Landlord FAQ - Tenant Breaks their lease

Landlord FAQ - Tenant Breaks their lease

Disclaimer: I’m not an attorney, and I’m not practicing law or giving legal advice in this post. You should always seek the advice of a licensed attorney for legal advice - if you need a recommendation for an excellent landlord-tenant attorney, feel free to reach out, my direct contact information is at the end of this article or please visit the San Antonio Bar Association to find an Attorney to ask your questions.

The Foundation: Importance of a Comprehensive Lease

Our lease is built upon years of real estate and legal experience. It acts as a blueprint for the tenancies we oversee on behalf of our clients. It's a living documentation of "been there, done that" that protects our clients from the day-to-day situations that make owning rental property difficult. 

While it doesn't happen often, a tenant occasionally needs to break a lease. Sometimes, it's a job transfer; other times, a relationship goes south, and there's still time left on the lease. Let's look at the first example where a single tenant suddenly needs to break a lease and move on. 

Solitary Lease Breaks: Handling Single Tenant Departures

In an ideal situation, the tenant will give us advanced notice that they'll be moving out. They understand that they're on the hook to continue paying rent, and they vacate the property. 

That allows us to easily show the property to new prospective tenants and allow a move-in date as soon as possible. 

When someone suitable applies, we'll charge the old tenant the standard replacement fee, and they're absolved of their lease as soon as the new tenant moves in. (Note: this isn't a sublet; the new tenant goes through our standard screening process, and signs their own lease, independent of the previous tenant.)

In this situation, there's no damage to the tenant's credit, and they're not charged any additional fees other than standard deductions from their security if there's any damage to the property. 

The landlord also never loses a rent payment and doesn't even incur a new placement fee since it's paid for by the outgoing tenant.

Multi-Tenant Lease Breaks: The Collective Conundrum

This type of lease break usually happens in one of two scenarios.

  1. A couple who moved in together is breaking up

  2. Roommates who moved in together are departing independently of each other

This situation boils down to who's leaving and who's staying. Is the person who was the primary breadwinner during the application process staying? If so, then it's not such a big deal. They can find another roommate, or in the case of a couple, the other occupant can move on. 

In the case that the tenant is leaving and the occupant who earns less wants to stay, we have a process for that, as well. 

We'll screen them independently as a tenant, just like anyone else. Often, they'll qualify, and there's no problem moving forward. 

In the event that they didn't qualify, they would have to leave willingly. If they refuse, eviction proceedings would be the next step. 

Proactive Solutions: Preempting and Addressing Lease Breaks

First and foremost, you'll want to ensure you're protected by your lease. Every situation should be covered so you can enforce what's necessary if it comes to it. 

If you're one of our clients, our lease already covers you. 

What else can be done to avoid lease breaks?

  • Send early renewal notices so tenants start thinking about moving or renewing early.

  • Maintain communication with tenants proactively, so you're not only in touch when something breaks. Send renewal notices with plenty of time so neither side is surprised if they choose not to renew.

  • Consider including clauses that permit tenants to sublet with your approval. This can serve as a temporary solution and can prevent abrupt lease breaks.

  • While compassion is essential, setting boundaries is vital. If tenants present legitimate reasons for breaking the lease, be prepared to negotiate, but within limits that protect your interests.

Conclusion: Navigating Lease Breaks With Confidence

It's imperative to remember that a lease isn't just a document; it's a roadmap to a successful landlord-tenant relationship. While lease breaks are rarely a pleasant experience for anyone involved, understanding the mechanisms in place can ensure a smooth transition. 

Whether it's a solo tenant or multiple tenants facing a lease break, the principles of 'joint and several liability' are crucial in protecting your interests. 

With the right lease, proactive communication, and a balanced approach to negotiations, you can weather lease breaks and maintain a positive relationship with your tenants. As your trusted property management partner, we're here to support you through every step of the process, ensuring you remain stress-free and profitable in your property investment venture.

With years of experience in property management, we understand the ins and outs of landlord-tenant relationships and the nuances of lease agreements. Don't let the intricacies of evictions or a lease break intimidate you. Contact our team today for a consultation to see if we can help.

 We're here to ensure that your properties are filled with reliable tenants and that your landlord journey is as seamless as possible. With us, you're not just increasing your ROI; you're investing in peace of mind.

Sam Maropis

PMI Profit Realty