Potential tenant wants to edit my lease.

6 Replies

I'm an experienced landlord and this is a first. 

I'm hoping to receive some feedback on my decision.

A potential renter from out of town who saw our ad on Zillow asked me to email them a copy of our lease.  After I complied, they then proceeded to make the changes they wanted to it (I use a BiggerPockets Ohio lease BTW).

I thanked them for their interest in my property and promptly and firmly declined to modify me lease in any form or function.  They actually seemed shocked that I would not alter my lease for them.

Was I wrong?.

What did they want modified? I have had tenants ask for cheaper rent, longer leases, painting allowances and more. Hard to say without more info.

Depends.  If it were a 55 year old grandmother, moving locally, good rental history, no pets, no kids, 700 credit score, stable job, clean background, etc. I would make reasonable modifications.

If it was a convicted felon with a tattoo on his forehead and 400 credit score, I'd pass. 

Extremes aside, I stopped renting to out-of-towers, on average they move again too quickly for me to make money. 

Originally posted by @Luke Reninger :

What did they want modified? I have had tenants ask for cheaper rent, longer leases, painting allowances and more. Hard to say without more info.


I'm not referring to terms of my lease but the actual legal language.  As one example my lease indicates that rent is credited when I receive it not when it is mailed.  They, for some reason, wanted that changed.

I can deal with normal requests. I.E. Term changes, rent amount, pet deposit, etc.  But these folks wanted to change the legal language of the lease.  I assumed they were control freaks that would be a nightmare as tenants.

Just forget them and move on to someone else . I assure you they will be a pain down the road if you rent to them . Already they are trying to push you and they haven’t even signed anything yet is a big red flag 

Revising your lease without speaking to an attorney is never a good idea. Your lease form has been prepared to comply with specific state laws and it has been prepared to protect you. You don’t want to risk diluting that protection or worse, voiding that protection from the wrong changes.

Secondly, it’s always important to keep fair housing in mind, even if you’re not at the point where it applies to you. You don’t want to change your lease document for one tenant and not another, even if the circumstances are different.

It sounds like you did the right thing by passing on these tenants. If they brought up any changes that make sense for a lease, just make a note of them for a potential lease revision down the road. The lease I use gets reviewed and updated regularly to make sure it’s always valid, relevant, and in compliance

Just remember what your mother always told when you were growing up:  "my house, my rules."

You are offering X product to the public with Y terms.  If they are not satisfied with those terms, there are other properties with other terms that may be more to their liking.

As others have said, this also gives you a glimpse into the type of person that you'd be entering into a business relationship with.  I always pass on people that want to change my business processes and practices.