off certified to her last address ASAP. Then if she sues you are you decide to sue her, you have all your ducks in a row.

Tenants don't pay for locks unless they change them on the LL or lose keys that cause new locks to be replaced or re-keyed or keys made not just the normal changing of locks when a tenant vacates when changing tenants. Maybe a charge of 5.00 for a missing key to be replaced cause it's still your property.

John why don't you provide something to the contrary on how the legal court system ruled on a possession/rents matter then. Returning the keys is the only non subjective act for surrendering possession and it is reference constantly where ever the subject is raised and researched. I don't care if you want to give some arbitrary meaning because it doesn't change a thing. So tell us some case history that deals with giving and or returning possession of a rental property and how the law defined it otherwise, because I guarantee you they have had 1,000 of tenant landlord cases with decisions made for you to try and find support for your position.

I'm convinced you just want to argue for the sake of arguing who's right or wrong with nothing substantial or to constructiviely support the meaning for it. I think LL's in general know and understand they give the keys and the tenant returns the keys and that's how possession is transferred back and forth. You don't want to believe it that's fine..... not my problem just hope it gives others information to further do their research and make an informed decision that leads to a positive conclusion for our LL brothers and sisters.


not returning keys (by John... [MI]) Posted on: Jun 11, 2018 5:25 AM

Ok. You win then. You're right -- returning keys is the ONLY LEGAL way to show that possession has been returned. No judge would ever accept ANYTHING else. Because it is "DEFINED BY LAW" that way -- which you've repeated multiple times, but can't actually point to.

Sheesh. This site is just sad sometimes. So many things are just not worth our time. I'm out. Mini-vacation time.

- John...

Subject: RE: not returning keys
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