Funny but not funny tenant behavior during showings.

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Ok, so this is kind of funny and serious at the same time. I work at a property management company and I do investing on the side. We recently had a very, very good tenant, one of the best we've had, so month to month after a lease expiration, because a property went on the market.  

This tenant has been incredibly helpful during all of the showings. More than any other that we've had. He's taken extremely good care of the property and helps out a lot with it.  He recently found a new place, and gave a mid month notice. He wants to be let out of the month to month periodic requirements. He gave notice last week, so his 30 days would be on November 8th, but since its periodic, that says he is stuck till December 1.  Essentially he would end up paying double rent for a month.  I have to stipulate again how helpful and kind he has been. 

So we asked the owner to release him, as we aren't re-renting and for 2+ years he's been an amazing tenant.  I personally feel we should let him go, as the property will stay empty anyhow, since its on the market.  Of course this owner disagrees and just wants to take the guys money. 

This is the funny part.  The tenant is now acting strangely when the potential buyers show up.  He wears weird clothes, sometimes he is cooking fish or broccoli.  I mean he lives there, so he has a right to cook. He has a sign he sits in the house with that says "I like Applesauce".  Sometimes he is lying in his bed in a robe eating cereal and watching cartoons.  He's clearly protesting by making the showings uncomfortable, but in a funny and very friendly way.  Thats just some of the bizarre stuff.  We all find it funny around the office.

I think we should just cut him lose, and give the guy his money.  I've always been a more spirit of the law type of person.  I think its hilarious.  I mean what else could we do to him except evict him? For what?  Cooking?  Eating cereal in bed?  HAHA.

What would you do?

Account Closed

Of course the owner wants the guy's free money. It's a business. And your company is going to do what he says because you can't avoid people like that as customers.

As for the tenant, unless he decides to sacrifice a chicken to Baphomet during a showing, what are you going to do?

The owner won't listen.  The guy in the house is killing the sales.  He's gonna make sure no one buys this house. By the time he's gone, it will be December, then our owner can kiss any sale goodbye until February.  Our tenant is a super smart, guy with money, very eccentric.  Knows the law, and what he can do and not do in this situation.  I posted a few other places too. One of the weirder situations in my career. lol.

Oh, here is another one.  The guy has a unicorn onesie pajamas and wears it with the hood up, so he looks like a unicorn. He offers the visiting buyers colored marshmallows from an easter basket when they arrive.  We were dying when we heard this one.

I think you and the owner are wrong.

When a tenant breaks the lease, they are still obligated to the terms. HOWEVER...the Landlord/PM has a legal obligation to make "every effort" to find a new tenant. Once the new tenant is placed, the former tenant is released from any obligations.

In your case, the tenant is breaking the lease because the owner wants to sell and the Landlord/PM is refusing to make every effort to find a new tenant. I tell owners up front that if they make the decision to list the property for sale and the tenant chooses to leave, the owner cannot hold them to the terms of the lease.

I'm not an attorney but I'd put my money on the tenant for this one.

Account Closed Is it in the contract that you have the right to show the property with the tenant still in it? I'd be mad as hell if I was that tenant. I'm sure he feels betrayed.

I would definitely let this guy out of his lease and I have a ton of properties and have easily had hundreds of tenants. And I'm truly a by-the-book landlord. But, this great tenant and his referrals and testimonials will go on long after he moves out. 30-60 days worth of rent will be worth far less than his words. 

We were the great tenant in an office building for almost 2 years in a building that was basically empty other than our business. We had tons of bad experience with the landlord including a fire (that was structural issues - nothing we created) that kept us out of those rented offices for weeks. We asked to be let out of our contract 3 months early because our old offices had been renovated and were ready for us to move back in. When we originally signed our contract, the landlord knew we only needed the place until our offices were completed. We wanted a 1 year lease but he made us sign for 2 years.

At any rate, after being great on-time tenants for 21 months, he refused to give us the 3 months grace, even though we had moved out and were no longer in his building. I can assure you, we are not kind anytime someone asks our experience, and they do. What we paid him for those 3 months will never buy back the reputation he lost from us.

Business decisions are often about more than money.

@Nathan G.

There is no broken lease.  The lease was satisfied and he is now month to month. The house will not be re-rented, as the owner is adamant on selling it.  He is is overpriced for the market and does not take input to adjust price.  The tenant has a new lease that starts mid month in Nov.  All he wants is to be let out early as a gesture of gratitude. The owner would give this poor guy nothing for all the 70 showings he went through.  Its very one sided, and we all know it here as well. AGAIN, the tenant is not breaching the lease.  He is just protesting in the form of being a clown sort of when people show up for showings.  Its all harmless and funny, just a spectacle.  At the end of the day, financially, he is all square.  Seems he is just going to get his entertainment at everyones expense until his obligation is up.  TBH, I think its funny, our owner is going to get screwed with the property through the holidays because he won't let this guy out so we can sell it while its empty.  Oh well.

With any luck he'll go full tranny soon and any potential buyers will be looking nervously for the trunk where he keeps the gimp.

@Jim K.

We can only hope.  lol.

He's got about 3 weeks or so left on his tenancy.  Still time to give him back the money, get the house cleaned professionally, and sell it before the holidays. I don't see this happening though.  As someone said above, a tenant like this, who has money, who has a stellar rental and ownership history, who has a huge network, is so much more valuable to us than one month of forced tenancy, when we are trying to sell the house anyhow.  Now we will have this guy out there talking to every podcast he can find in real estate, writing bad reviews all over the websites, and all of that.  It's a mess for no reason.  

