How to terminate lease signed by previous landlord

7 Replies

I just bought some tenants occupied investment condos two wks ago. While I was chatting with a few tenants in the community this afternoon, I was told that they all suspect one of the units are having drug related activities. I then went back home and checked the Lease agreement. The renew lease was signed by the previous landlord's manager with that tenant 2 days before closing, so the lease will expire by the end of next April... I want to terminate his lease asap. I noticed he had 2 dogs, both are full size German Shepherd. The previous landlord's manager didn't charge him for any pet deposit!!! Can I use my No Pets policy to terminate his lease to kick him out without much of trouble? Thx!!!

No you can't modify their (now your) lease without agreement. If they are troublemakers you should be able to have a couple legal routes of action in the near future anyway. If these folks have drug related issues, I would make it clear that you take action on these types of things and work closely with the police to clean up the areas to provide safe housing for everyone. I would not do it accusingly, just matter of factly, along with your other expectations and requirements. Let them kniw that if they have a problem with any of the rules or guidelines, to have them just inform you that they will no longer be living there and you will release them from the lease. Tell them you don't want to have anyone get into trouble which is why you are explainging this and offering an easy out for everyone involve. Give the same speech to everyone  else and live it. 

So in short, no you can't terminate the existing lease. You are bound by all leases in place at the time of purchase. 

As far as the pets. It doesn't really matter what your pet policy is, it matters what the existing lease says about pets. So if his lease allowed him to have pets, you can't change it to a no pet policy until that lease expires. 

Originally posted by @Kyle Hipp :

No you can't modify their (now your) lease without agreement. If they are troublemakers you should be able to have a couple legal routes of action in the near future anyway. If these folks have drug related issues, I would make it clear that you take action on these types of things and work closely with the police to clean up the areas to provide safe housing for everyone. I would not do it accusingly, just matter of factly, along with your other expectations and requirements. Let them kniw that if they have a problem with any of the rules or guidelines, to have them just inform you that they will no longer be living there and you will release them from the lease. Tell them you don't want to have anyone get into trouble which is why you are explainging this and offering an easy out for everyone involve. Give the same speech to everyone  else and live it. 

Thanks for your reply!! I was told that people in the community called police reporting him many times but police never cares... Honestly, I think this kind of people should be caught by police. Say, if he moves out, he could cause trouble to other communities, right? Never deal with any drug related people before, if I end up eviction him, will those kind of people acting retaliation? I have two little kids... If you were me, would you be afraid of putting your family in danger? Am I worry too much?  Thanks again!!

If your town has them, get to know your neighborhood police officer. Partner with law enforcement, so they will be more likely to respond favorably if you need to call them. But don't expect the police to be able to take this down. They can't act on hear say. But they may do more drive-bys if there is significant activity or neighborhood concern. 

Watch the property like a hawk. Add more security lighting, trim back shrubs, make the place less inviting to drug activity. Introduce yourself and give your business card to all neighbors at nearby properties ask them to call if they see any unusual or troublesome activity at any of your units. Document what kind of traffic you see in and out of the unit. Do maintenance inspections of all units often during the first year of owning the property and keep an eye out for lease violations. Be swift, firm, fair, and polite when handling issues. A strong presence pays off. 

@Kyle Hipp gave you excellent advice, follow it. When we bought a multifamily property we got a drug using stripper and two pit bulls with the deal and an elderly lady who was inviting meth users/dealers into her apartment. We used an approach similar to Kyle's. When the tenants learn your management style is different than what they are used to, they probably will want to move on. Make it easy for them to do so. That's what ours did.

As far as your safety is concerned. Most folks are just trying to live their life. Be professional and you should have nothing to worry about. I have dealt with a variety of folks with various poor habits and while they have not been happy with me, they seemed to understand the situation. It would take a special kind of person to "take vengeance" on a landlord for keeping a property nice for all involved.

You've gotten some excellent advice already from all these fine folks here..the only thing i could add, is don't make them feel like the ugly duckling although they probably are..try some nice looking fliers made and hand them to everyone in the community with new guidelines and future changes in policies to make sure EVERYONE knows your new management style..if they feel targeted, they will act in self defence..

Thank you all for your valuable advice!!! After reading all your replies, I am now drafting my new policy letter; to notice all units for maintenance check up; will meet the police patrol in the area. What a great forum!!! Thanks!!! 

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