General Landlording: Mutual Release of Lease

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Evictions can be full of hassle and uncertainty.  Landlords can be put into challenging situations when rent isn't paid or the property isn't being cared for.  Sometimes a renter might have renters remorse which leads to complaints and more hassle.  Maybe the Landlord attempted renting on their own and may have oversold the property features and maintenance.  Virtual and site-unseen showings are becoming more popular due to the pandemic/social distancing and we have seen an increase in Renters Remorse.  What do others think about presenting renters with the option of Mutual Release of Lease and Re-Rent vs. Evictions and the Federal Moratorium?

I keep telling people there are alternatives to eviction. I manage 400 rentals and have not evicted one of my tenants through the court since 2014, but I've removed a lot of them through other means:

  1. Politely ask. Many tenants know they can't afford to stay and will leave without a hassle. Use the deposit to clean and catch up on unpaid rent the best you can, then place a new tenant and move on.
  2. Politely tell them to leave. Many want to stay, but they'll go if you explain what may happen if they try to stay.
  3. Not-so-politely tell them to leave. This is where I tell the tenant to leave and what will happen if they don't. There are very few that try to stick it out after this point because I show them I mean business and that I know what I'm doing. Amateur Landlords may not be able to play this card very well.

Another note: the key is to not let them get too far behind. My process is to charge a late fee on the 5th and start the eviction by the 10th. If there are extenuating, verifiable circumstances, we may stretch it another ten days. If they can't pay by the 20th, it's time to start working on removing them. This ensures the unpaid rent, cleaning, and repairs can mostly be covered by the security deposit and reduces your losses. If you permit renters to get more than 30 days behind on rent, then you really start to lose.

That's pretty much it. I've never, ever paid a tenant to leave. I have forgiven small amounts of unpaid rent but I don't recall ever writing off more than $500 in losses.