one tenant wants to leave after only 1 month on 3 year contract.

23 Replies

Hey BP members,

I am looking for some advice on this matter. I purchased a newly renovated single family home and started screening tenants immediately.   2 friends came together and filled out an application together. they were looking to move in together and said they were old family friends. first applicant (lets call her lisa) is a mother of 3 (all under age 10) and the other (lets call her linda) is a single female. together they had a strong application. they were selected, signed a 3 year contract and agreed on a move in date (they needed to give their currently landlord 20 days notice to move out). 

About 3 weeks after moving in, Linda emails me stating she would like me to remove her name from the contract. Lisa and Linda got into an argument and she had decided to leave. Lisa also emailed me a few days later saying Linda is moving out, but she (lisa) wants to stay with her 3 kids and can pay the rent on her own.

I have no intention to remove Linda from the contract. I emailed them both about a week later saying that Linda has every right to move out of the property, however that they are both equally responsible to pay the rent for the duration of the contract.

from the pay stubs lisa provided i don't see how she could afford rent on her own if linda does move out, even though she says she can afford it (maybe from baby bonus or help from family). even assuming she can make the payments on her own, i'm not sure on best course of action.

since they applied together and one tenant leaves, Lisa may not meet minimum requirements to be approved on her own. should/can I make her re-apply on her own? can I make her move without an eviction if she doesn't meet minimum requirements. if she re-applies and is approved, do i draw up a new contract with only her, removing the other tenant from the contract? I don't think i can evict as long as she pays rent in time next month.

any insights or advice on the matter would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Salvatore Giancola

 BRR HOMES

would think your laws in CA would be the ones to check on.. 

sounds like this probably does not have a happy ending .. but maybe the lady with the 3 kids can pull it off.  Maybe she gets child support from the baby daddy..

@Salvatore Giancola I'm sorry to hear this happened to you my friend that is really unfortunate. I hate to be a dick brother but you kind of set yourself up for that one. Two single mom's, one with children living in the same home.... That's a recipe for disaster. I would have made sure that they both qualified alone, or were closer to qualifying so if something like this happened you wouldn't be completely f$cked. Regardless it is over and done with. I would look up the laws in Canada, and start calling or asking fellow investors/agents for advice on what to do. I definitely wouldn't take the single mothers word that she can pay though, that is far too risky. I don't know how Canada works but that should be a breach of contract and hopefully you included in the contract penalties for ending it early or breaking it. I'm interested to see what other Canadian investors will say. I hope it all works out my friend, good luck!

Originally posted by @Michael Guzik :

@Salvatore Giancola I'm sorry to hear this happened to you my friend that is really unfortunate. I hate to be a dick brother but you kind of set yourself up for that one. Two single mom's, one with children living in the same home.... That's a recipe for disaster. I would have made sure that they both qualified alone, or were closer to qualifying so if something like this happened you wouldn't be completely f$cked. Regardless it is over and done with. I would look up the laws in Canada, and start calling or asking fellow investors/agents for advice on what to do. I definitely wouldn't take the single mothers word that she can pay though, that is far too risky. I don't know how Canada works but that should be a breach of contract and hopefully you included in the contract penalties for ending it early or breaking it. I'm interested to see what other Canadian investors will say. I hope it all works out my friend, good luck!

CA is a foreign country.. and I learned this as a HML there.. not nearly as cut and dry as being a lender in the US>. the judges in CA have wide latitude to cram down your rate.. give borrower more time etc etc.. I don't know how it is with land lording there as I never rented my home that I had there out.. but I suspect the landlord has their rights.. the City I bought in Kelowna BC had tons of rentals so I know it happens ( rent that is ) and boy the prices sky rocketed talk about an appreciation play.. wish I never sold my place but I did not want to be a distant landlord.. and I made 20k in a year on it with currency arbitrage and modest appreciation..

