Author Topic: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?  (Read 8378 times)

gregg687

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Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« on: September 12, 2016, 08:57:26 AM »
My tenants just informed me that they are separating this past weekend.  They have been great tenants (pay early, take good care of the house).  Both names are on the lease and there are six months left on it.  The wife wants to stay and states that she is able to pay the rent, which I am not completely sure of how she will. 

1) What am I legally allowed to do?  Would I have to end the lease early and have her sign a new one? 

2) What would you do?  I'm leaning towards ending the lease early and finding new tenants.  I'm really not sure how to handle a situation like this. 

I've googled it and there doesn't seem to be any definite answer.  Thanks for any responses.

NoStacheOhio

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2016, 10:09:24 AM »
Are they legally separating, or just living separately?

gregg687

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2016, 10:23:08 AM »
That's a good question, I believe in my state you have to be living separately for a year before legally divorcing. 

Candace

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2016, 11:41:06 AM »
This is interesting. I'm close to the husband of a couple in the same situation. If you're located in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, we could potentially be talking about the same couple. Feel free to PM me if that's the case.

My boyfriend's son is separated from his wife. They have a two year lease with something like a year and a half left on it. My boyfriend's son moved out -- to my house, where my boyfriend and I live. His wife is underemployed and I doubt she could cover the rent, unless her parents help her. Her unwillingness to get more work has been a sticking point with them. She wants a job she considers suitable, but until she finds one, he wanted her to at least get something to bring in some money instead of mostly sitting around waiting to get pregnant and obviate the need to ever have a job. I think he's paid a couple months of rent since he left, because he's used to taking care of her and didn't want to be mean by abruptly ending his support of her. But recently he let her know that would be ending. He is a full time student, so his income is minimal.

He wants to make sure the landlord gets paid, and doesn't want to break the lease. In fact, he's like to move back into their rental, but of course she has to be gone first. Her family is only a couple hours away and her parents already support one of her twentysomething brothers who also can't quite bring himself to be independent. So she has a soft landing place. He says he told the landlord that if she can't make the rent and leaves the place, he'd make up back rent when he moves back in. But he won't pay rent on a place he's not occupying. That would set the wrong precedent anyway. They're getting divorced, although she doesn't want to, so she'll have to support herself or go home to her parents. They weren't married long and there are no children. Obviously that's not the only reason they're splitting up, but the other reasons aren't relevant to this thread.

I think he was smart to propose this deal to the landlord, because the landlord knows he'll get paid. Hopefully he doesn't have to evict her. If she can't pay the rent, hopefully she will either go to her parents' place or find something else she can afford on her own. It's always sad when people split up, especially when all involved are good people. But when they do, each person has to be independent, eventually, at least for a short marriage with no kids. It sucks that the landlord, who has done nothing wrong, is in that position. But in this case he has reason to believe he'll be paid the rent, even if it's not on time. Hopefully he will not see the need to involve lawyers. Maybe you and your tenants could make a deal too. I would bet that would be better for you and for them.

Captain FIRE

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2016, 12:27:15 PM »
But he won't pay rent on a place he's not occupying. That would set the wrong precedent anyway.

If both parties are on the lease, both parties are usually liable for the rent (jointly & severably liable, unless written otherwise in the lease, which would be unusual).  Even if one party isn't living there, the landlord can still hold them responsible.  So Candace, non-payment isn't setting the "wrong precedent", it's failure to comply with his legally contractual obligations.

OP, if you'd like to be nice, with the consent of all parties you can terminate the current lease and rewrite it for one party to be liable rather than both.  But before you do so, I'd suggest ensuring they meet your standards for renting (e.g. credit, job salary or whatever else you ask) on their own.  Also be aware you are giving up your right to go after both for nonpayment.

Candace

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2016, 12:39:47 PM »
But he won't pay rent on a place he's not occupying. That would set the wrong precedent anyway.

If both parties are on the lease, both parties are usually liable for the rent (jointly & severably liable, unless written otherwise in the lease, which would be unusual).  Even if one party isn't living there, the landlord can still hold them responsible.  So Candace, non-payment isn't setting the "wrong precedent", it's failure to comply with his legally contractual obligations.

OP, if you'd like to be nice, with the consent of all parties you can terminate the current lease and rewrite it for one party to be liable rather than both.  But before you do so, I'd suggest ensuring they meet your standards for renting (e.g. credit, job salary or whatever else you ask) on their own.  Also be aware you are giving up your right to go after both for nonpayment.

