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landlord-tenant law

Reinstating Terminated Tenancies After an Eviction

Landlords occasionally reinstate a tenancy after an eviction judgment has been rendered by a court or the tenancy has otherwise been terminated. Some landlords consider reinstating a tenancy if the tenant asks the landlord for another chance and agrees to pay the amounts owing or to cure the improper conduct that resulted in the termination. Many landlords, delighted at the opportunity to collect the amounts awarded under the judgment or to prevent a vacancy, gladly collect the money, reinstate the tenancy, and do not give the matter another thought. However, reinstating a tenancy should be given more serious consideration.

Aside from the landlordís desire to collect rent from a tenant, the landlord needs to evaluate the big picture. Does the tenant suffer from chronic late payments or non‑payment? Have the tenantís financial circumstances changed, making the tenant a greater credit risk? Has the tenant since been convicted of a crime? Will the tenant continue to be a source of problems for the management, taking up managementís time and resulting in yet another eviction or termination action later? If these concerns are present, a landlord should reassess their willingness to reinstate the tenancy.

Before reinstating a tenancy, a landlord can typically treat the terminated tenant as a new applicant, requiring them to fill out a new tenancy application, giving the landlord a new opportunity to evaluate the tenantís credit, employment, criminal background and financial circumstances. If the tenantís financial circumstances have deteriorated to the point where the person is no longer credit‑worthy, or if subsequent criminal convictions or other problematic issues have surfaced since the original tenancy, a landlord may be well advised to avoid reinstating the tenancy.

If a landlord ultimately chooses to permit a tenant to reinstate a tenancy, the landlord should have the tenant sign all of the current rental documents, creating a new tenancy. If the tenancy was terminated and an eviction action pursued based on prior breaches or violations, the landlord might consider requiring the tenant to acknowledge the prior violations, in writing in the event those violations could be used as evidence in a subsequent termination action, particularly in jurisdictions that permit a tenancy to be terminated for multiple violations, even if cured by the tenant.

Typically, once an eviction judgment is obtained, reinstating a tenancy is solely at the discretion of the landlord. However, if you are inclined to reinstate a tenancy, you should carefully consider whether doing so will merely be reintroducing a problem tenant into your rental community and creating more potential work, problems and expense for you. If you nonetheless decide to reinstate a tenancy, use the opportunity to reevaluate the tenant and the potential success of a new tenancy.

This article was originally published in 2008.


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