I'm more curious about the results on this than actually knowing the laws in Canada. But, I don't see how any landlord anywhere can evict a person, or make them reapply for their current rental, because somebody has moved out. She hasn't missed any rent payments, hasn't been late on any rent payments, and hasn't moved anybody else in that isn't on the lease. Now, you can certainly still hold both parties responsible for the rent each month, and I would not take anybodies name off the lease. 

@Salvatore Giancola You should be very careful. With the new rules the liberals put in place it's virtually impossible to get tenants out in Ontario. Do your research and I don't think anyone from outside Ontario would be able to advise you. What i think might be your best option is forcing them to find a new roommate to put in the lease before taking Linda off.

I think you are best to leave it the way that you have done already 

The one lady can move out and they are both still responsible for the rent unless they find a replacement that is acceptable to you.

As Anthony Wick said, I wouldn’t remove anyone of their names of the contact because it was sign for three years. With that said, they both with have to make their decision all I need is to have my rent pay and if they failed, the law with be call to actions.

@Salvatore Giancola I believe it is legal in Ontario for a tenant to leave before the end of a lease by providing a 60 day written notice. From the sound of things, the second tenant was added as a tenant and not guarantor so she is able to remove herself with a 60 day notice. If your rent is still being paid, you cannot force the tenant that stayed to do anything unless you evict on the grounds that you would move in. If she does not pay you, I would play it by the books and issue the proper letters in the described timelines to start the eviction notice.

I echo the sentiments of the previous responders. You need to check the laws in Canada. Having said that, if the laws are similar to those in NJ, you don't do anything nor can you do anything until or when the remaining tenant does not pay you. Should that occur, you can file for eviction. The lady who is leaving signed a three years lease. A lease is a contract and she does not have the right to break the contract by having her name removed. Of course, if the remaining tenant does not pay, the one who has flown the coup is still responsible. I assume you have a security deposit? In NJ the legal limit is a month and a half. I will curious to know the outcome. I have been a landlord for about 25 years and it's definitely NOT the romantic "sit back and collect the checks" lifestyle that some would have you believe. 

All I can say is a three-year lease is a long contract.  I would caution against rocking the boat and upsetting your tenants.  Give them the opportunity to pay on time.  Be reasonable and hopefully the remaining tenant will take good care of the unit, pay on time and it will be a good business venture for you.

I could go badly if you are on the outs with your tenant from the very first month.

@Salvatore Giancola You aready have a recent application and should know if she can afford the rent. Two lessons: 1. It doesn't matter how old a friendship is, there is a high likelihood they will part ways, especially if they ha e not lived together before or for only a short time. Marriage is the strongest indication of two people staying together. 2. Long leases sound safe but are actually a recipe for disaster. In my experience, the vast majority of them terminate early. Additionally, it traps you and makes it harder to get rid of a bad tenant. Stick to one year with a renewal each year.

Hey all, Greatly appreciate everyone input here. Just some responses and update.

I usually do a 1 year contract. The tenants wanted a 5 year contract. We agreed on a 3 year, and I was able to get them to agree on a higher rent/mnth. I can already see why it's better to stick with the 1 year lease with slight increase in rent every year.

I took last month's rent not a security deposit. Landlords in Ontario can't take security deposit.

So the first of the month came and past but no rent was paid. I reached out and sent them a courtesy letter advising rent is now late and put on a late fee. Told them if the total isn't paid I will have to issue a pay or vacate form to start the eviction process. They responded with they have been gone on a 10 day vacation so couldn't cover the rent. But will pay this Friday when they next get paid and will pay the late fee.

I tried to be understanding but said if they knew they were taking vacation and rent would be late. They could have advised me ahead of time.

I'm hoping this was a one off and they will pay rent next week and not be late anymore, however I'm getting only bad signs from these tenants.

I believe the one girl left and only the mom with 3 children are in the house now. Haven't heard back from the tenant that potentially left to confirm.

Wish me luck, I'm learning every day and hoping get better everyday as well.

