Good tenant on hard times NJ

5 Replies

Hello BP,

This is a late post but I wanted to gather the intelligence of the community on an issue I'm fighting with consciously. I know there are several alternatives to this but I wanted people's input. So I have a tenant that lives upstairs from my unit. She is a great tenant and has paid her rent ($1600 a month) every time on the first of the month bright and early in the morning for the past 5 months. She text me the other day and I quote, " Hi, I know that when I moved in I agreed to pay 1600 because that's what you listed your apartment as but I was wondering if you would be willing to discuss a possible deduction. I just found out that (her children's father) relocated to Las Vegas and he doesn't pay child support. I have to go to court. I depended on his support because he never did this before. I know it's a hardship but I have to ask." Now, I don't know the full situation but she is a good tenant and doesn't bother for much honestly. She has a good job at the department of health in the city. So the amenities she is given is a parking spot, washer/dryer access in our basement and of course her own apartment with dish washer (not common from what I've seen). I live in Irvington so the tenant quality isn't always great but she has been. What does the community suggest? Drop some of the rent but take away an amenity? Keep the rent and hope for the best for her? Allow her out of the lease? Etc. I'm open to all suggestions. Also, important to note that I plan to move out of this home in march as I buy another home to live in so I will expect new tenants for this unit I'm living in by April or so. Thanks and let me know if anyone would need more info.

I would keep the same rent, and give her an option to end the lease early without penalty.

She can move out anytime as soon as she find a new place, I would give her back the security deposit after she move out.

To be honest, I would not want to keep her anymore. Sooner or later, she may not able to keep up with the rent if her financial situation become worst.

I would prefer she move-out early; however, we cannot force her to move-out early. It has to be her own willingness if she takes your option.

It would also be better for her to look for a cheaper place to herself some rent money.

just as Cathy C. stated, I would let her know that if she won't be able to pay the agreed upon rent that she can break the lease and move out without penalty.  

Agreed with all above. You shouldn't discount your rent to subsidize her housing. If it were a one time concession, I may be more inclined to consider, but this does not seem like a temporary thing. The best option for all parties if to mutually agree to end lease, and let her move out with 30 days notice.

I'd ask a few more questions first:

1. Is the $1600/month in rent she's currently paying near the top, bottom, or middle of what market rent it?

2. How much of a reduction is she asking for?

Vacancies tend to be your biggest cash-flow killers; you also said good tenants can be hard to find in your area. You've stated she's a good tenant, so I'd try to keep her if possible. If you can reduce by an amount that still keeps you in your acceptable range for rent, try to find a way to keep her.

You can give her options too, between leaving without penalty or staying with reduction in x-amount.

"She text me the other day and I quote, " Hi, I know that when I moved in I agreed to pay 1600 because that's what you listed your apartment as"

Uh no.  Did she sign a lease?  Then she LEGALLY agreed to pay you the $1600 a month rent.

If she can no longer afford this amount you suggest that advertising for a new tenant can begin immediately and once a new tenant has been found she may move and no longer owe you rent.  Until then (and unless you have an Early Lease Termination clause) she continues to owe this amount until her lease would normally expire.  Her goal in all of this should be to keep the unit clean and presentable to potential applicants.

Gail