I have a tenant that called me up and informed me that he will be going into a rehab facility for the next 6 months and would like to terminate his lease. There is another 8 months under contract. Any suggestions on how I should handle this? Both from a legal standpoint and a professional standpoint. Thank you in advance.
He lives by himself? If he can provide paperwork regarding rehab, then I would probably let him go.
@Alex S. He does live by himself. The rehab situation is legitimate.
I would let him go.
I agree, I would let him out of the lease. I know a lot of people will say "it's a business and needs to be treated as such," but I think having a little compassion can go a long way.
This is another point that reinforces my belief that term leases solely benefit the tenant and not the landlord. If you tried to collect any money for breach of lease for your signed, legal agreement I would be very surprised if the judge did not scoff at you and dismiss the case.
The reason why you have a term lease to begin with is to avoid situations like this. Here, the tenant's issues become your issues.
Let him out, but remind him he is responsible for the rent until you find a new tenant. Let him know that you will be showing the place (and give him proper notices as to times), but the better condition the house is in, the quicker it will be rented. It is early enough in the month that you shouldn't have any problems finding someone.
Tenants will go when they need to go, even with a lease, and the ones that actually provide notice make it easier on you. Make sure you sign an early release addendum so he cannot come back and state he still has a valid lease if, for instance, he decides to leave rehab in a week but you've already rented the unit out.
I operate a business that does not feel a need for compassion. Compassion is not required to address the situation. It does not pay the bills and the tenant is not seeking your compassion or understanding. Your tenant is leaving, he is not asking for permission he is telling you he is breaking the lease. Landlords that believe they are giving permission are delusional, the tenant could care less what you think. He is taking care of himself and you are responsible for taking care of your business.
What you need to do is prepare to find a new tenant and inform him that you expect his assistance in showing the place and that he will be held responsible for the rent up to the date a new tenant moves in. He will also be responsible for your costs of finding a new tenant.
I assume your lease has language in regards to tenants breaking a lease. if It does not say anything about letting them go free if they have a good excuse then you enforce your lease. Situations like this is the very reason you have lease language to protect yourself. Your tennat agreed to the rules when they signed and if you have no intention of enforcing your lease you have no reason to bother having a lease. A term lease has no relation to when any tenant will decide to leave contrary to what some landlords may believe, it does not. You need to decide if you are in business or operating a charity. Professional landlords deal with these situations by enforcing their lease while trying to work with tenants. Hobby landlords simply throw up their hands and take the financial hit.
@Lynn M. Thank you very much. This is exactly what I was looking for.
@Alex S. thank you for your advice!
@Wesley W. Thank you for your advice!
@Thomas S. Thank you for your advice!
You can be compassionate and professional and still hold him to the lease at the same time.
I would let him know you understand his situation and will do you absolute best to find another tenant ASAP, but until that happens he is obligated to the lease. So lets work together to make the change happen...... i.e get it vacated and clean ASAP or even start listing and showing it NOW if its in showing condition. Start making arrangements for any repairs etc...EVERYTHING both of you can do to get a new tenant ASAP...... the emphasis is that he needs to do his end to help you get it taken care of ASAP and you will do yours
If the turnover happens real quick and your lost $$ is small, I'll cut him some slack and let it go....but if for some reason it takes longer to fill, then I'm not eating that $$....
Sorry, but the bank isn't going to cut me some slack when the mortgage is due and I'm in rehab..... or any other agency that I have to pay for each month...... I'm not a social worker or a charity.