In my post I wrote that he plans to pay the rent. He will even pay all back rent when he moves back in, assuming that's the way it works out. He's just not going to pay for his soon to be ex to live rent free for more than a reasonable amount of time after splitting up. That would encourage her to expect him to continue doing so. That's the precedent I was referring to. He has always said he would abide by the lease, that he doesn't want to break it. My post above said as much.

Captain FIRE

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2016, 04:31:55 PM »
But he won't pay rent on a place he's not occupying. That would set the wrong precedent anyway.

If both parties are on the lease, both parties are usually liable for the rent (jointly & severably liable, unless written otherwise in the lease, which would be unusual).  Even if one party isn't living there, the landlord can still hold them responsible.  So Candace, non-payment isn't setting the "wrong precedent", it's failure to comply with his legally contractual obligations.

OP, if you'd like to be nice, with the consent of all parties you can terminate the current lease and rewrite it for one party to be liable rather than both.  But before you do so, I'd suggest ensuring they meet your standards for renting (e.g. credit, job salary or whatever else you ask) on their own.  Also be aware you are giving up your right to go after both for nonpayment.

In my post I wrote that he plans to pay the rent. He will even pay all back rent when he moves back in, assuming that's the way it works out. He's just not going to pay for his soon to be ex to live rent free for more than a reasonable amount of time after splitting up. That would encourage her to expect him to continue doing so. That's the precedent I was referring to. He has always said he would abide by the lease, that he doesn't want to break it. My post above said as much.

I just wanted to add some additional details in response to your reply, so it does not catch you or your boyfriend's off guard.

By being obligated to pay, I mean obligated according to the terms of the lease.  If the payment is due on the first, and it takes the wife several months to leave (without paying during this time), additional late penalties/interest may be due.  The husband should check the lease.  Also, it would be fully within the landlord's rights to evict the couple for non-payment, and this could tarnish both the husband and wife's credit/ability to get future rentals.  (A promise to pay once the wife leaves isn't likely to make the landlord very happy.  How can they rely on that, particularly considering the husband already promised on the lease to pay under certain terms, and isn't doing so.  How does he get the non-paying wife out other than through eviction, and if so, the husband is evicted too - why should he let the husband come back?)

Finally, be aware that in some states, spouses can request and be awarded alimony during marriage.  A state has an interest in having spouses support each other while married (so the state doesn't have to).  This means that some spouses can get supported during a separation.  I have no idea whether this state has that, if she would request it, or if she'd get it.  He may want to speak to a lawyer.

Don't shoot the messenger.

NoNonsenseLandlord

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2016, 04:36:43 PM »
If she wants to stay, you have to let her stay until she doesn't pay.  You do not really have a lot of choices, she has a lease.

Zamboni

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2016, 04:43:52 PM »
^I agree.

You can't kick someone out for a random personal reason like a separation. As long as the rent gets paid each month and the property is not being damaged, you should not concern yourself with this at all.

cchrissyy

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2016, 04:54:38 PM »
Does your lease have a clause saying that if a party moves out, you get to end it early?  Probably not, that would be highly unusual.

You have a lease. the tenent is still paying and taking care of the place. great.

there is *nothing* you can or should do differently base don the fact you know the guy is moving out.  When it comes time to renew, requalify her and sign a new lease just with her.

Candace

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2016, 07:35:13 PM »
Definitely agree with the last few posts. If the rent is getting paid, all is well and no reason for action.

If it doesn't get paid on time, then the OP could work with the tenants to see if something can be worked out. If not, hopefully the OP could evict.

I don't know what state the OP is in. In Virginia, you can evict someone if they're living in the property. If the tenant or tenants just leave, and aren't living there, then they cannot be evicted. However, the landlord can sue them for not keeping to the terms of the contract. So my boyfriend's son would not have an eviction if his wife doesn't pay the rent. The landlord could sue both of them or just one of them, but in this case he'd be more likely to get his money back by taking the deal offered. I don't know if late fees are part of his lease, but if they are, technically he would owe those. It would be up to the landlord to decide whether to collect them.

