Author Topic: Quick question: can you release a co-tenant under a lease agreement  (Read 3830 times)

jwilliams0215

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Without going into the crazy details of a co-tenant scenario: I would like to release a co-tenant of a single family residence investment property in Florida. Can I release the financial responsibility and allow a co-tenant to leave without the permission of the remaining co-tenant?

K-ice

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Sorry, I do not know.

But why would you want to? Isn't it better to have two people responsible for the rent than one?


Drifterrider

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Without going into the crazy details of a co-tenant scenario: I would like to release a co-tenant of a single family residence investment property in Florida. Can I release the financial responsibility and allow a co-tenant to leave without the permission of the remaining co-tenant?

Without knowing the laws of your state I would say NO.  However, go ask a property manager (saves you a legal fee).  I would say it all depends on the wording of the lease (where I live every lease I've seen and signed said that all parties (adults) are individually responsible for the rent (which means if one moves out the other is still liable for all rents). 

This is my opinion and in no way constitutes legal advise.

By doing as you wish, you are making the remaining tenant solely responsible for the rent and that might be in violation of your lease.


mskyle

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If each tenant has an individual lease with you, sure, but if they are both on the lease and jointly responsible for paying the rent, then I don't see how this would be fair or legal - all three of you signed a contract together, and all three of you have to come to some kind of agreement to end that contract ahead of schedule.

I'm guessing that there's been some kind of messy breakup or roommate disagreement and one person wants to move out but the other person can't/doesn't want to take full responsibility for the rent and can't/won't get another roommate? That's too bad for the person who moved out but they signed a contract with the person who wants to stay and they're going to need to figure something out.

How much time is left on the lease and what do you actually want to have happen?

jwilliams0215

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Thank you all for your responses!

Let's call the co-tenants good tenant and bad tenant.

Good tenant commenced a lease in Feb. 2015 and had a old friend / co-worker move in at the end of that first year (Feb. 2016). I insisted the friend be added to the lease with a new lease going March 2016 - February 2017. With the good tenant having a great track record, I used her discretion to have a friend move in (hindsight 20/20) but she would have to be added to the lease.

Enter April 2016 when bad tenant (friend) gets combative and refuses to pay her share of rent to good tenant (who continued to pay in full to me, I didn't even know of their rent sharing agreement). Their disputes have escalated, there is visual evidence (recording) of bad tenant spitting in good tenants room, walking around cursing, etc. This is just one example of the rude and crude behavior that has been reported. But it's just been rude or disgusting behavior between the tenants.

Good tenant attempts to "evict" bad tenant, which if of course is not permissible and bad tenant hires an attorney on the effect. Good tenant wants/needs to get out of the single family house due to the hostile environment and hired an attorney who sent a letter to cure the environment (I was not providing a safe, peaceful, and enjoyable premise) or the good tenant can leave the property in good standing and also with the return of her security deposit. The bad tenant has basically said she is not leaving and has no money to pay. Good tenant can stand living with brought in co-tenant so there is the stalemate. So an eviction is going to happen no matter what.

My favorite outcome would be simply non-payment of rent at the first of next month and I can start to the eviction process. But the good tenant is trying to get out in good standing and apparently is willing to go to court on that behalf (something I want to avoid with the expense). My thought was to consider releasing the good tenant in exchange for the security and pet deposit and then to commence the eviction on the bad tenant...

mooreprop

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This is not legal advice - please consult an attorney on the legality of this, but here is what I would do.  I would evict both tenants for nonpayment.  If bad tenant fights it until the end, then the sheriff comes and makes everybody move out.  Explain to good tenant that you are helping them get rid of a bad situation and this is how it will go down.  They do not pay rent, then you file eviction papers on both.   You then re-rent to good tenant.  Good tenant may need to move belongings out into a U-Haul truck for a day if bad tenant fights the eviction to the end. 

You will not pursue damages from good tenant/ only bad tenant.  There is nothing that requires you to file for damages.  The only problem with this scenario is that the good tenant will have an eviction show up on their record.  Hopefully, if you give them a letter stating that they were a good tenant and they do not owe you any money then this would help them if it shows up on their record for future rentals.

The other option is to rent another property to good tenant if you have any other rentals.

K-ice

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In my area you can get a 24 hour eviction for the following:

"A tenant must not do, or permit significant damage to be done to the property, or physically assault, or
threaten to physically assault, the landlord (or the landlordís employee or agent) or another tenant."

"If a landlord is apprehensive that even more damage, or further assaults, are likely to occur in the 24-hour
notice period, the landlord can go to court seeking an order for the immediate possession of the
residential premises and removal of the tenant. The landlord should have evidence to present. "

It sounds like good tenant might be able to provide such evidence.  Evict the one one and keep the other.


electriceagle

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This is not legal advice.

It sounds like all of the problems are within a single party. As long as somebody pays rent, and there are no threats of violence, the whole issue might not be your business.

If there is a threat of violence, you can let "good tenant" know that they can apply for a restraining order. If there is not, maybe your city has a mediation service that your tenants can go to (without you).

Other than that, if you and all of the tenants agree, you can end the existing lease and create a new lease with "good tenant" only (presuming that "good tenant" can afford the rent alone).

Kroaler

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Re: Quick question: can you release a co-tenant under a lease agreement
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2016, 10:02:13 AM »
No legal advice, or experience with this situation, but heres my take.

There is a legal contract between you and the 2 tenants. Until there is a violation of that contract (non payment of rent), it sounds like the terms of the lease are being satisfied.

It sucks that good tenant had a lapse in judgement in regards to bad tenant. But without all 3 of the parties of the contract coming to an agreement, or some clause in the contract that permits it,  I dont think you can do very much other than wait for a non payment of rent.


I agree with the above poster, if there are threats of violence or the good occupant fears for her well being, then she can take that up with the local authorities, and maybe you guys can attack this from that angle.