Renter wants to leave because of neighbor

6 Replies

Hi all,

I plan on talking to my attorney eventually, but wanted to ask this question on the forums to help brainstorm before I go on the clock with the lawyer.

My tenants (unmarried man and woman) recently moved into one of my rentals 2 months ago. They came during a slow time in the year, so I lowered the rent slightly below market value ($1200 vice $1250).

After moving in, they realized that the neighbor across the street is the boss of her husband whom she is separated from. They now want to relocate because they feel uncomfortable. My first response was to tell them that this is not a valid condition to violate the lease that they signed.

That being said, I am considering what my criteria would be for them to end the lease. I live 5 hours away and manage the place myself, so moving in a new tenant is a large hassle for me. However, this time of year is much busier for rentals and I might be able to get a better tenant at a higher rental rate.

What is the right way to start the negotiation regarding a "buy-out" of the lease? The way I see it, they have no legal reason for breaking the lease. However, if they just move out I will still have to find a new tenant without any extra cash in my pocket. However, if I start saying things like "you can buy out the lease by paying an extra $1200" that may give them the wrong impression and make them more likely to leave.

Thanks for your input.

It would be a good idea moving forward to have a lease breaking fee written into your lease. There are often legal requirements, for example, in Missouri, you can't charge more than 3 months rent and you can't double rent the property (in other words, if you charge 3 months rent and then re-lease the property in 1 month, you have to rebate the remaining 2 months). Check on the law in your state and then add it to your lease and offer that to the tenants if they insist on moving.

you can choose your friends , but you cant choose your neighbors . If they feel uncomfortable with a neighbor , thats their problem , not a valid reason to break a lease

After reading up on SC law, it seems that if they move out before the lease is over, they are still responsible for paying the lease until it is re-rented. They are also responsible for any advertising costs. However, the landlord must make "reasonable" progress toward finding a new tenant.

So, I would rather work with them and have them show the place to prospective tenants. That way I don't waste my time doing it. Anyone who is interested after looking at the place I will contact and have them fill out an app.

This is why it's generally a good idea to add a "buy-out" clause into your lease. Generally you can charge them rent until a new tenant has moved in.

I am no lawyer, but I am not entirely sure a "buy-out" clause is legal, at least in SC.

According to state law here, which would supersede any lease, you can absolutely charge the old tenant rent until you find a new tenant .

However, you are required to make a reasonable effort to find a new tenant. And, I don't think you can charge the old tenant any amount ABOVE normal rent until the new tenant starts paying. In this case, I am not sure that a buy-out clause would actually help.

@Michael S.

I vote you continue with your strategy of using the current tenants to show the place. They have every incentive to keep the place presentable and show worthy. Plus if you can get higher rents now, it's a good thing.

Do you have another property for them to move into? You could be found yourself a ton of extra good in one move.

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