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How long to wait before writing demand letter (small claims court)? And can I threaten to sue in letter?

Grand Rapids, MI |

Signed lease for 5/1. Landlord (LL) stated carpet cleaner would have no access til 5/1. We agreed verbally to move on 5/3; a weekend anyway; no change to lease date. On 5/1, get keys, LL asked us to look on phone for carpet cleaner. LL called cleaner, first date avail 5/6. Later that night, emailed LL re: delay from planned 5/3 move, please respond w/prorated rent to be reimbursed. LL said "not my fault there was a flood and cleaners delayed" (despite this not being set up before 5/1). Called LL, his statements included "you're so picky," "I'm getting a bad vibe," and "I'd rather terminate the contract. I'll give you all your money back." Sent email stating conversation of termination; amt owed to us; and asked where to return keys. LL replied only w/answer re:key drop. No refund yet.

Attorney Answers 1


Send a final demand letter to the landlord this week. Let him know what you're seeking and tell him that you're going to file suit in Small Claims court on X day if the money hasn't been received. Make sure you comply with all of the terms (get him the keys and demand the money when you give him the keys, that is the best bet). If you've already given him the keys, that's fine too. Just make sure he can't say that you were precluding him from leasing the premises.

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