Hopefully, it won't come to that. Hopefully the wife will either pay the rent herself or leave and allow her husband to take over the rental by himself. She doesn't want an eviction either. And for the OP, I would hope the same -- that the rent just continues to get paid.

piethief

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2016, 07:48:58 PM »
Let the grown ups sort their own mess out.  As long as the rent arrives on time, ignore it.  Get ready to re-lease in 6 months or sooner.

monarda

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2016, 10:04:22 PM »
We had a tenant break up last year. Weren't married, just living together. They could not individually afford the apartment. She left the area. He expressed interest in staying in the unit at first, yet couldn't afford it.  A little different situation than OP, we gave him a little time to think about whether he wanted to find a roommate or move out. He eventually decided to move out. [All rent was paid on time until the move-out.] We broke the lease 2 months early and re-rented easily.

gregg687

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2016, 06:31:37 AM »
Thank you all for the responses- I just want the rent to continue to get paid.  I didn't know that as long as one person one the lease continues to live there that the lease is still valid (this is my only rental and have been doing it for a little over three years).  I know land lords have to be very careful with laws and such, that's why I asked since many of you have so much experience with this type of stuff.  The state is MD if that makes any difference.  I really hope I don't have to go through an ugly eviction in a few months. 

Ensign1999

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2016, 06:47:17 AM »
Just as many have said, so long as the rent continues to come in, you really can't do much.  Keep good communication going with your tenant.  If it looks like she is not going to be able to afford the place, then you could offer to let her terminate the lease early.  I might even go so far as giving her one more month at a reduced rent while I advertise it being available on the 1st of the next month.  In exchange you request more access to get the place ready for new tenants.  That way you have some income coming in and you have a set date for a transition to new tenants and you hopefully keep her on your good side while she is leaving the place so there is no hostile damage done.  If it comes to an eviction then you would more than likely lose quite a few months rent and there is a chance that the deposit doesn't cover any damage done.  Evictions can become messy quick.  A clean transition is a much better option if it comes to it.  Hopefully she can cover the rent and nothing comes of their breakup.

cchrissyy

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2016, 12:48:10 PM »
Honestly I wouldn't worry about this.

People separate, divorce, or stop being roommates all the time.

The large majority of them still pay their rent, since they understand their name is on the contract and they will be sued and credit damaged if they don't.

Enigma

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2016, 10:04:23 AM »
Okay different states have different laws for the eviction process.  I would recommend the first day rent is late (if that ever happens) to immediately send a certified letter that the rent is past due.  In one county in TN I couldn't file for eviction with the court until 30 days after their certified letter was sent.

You already know there is the possibility of non-payment and the possibility that you will have to evict the tenants.  It will save you a lot of headache if you do your research on the eviction process for your MD residence.

Hope for the best (payments on time) but prepare for the worst (eviction process).  Also I agree, I do not have any marriage clauses that make a lease null and void.  You just have to wait until they start breaking the terms of the lease before proceeding.

Gin1984

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2016, 10:13:08 AM »
Definitely agree with the last few posts. If the rent is getting paid, all is well and no reason for action.

If it doesn't get paid on time, then the OP could work with the tenants to see if something can be worked out. If not, hopefully the OP could evict.

I don't know what state the OP is in. In Virginia, you can evict someone if they're living in the property. If the tenant or tenants just leave, and aren't living there, then they cannot be evicted. However, the landlord can sue them for not keeping to the terms of the contract. So my boyfriend's son would not have an eviction if his wife doesn't pay the rent. The landlord could sue both of them or just one of them, but in this case he'd be more likely to get his money back by taking the deal offered. I don't know if late fees are part of his lease, but if they are, technically he would owe those. It would be up to the landlord to decide whether to collect them.

Hopefully, it won't come to that. Hopefully the wife will either pay the rent herself or leave and allow her husband to take over the rental by himself. She doesn't want an eviction either. And for the OP, I would hope the same -- that the rent just continues to get paid.
I've never seen a state like that.  Do you have a source for that, because if that is true I want to know.

TheOldestYoungMan

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2016, 03:21:41 PM »
Honestly it'd probably be a very generous thing for you to let her know you'd be OK if she did need to break lease.  There's probably something in the lease where if they break it they owe you the full amount of the remainder of the term (it was in every lease I signed when I lived in MD).  So her saying that she would like to say could just be her saying: please don't sue me for the entire amount because I don't have it.

It would take a lot of stress off of me if I knew my landlord would let me out of the lease if I couldn't afford the place anymore.

Just the knowledge that you'd be willing to get me a lease where the other party was no longer on there would be nice (as long as he's on the lease you would have to let him in if he asked, and you don't know how these things go re: violence and stalking and such).

Everything is civil in the beginning.

