Tenant just messaged me they are braking the lease in one month.

10 Replies

It's a single family house for rent here in NY state. Tenant just let me know they're braking their lease and are leaving in 30 days from now. In addition they don't want to pay for the last month rent and are forcing me to use their full security deposit to fund the last month,

Even worse, they don't want to allow potential tenants to look at the house before they leave. It's an expensive house and I want them to leave the property not being upset on me so they don't damage the house intentionally.

What do I do? Any advise?

@Salomon W. Sucks but honestly it may be best just to let it/them go, especially if you're worried they will harm the house. I think your other option legal action and that just doesn't sound beneficial for anyone. Just be sure to mention to them that you will not speak highly of them if future landlords ask you about them - they might care about that...?

Follow your local landlord laws and start eviction proceedings the day the are late with the rent.  They are not forcing you to accept the security deposit as their last months rent, if it happens it only happens because you allowed it.  

I don't know what the collection laws are in NY but an eviction will follow them for sometime.  

Does the lease expire in 30 days? If not, what does your lease say about early termination?

If you don't feel comfortable handling this by yourself then hire an attorney and do it soon.  Someone here should be able to help with a local real-estate attorney.

Give them 24 hours notice, go in there with a high definition video camera and get evidence of EVERYTHING. If they don't like it there is a particular universal sign language you can show them. If it is any different in a month then they have committed criminal damage in most states. They will be required to pay for this. Give them another 24 hours notice to show the house whenever you feel like it.

Additionally, I would charge an early termination fee, and they will have to continue paying rent until a new tenant can be located. These things will be SUPER easy to win in court, and it's way, way easier to collect than many who have never tried think.

And as said before, do not ever accept a security deposit as rent. If the rent is late, start with the proceedings. I would suggest you do everything you can to force replenishment of said security deposit as it is not returnable until about 30 days after they move out in undamaged condition. 

Hit them with an eviction, bad credit for a judgement against them, and no kind words as a previous landlord. At least teach them a lesson, and warn the next landlord if nothing else. Would you rent to somebody with bad credit, no references, and unpaid judgements?

Tell them that you need to show the property to prospective tenants and they are responsible for the lease unless you get it rented for May 15th (guessing date based on your post).  You will do your best to limit the number of showings and they can help by keeping the place in 'show home' condition.  They signed the lease and while you understand they need to break it, those are your terms.

You should also check your local laws as they may forbid you to take the security deposit as last month's rent.  If this is the case, then tell the tenants that (plus you need that if there is any damage-do NOT tell the tenants that).

Follow what your landlord laws are. Deliver the notice of non-payment to them. If they do not pay, I would start the eviction proceedings. When they vacate charge them whatever is outlined in your lease as the lease break fee. I would go to the home and do an inspection as well. As far as showing the home, you do have the right to enter with notice. However, they might cause issues and bad mouth you anyways. You can send them to collections for fees, unpaid rents and damages once they vacate. 


Follow the advice above about proceeding according to your lease and the law. Be polite but informative when dealing with them. Many tenants simply don't know what they're doing or what they're risking, and once they do, they might cooperate.

Nope. Call their bluff. Give them whatever notice your state requires if they fail to pay rent. Tell them that's what you will do in advance-- and explain the consequenses of an eviction filing. Also give required (here it's 24 hours) notice and inspect/show the place as needed (I'd try to arrange it when you know they won't be home). I do try to be nice about it but I tell everyone up front DON"T ASK to use security deposit as last month's rent.

Your standard lease agreement should mention that the security deposit can never be used to pay rent and that it's forfeited should the lease agreement be terminated before the outlined expiration date. If it doesn't, make sure it does moving forward. 

I'd deliver the 3-day notice and discuss a 7-day window to move before the eviction is filed. While discussing the 7-day window,  advise the tenants on the difficult to lease should the eviction be filed. If they're receptive to the 7-day window, proceed in that direction and contact them after 3 days to make sure they're still on board. 

If you get a response along the lines of "we need some extra time"...file the eviction or give them an incentive such as making a contribution to their moving costs. Ideally, your contribution should not exceed the eviction fee. If you proceed in this manner, be sure to fork over the fee following their departure or on the day of the move when you physically see the moving truck and their belongings exiting the door. Be sure to get everything in writing with their signature acknowledging the termination date and the locks to be changed to bar them from access. 

Thank you all for your advise. It's highly appreciated. I know the tenant and I feel if I go the tough way, I got too much too lose as it's an expensive house and it may not be worthed. I will be trying to get the most in a nice way, I think I'll be better off. I do agree that I should have made it very clear when signing the lease that security deposit cannot be used as last month payment. The more you do, the smarter you become on how you could have done it better. Thanks again for all of your time.