New Landlady NEEDS HELP! - Posted by Linda

Posted by Ronald * Starr(in No CA) on August 14, 2003 at 11:54:51:


Isn’t there an old song: “Leases were made to be broken?” Or was that “Hearts were …?” Anyway, you probably need to be pragmatic. If the occupant can’t afford the place, you should move to get possession again as soon as possible, in as good of shape as possible, and move on to other renters. If you have a smaller vacant place, less expensive, that would do for the renter, you might offer that. At least you could keep a good renter.

Better to move quickly, before the renter exhausts all funds. You might be able to cut a deal whereby you keep much of the security deposit.

Your expenses are not particularly relevant when you are setting rents. The marketplaces decides how much you can get. If you take in less than you spend, you have to lump it, paying with other income to keep the property going.

Good Investing****************Ron Starr*****************

New Landlady NEEDS HELP! - Posted by Linda

Posted by Linda on August 13, 2003 at 19:30:56:

I am sure someone has run into this before so I would greatly appreciate your advise. I am new to landlording.

I rented a home to an unmarried couple. Things apparently aren’t working out and one of the tenants has decided they are going to leave town. Both signed the lease. Lease has a joint and severability clause. I believe they would need both incomes to make the payment.

What should I do? They are not late yet but in two weeks they could be…

PLEASE don’t beat me up with “you should have done better screening” comments. I FEEL bad enough already…They both have good jobs, decent credit and long, good tenant histories.

Kind Regards,


Re: New Landlady NEEDS HELP! - Posted by Tim Fierro (Tacoma, WA)

Posted by Tim Fierro (Tacoma, WA) on August 16, 2003 at 04:35:29:

Go find out the situation with the remaining tenant.

Hello Tenant, I was going over the applications you and your roomate had filled out, and your approval was given based on both incomes. Now that you have told me that your roomate is leaving/left; I wanted to get an update on your employment and whether or not you will be able to continue paying rent on time.

  1. Oh Mrs Landlady, I actually got a new job since that application, and I can pay the rent on my own.

  2. Yes, I still work at ABC Widget company with the same base pay. It will be tough, but I plan to stay and possibly get a roomate.

  3. Yes, I still work at ABC Widget company with teh same base pay. There is no way I can make the rent on my own.

  4. Etc…

Go and find out the situation and be blunt. You need to know if any changes are going to be needed. Will they stay, leave, need time, etc…

From there, you need to make decisions.

Re: New Landlady NEEDS HELP! - Posted by Anne_ND

Posted by Anne_ND on August 14, 2003 at 18:31:05:

I use Louis Brown’s lease and it addresses this problem. If they want to get out of the lease for any reason, they pay 2 months rent up front and meet a bunch of other criteria.

With a strong lease this is not your problem, don’t take it on until it IS your problem: ie., they stop paying.

good luck,

I’ve made some doozies with early tenant screening efforts, we all have to learn.


Re: New Landlady NEEDS HELP! - Posted by Cassie

Posted by Cassie on August 14, 2003 at 10:33:56:

Be Patient! The one left my have alternatives to paying you and you may never know the difference. However, I’ve been landlording for 17 years and it is my expereince that the money from the other party will be the hardest thing to collect and from the party left behind. Stay on top of the time. If she is late give her written notice immediately. If she resonds and wants to work it out give her a chance if not be ready to evict asap and let her know in writing that you will begin showing the house to prospective tenants now. Hopefully by the time she is out you’ll have the place rented and not lose one moths rent.
Godd Luck


Re: New Landlady NEEDS HELP! - Posted by Steve-nc

Posted by Steve-nc on August 13, 2003 at 20:01:57:


Sorry to hear about your situation. My concern would be the loss of both occupants and having to re-rent. I think I would focus on trying to keep the remaining individual. There is not much you can do about the other tenant leaving town.

Talk to the remaining tenant and ask if he/she is planning on staying and can h/s pay the rent. Sometimes it is cheaper to lower the rent to keep a tenant than it is to find another one. If h/s stays re-write the lease.

Don’t panic the rent is not late yet, and until you communicate with the remaining occupant you won’t know how to handle it. Call them, write a letter or stop by the property to find out what is going on.


Re: New Landlady NEEDS HELP! - Posted by Linda

Posted by Linda on August 16, 2003 at 07:38:56:


Thank you for the advise. I talked with the remaining tenant and the answer was #3 (Working for the same company / pay. No way I can make the rent payment).

