Tenant has new boyfriend inhabiting rental...what to do??

11 Replies

My husband and I converted our first home to a rental a little over a year ago.  The initial screening process was an eye opener, and we quickly learned that professional/stable people are few and far between.  Our property is located in a rural area of San Diego.  We purchased the house in 2009 for $120,000, and we are currently renting it for $1375 per month.  The tenants we placed in the property were a young engaged couple with a mother as a co-signer and the one ultimately responsible for paying the rent.  We enjoyed an entire year of "mom" paying rent a week before it was due, until last month when we received rent three days late (not terrible I know, but very outside the norm).  After multiple unanswered texts and messages to the daughter I called mom and found out that she was only going to pay half of the rent going forward, and eventually stopping once the girl had found a full time job.  To make matters worse the couple who were originally engaged are now split up, and the girl has a new boyfriend living in the house.  The only people currently on the rental agreement (month to month) are the mother and daughter.  

Now for the question.  The mother will eventually need to be removed from the agreement as she will no longer be paying any portion of the rent.  At that time I do not believe that the daughter or new boyfriend will meet minimum criteria to qualify to rent the house.  My question is what should we do in the meantime??  Update the rental agreement now adding the boyfriend, and then re-do when the mother is no longer willing to co-sign (however they probably won't qualify)?  

Any advice would be most welcome and appreciated.

Thank you,

Kendall

Never remove or release the guarantor or co-signer if you want to be protected as much as possible. Just because the guarantor wants to get off the hook, that does not mean you gave to go along with it ...

Updated over 3 years ago

Typo there; the word "gave" should be "have"

Why would you remove the mother from the lease as the co-signer?  I would highly recommend against doing this.  When it comes down to it she will bail her daughter out as long as she is on the lease because she will not want her background impacted.

@Kendall Roberts

 Why wasn't the first boyfriend on the lease? Either way, you should add the new boyfriend after properly screening him. And get prepared to add a late fee when appropriate.

If the mother wants off the lease as a co-signer, you will need to assess the current occupants, and if they don't financially qualify, you can ask them to leave in accordance with your lease terms. Should be easy since they are on month-to-month.

If the boyfriend isn't on the lease, he needs to be.  Have him submit and application and whatever fee you charge, do the background check and then sign a new lease with the two tenants and her mom as a guarantor assuming they need her to qualify.  If they don't qualify get them out.

@Kendall Roberts   when you said "Now for the question. The mother will eventually need to be removed from the agreement as she will no longer be paying any portion of the rent. At that time I do not believe that the daughter or new boyfriend will meet minimum criteria to qualify to rent the house. My question is what should we do in the meantime??" you are slightly mistaken.   Even if she is no longer paying, she can still be held legally responsible for payment if her daughter doesn't pay as long as she is listed on the lease as a cosigner.  I would not release her from her liability unless she gives you proper notice, at which point the daughter and boyfriend would both need to qualify on their own.  The boyfriend issue is a little more tricky as if he is living there, not just visiting, you'll need to have a discussion on whether or not the mother will stay a cosigner for the daughter if you add the boyfriend to the lease, then make a decision on a new lease or not.  If the mother wanted off the lease, I would be extremely hesitant to sign one with just the other two even if the boyfriend qualified as if they are unrelated, I want them both to qualify separately (in states that allow that), and you've already stated you don't think she can.   I think the current record from my experience is 2 weeks from move-in to boyfriend moving out and girlfriend wanting to stay and have locks changed, but it worked fine as both were qualified.     

the daughter has a new boyfriend , Leave mom on the lease , I will bet you that mom doesnt want  the daughter back .

Our rental agreement covers this situation.... we would charge the tenant a $50 unauthorized occupant fee, then we would ask the tenant if they wish the unauthorized occupant to leave immediately or be considered to become an authorized occupant by going through our screening process. If the latter, the unauthorized occupant would need to complete an an application and pay the application fee. If after screening and background checks he qualifies, then we would create an addendum to the lease to add him as an authorized occupant, as a tenant, jointly and severally liable. 

If this requires the mother to sign off on it, so be it. Otherwise the original contract stands with the mother as a co-signer until the end of the lease period and the only authorized occupants being those named on the lease at the time of the original contract signing. If that were the case, the new boyfriend would need to move out. Needless to say, if we couldn't resolve this amicably with all parties involved, I would also be serving the 10-day Notice to Comply, to bring the tenant back into compliance with the rental agreement.

Don't remove the co-signer unless the tenants can qualify to rent the unit on their own. Don't be surprised if at the end of the current lease period the co-signing mother refuses to sign on for the next lease period.

The key is to keep communications honest and open. Keep all parties in the loop. Be swift, firm, fair, and polite when enforcing your lease.

the boyfriend wants the play house, he now has an opportunity to do so by submitting an application 

Thank you all so much for your insight and advice.  The mother has chosen to remove herself from the rental agreement, and we have advised the boyfriend/girlfriend that they will have to qualify on their own, meet our minimum requirements (Income> 3X rent etc..), and complete a new rental application.  Hopefully all goes well, but I will keep you posted.

Side note my husband and I are interested in purchasing an additional investment property in San Diego, so if anyone out there has any deals they want to share please send them our way.

Best,

Kendall

@Kendall Roberts I would put them on a very short leash. Email them a rentall application and have them fill it out and return it to you in the next 2 days with application fee. Meet them where it is convenient for you. You mentioned rural so east el cajon, campo, ramona etc. may be a long drive, make them do the driving if they want to stay. If they don't fill out the application and haven't paid rent give them a 3 day notice to pay or quit.

Hope it all ends well for you. I have a semi rural that I rent out and haven't had problems finding tenants but I am in Blossom Valley area.

Sounds like a generous rent.  They will want to stay.  My rental agreements are all month to month.  That way, if they aren't happy, they can give me a 20 day notice for no reason other than they want to move. If they are disruptive, do harm or go against my reasonable rules, I can also evict them.  By pricing slightly below the market and thoroughly qualifying our tenants (contacting the last two or three landlords and not short cutting that step,) we have low turnover and rarely need to evict.  We also have a stand alone policy, and don't allow cosigners.  Just a little patience waiting for the right tenant really pays off in peace of mind.  Best of luck to you.  It's a fun business with much to learn all the time.

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