Removing a Lessee from a Lease

10 Replies

Hi all,

I'm struggling with an odd situation and hoped to get some good input from someone who knows the law better than I do. I started a lease on a couple last year (2 year lease) and they have since broke up. The guy has vacated and she has stayed there with her kids and is a very good tenant. He has allegedly been harassing her and threatening to move back in because he is on the lease. I truly believe he is just trying to make her life hard because she rejected him. She actually filed a PFA at one point, but for some reason it didn't stick. She says she's moving if he comes back and I would prefer her to live there, as she has been very reliable. She pays well and takes great care of the house. She's also offering to sign a longer term lease if I remove him.

1. Can I remove him and rewrite a lease without his written consent if I chose to?

2. I have been told by some never to remove a lessee no matter what. Is this an exception due to her being threatened?

3. Could this backfire on me if he chose to try and reclaim his right to the property during the original lease?

Well, that is a good question.  Normally I would recommend never removing someone from the lease, however this is not a normal situation.

To remove someone from a lease without their consent you would have to evict them.  And, I'm sure this guy has violated the lease in some way or another, but if he has you will have to go through the process.

I'm sure this gal has a restraining order against him, so he can't come near her and that is good.  That helps you not have to make this decision.  The guy goes to jail if he continues to come near her or gives her grief.   

I think I'm correct in my reply to you, but I would feel better if you contacted a LANDLORD/TENANT lawyer, not a regular lawyer, they don't know Real Estate Law, and get a solid answer that will help you sleep tonight, and your tenant too.

I have had many of these situations, and always left the creep on the lease.  However, I kept an eye on the situation and was ready to evict the creep  if things started to get out of hand. 

Good luck.  I'd like to find out the end of your story so please keep us posted as to the results of your case.  

Nancy Neville

Have you contacted the BF by any chance?  He is still your tenant, after all.  Ask him if he'll sign a mutual termination agreement.  If he will, you can write up a termination agreement that includes both of them.  Then, simply write a new lease with just her on it.

You could let him know that just because he's moved out, if she doesn't pay the rent or gets evicted, you can sue both him and her, and if she gets evicted, he'll be named on it, too.

It would be a bad idea to try and trick the guy, if he's crazy.  So, getting him to voluntarily sign a mutual lease termination letter that you all three sign, would be best.

Eviction would be a last resort, because she'd have to be named on it, and any eviction action that gets filed, would put her name on an eviction report database, and that would be awful for any future renting for her.

If he won't sign with her still living there, the only other thing I can think of is to have her move out and break the lease.  Then it wouldn't be an eviction.  Then get him to sign a termination agreement or get sued for rent for the rest of the lease.  Then, let her move back in with a new lease.

Bottom line, is you need him to sign off on a termination agreement, so you can enter into a new lease with her.  And maybe if you sit down with the guy, you can get him to just do it.

Originally posted by @Sue K. :

Have you contacted the BF by any chance?  He is still your tenant, after all.  Ask him if he'll sign a mutual termination agreement.  If he will, you can write up a termination agreement that includes both of them.  Then, simply write a new lease with just her on it.

You could let him know that just because he's moved out, if she doesn't pay the rent or gets evicted, you can sue both him and her, and if she gets evicted, he'll be named on it, too.

It would be a bad idea to try and trick the guy, if he's crazy.  So, getting him to voluntarily sign a mutual lease termination letter that you all three sign, would be best.

Eviction would be a last resort, because she'd have to be named on it, and any eviction action that gets filed, would put her name on an eviction report database, and that would be awful for any future renting for her.

If he won't sign with her still living there, the only other thing I can think of is to have her move out and break the lease.  Then it wouldn't be an eviction.  Then get him to sign a termination agreement or get sued for rent for the rest of the lease.  Then, let her move back in with a new lease.

Bottom line, is you need him to sign off on a termination agreement, so you can enter into a new lease with her.  And maybe if you sit down with the guy, you can get him to just do it.

 I would love to contact him. Unfortunately he changed his number when he moved out and I have been unsuccessful getting a new number. She doesnt have it either. 

I'm not a lawyer, no legal advice, but if it were my tenants, I'd drop off 3 copies of a release addendum removing him as a tenant, pre-filled with your signature so all it needs is both of theirs listing his removal with instructions to her to give you a copy with original signatures for your files if they complete it.  That way, you've provided the means for her to offer him the choice the next time he does show up.   If he refuses, I'd just keep it as is, and deal with anything that follows (like her leaving or him moving back in) according to lease terms and landlord/tenant laws, as there is really nothing you can do about it if he moves back in and she leaves unless/until a lease term is violated.  You said a PFA isn't in place, so he's likely to come around, and if she has the paperwork right there, he might just sign it and resolve the issue easily for all.  I'd also let her know that once you have his signed release, you will change the locks so she's not worried about him having a key.   

Is she able to pay the rent on her own over the long term?

Would she be able to replace his portion of the security deposit?  Maybe he would be willing to be released from the lease in return for a portion of the security deposit.  The remaining tenant should replace this amount - it wouldn't necessarily have to be half of the deposit.  If he caused any damage that should be repaired and deducted at this point.

If you go this route, I would have a pre-signed(you and the remaining tenant) agreement for him to sign.

Do you have an email address or Facebook account you can contact?

Originally posted by @Jesse T. :

Is she able to pay the rent on her own over the long term?

Would she be able to replace his portion of the security deposit?  Maybe he would be willing to be released from the lease in return for a portion of the security deposit.  The remaining tenant should replace this amount - it wouldn't necessarily have to be half of the deposit.  If he caused any damage that should be repaired and deducted at this point.

If you go this route, I would have a pre-signed(you and the remaining tenant) agreement for him to sign.

Do you have an email address or Facebook account you can contact?

 That's interesting that you bring up Facebook.  I read this morning on another forum I visit that a judge ruled you can serve someone via their facebook account.  I googled it and actually found a couple different articles where this was allowed;

http://myfox8.com/2015/04/07/judge-rules-woman-can...

https://gigaom.com/2014/09/19/dad-can-use-facebook...

My understanding is she paid the deposit and rent for every month. It has all been by with her checking account. 

I have a friend who has several properties telling me to tell him the lease is broken because of abandonment from him and sign a new lease with her. This, after I reached the man and he acknowledged she doesn't want him there and he's been gone for several months but he has nowhere else to go. He's also not working and cannot pay for the lease alone. Also, if he doesn't get the point, then threaten legal action. Thoughts??

Update to This Post:

Thanks for all the input everyone. I ended up sending her a letter to take him off the lease and seeing if she could get him to sign it when he came back into town. She was successful and now all that drama is a couple months behind me. She was extremely thankful and I am too, because I truly felt it was the right thing for everyone. She's happy, still paying well and maintaining the property so far. This makes me happy of course.

Thanks Everyone,

Thank you to everyone for posting. I am having a similar problem, and reading the responses that were posted have given me a few ideas to move forward with. 

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