Tenants Split - She wants off of the Lease

7 Replies

I just received an email from a female tenant telling me that she and her boyfriend have split.  She moved out yesterday and wants to be removed from the lease.  I haven't had this happen in 10+ years of being a landlord.  How best to handle? 

The answer is "no".  She's on the lease until it ends.  She can leave if she wants, but she's still responsible for the lease.  If the boyfriend can't or won't pay, you want to be able to go after her for the rent.

The other option is for them (not just her) to break the lease.  Then, you can consider writing a new lease with just the boyfriend, if he qualifies by himself.

Also, in the end if you return any deposit money, and it was received from the two of them when they moved in, the check should be made out to "him and her".

What I would do is see if he would qualify on his own without her.   If he will then I would let her pay my early termination fee (I do 1.5 months rent, I'm allowed to do up to 2 months rent in FL as liquidated damages) and rewrite the lease in his name only.  If he doesn't qualify by himself then I would give them the option of paying the termination fee and everybody vacating or I would leave her on the lease and let her know she's still responsible if he doesn't pay.  

Thanks to everyone who responded!  You have been very helpful!  

Boyfriend is on the hook.  If they are both on the lease, its on him to pay you now and if he wants to chase her to compensate himself, let him have a blast.  Id ask him if he has the ability to pay. If not, it looks like he is on the hunt for a new place.  Obviously if he does not pay, he has to be evicted and he will forfeit whatever you collected from him up front.

Originally posted by @Brandon Ingegneri :

Boyfriend is on the hook.  If they are both on the lease, its on him to pay you now and if he wants to chase her to compensate himself, let him have a blast.  Id ask him if he has the ability to pay. If not, it looks like he is on the hunt for a new place.  Obviously if he does not pay, he has to be evicted and he will forfeit whatever you collected from him up front.

 They are both on the hook.  It's on both of them to pay.  If they don't pay rent they are both evicted.  It's called the joint and several clause.  This is on most leases that I know about.

I understand that @Cal C. , but what do we as landlords all want?  We want a tenant who respects the rules we set forth, the property, and the terms.  If she split and the boyfriend can foot the bill, I personally wouldn't waste any time chasing her.  I do all month to month leases, because if they leave, even if the courts rule in your favor, their ability to pay is usually not present unless this is a high end rental.  Chasing them through court at least in RI is a costly headache.  If the boyfriend can cut the check and she is in the wind, I'm not wasting my time telling her she is responsible even though she technically is.  If he can't pay, he gets evicted.  I'm not going to evict the girlfriend if she has already moved out.  But yes, you are right, they are both, "Technically" responsible.

actually I want to be paid.  Letting one person off of a lease reduces your chances of being paid.  

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