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Multiple Tenants, One wants to move out - Landlord Forum thread 247008







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Multiple Tenants, One wants to move out by Cameron on February 3, 2012 @02:58

                              
So my story is similar to some I've reviewed on here, but figured I should get advice concerning specific questions/what if scenarios.

First off, the basics. I have a large house currently being rented to 4 roommates, non-related. All 4 cleared for being able to afford the house as a whole. I have a month deposit and a complete lease signed by all 4. The lease does contain a "Joint and severely liable" clause and I verbally emphasized this during lease signing that all tenants are responsible for the lease as a whole if there was ever a dispute. The lease states only one pays me, further emphasizing the fact that they're all one in the eyes of the lease. All standard stuff.

My situation is pretty straight forward. One of the tenants wants to move out for personal reasons. 8 months left on the lease of 12 months. The other tenants have expressed no strong desire to force him to stay and have already paid the rent in full for this month without him paying part. They also have started looking for a new tenant (to which I made clear again that I would have to clear them prior to allowing them to move in). So far, things still seem good from a "Landlord is getting rent" perspective.

My questions:
1. Assuming the tenants truly don't mind him moving out, and are paying rent in full, is there really anything I can do to help them since they're getting screwed by the roommate moving out without much notice? I'm thinking along the lines that since I have the rent in full, I can't "partially" evict or do really anything. I assume about the only thing that can be done here is that they could take him to small claims court. Side thought: What if they didn't want him to move out and don't agree to it, but pay the rent anyhow to keep the Landlord off their backs. Anything I can do? (Although i doubt this scenario really changes from the 1st)

2. A follow up to #1, what do I need to do to get the person off the lease? Right now I was thinking of simply using my usual "Termination of Lease" notice for the one tenant but adding concurrence signatory lines for all tenants to sign that they agree he is off the lease. When they find a new roommate that I approve, I'd create a clean new lease. Is there a better tactic?

3. Now, if the tenants decided to only pay "their portion" of the rent, what then? So actually, I'm sure the answer is simple in that I give proper notices to pay or quit since all are jointly liable, etc. What I'm curious about here is after eviction, assuming it went there, is there a way to simply go after the one bad tenant in court or because it's all jointly liable, or do I effectively have to go after them all? This might be a small enough detail that a lawyer would have to answer, but figured I'd ask.

4. Lastly what about their deposit portion (I received deposits individually)? My first instinct would be to keep it until the lease ends and treat it all as one, but if he is formally removed from the lease it gets more gray on whether that should be returned at that time or at end of lease. Plus would it be possible to keep it to effectively put towards rent of the other tenants for that month (refunding what they paid extra), against the will of the one that's moving out's. I mean, normally I'd keep the deposit if a lease is broken (along with additional months rent until re-rented), but since here the whole lease hasn't been broken, It's not as clear what I can do.

Just some issues that perhaps someone out there has advise on. Thanks!
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Re: Multiple Tenants, One wants to move out by Katiekate (New York) on February 3, 2012 @06:35 [ Reply ]
This is a fairly common event for me. I have freshmen students move in. Often they find out they cannot get along with one of them. Common event.

You make sure they understand that YOU will screen any prospects and the prospect must meet your standards.

All the roommates need to decide how they will hold the one moving out accountable for damage. I have the damage deposit, I will not refund any part of it until after the lease is terminated and all the tenants have moved out. So, deciding how to handle that is between the one moving out and the one moving in...not my issue.

If you don't get all the rent... send a certified letter listing the outstanding balance and late fee. You are entitled to the full rent...why would you consider paying for the roommate that moved? They made a bad choice in picking this roommate..you didn't force the roommate on them..you didn't choose. We all pay for our mistakes.

Once there is a new roommate, then have a lease addendum signed to include new roommate. If old roommate wants to be off the lease.. then when he contacts you send him a release form to sign. If he remains on the lease... you don't care. Yes, if you have to evict..you must evict all..including the one that is gone, so you think that would be incentive for him to seek to remove his name.

Basically..this isn't your problem. I understand your worry...but, they seem to be handling it ok for now.
Re: Multiple Tenants, One wants to move out by Eric (MN) on February 3, 2012 @10:35 [ Reply ]
Very common with roommates. When one is voted off the island, get a lease termination signed by all that are on the original lease.

Let them handle the deposit between themselves, do not refund any until the place is vacant. Put that clause on the termination agreement. This is not a gray area.

Let your tenants find their own new roommate. You can help advertise, but let them handle calls. Define the rules. Step in when they think they have a compatible one. Screen any new tenants for criminal, and credit. If the credit does not pass, you already have the ones that are paying, so it is less important.

You are in the beginning stages of getting less rent. You need to determine a plan to get a new tenant and replace all of the roommates. Soon, you will only get 3/4 of the rent.
Re: Multiple Tenants, One wants to move out by Anonymous on February 5, 2012 @12:45 [ Reply ]
Same thing happened to me: 4 college kids, one didn't get along with the rest. I gave them options: find another tenant (of course, with my final approval), ex-tenant continues to pay whether she/he lives there or not, 3 remaining tenants split the entire rent. The easiest was the 3 remaining tenants found someone they all could get along with, I asked the new tenant if there was anything wrong with the room or need any painting or work done. She said no, I gave entire deposit back to everyone. Signed termination of old lease with the old group of tenants, signed new lease and new deposit with the new group of tenants.
These things happen, ex-tenant claimed she was being threaten by the other tenant and feared for her safety, so I just let it go easy on her.

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