But yea, what others have said.  I don't see her staying if she truly can't pay.  Getting her out isn't likely to be the issue.

If it did come to that, it's just an eviction for one of the signatories and an abandonment of property by the other.  Each takes about a month if you don't know what you're doing but start on it the day rent is due and keep following up with the county court (or whatever backwater uncivilized thing you have instead of counties, looking at you Alaska).

DeanW5

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2016, 06:52:54 AM »

As I understand the woman wants to pay full rent amount without the help of her husband. In this case I think it would be better to sign an addendum or a new lease, that will states that. You can secure your rights in case of non-payment. However, the most reasonable decision is to consult with a lawyer about  this situation.

adamcollin

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2016, 01:20:34 AM »
 I think you should hire a lawyer to determine your obligations in this case.

hoping2retire35

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2016, 02:14:09 PM »
They both signed the contract, as long as the rent is being paid don't sweat it. If you want to you can offer to break the lease. Their personal lives are none of your business.

charis

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2016, 02:47:19 PM »
Definitely agree with the last few posts. If the rent is getting paid, all is well and no reason for action.

If it doesn't get paid on time, then the OP could work with the tenants to see if something can be worked out. If not, hopefully the OP could evict.

I don't know what state the OP is in. In Virginia, you can evict someone if they're living in the property. If the tenant or tenants just leave, and aren't living there, then they cannot be evicted. However, the landlord can sue them for not keeping to the terms of the contract. So my boyfriend's son would not have an eviction if his wife doesn't pay the rent. The landlord could sue both of them or just one of them, but in this case he'd be more likely to get his money back by taking the deal offered. I don't know if late fees are part of his lease, but if they are, technically he would owe those. It would be up to the landlord to decide whether to collect them.

Hopefully, it won't come to that. Hopefully the wife will either pay the rent herself or leave and allow her husband to take over the rental by himself. She doesn't want an eviction either. And for the OP, I would hope the same -- that the rent just continues to get paid.
I've never seen a state like that.  Do you have a source for that, because if that is true I want to know.

How can someone be evicted from a place that they don't occupy?  They are already out, a legal proceeding for their removal from the rental property is thus moot.  A suit in small claims concerning damages attributable to the broken lease, yes, eviction proceedings, no.

doug111

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2016, 08:17:25 PM »
If she wants to stay, you have to let her stay until she doesn't pay.  You do not really have a lot of choices, she has a lease.
Your right. Very right.

gregg687

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #24 on: November 03, 2016, 10:57:33 AM »
FOLLOW UP- CAN SOMEONE PLEASE HELP?

So the guy ended up getting custody of kids and stayed for a month.  He decided that he could not pay the rent anymore and we agreed that he would pay half of this month and move out in two weeks.  I posted an ad an had strong interest so it was not a big deal.

His wife now if saying through a lawyer that he cannot move due to the kids having a school zone differences and I am being told that I MUST evict them.  Is this true?  She hasn't been living there, and him and I had an agreement.  He has been great to work with and would rather leave the house.  He had actually started to move his stuff.

He is able to pay a significantly reduced rent, should I take that for the remained of the lease which ends in February?  Would there be some sort of Maryland law that would make them not have to leave at the end of Feb?

I am very stressed out as I thought I had a great solution to this but it all came crashing down.  THANK YOU in advance to anyone that responds.

CheapskateWife

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #25 on: November 03, 2016, 11:01:28 AM »
Your message is confusing...who is telling you that you must evict him?  If you can let him out of the lease and find another renter, do it.  Its your house.  If you and he are both happy with an alternate arrangement, do that.

You are not a party to their divorce and thus have no responsibility to respond to her lawyer. 

NoStacheOhio

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #26 on: November 03, 2016, 11:19:24 AM »
Absent a court order (which is different than a lawyer letter), I would continue with the plan you and dad worked out. Maybe let him/his lawyer know that you received something from her.

gregg687

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #27 on: November 03, 2016, 11:32:11 AM »
Sorry for it being confusing, just a bit stressful of a day.

The dad is saying that the courts wont let him move with the kids out of the school zone.  I didn't fully understand it, but it sounds like the wife/mom filed some sort of motion through the school system. 

So the dads lawyer is saying that I would have to evict them together to get them out of them house instead of the arrangement we previously had of him moving November 12th. 

Does that make sense?  It doesn't really to me, but this forum is helping my stress levels with this. 

