Posted about 4 years ago When Your Tenants Break Up Several months ago, we had a vacancy that we ended up renting to a young couple. While this couple had been dating for several years, this would be their first time truly living together and on their own (away from parents). I admit, this was a slight red flag….new couples living together for the first time don’t know the adjustment period they are in for and is usually a time that makes or breaks a relationship.More recently, they suddenly fell behind on rent citing that the girl’s job was behind on issuing paychecks. I figured this could be true because this very same thing has happened to my partner when his employer was new and still growing. Because of their prior good payment history with me, I granted them an extra week to pay before I filed rent court papers. Of course, that agreed day came and went with no payment. I filed immediately and soon after received half payment of the rent (Here in Baltimore County, we can currently accept partial rent payments. Baltimore City recently adopted an all-or-none payment law).Then, they tell me that they’re breaking up. The girl has already moved out apparently.They both ask about removing her from the lease. I suggest that if the remaining tenant can show income proof that he can afford the unit on his own, this might be a possibility. However, for now, I refer to my lease. This is another reason a well-written lease and knowledge of local rental laws is so vital. My lease states that if it is terminated early, it could cost 2 months’ rent plus I keep the security deposit. It goes on further to say that if I am able to re-rent the unit within 2 months that the original tenants maybe able to receive a partial refund.So, my eviction process has continued until I receive the rest of the rent. In addition, the girl remains on the lease regardless of her physical presence there or not. One can not simply be free of a contractual obligation just by moving out. Your lease should state that it creates joint and several liability in the case of multiple tenants…and every tenant must be listed in that lease!This situation is a reminder of several things: Know your lease.Don’t let a tenant’s personal problem become your problem. It’s sad they’re breaking up, but that doesn’t change the lease.Do not wait long, if at all, to file court papers when the rent is late.Stay neutral and fair. Stick to the laws and your lease.Now, the situation could be more delicate if domestic violence is involved and has been documented by the police. At this point, you would have to seriously check your legal obligations to know if you are bound to release one or both from the lease to ensure their safety.