Q: I have a tenant that I have repeatedly had problems with.  I offered for them to leave in the middle of their lease, and I would release them from further liability.  They agreed and turned in a notice to vacate, setting a date when they would be gone, which was about four weeks away.  Two weeks before they were to vacate, they contacted me.  They said that they couldn’t find a place as nice as mine near the same price range and now want to stay.  What do I have to do?

A: Fortunately for you, if your tenant gave you written notice that they are vacating, you can hold them to it.  Once a notice has been served, the party serving the notice doesn’t have a unilateral right to rescind it.  This has logical underpinnings because usually the other side immediately takes steps to change their situation based upon the notice.  For example, once a tenant gives his/her landlord a notice that they are leaving, the landlord immediately starts making plans to rerent the unit.  The tenant doesn’t retain control to change his/ her mind and stay.  They are stuck with their decision, and if they do not vacate by the date specified in the notice, the landlord can file an eviction to have them removed.

By Mark B. Zinman,  Zona Law Group