Problem with tenants, questions

23 Replies

I just recently leased my recent purchase to a couple with kids.

This weekend I got a call and that their relationship isnt going well, and the guy will be moving out. He made most of the income(of course), she has all the kids(of course), she gets some child support and is looking for full time employment, though supposly has help from parents etc to make rent if needed. She definitly doesnt meet income limits. She likes the house and wants to stay and says she can afford it(though i dont know how).

So she wants to sign a lease with only her name and I tear up the old lease(with both of their names on it)

I could do that, or I could maintain we must keep the original lease so I have another person to go after if need be.

Or I could say she can't stay because she doesnt meet income limits and then try and rent to someone else.

Anybody have any advice?

Thank you,

I would leave the lease intact, and if she missed the first rent payment, you file for eviction and no talking because you know she cannot afford the rent.

Joe Gore

Option b. they signed the lease so tough titties. One doesn't pay, they both owe. They break the lease, they are accountable for the financial ramifications. Keyword to note, they

I agree. The only thing is, I don't gain much by having him on the lease. He won't be living there, he wont be paying. Only thing it may do is piss him off.

So I am siding with signing a new lease with her, and at that time trying to collecting next months rent payment at that time. If she misses the next payment, then file for eviction, if she can pay, then just maintain the lease with her.

The original lease was for 2 years. But I am siding only doing her lease one year.


Why are you considering changing anything. The way it is now you can go after both for Money. I see no benefits of redoing anything.

Legally, I don't know the ramifications of kicking him off the lease without him signing some sort of release.

If I knew she couldn't afford the rent, I would offer to let them both out of the lease if they move within 30 days. I'd say that I understand things happen, and by letting them both out of the lease, she can find housing that maybe wouldn't stretch her budget as much. If they've been good tenants thus far, I'd even offer to write a reference letter for them to make it easier for them to find other accommodations. The spring/summer moving season is approaching, and I would assume that you could re-rent your place quickly. I wouldn't expect much wear and tear if they haven't been in the property that long.

Allowing someone to remain in your property that you already KNOW can't afford the rent will only cost you time, money and frustration. Ask me how I know...

This is why we have a buy out clause. It allows the tenant to break the lease if life "happens". It is 2 months rent and two months notice.

I personally would either kick her out, or leave them both on the lease. I wouldn't worry about "hurting" the man's feeling. He's breaking his written agreement. It is not your problem they are not getting along. Business is Business.

First you probably just can't rip up the lease and write a new one without a signed release.

Second, why would you? I'd want as many people on the hook for the money. If you don't get paid he's going get named in an eviction in addition to her if he doesn't step in and get the rent paid for her. If they get evicted then you can put a judgement on both of them increasing the chance that you get paid. In the event that he wants off then you have a bargaining chip and that's something you can get paid for (such as 1-2 months rent)

The buyout clause is nice. I think I will add that, if one or more people want out of the lease so I don't have to deal with this in the future it will be in writing.

I was going to resign a lease with her, just because I didn't know what else to do. Going after him for money loss if eviction occurs, may help, but considering the lease was just signed and he won't be living there.

I was just thinking of moving forward with her.

In the future I am going to add the buyout clause.

Originally posted by @Gabe G. :
I was going to resign a lease with her, just because I didn't know what else to do. Going after him for money loss if eviction occurs, may help, but considering the lease was just signed and he won't be living there.

I was just thinking of moving forward with her.

In the future I am going to add the buyout clause.

Look at it this way, If you were to co-sign a loan for someone to borrow money from a bank, "Do You Think The Bank Would Hesitate Coming After You For the Amount Due if the Borrower Defaulted"

I agree Ed.

But the alternative could be I keep the lease as is.

He doesn't move out, and they get into arguments and destroy the house.

Atleast with him gone and happy, Its only her and the kids.

But in the future buyout clause will be added, so I don't have to deal with this, and just will point to the section of the lease if they want.

He can move out and still be on the lease. The security deposit stays in place. At the end of the lease, you return the security deposit made out to "<him> and <her>". That "and" is essential. Their splitting up should have no effect on you.

Personally I only do month to month leases. If they were breaking up, they could give notice and move out.

If she want's to rent the place by herself, re-screen her alone. If she qualifies, do a new lease with her. If she doesn't qualify, she can't lease the place on her own, so the only way she could stay is if he stays on the lease and remains responsible for the rent.

If the property is easy to rent just let her move if she wants. Waste little time with potential problem tenants. Good chance he will probably move back in too. Alot of times people split and quickly get back together with children involved.

Originally posted by @Gabe G. :
The buyout clause is nice. I think I will add that, if one or more people want out of the lease so I don't have to deal with this in the future it will be in writing.

I was going to resign a lease with her, just because I didn't know what else to do. Going after him for money loss if eviction occurs, may help, but considering the lease was just signed and he won't be living there.