I am still not sure what to do. I don’t want to let them off without some compensation. (READ: I don’t think I can afford to). What would be a fair way to resolve both our situations?

  1. I thought I would propose letting them out of the lease when I obtained another tenant or sold it. (Could be 3 months?)

  2. Or maybe just set a charge up front…Say 2 months rent. Have the remaining tenant vacate the property at the end of the month.

  3. Possibily reducing the rent rate for the remaining tenant? I couldn’t afford to do that for too long.

If we do any of these should they be an addendum to the lease?

I had a difficult time renting this to begin with. They will have only been in there a month. I don’t think it is going to be any easier to rent next month especially with school starting and winter closing in. I see the possibility of hanging on to this all winter.

Thanks for your help!

Kind Regards,


Re: New Landlady NEEDS HELP! - Posted by Linda

Posted by Linda on August 14, 2003 at 10:03:32:


Thanks for your help. You mentioned re-writing the lease. Would that only be if a new room mate was added? I don’t want to let the person leaving off the hook in case the payments stop coming in.

I have not told the tenants much yet. I did tell them that “I was willing to work with them”. I am thinking about telling them that I will let them out of their lease early but they will be responsible for the lease until I can either sell or re-rent the place. What do you think? The rent is about 48% of the remaining tenants wages. I don’t think he can make that unless he gets a room mate.

Kind Regards,


you can screen - Posted by qstaff

Posted by qstaff on August 13, 2003 at 23:45:54:

until the cows come home and people break up–married, unmarried, so don’t be hard on yourself. As long as the lease is in place and you’re getting your money, you don’t have a problem. The remaining individual may decide to get a roommate or something. I would consider lowering the rent only if A) I could afford to B) the tenants keep the place up like Martha Stewart and C) They don’t bother me with repairs.

But couples get divorces, or Mami decides to quit her job or there’s always some reason two incomes turn into one. It happens. But if the person can’t afford the rent, it’s no fun for anyone because you’ll end up chasing and then they’ll give you partial payments, then you’ll have to hear these stories—look back over their applications and see what the individual incomes are/ You might consider giving them an official grace period–but once you start taking late payments and partial payments, that is all you will ever get is late and partial payments and your only recourse will be to garnish wages or evict and by this point you’ll have to deal with a lot of passive aggressive hostility.

Oh yea, and join a local landlord group… - Posted by Tim Fierro (Tacoma, WA)

Posted by Tim Fierro (Tacoma, WA) on August 17, 2003 at 01:10:47:

They can help you in these types of troubles. You may learn a thing or two and find out how others in your area handle these matters.

Re: New Landlady NEEDS HELP! - Posted by Tim Fierro (Tacoma, WA)

Posted by Tim Fierro (Tacoma, WA) on August 17, 2003 at 01:09:21:

You need to talk to this tenant then on how they are going to make the payment due in 2 weeks. Come to some agreement where you will let them out of the lease if you can find another tenant, but they are ultimately responsible for the payments to fulfill the lease requirements regardless if you find a new tenant or not. Then start advertising to get a new tenant ASAP. If they can’t afford it now, there is probably nothing that is going to propel them to make it as time goes on. You need to get their permission to show the place even though they live there, it is to their advantage to let you in for showings and get a new tenant ASAP. Since they can’t make the payments, and they are still responsible, I would still urge them to be moving out so that a new tenant can get in place. If they don’t leave and don’t pay rent, an eviction could be forthcoming.

1, yes, that could work but you still need a new tenant asap.

2, workable and you have defined what it is worth to you for them to leave immediately and start over.

3, do you really want to do that?

I wouldn’t actually call it an addendum, but a new document. Tenant agrees to pay $XXX dollars in exchange for Landlord agreeing to cancel lease dated xx/xx/xx and both parties agree to release each other from any further liabilities. Or something to that effect.

Re: New Landlady NEEDS HELP! - Posted by qstaff

Posted by qstaff on August 14, 2003 at 10:14:34:

Yes, yes, and yes. Get the roommate on the lease. Let them out early but make them pay until new you have new tenants–be fair until it starts costing YOU money.

Re: you can screen - Posted by Linda

Posted by Linda on August 14, 2003 at 10:19:36:


Thanks for your help. I don’t think I can lower the rent much. I am close to the breakeven point now. I originally intended on selling it but ended up finding a good tenant (so I thought). I don’t think the remaining tenant is capable of making the payments alone.

I was thinking about letting them out of the lease if I can find another renter or sell the property. Any thoughts on that?