Military tenant being deployed

19 Replies

Hi all,

I have a tenant being deployed a few months after their lease ends June. They would like to go month to month until they are deployed. My issue is it's a SFH rental and the lease ends in the summer when the rental market is hot.

Looking for input on what you all would do?

TIA

Request a copy of the orders. He should have no problem giving them to you. Federal law allows him to break the lease if you or him wants to. If you keep him, I would write up an addendum to lease to allow you in the house every so often. Who will cover the utility bills. Get a local point of contact for him or add a family member just in case. I would video tape or photograph the house in case something gets stolen.

@Braden Hobbs That's a tough situation but is it that you're not able to fill the vacancy after that point in time or is it just going to take a little longer?  If it's going to take a little longer then I'll be ok with it and will be doing some early prospecting to have the vacancy filled. Other than that, here are a couple options:

  1. Start advertising and screening potential tenants before the termination date of the lease and put together a short list and see if the start date for them will coincide with date the tenant is expected to leave (two months after lease end date).
  2. Find another rental for your current tenant for the two month period. 

Hope this helps. You might also want to connect with property managers in the area as they may have a waiting list to be filled. You might be able to find someone there, outside of the hot period.

It's stressful enough to get ready to deploy.  Don't make the poor guy have to find housing right before a deployment.  As long as he is a good tenant and paying rent, why not let him stay?  If your market is anything like mine, rentals don't stay vacant for long, no matter what time of year it is.  

Personally, I would do that for him / them.  I don't have a real problem filling rentals here.  Plus leasing up  / turnover is always a pain, even if it's quick.  I would gladly push it off for a few months to keep an already vetted, paying, good tenant in.

Plus, like @Kevin Leonce said, if you're worried about lease up, start advertising a little earlier to get a signed lease prior to his move-out.  They will probably have no problem allowing showings in return for you extending the lease.

I'd tell him that it will be harder to rent it later in the year. If you are talking about a month or two, it shouldn't matter.  Let him go month to month, you can do the normal rent increase.  If his deployment date is unknown, that is a tougher call as you don't want him moving out in Nov and having to find a tenant at that time of year.

It's Denver, you won't have any problem finding a tenant. That said, if you are nervous about it, you could offer month to month for an extra 3 months only. Letting them know that you will work with them but as things get deep into fall, it gets to be a bit more challenging to rent units. If they aren't deployed by that time, then you readdress it. They will most likely know more about their orders by spring so you will have a better grasp on timing. 

It's a tough situation all around. I'm actually getting deployed in May, so I definitely can relate to your tenant . But also as a landlord it is not a situation I would like to be in, especially if it would cause me to miss peak rental season. Tell them your hesitations about missing peak rental season. Work with them now to see if there are temporary housing options that might work. If not then I would let them go month to month for a short period. Hopefully both of you are able come up with something that works.

@Braden Hobbs , when exactly is he deploying. If it is this year, it is hard scheduled and he will know the exact date plus or minus a week or so. I say that from experience. Based on the answer to that question I can give you a better recommendation.  Without the exact date, I will guess.  You said a "couple of months" after June.  That to me means August. If that is the case, go inspect the property now, and schedule an inspection in early June prior to the end date of his current lease.  If the property is in great shape, and remains in great shape, I would allow him to stay. If it is not in good shape, and you expect to do repairs, then he needs to leave on timeline. On the lease extension addendum I would ask him to agree to allow you to show the property to new tenants before he moves out. This will cut down on the turnover time. Additionally, don't allow month to month, but a set lease ending date based on his deployment date. No ambiguity.  

Good luck.

@Braden Hobbs couple things to consider:

1- they could have renewed a year lease with you only to break them after a couple months with the deployment orders, but they chose to let you know well in advance which helps you quite a bit.

2- usually single military will move there stuff into a storage unit while deployed because they still get the housing allowance and can save what they were paying in rent. Maybe offer a reduction in rent for the months he's deployed. Your house gets less wear and tear and the tenant can save some money and not have the inconvenience of moving into storage, and then moving into a place upon returning from deployment.

Originally posted by @Braden Hobbs :

Hi all,

I have a tenant being deployed a few months after their lease ends June. They would like to go month to month until they are deployed. My issue is it's a SFH rental and the lease ends in the summer when the rental market is hot.

Looking for input on what you all would do?

TIA

 We offer two options, renew or go month-to-month. The month-to-month rate is $50 higher. I have had tenants choose the month-to-month rate and stay for years paying more every year. Some people just don't like to be locked into a lease. A lease is an illusion of security to a landlord.

Originally posted by @Braden Hobbs :

Hi all,

I have a tenant being deployed a few months after their lease ends June. They would like to go month to month until they are deployed. My issue is it's a SFH rental and the lease ends in the summer when the rental market is hot.

Looking for input on what you all would do?

TIA

 I would tell them "Thank you for your service and standing as an example in action. Absolutely we can make that work and as my personal thanks to you I would like to give you your last month rent free. It is a business I run and things cost a lot, good tenants are hard to find, so I only ask you take excellent care of the property and come home safe."

If you can't stand up for your active duty soldiers.... well I don't believe that person has earned their service, it's the least we can do. 

If you don't stand for something you'll fall for anything. 

For our servicemen and women? It is a no-brainer. 

Let the lease go month-to-month and start showing the unit before the summer, so that way you can mitigate the downtime on the unit. 

I had a tenant with the same exact situation and she sent the papers, I let her break the lease with a 30-day notice.

This is the least we can do for those who go on deployment and serve in harm's way!

I've had retired military and non-military in my rental (I'm also active duty) that requested month to month.  In both instances they paid the higher month to month rent for a few months then renewed their contract for 6 months.  No problem going month to month.  

He was upfront about the move. He could have just as easily signed an extension and then cancelled on the orders. I say for that if nothing else do the month to month and work towards getting the new tenant.

Thanks all. I basically had the same thoughts as most of the opinions expressed here. Mainly they could have just renewed and then just left so I appreciate them being honest with me. Plus, I'm not in the business of making any tenant find temp housing for a few months, especially not our military.

I hadn't thought about asking if I could do showings earlier than normal or an inspection before allowing a month to month lease so big thanks on both those ideas!

I have a rental near a base. I have tenants get deployed each yr or two. I just let them stay until they deploy. I have never had a problem with it except right when Covid hit and the new tenant coming in (newly being deployed to my area) had it cancelled so I had down time. They had given a deposit and I was holding it a couple weeks for them. That was the only time I had an issue. 


Originally posted by @Travis Urquhart :

@Braden Hobbs couple things to consider:

2- usually single military will move there stuff into a storage unit while deployed because they still get the housing allowance and can save what they were paying in rent. Maybe offer a reduction in rent for the months he's deployed. Your house gets less wear and tear and the tenant can save some money and not have the inconvenience of moving into storage, and then moving into a place upon returning from deployment.

Travis, wouldn't your property sitting vacant for 6 months make you a little worried? Thought of that worries me a bit.