I was just thinking of moving forward with her.

In the future I am going to add the buyout clause.

The only way I would move forward with just her is if she qualifies without him. You said the lease was just signed, so does this mean they haven't moved in? If they haven't, just sign releases, maybe have them agree to forfeit the deposit as a cancellation fee first, and find someone else. If they have already moved in, I would make sure they know that they are both responsible for the entire lease. I've had a situation with a family member where they broke up 2 weeks after moving into their first apartment together, and they both stayed on the lease even though he moved out. They worked it out between themselves, where she pays the whole thing and he leaves her alone and gave her the keys, not involving the landlord. You are not, as a landlord, required to give up the qualified person being responsible, just because they had relationship issues. You'll just lose money that way. At least with both on it, you have a chance of payment if she doesn't pay as he'll have to cover it to protect his own financial situation or face bad credit.

Definitely do not do a new lease!

@Gabe G. nearly everyone has advised you against just leasing to her when you already have a valid lease. Not sure why you insist on that route.

If nothing else consider him like a co-signer, someone financially bound but not living in the property. Since you said he's providing child support it would be another way that reminds him of his obligation with that.

Your lease is not what is keeping him in the house and preventing him from moving out. He can move in or out anytime he wants and he can live there or not, it's not like the Parole Officer's ankle bracelet. If they hadn't told you, he could have been gone for the whole year and you not known. For all you know he could have leases on 5 other properties that he's not living at, just saying.

If he was/is going to damage the house it's already been damaged.

They just signed the lease in early march.

He is not paying child support to any of the kids, as they are not his.

I haven't decided 100 percent yet, as he is still living there and looking for another place.

@Gabe G. He (and maybe she too) was planning this from the get go.

You would not have rented to just her and the kids. You know that and they knew that.

They are making their problem, your problem. We are advising you on how to protect yourself. Timid landlords have skinny kids.

nice guys finish last. These people are always looking to not pay rent or not be accountable. you sign/ you are accountable. Only alternative is someone else taking over there lease without a hiccup in owed rent, that gets complicated though

You have a binding lease and cannot legally enter into a new agreement with the woman. What happens when the man returns and presents HIS copy of the lease. Big problems for you. More than likely you cannot take any action against the woman as long as the rent is being paid. Why would you care as long as the rent is being paid? As stated before, be very careful what you do with the security deposit so that both are not claiming the same monies from you. Unless the man AND woman are agreeable to provide consideration to CHANGE the binding lease you should not change anything.

if i did end up writing a new lease.

I will make sure I get their copy of the lease as well as a signed statement from him indicating he wants off the lease, will not be living at the premises, and has no interest in the security deposit.

Still havent decided.

@Gabe G. as many others here have said, it is not recommended to start a new lease with just the woman. You currently have a valid lease for which both of the adults are responsible. You can go after both of them for money if you have to. Why give up that right?

You seem to be under the impression that by leaving the man on the lease, he is required to live in your rental. That's not the case. He can move out and stay on the lease, that happens all the time. He will still be responsible for making sure the rent is paid.

Additionally, the security deposit belongs to BOTH of them. When (if...) you return it in the future after the place is vacated, the check should be made out to "him and her" as Jon Holdman said. If you sign a new lease with her, and then write a security deposit refund check only to her in the future, the man can sue you, and will likely win.

Again, it is strongly recommended to keep your current lease in place, unless you want to give them the option of vacating completely since the woman won't be able to afford it on her own (regardless of what she says). You can all come to an agreement (in writing!) about any lease-break fee you expect, and that you will not hold them financially responsible for the rest of the lease once they vacate, if they agree to those terms.

Edit to add: looks like we were both writing at the same time. If you do opt to do a new lease, yes, you definitely want all that in writing from him. Still, you get absolutely no benefit from doing a new lease with just the woman versus keeping the current lease in place.

Gabe, one factor only touched on in this discussion is how hot your market is. Do you have a waiting list for viable, capable tenants that would like to move in now? If not, I would be leaning towards keeping the current lease in place - both names on the lease - and have an eviction notice with both names on it ready for the first opportunity to enforce it.

If they do split permanently, they will both have (or should have) legal representation to protect their respective financial interests. You just need to hold up your end of the contract that you and they signed.

They signed the lease in March. Do not let her in on her own. It sounds like they planned this. You would be surprised what people do. If they haven't moved I would give them a choice current lease, let them walk away and re-rent it to someone who qualifies, or if she can get a qualified cosigner do that. On her own with just her word she will get you the money sounds no good. It is the season to rent so it will be easier to find someone in April , May , June. If she suddenly can't pay in November like she is suddenly not getting along with her boyfriend now you are going to be in a bad situation. You still have to pay the mortgage.

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