Tenant wanting to move out in middle their lease

16 Replies

HI all,

I have tenants living with an older mother  (in her 60s) that has health conditions.

her daughter living with her, let me know today that she went to a doctor, and he said due to her health getting worse she should move to somewhere with less stairs, and she's moving as of December.

how would you go about it?

BEFORE YOU JUMP AT ME, LET ME EXPLAIN THE SITUATION. 

this tenant told me already a year ago that she wants to move out when her lease ends. When I gave her notice of rent renewel she said as she had mentioned all the time that she is not renewing because she's moving out, I even asked her a couple of times if she's sure that she will be able to find an apt. She said 100%.. and she even signed a paper that she will be moving out.

then.. very shortly before she was supposed to move out she suddenly told me that she is not moving and she gave an excuse that the reason is because she wouldn't be able to find an apartment due to her having a bad credit score....

now for this reason and others... I have an assumption that this  doctor story is just a way to be able to get of the lease....

my question is how would you deal with it in either case?

  thank you

then right before she 

Originally posted by @Theresa Harris :

Tell her you will do your best to rent it, but she needs to keep the place clean and nice for showings.  She's responsible for the rent until you get it rented.

If doctor says that she needs to move, can I legally hold her back?

 

You need to read your own lease as it appears you don't even know the contents. Assuming your tenant hasn't read it either, this is where you need to educate them and inform them that you will be complying with the lease terms. Many leases have a "lease break" provision that states under what conditions the lease can be broken (paying two months rent as a penalty or...). If there is not lease break provision, then they're liable for the remaining period of the lease. Your state may or may not require you to mitigate damages by attempting to re-rent asap.

Originally posted by @Sami Gren :
Originally posted by @Theresa Harris:

Tell her you will do your best to rent it, but she needs to keep the place clean and nice for showings.  She's responsible for the rent until you get it rented.

If doctor says that she needs to move, can I legally hold her back?

 

 She can move.  I'm sure with this much notice, you should be able to find a new tenant.

Originally posted by @Theresa Harris :
Originally posted by @Sami Gren:
Originally posted by @Theresa Harris:

Tell her you will do your best to rent it, but she needs to keep the place clean and nice for showings.  She's responsible for the rent until you get it rented.

If doctor says that she needs to move, can I legally hold her back?

 

 She can move.  I'm sure with this much notice, you should be able to find a new tenant.

1. It's not much notice at all, it's almost mid November,  and she's telling me she's moving december

2. She can play around as she did in the past, and keep pushing up the time until she finds an apartment  (and Werth past history,  I would not be shocked if she says she is staying in the end)

3. My question is about LEGAL RIGHTS

 

Originally posted by @Sami Gren :
Originally posted by @Theresa Harris:
Originally posted by @Sami Gren:
Originally posted by @Theresa Harris:

Tell her you will do your best to rent it, but she needs to keep the place clean and nice for showings.  She's responsible for the rent until you get it rented.

If doctor says that she needs to move, can I legally hold her back?

 

 She can move.  I'm sure with this much notice, you should be able to find a new tenant.

1. It's not much notice at all, it's almost mid November,  and she's telling me she's moving december

2. She can play around as she did in the past, and keep pushing up the time until she finds an apartment  (and Werth past history,  I would not be shocked if she says she is staying in the end)

3. My question is about LEGAL RIGHTS

 

Get it all in writing and be firm.  Your lease should say that she needs to give 30 or 60 days' notice.  Once she signs the document breaking the lease, she needs to be out at the agreed to time. 

 

If she has a letter from her doctor saying she's not able to walk stairs, I would probably let her go. Even then, I believe she has to provide you with at least 30 days notice in writing.

Look, she's probably not a good tenant so getting rid of her could be a blessing. Tell her she can leave but she's responsible for giving 30 days notice and paying rent during that 30 days. Make her let you show the property and try to find a new tenant. If you find one before the 30 days are up, cut her lose and refund any unused portion of the rent. Then thank the good Lord above that you've rid yourself of that problem.

I dont know much about this, but based on this situation I would just allow her to leave and you find a new tenant. You can even ask her that if she can find someone to replace her that would work out as well, BUT 1 bad apple is sure to bring another bad apple, so theres that.

I would request that she provide a 30 day notice, then i would ask that she keep the place clean and facilitate showings. I never hold anyone to leases. There is zero point in doing so. I do always require a 30 day notice. 


Originally posted by @Mary Mitchell :

I would request that she provide a 30 day notice, then i would ask that she keep the place clean and facilitate showings. I never hold anyone to leases. There is zero point in doing so. I do always require a 30 day notice. 

