Applicant breaking current lease

9 Replies

i have a potential applicant that told me during the initial phone call, when asked about rental history, that she is breaking her current lease because her current landlord won't do  adequate repairs after a waterline busted in the house.  She said that there is mold and the landlord won't fix the drywall that has been damaged.  

My gut says to move on, but just wondering what everyone else's thoughts are and how one would mitigate any issues down the road.  



Go look at the house she is living in ,  then make your decision.

I would say that I need to verify tenancy with the current landlord, and see how they react. 

@Jesse O. How much do you need these applicants and how much time are you willing to invest in them? Lease breakers are lease breakers, and if they break someone else's lease they can break yours. You could investigate as has been suggested, maybe even view their current house, but there are tenants out there that don't need a Sherlock Holmes exercise to straighten out their stories. It may be a hard line but unless you are willing to put in significant time and take on the risk of serial lease breaking the safest thing to do is move on to the next applicant.

I would agree with @Aly L on verifying tenancy. They may change their story once you inform them of this. Also, in my experience when a potential tenant complains about their current landlord it is typically a re-occurring theme and usually ends up being more of a hassle for me in the long run.

Just my 2 cents..

My instinct also says pass.  Is there a reason you would want to take a chance on this applicant if you could find another qualified tenant?

Besides, just like there a laws to protect landlords, there are laws to also protect tenants in these situations.  If her landlord is truly in the wrong, I would think she would have adequate recourse.  

As far as mitigating potential issues - bigger deposit.  Good luck with your decision!

Thanks everyone.  My thoughts exactly.  They seem like a very nice couple that would very possibly be long term (or at least that's how they act).  

I just put the house on the market and have had a few tire kickers, so I've got some time to see if I gain more interest through the weekend.

But my gut says that if they've done it once, they'll do it again.

At a minimum a larger deposit will be required.

I like Ally's idea too.

Now, if my place wasn't some dump in need of repair, with water problems or other issues I might go take a look, it also gives me the opportunity to knock at their door to see the problem and see how they keep the place, that tells me more than they can say.

Reminds me, my wife was pretty good at this, she'd drop by with another form, but it would be in a briefcase that she couldn't find holding it up at the door, she'd just ask if they could use the kitchen table. She'd go in and check out the place getting the form signed. If she'd say this is a nice place, what's the rent again....mind if I see what the rest of the house (unit) looks like, size of the rooms? Usually, they let her and say...oh it's so messy, we're moving....LOL

I think I'd try to read their personality a bit more and not jump to conclusions, you can generally tell in conversation if they think the whole world is always wrong, everything is someone else's fault, things aren't ever right. Talk about some current event that has some social aspect to it, they open up.

Anyway, if my place was in great shape, I have no issue with them finding fault as there are many lazy landlords, see if they are nit picky or they have a valid gripe. They think they do if they are breaking a lease and they may have the right to break the lease. :)

Sometimes people have legitimate gripes.  Check out the story if you have time.  If you have other options you don't need to make the effort.  It is always good to do a bit of dd on people that you will have business relations with.

I'll prop up Bill's (and Ally's) suggestion as well. If anything, this sounds like an opportunity to gain more background on your candidate than would be available if they weren't claiming to break a lease. I'd say take advantage of it.

Also - on the bright side, there's a hint of honesty in your applicant mentioning they are breaking their lease up front. So they do have that (if only superficially) working in their favor. But I'd recommend maximum diligence.

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here