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REAL ESTATE : RENT IT RIGHT

Ex-tenants want to be paid for shed

October 12, 2008|Janet Portman, | Inman news

Question: Years ago, longtime tenants of our house asked if they could erect a shed in the yard. We said yes, provided they removed it when they left. They recently moved, left the shed and are demanding that we pay them for the structure. Do we have to pay them, and if not, can we charge them for the cost of removing it?

Answer: If you refuse to pay and they take you to court, they'd have to convince a judge that the shed is beneficial to you and that you've accepted the benefit in a way that would make it unfair for you not to compensate them. They'd have to show that the shed had value to you, which is different from value on the open market. You'd be within your rights to demand that the shed be removed and to charge your former tenants for the cost of removing it if they refused. Many states have rules on how landlords must treat abandoned property -- typically, you must notify the tenants and give them a chance to reclaim the property.

-- Janet Portman, Inman news

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E-mail Janet Portman at janet@inman.com.

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