Mary, you have a terrible habit of applying your small, unique niche to the rest of the world. There may be "zero point in doing so" for you, but there are very good reasons for using term leases which is why professional Landlords and Property Managers utilize them.

Your month-to-month tenant gives notice at any time and walks away 30 days later. Based on what I've heard you say, this probably doesn't happen often (if at all) and you're probably able to fill the space immediately. However, you have a very small, unique, A-class niche most Landlords do not share and it's wrong of you to apply your experience to everyone else as "the norm" in rentals.

My tenants stay for an entire year which gives me stability that wouldn't exist with your process. If they break the lease, they pay a pretty stiff penalty that increases my annual income by up to 17%. I would argue those are just two good reasons why a term lease is important and why professional property managers use them. There are exceptions, of course, but this is more "the norm" around the country.

We're all free to run our business the way we want but it's unwise to assume our way is the only way or the best way.

Originally posted by @Nathan G.:
Originally posted by @Mary Mitchell:

I would request that she provide a 30 day notice, then i would ask that she keep the place clean and facilitate showings. I never hold anyone to leases. There is zero point in doing so. I do always require a 30 day notice. 

Mary, you have a terrible habit of applying your small, unique niche to the rest of the world. There may be "zero point in doing so" for you, but there are very good reasons for using term leases which is why professional Landlords and Property Managers utilize them.

Your month-to-month tenant gives notice at any time and walks away 30 days later. Based on what I've heard you say, this probably doesn't happen often (if at all) and you're probably able to fill the space immediately. However, you have a very small, unique, A-class niche most Landlords do not share and it's wrong of you to apply your experience to everyone else as "the norm" in rentals.

My tenants stay for an entire year which gives me stability that wouldn't exist with your process. If they break the lease, they pay a pretty stiff penalty that increases my annual income by up to 17%. I would argue those are just two good reasons why a term lease is important and why professional property managers use them. There are exceptions, of course, but this is more "the norm" around the country.

We're all free to run our business the way we want but it's unwise to assume our way is the only way or the best way.


 

In addition, NJ does not allow you to give notice of non-renewal unless there are specific "just causes." In NJ a month to month lease benefits the tenant FAR more than it benefits the landlord.

The only legal reason I've ever heard for a tenant to be able to break a lease with no consequences is for a military deployment.  I suppose it's possible there could be local laws that allow for other reasons, but I wouldn't think that's usually the case.

Barring any local law, I'd treat her like any other tenant who wants to break their lease.  If there aren't terms in the lease for breaking it, then she is responsible for the rent until you are able to get another tenant.  Though that is easier said than done because many people won't keep paying rent on a place they are no longer living in.  You also have to perform due diligence for trying to find another tenant.

Or you all can come to an agreement (put it in writing) that she pays Dec. rent (whether she lives there or not), allows showings, and you also keep the security deposit.  And you will release her with no further repercussions.  It's a little bit of a gamble for both of you, but I think a fair one.  You might rent it out to someone else in Dec. and come out ahead.  Or it might take you longer and she comes out ahead.  But, either way, it puts a "period" on things so that you can both go on with your respective lives.   

@Nathan G. i appreciate your feedback :) i understand my situation is not everyone’s - neither is yours or anyone else’s 

I own B class rentals . 

My comment is based on the fact that “in general” state laws require landlords to “mitigate damages” for any tenant breaking their lease. 

While I always listen to why the tenant is moving and judge whether i will push for longer than 30 days, my thought process is that my tenant is going to move, whether I try to require them to stay and it serves me better to have the tenant happily allow me to show the unit so I can get it leased asap. This ensures that the tenant keeps the unit clean, etc and that they dont leave me a huge mess or worse.  this has worked for me the times folks have broken leases.

And fwiw, I have many long term tenants but also have had tenants break leases - i personally find it useful to manage the situation as above. 

As always each situation is different. I generally like to post options that others have not posted so folks understand there is a wide range of possibilities. 

Nathan is right! I had one of this situation before, still have to deal with the headache after I evicted the Tenant a year ago. Long story short, I would recommend you to cut her loose but have her cover the 30 days rent in the meantime you looking for new tenant; hopefully she keeps the house clean. You rather loose couple hundred dollars than dealing with headahce. Also rather get rid of her now then later, if she has doctor's notice and if she fails in your house, you are completely liable for that. (Ouch! I just rubbed salt on my previous wound) LOL. Make sure you have Umbrella Policy as well. Sorry can't help much since I'm also a newbie to this world. 

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