Re write a lease agreement or not

7 Replies

Good Afternoon all, 

I am actually renting my property to a couple they are separating but they both signed a one year lease agreement (7months left). They would like to resign the lease to take his name out. 

Any suggestion? 

Thank you

I recommend you draw up some sort of separate document stating the date, the person moving out, that they relinquish all rights to the property and the security deposit, returned the key, and the name of the person remaining in the unit. Everyone signs it, including you, and everyone keeps a copy.

Then feel free to write up a new lease with your remaining tenant. Perhaps only a month-to-month lease.

Also, be sure that your remaining tenant can afford the rent all on their own. Again, I'd highly recommend just month-to-month to make it easier on you to end the lease if need be. And if they're late on the rent, do not go easy. File eviction immediately and tell them you can always cancel the eviction process as soon as you receive *full* payment.

I would not rewrite the lease. Tell them both that they will remain on the lease and both will be held responsible for the rent. This will insure that the remaining tenant will not default on the rent during the term. You do not care who is living there or who pays, what you care about is who you go after when rent is not paid. Keep both on the lease and both are responsible. At the end of the lease you can then decide how to move forward.

Your goal is to protect your business interest.

I must agree with Thomas S- . ., Even IF the remaining tenant CAN prove they can pay the rent on their own; , what would be the advantage for you?  Unless the leaving tenant is NOT contributing to the household in any way, (childcare? Housekeeping?), to have a tenent suddenly become only half of the financially liable tenant I accepted would seem to me be a mistake.  I would not allow a release of the legal obligation...

@Elsa Lapeze (I am in the middle of doing other things, and it took me two hours of interruptions to write this. Essentially, I agree with @Thomas S.)

Firstly, assuming that there was no clause in your lease agreement about letting them out in case of a divorce, the decision is wholly up to you.

I will assume that you did the right thing and had both spouses sign the lease at move-in - now they are both responsible for the debt (remainder of the lease term.) (Although, “shelter” in Colorado should be a joint debt between spouses anyway.)

You did not say whether the wife, who intends to stay behind, has good credit and sufficient income (would qualify) to rent your place by herself. So, I’ll assume that she qualifies.

Second, they can always make the “lease issue” a part of their own divorce agreement (MSA,) rather than involve you in a brand-new lease.

What you’d potentially gain from resigning:

1. Another year of a paying tenant that would end in the middle of winter.

2. Goodwill from the spouse who stays behind - she may even re-sign again next year.

Potential issues:

1. You’ll have shown that you are willing to bend rules - what will they (she) ask for next?

2. Potential inability by the wife to afford rent on her own while any (legal) agreement with her husband may be in the works.

My personal recommendation:

Either leave things as they are currently stipulated in the lease agreement, or create an addendum to the lease that says something along the lines of:

“From X date, clause ‘Tenant(s)’ of the original lease agreement entered into on (date of signed original lease) by ‘Landlord’ (landlord’s name) and ‘Tenant’ ‘XYZ” (wife’s name) and “ZYX” (husband’s name) is amended to read ‘XYZ.’ All other parts of the original lease agreement shall remain the same.”

You and the wife would sign the addendum.

I am not an attorney - no legal advice given.

Great! thank you all so much for your feedback I am not going to change anything and keep both of theirs name on the lease until it expires. 

Merci :)

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