Account Closed

No, there's a reason. The owner doesn't have the brains to understand he's dealing with the practical facts of occupancy instead of the bloodless niceties of contract law. Seriously, he can't figure out he's in a position where a guy who can afford $25 for an adult onesie on Amazon (I checked) and a bag of colored marshmallows at the supermarket is going to cost him significant lost revenue and you (his business associates) slightly less significant lost revenue. He's a fool, and fools are no fun to work with.

And of course, if you try to tell the owner what a fool he's being, it's going to make him think badly of your management company. Because he can't admit the truth to himself...oh no, these types always think way too highly of themselves to admit their mistakes and learn from them.

Lotta stupid and proud landlords out there. God bless them, they usually make the rest of us money. But sometimes, we have to put up with their crap like everyone else.

Account Closed - people can be funny, and there's not too much you can do about it. I'm an investor first, but 3 years ago when I began trying my hand as a broker, my first showing went like this: I walked in to show the first apartment(after knocking loudly and saying, "REALTOR!") and as me and the prospective buyer walked through the apartment, a completely naked guy waltzed into the living room and asked us what we were doing there. You've been dealing with fish/broccoli? This place smelled like a marijuana grow house.

Roll with it. Let prospects know that the resident is slightly eccentric, you'll be fine.

Yah, here in the office, we think its hilarious.  We know that the guy should be let out.  He satisfied his lease, and we felt bad having to put him on month to month because he would have signed another, longer lease.  He fixes things around the house, and is a former homeowner, and he treats the property like it's his.  TBH, I'm looking forward to his antics, this is gonna get so much more funny I feel. lol.

Account Closed,

Doesn't sound like the perfect tenant if he has another place to live,  and obviously isn't cooperating with the showings and making it smell.    Let him know it will show best if he isn't there, and see if he be out of the house when the showings are.   I HATE doing a showing when the current tenant/owner is there, I can't talk freely, and you feel as if you're being rude being in someone else's home!

I'd tell the client per the lease, he has until 12/01 to pay.    If an offer is accepted before that, you can let him out when you official accept an offer (say 11/01).   That way he will have an incentive to make it look nice and then everyone wins!

Account Closed stated I agree that he should be allowed to leave and the place attempted to be rented until either his month to month is up or a new tenant signs (This is not a 2 month fee with automatic loss of security deposit situation). Tenants can't just say on the 23rd of the month "OK, I am leaving". 

If I was organizing showings of the property and this was the way the tenant was acting, I would stop providing access to that unit. You are not helping the owner in anyway by continuing down that path. There are a million reasons why you can restrict access to a specific unit until a contract is in place. If you know the guy kept it in great shape it is only going to be a positive later. Lastly the real person that makes out with a "great tenant" is the PM company. You guys could always offer to pay the month rent as a gesture of gratitude for all the time he saved you guys. At least offer that the Owner will not be charged the fees for the time or for the final walk-through or return of security deposit it may help to negate the loss and he may go for it. 

@Mike Cumbie  Why is no one listening to this point?  LOL. THERE IS NO OTHER TENANT COMING.  Its not for rent. The property won't be rented again, its a 100% for sale scenario, the owner wants the property sold at all costs.  Its not showing well because he is being greedy both in price, and by the way he has treated this tenant throughout the lease. He refused to fix things, tried to give our tenant a completely one sided deal when it went month to month.  Of course our tenant laughed at that deal.  He was 100% cooperative during showings, and now he is asking for a simple courtesy based on everything he has had to go through, and in my opinion he is being treated unfairly. You know as well as I do that contracts are very flexible and changed on agreements and negotiations all the time after they are signed.  Again, there is no one moving into this place after he departs.  The property is for sale.  Thanks for reading again!

Account Closed the owner and tenant are both well within their legal rights. 

It is simple for the landlord, they have two choices and it is a financial decision:

1. Make the tenant pay November rent and lose cooperation on selling the home. Impact to the owner could be carrying costs, price reductions, stale listing, eventual sale pushed to bad time of year.

2. Make a concession and get the tenant to start cooperating to help sell the home sooner. This would be a rent concession but may save money in the long run.

Run the numbers and determine what makes more financial sense. My gut tells me it is better to just let the tenant out of the lease to expedite the sale. I try to work with tenants when selling a property. 

Some landlords invite their own problems by how they treat tenants. This lesson can be applied to life in general.

You are right it will cost him a sale,  i don't understand why buyers don't just ignore it but they don't.    Personally I  would find this an amusing showing.  The best tactic as a selling realtor is to try to schedule when the tenant isn't there and keep telling the owner that the buyers are turned off by the tenant. Suggest to him that a bit of money now would keep him out of the holiday season for sale.  Technically the owner is correct but maybe you can convince him to split the difference?

Sometimes greed can cost you much more in the long run. His holding cost will be more than the 1 month rent he is not willing to give up. I would've pro rated the rent for those 8 days and refund the rest to have a smooth selling. Best of luck.

Am I a bad person because I can't get a cartoon image out of my head, the tenant in his unicorn onesie going to town behind the owner tied over a giant marshmallow, caption reading: "How you like that applesauce?"

I thought everyone would get a laugh out of this.  LOL.  We in the office are sort of looking forward to what he does each time.  We should have a raffle on his antics.