Breaking the Lease

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  #1  
Old 02-13-07, 01:02 AM
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Breaking the Lease

I have a tenant who moved in May 9, 2005 for a year's lease. Tenant gave notice this morning that he is moving out because his wife and kids just left him and is suing for divorce, i.e. he will not be able to afford the rent. I know he is liable for the whole year's rent, but what are my rights and what should I do?
 
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  #2  
Old 02-13-07, 06:10 AM
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Welcome to the diy forums!

IMHO you should just work on re leasing the home. While he may be legally liable, you would still incur legal costs and even if you get a judgement against him there is no garuntee that you will be able to collect.
 
  #3  
Old 02-13-07, 10:44 AM
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I've had that happen to me a couple times. The way I understand the law in Minnesota, the landlord is obbligated to try to rent the unit. The former tenant would then be responsible for rent for the amount of time the unit is vacant.

Like Marksr said you have to find out if the tenant has any assets to take. If they don't, you not only lose the rent from the vacancy, but you also lose attorney fees and court costs. I've always ended up chalking it up as one of the risks of being a landlord.
 
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Old 02-13-07, 01:46 PM
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While the tenant is "liable" for the unpaid portion you are under an obligation to try to mitigate tour losses. Realistically you wouldn't be able to collect from them anyway as 99% of all judgements are uncollectable, most tenants are "judgement proof".

frank
 
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Old 02-13-07, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by ethan3546 View Post
I have a tenant who moved in May 9, 2005 for a year's lease. Tenant gave notice this morning that he is moving out because his wife and kids just left him and is suing for divorce, i.e. he will not be able to afford the rent. I know he is liable for the whole year's rent, but what are my rights and what should I do?
Did you really mean 2005? If so, his year is already up.

If you meant 2006, then he only has 2 months rent left.
Is that really worth trying to go to court for?

He's already told you he can't afford the rent, what are you going to collect?
 
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Old 02-13-07, 06:57 PM
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Here in Wisconsin judgments are good for twenty years. We collect two different ways: Garnishing wages once we get the judgment & down the road when the person wants to finance a purchase of something and has to pay us first to get the judgment of their credit record. Was the wife/ex-wife also on the lease? You sue all of the tenants and collect from the one(s) with the deepest pockets.
 

Last edited by stickshift; 02-13-07 at 07:08 PM.
  #7  
Old 02-13-07, 09:27 PM
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Re:Breaking the Lease

Keep his deposit & last month's rent, I hope you have this but if you have not better do this next time. Just get a form called residential lease agreement for your new tenant. Get to work finding a new tenant ASAP, and sue for any rent money you lose by having it vacant that isn't covered by his deposit. Remember, the bank does not accept excuses for nonpayment/breach of contract (no matter how sad or creative) and neither should you. You are running a business, not a charity! If you need the forms for this. There is a site which contains all type of forms. I think itís ezlandlordforms.com
Hope this helps.
 
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Old 02-13-07, 09:55 PM
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Be very careful taking some of the advice given in this thread. Some of it is wrong.

The laws that control what you can do are state specific and since you did not indicate what state your are in I cannot be specific.

You need to consult the landlord tenant laws of your state.

Most states require you to attempt to re-rent the apartment (there are one or two that the requirement is so weak that it in effect does not require you to re-rent) to mitigate your damages.

The laws would guide you as to what you could keep regarding deposits etc.

Pendragon has a good point about the dates but I would
still not let 2 months of rent get by.

franks suggestion of one being "judgment proof" is a bit of a blanket type statement considering we know nothing about the tenant. Don't give up on your money too easily. I took his screen name as being humroous but maybe it is true and all the tenants he has are "judgement proof". Doesn;t mean yours are.
 
  #9  
Old 03-04-07, 09:18 PM
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cut the guy a break, let him out, he just lost the most important things in life, you can get another tenant.......keep his deposit and last that will cover the measly two months you will lose......
 

Last edited by rif73; 03-04-07 at 09:21 PM. Reason: because i wanted too..........
  #10  
Old 03-10-07, 09:20 PM
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lease breaking

Most leases cannot be broken as a general rule. In Michigan you can sue on the lease and probably win. Generally, a change in your circumstance does not necesarily rise to the level of an affirmative defense.

If he quit paying rent, you have the right to posession and a judgement for the rent owed and not paid under the full lease. You will need to go to court tho to do this.

Go see a good real estate lawyer.

Good luck!
 
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