Signing a lease today and and not moving for 30 days...questions.

7 Replies

Hello BP community. I have have a quick query. I have a rental property in Philadelphia that I have found a tenant for but this tenant cannot move until August 15th....and today is July 11th. I wanted to know what the correct process is to move forward with this prospective tenant. I want to sign the lease and take the sec dep. first and last months rent....but I am not sure if that is customary to do given the gap in time before the tenant takes possession of the property. With all other tenants I have, the exchange of sec dep. first and last happens at lease signing then possession is taken immediately or the next day. Your feedback is appreciated and valued. Thanks!

When I sign the lease, the tenant hands me the deposit and rent (in cash or equivalent) and I hand them the keys.

I might hold a place for a week or so.  If so, we sign a "hold agreement" that has a non refundable deposit that will become the deposit if they sign the lease. It says "non refundable" in big letters, multiple times.

I would not hold a place for a month. Perhaps your market is really slow. But I'm confident I would get a tenant that would move in by the first of August, probably sooner. Why would I give up two weeks or a month of rent? I would offer this tenant the right of first refusal. If I find someone else who will move in sooner, I'd offer this tenant the option of moving in sooner (and paying rent). If not, the second person gets it.

You know your market.  If you're convinced this is your best option, do the hold agreement instead of a lease.

@David Vitarelli

It depends on: (1) what your lease says; and (2) what this tenant is willing to do. But yes, you can write the lease so that the lease is signed on July 11th but the tenant does not take possession until August 15. 

The main problem with doing this is that you have to have different versions of the lease for it (or draft another document that accomplishes what you are trying to do). If you own many rentals, it might be worth your time to have these forms. If not, I don't think the cost of having a lawyer draft/review these documents are worth the benefits of locking up this one tenant (unless he or she is willing to pay a lot more). 

Disclaimer: While I’m an attorney licensed to practice in PA, I’m not your attorney. What I wrote above does not create an attorney/client relationship between us. I wrote the above for informational purposes. Do not rely on it for legal advice. Always consult with your attorney before you rely on the above information.

I don't know the PA laws with what you are allowed to collect and what you are not, but think about it in terms of buying a property.  You sign a P/S, and what makes that document binding is when you place the deposit in conjunction with the physical paperwork.  In this case, the tenants have signed a lease, and to secure the property for an Aug 15 move in, some monetary consideration would be needed. 

@David Vitarelli I do this all the time, its no big deal. Usually when I have tenant leaving, they have to give me 60 days notice. I put it up for rent immediately and within 2-3 weeks I have a tenant ready to sign a lease that starts within days of the other tenant moving out, so most of my leases are signed 30-45 days prior to the start of their tenancy.

Either execute the holding agreement with non refundable holding fee or, my preference, keep marketing the property, likely finding another tenant much sooner, and hold off on approving the tenant.

I find that prospects tend to be “suspects” until they sign on the dotted line.

@Gregory Hiban How do you handle the money?  Do you sign the lease, and wait for the money til the lease start date prior to move-in, or do you require the deposit and/or 1st mo. rent at the lease signing?