BF/GF breaking up who stays who goes?

8 Replies

I just received a call from one of my tenants stating he can no longer live with this GF. They are both on the lease. He makes all the money, she doesn't have the money to afford the place by herself. They both want to stay but I don't see how she could afford it by herself. The BF says he is nervous she will fight to stay. Which to me sounds like I may have to evict her if he cant get her to leave and he has to leave. What is the best way if possible to remove her from the lease or get her to leave? I'm open to any other experiences or suggestions. I live in Connecticut I know each state has different laws. I told him to give me a few days to get back to him as I have to see what the best course of action from here is. 



#1: you ain't their mamma, so stay out of the drama!

#2: Be prepared because you're probably going to be forced to do something. It may not be now, it may not be with this couple, but you will eventually have a roommate situation where one of them wants to leave so you may as well develop a plan right now.

If both tenants want to leave, you can do one of three things:

  1. Let them go with a penalty;
  2. Let them go but hold them financially responsible until someone else takes over;
  3. Let them go without penalty.

I prefer option #1 because it allows them to leave without anything negative hanging over their heads and it usually puts more money in my pocket. What I do is tell them they can break the lease IF they provide 30 days notice in writing, pay rent for that 30 days, pay a termination fee equal to one month of rent, and allow me to market/show the rental during those 30 days. The termination fee must be paid at the time they give notice and I will not let them use the deposit. After they vacate, I inspect and handle the deposit according to standard practice.

Option #2 is my second choice. I usually don't present tenants with this option unless/until they demonstrate an inability to afford option #1 or if they just disappear in the middle of the night. I market the property as quickly as possible. Once a new tenant takes over, I charge the old tenant for rent up until that day, cleaning and maintenance, and then refund anything left over (if any).

Option #3 is only if I really want to get rid of them and there is potential for them to be problematic and/or I know the unit will rent quickly and cause me no losses.

If you signed one lease, they need to figure out who gets bought out of the lease between them.

Whoever stays commits to the full terms of the lease and pays full rent on time.

We had this situation in East Windsor, Connecticut.  Let them know that you will not be returning the security deposit if they break the lease early. They usually figure out what to do.

All that you should care about in this situation is whether or not rent is getting paid and if the tenants will be breaking the lease. The tenants personal issues is not your issue to deal with.

I would kindly tell the BF that him and GF are both responsible for rent, regardless of which one lives there. If rent is not paid they will BOTH be evicted. If they both wish to leave, we can negotiate a move out plan, but until then rent must be paid timely.

If she cannot afford the unit, it is his problem to get her out. They both signed a legal contract, and this is the outcome. They must clean their own messes.

@Chris Hart , not your drama to mess with!  The onus is on the tenants to determine who stays.  They're adults.

I would be prepared to start soliciting new applicants.  It could be beneficial for both parties to leave.  As long as you're protected, I would make it achievable for them to leave: affordable penalty fee.  But only do that until you have interested applicants to fill their void.

If she stays, be prepared to submit the late notices and potential eviction process.  Again, this is their issue and not yours.

This is why I always have the 'birds-and-bees tenant talk': if you break up, you're both on the lease and expected to pay.  If somebody new moves in, they must qualify as well or else you're in breach of contract.

Thank you all for your help! A little stressed over this right now! I owner occupied/ rented this house out for 7 years no problem bought a 2nd property and this is the 1st issue I've had. I told them I was going to email them tonight to let them know where we are at with everything. Let me run this by you guys. 

I plan on offering them the opportunity to pay January rent and take that month to move out. If everything is clean undamaged and out by Feb 1st I'll offer full refund of deposit. 

If one of them wants to stay I would be willing to go through the application process with them and a roommate to see if they qualify. 

They have a month and a half to get the application in and accepted to start Feb 1st (if they choose the 2nd option). The original lease will still be in effect until they either leave or find a qualified roommate. Then if they still don't leave they are both still liable to pay rent or they can be evicted if worse comes to worse. 

please let me know how this sounds.

Thanks again,


Several years ago, I had the city police call me because of a domestic dispute between GF and BF as tenants at my property.  Both had signed the rental agreement, so it was a mess for several months.  Since then, I only have one adult sign the agreement so that it is clear who is responsible and has possession.  Usually the female as they tend to be the more responsible, in my opinion. 

In this case the BF had the better paycheck. Together they had almost 5x monthly rent but his share was 4/5. They young and lived in parents basement so no precious LL references. Both jobs spoke highly of the 2. They moved in for a month and now can't live with each other. He seems like he's fine with moving and cutting his losses but I am worried she doesn't have anywhere to go can't afford to live there and will drag this out.