Tenant Seeking Advice in Austin, TX

14 Replies

Hello!

I currently rent a 3/2 SFH with a roommate in Austin, TX. We moved in March 2020 and renewed our lease in March 2021. My landlord told me earlier this year that he plans to sell this home and gave us the option to sign a 6 or 12 month lease. I am in the process of doing my due diligence and purchasing my first house hack, so I signed a 12 month lease (extending my stay until Mar 2022). My landlord told me that I can break the lease a month or two or more early if I find a deal. He will likely need a month to perform small repairs, paint, etc. in order to get the home market ready.

So, my landlord contacted me the other day and asked if I am able to move out early (next 2-4 months) as he wants to sell sooner than anticipated. I realize that I am protected by the lease agreement; however, I am sympathetic to his desire to sell while the market is hot. Especially, considering his willingness to let me break the lease early. However, I don't want to rush the buying process.

I should add that my roommate and I have been excellent tenants. The best they've ever had according to the neighbors. 

A real estate agent friend mentioned that the lease must be honored even in the event of a sale and that some buyers are looking for built-in tenants.

Thoughts?

@Bjorn Ahlblad Yeah, if you like the place, buying the house was my first thought also.

If not, I'd work with your landlord. No sense in having that negative energy in your life. Maybe negotiate with him to pay any difference in rent if your new place would be more expensive. You don't need to make money on this, but no reason you should have a financial hardship for their gain either.

@Bjorn Ahlblad   @Bryan Martin  Thanks for the thoughts! I really like the house itself, but am not crazy about the location (on the edge of the neighborhood close to a noisy major intersection which is a deal breaker for me).

I should add that the landlord offered free rent for the last month or two since they will likely need to do some work and show the house (which is an inconvenience to both me and my roommate who both work from home). 

Originally posted by @Mark Burn :

@Bjorn Ahlblad   @Bryan Martin Thanks for the thoughts! I really like the house itself, but am not crazy about the location (on the edge of the neighborhood close to a noisy major intersection which is a deal breaker for me).

I should add that the landlord offered free rent for the last month or two since they will likely need to do some work and show the house (which is an inconvenience to both me and my roommate who both work from home). 

If you're not crazy about the house/location, let it go.  Don't want your first deal to leave a sour taste in your mouth because it's convenient to buy.

 

@Mark Burn the only way you can move out early is to have a new place to move into. Your landlord sounds very generous and flexible, so I'd focus on your house hunt and get something under contract sooner than later. This will give you both flexiblity. 

If this were me I would ask the LL to pay a lease break fee -  whatever is stipulated in the lease is what I would ask for.  I also would be very clear and possibly write up an agreement - about how the LL can access the unit for repairs - esp if you work from home. So, if the lease break fee is 1.5x rent I would either ask for the last month and a half free, or ask for cash when you move out.  Also, I assume you were a good tenant, but ask for a walk thru to ensure you get back 100% of your deposit.   Also figure out what month works for you as you move date and work that into your agreement. 

IMO its a bit BS for your LL to sign a year lease then say "ooops" not really!  Good luck 

Originally posted by @Ryan Kelly :

@Mark Burn the only way you can move out early is to have a new place to move into. Your landlord sounds very generous and flexible, so I'd focus on your house hunt and get something under contract sooner than later. This will give you both flexiblity. 

 How is this LL generous? he signed a lease then wants to break it.  He is trying to ensure he makes money at the expense of his tenants.....??

@Mary M. the landlord can't legally break the lease without both parties signing off on a new end date. The tenant stated the landlord is trying to work with him to find a solution to moving out earlier so he can sell it. It also sounds like the landlord could offer free rent to the tenant during the showing months, which is very uncommon and generous. A traditional lease requires the tenant to provide access to the home for showings and the landlord isn't required to offer discounted rent. They both sound amenable to working together. 

@Ryan Kelly I agree buying is an optimal choice if the RIGHT property becomes available. However, buying the wrong property because you feel you have only a few months to find one can cost you far more than breaking a lease when the house that is right for your goals comes up.

@Mark Burn

Hey mark, sorry about the situation. I'll have a 3/2.5 in south austin for rent in about 3 months. I'll be house hacking it, so the master and one other BR with shared bath will be for rent. I I'm looking at getting into investing in other properties soon and won't be home much due to my full time gig.

Maybe we could help each other out?? Let me know if you want to chat.