Breaking a Lease

6 Replies

I own property in Salt Lake City, Utah and I have a tenant who wants to break a 12 month lease after only 3 months. Per the contract they are required to pay 2 additional months of rent in order to break the lease. But this is my issue- they are essentially wanting to break the lease for free because they have experienced problems with minor flooding, possible mold, and various small fixes and issues with the apartment. What are the laws for up keeping my property and letting them go for free? 

@Nathan Hall - You need to read the landlord - tenant guide for your area. A small leak and possible mold? Sounds like the tenants may have a reason to want to leave.  How much are you renting the pace for?

@Nathan Hall

What is "minor" flooding?

Is this a situation where a few unpredictable things came up with the house that you addressed promptly or are you saying flooding and mold are no big deal and they should live with it?

There are high maintenance tenants, no doubt.  But you sound pretty cavalier about things that may be real habitability issues.  

If you do have a moisture issue that is potentially causing mold, you want them out so you can address it before it becomes a massive problem and destroys your investment.

It's possible that the tenants may have a case for what is called "constructive eviction", meaning that the property is not suitable for healthy habitation. Usually, the lease agreement will specify what will happen under these types of circumstances.

You might find it helpful to familiarize yourself with the Utah Fit Premises Act: http://le.utah.gov/xcode/Title57/Chapter22/57-22.h...

Additionally, I'd suggest you contact http://www.thegoodlandlord.net/

Interesting.  Just had something very similar happen.  My tenants rented the house sight unseen and complained of an unidentified perfumy smell that they said was making them have headaches.  We offered some remedies, which they refused.  Unknown to us, they hired a mold inspector to test some areas of the house.  The inspector found mold on the bathroom fan, so they told us they wanted out of the lease because of the "mold' and the fact that they were constantly ill.  Our attorney advised us to let them go and give them their deposit back, even though we did every thing right and the amount of mold found was laughable.  So we will, once we repair the damage caused by their crappy movers and take if from the deposit.  Moral of the story:  If someone wants out of your house due to illness (real or imagined), mold or whatever, it is best to just let them go.  It sounds as though you have a REAL problem with flooding and possibly mold, so you definitely should let them go.  They will probably be PITA's if they remain anyway.  No point having someone in your house who doesn't want to be there.

Originally posted by @Tamara R. :

Interesting.  Just had something very similar happen.  My tenants rented the house sight unseen and complained of an unidentified perfumy smell that they said was making them have headaches.  We offered some remedies, which they refused.  Unknown to us, they hired a mold inspector to test some areas of the house.  The inspector found mold on the bathroom fan, so they told us they wanted out of the lease because of the "mold' and the fact that they were constantly ill.  Our attorney advised us to let them go and give them their deposit back, even though we did every thing right and the amount of mold found was laughable.  So we will, once we repair the damage caused by their crappy movers and take if from the deposit.  Moral of the story:  If someone wants out of your house due to illness (real or imagined), mold or whatever, it is best to just let them go.  It sounds as though you have a REAL problem with flooding and possibly mold, so you definitely should let them go.  They will probably be PITA's if they remain anyway.  No point having someone in your house who doesn't want to be there.

Agreed, although I will not rent to someone that has not personally been to the property and knows that it will work for them. 

Agreed, although I will not rent to someone that has not personally been to the property and knows that it will work for them. 

I have done it several times with no issues, but I could tell that these people did not seem thrilled with the home when I met them to give them the keys.  Will have to reevaluate this strategy going forward.

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