Can you break a lease if you bought a house?

28 Replies

Hi guys, I need some feedback. I live in the Houston area and I am in the process of acquiring my first multi family property, which I will be house hacking. I am currently renting and my lease will expire before I buy this property. I heard u can break a lease as long as you you can prove you bought a house? What do you suggest I do? Go month to month (although it will be more expensive) until I buy the house or should I renew for one year and be able to break the lease when I purchase the property? Thank you very much in advance

I know of some laws that allow new owners to break a tenant's lease so that they can move in, but I'm not aware of any laws that allow a tenant to break a lease because they've found a new place to live. 

Read your lease carefully and call a real estate lawyer.

Legally? No. What business is it of the landlord that you bought a house? Why is the landlord obligated to let you walk because you decided you wanted to be an owner instead of a renter? 

The only "legal" lease breaking that I know of that is sanctioned by the government is that of military members, who are ordered to new bases and assignments and are usually allowed to break a lease for that reason. 

Now will your landlord work something out for you? Maybe. For good tenants or the right time of year, I don't really care when they're leaving. Most of my good tenants go on month to month anyway at the end of the lease. If someone wants to leave in May versus November, especially if rent rates have reset, I'll usually let them walk without issue. 

Edit: What you are trying to do is have it both ways. You want to go month to month for your convenience if/when you buy a house but you want the landlord to subsidize that by giving you an annual rate. You should either commit to the year for the cheaper price or take your chances on month to month. You're trying to become a landlord - how would you feel if your future tenant did the same to you? Kept your cheap rate in their back pocket so they could bail in the middle and leave you trying to find a tenant in January? 

Originally posted by @Alex Ramirez :

Hi guys, I need some feedback. I live in the Houston area and I am in the process of acquiring my first multi family property, which I will be house hacking. I am currently renting and my lease will expire before I buy this property. I heard u can break a lease as long as you you can prove you bought a house? What do you suggest I do? Go month to month (although it will be more expensive) until I buy the house or should I renew for one year and be able to break the lease when I purchase the property? Thank you very much in advance

 "Can you break a lease if you..."

Answer is "no" almost 100% of the time.  A few exceptions are domestic violence and military service.   Just go month to month.  Give notice once you close. 

No, but just bring it up to your landlord "I'm hoping to buy a property at X time, can I become month to month until I close? If closing falls through I will happily sign another one year lease." I'm sure they will work with you, I would.

No. But most landlords if you just talk with them are going to be understanding. They are afterall homeowners themselves.

Do you want your future tenants to break their lease with you?

How much more is the MTM? $50/$100/mo? They gave you a place to live, treat em right. 

I just (today) had a tenant let me know they wanted to go month to month because they were looking for a bigger place. I let em do that for an extra 20 per month. That will take effect when the lease expires six weeks from now. They also asked if we had any larger properties as they wanted to stay with us. Unfortunately we don't in the county they want to live in (for the schools). We had another tenant go month to month because they were planning to buy. 14 months later, they're still there. Can't find something in their price range...

Originally posted by @John Teachout :

I just (today) had a tenant let me know they wanted to go month to month because they were looking for a bigger place. I let em do that for an extra 20 per month. That will take effect when the lease expires six weeks from now. They also asked if we had any larger properties as they wanted to stay with us. Unfortunately we don't in the county they want to live in (for the schools). We had another tenant go month to month because they were planning to buy. 14 months later, they're still there. Can't find something in their price range...

Sounds like you have a good tenant that needs to leave for a bigger place and wants to stay in your properties. Good tenants are always on the top of our wish lists.  Why charge an extra $20/month?

 

We charge extra for a month to month because the tenant may leave at a time of year that the house is harder to fill. We've found with SFR people don't like to relocate during the school year. So if someone moves out the end of October or November with all the holidays and whatnot, the property could potentially be empty for a while. Thus they're paying extra for the ability to move whenever they want/need.

I’ve done this twice (1st house, and after divorce). Both times my landlord just let me go (different landlords). They were happy for me that I was buying a house.

As a landlord now, I think I would do the same for a good tenant.

All, thank you so much for your input. I definitely have a clear way forward now. I'll let you guys know how it goes. Stay tuned 

Originally posted by @John Teachout :

I just (today) had a tenant let me know they wanted to go month to month because they were looking for a bigger place. I let em do that for an extra 20 per month. That will take effect when the lease expires six weeks from now. They also asked if we had any larger properties as they wanted to stay with us. Unfortunately we don't in the county they want to live in (for the schools). We had another tenant go month to month because they were planning to buy. 14 months later, they're still there. Can't find something in their price range...

 Wow, you're a nicer guy than I am.  We do +$75/month for 6 month lease, +$125/month for 3 month leases, and +$250 for month to month.  And this is on sub $1000/month units. 

@Alex Ramirez I think the last time I rented the landlord would let you out of the contract but you had to pay the rest of the money they would receive by the end of the contract. Potentially very expensive to do but they were promised that money after all. Either way they were getting their contracted funds and anyone leaving could get out early.

If it were me I’d pay the extra and go month to month.

@Alex Ramirez You should read into your lease agreement. A lot of property management companies/landlords have it written in for the opportunity to find a qualified tenant to fulfill the remainder of your lease. I have done this twice. If it's outside of a large property management company, simply asking your landlord may prove to be a better option.