@Salvatore Giancola i had this kind of behavior lately with my tenants, in other country (not U.S), but you need to be very clear like you did with the letter and very creative if you can speak with them over the phone or with your Lawer and do some tricks that can cause them to go out, by the law of course. Every one can agree with me that no one wants to be “marked” , because rent payment. Your credit score damage and a lot of other things. For both of them if they won’t be pay this , it will be almost impossible to find a place to rent. This is how i solved it in my country. And try to find more “regular” tenants next time.. After i signed a contract with single mother with 4 kids that didnt open the door for me for more then mouth and did so much damage to the apartment ..I learned the best lesson in the world. Hope you will be fine , remember from every situation with tenants we learn something new.
They were qualified together so they both should stay on the lease, I would not remove anyone. If the one tenant moved out already and the rent is late already, send your proper notice and file for eviction or give them the option to terminate the lease early and move. You can find a more qualified tenant and they can keep the eviction off their record this way.

They had money to go on a 10 day vacation but not money to pay the rent?? Is it rude if we start a pool to bet on the eviction date? Sorry, but I don't see any way this ends in a happy way for you. Lesson learned for next time and I hope you don't lose too much money after going through this. With not being allowed to charge a deposit, I hope her 3 kids don't destroy the place too bad either.

Don't miss a day with your eviction process BTW. Don't be lenient, don't be nice, etc. File everything the day you are allowed to. Best case she realizes you're serious and won't spend her rent money on another vacation 

@Salvatore Giancola - good luck, as soon as I saw 2 single moms I knew this would be a disaster .. I had the same in St Catharines - lasted 3 months living together - but at least they left together too. You'll be in the LTB, start the N4 I believe it is, this Friday at 4pm. Don't wait. I hope im wrong but I see a good court battle coming up

My advice is based on my desire to get them both out asap. Length of lease is irrelevant. First do not remove any names from the lease. As far as you are concerned they are both still your tenants. For now I would wait till Friday and expect to be paid the full rent. I would not be contacting them and would leave it up to them to contact you.

If you do not receive the full rent on Friday first thing Monday morning go to your local service Ontario office that deals with the LTB and file a L9. Put both their names on the application. Be very carful with any application as adjudicators are looking for reasons to dismiss any landlord application. Fill it out correctly.

Do not waste your time or effort to attempt to evict (N4) as it will fail and you will lose your application fee.

For non payment of rent the board will rule in your favour every time....make sure you ask that the tenant reimburse your application fee. That will be an additional $190 they will owe you.

After that you inform them that first thing in the morning the 2nd of every month if you did not receive full payment by midnight you will automaticity file a L9.....no exceptions on leniency. Ask them if they would like out of their lease.

Your priority is to get them both out and find new tenants. Do not falter, file the L9, without contacting them asking for rent, every single time.

If this does not persuade them both to leave after filing 3-4 L9s in quick succession you can then evict for consistant late payments.

Hi @Thomas S. , what is the reason for not starting with the N4 for non payment of rent? I thought those were always issued, and then if there was consistent late payment a filing based on that would be done. Was just curious for my own learning about the recommendation to by-pass the N4. Thanks very much!

Was planning on updating next month. They paid rent including late fee about 2 weeks late. I think they talked it out and both agreed to stay. Mother of 3 paid about 60% of rent while single girl paid about 40% of rent. I'm hoping they figured it out and no more issues moving forward.  With rent due in under 2 weeks we'll see what happens.  Thanks again everyone. I'll let you know how it turns out. 

In addition to the great advice everyone else has already given, I would suggest not taking separate payments from the tenants. They signed the lease together, the rent payment should come to you in one lump sum. Otherwise, you'll soon have one of them not paying and the other saying they've paid their 'share', which sets a precedent. Whenever we rent to more than one tenant that isn't married, we always let them know that we don't care what their agreement is for who is paying what, we get 1 rent payment. We also start out very clear on what options are in the case that the relationship breaks down (ie: assign/ sublet the lease, potentially breaking the lease early etc.)