CheapskateWife

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #28 on: November 03, 2016, 11:38:54 AM »
Ahhhh....I see.  So is your tenants lawyer asking you to evict him so to the courts it looks like he was forced to move out of the district?

Are they willing to reimburse you the legal fees/time/etc to go through an eviction proceeding?  Or are they going to force you to evict?

Do you have a security deposit that will compensate you for the time your rental will be in this mess?


gregg687

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #29 on: November 03, 2016, 12:03:59 PM »
Yes, that is what it looks like.  They have joint custody of the kids, even though she was forced to leave.  They were great tenants for almost a year, I honestly did not see this coming.  He is still working with me and has been fair so far.  He said he will call me after he speaks to the school lawyer.

I have a security deposit, and he already paid this half months rent. 

Is it too risky to take $1,000 a month until the lease is over in February?  Would that even guarantee that they move out at the end of the lease with this court stuff going on?  That's a $650 a month discount, but would save going through the eviction process.  At that point I would probably just put it on the market as being a land lord has not been fun these past 3 years. 

Captain FIRE

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #30 on: November 03, 2016, 12:25:33 PM »
Just because he leaves your rental doesn't mean he needs to leave the school district.  He can find another place he can afford within the school district.  You seem to be sympathetic to him, so you should be aware he's manipulating you a bit here to achieve his ends (get ammunition to move out of the school district).  Ultimately of course, he can just not pay and force you to evict him so he gets the paperwork he wants.

NoStacheOhio

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #31 on: November 03, 2016, 12:32:21 PM »
Yes, that is what it looks like.  They have joint custody of the kids, even though she was forced to leave.  They were great tenants for almost a year, I honestly did not see this coming.  He is still working with me and has been fair so far.  He said he will call me after he speaks to the school lawyer.

I have a security deposit, and he already paid this half months rent. 

Is it too risky to take $1,000 a month until the lease is over in February?  Would that even guarantee that they move out at the end of the lease with this court stuff going on?  That's a $650 a month discount, but would save going through the eviction process.  At that point I would probably just put it on the market as being a land lord has not been fun these past 3 years.

Have you talked to a lawyer yourself?

You may be able to re-write the lease since they're divorcing and she no longer lives there. At that point you could make it into whatever you wanted.

charis

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #32 on: November 03, 2016, 12:42:41 PM »
Just because he leaves your rental doesn't mean he needs to leave the school district.  He can find another place he can afford within the school district.  You seem to be sympathetic to him, so you should be aware he's manipulating you a bit here to achieve his ends (get ammunition to move out of the school district).  Ultimately of course, he can just not pay and force you to evict him so he gets the paperwork he wants.

Yes, this is insane and I don't see how it would actually get him "an out" to another district when he can just move to a less expensive apartment.  He sounds irrational to be seeking to be evicted, as opposed to moving elsewhere in the district, and take his kids away from their familiar school and friends, during a divorce. 

Also, why would he pay you 1K/month if he wanted to be evicted?  He either wants to stay or he doesn't, which is it?  If he wants to stay, he is basically coercing you into lowering the rent.   You need to decide whether it's better to lower the rent and hope that you get paid, or evict him and be done with it.

gregg687

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #33 on: November 03, 2016, 12:57:21 PM »
Thanks for the help.  I plan on talking to a lawyer tonight, but first wanted some of your opinions.  He is ready to move but said he can and will pay that.  In that price range, there will not be much available in the elementary school district. 

He has taken great care of the house and I really don't believe he is trying to take advantage of me.  Maybe I'm na´ve, but it would be much easier for him to stop paying rent all together as opposed to pay half of this months rent and plan to be out of there on Nov 12.

NoStacheOhio

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #34 on: November 03, 2016, 01:12:32 PM »
Thanks for the help.  I plan on talking to a lawyer tonight, but first wanted some of your opinions.  He is ready to move but said he can and will pay that.  In that price range, there will not be much available in the elementary school district. 

He has taken great care of the house and I really don't believe he is trying to take advantage of me.  Maybe I'm na´ve, but it would be much easier for him to stop paying rent all together as opposed to pay half of this months rent and plan to be out of there on Nov 12.

Depending on how ugly it is, she may have filed the motion just to try to bleed him, though people usually try to get money for themselves, and not neutral third parties. Regardless, you could just be caught in the middle of some typical divorce nastiness.

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #35 on: November 03, 2016, 03:06:46 PM »
If both names are on the lease, you will have to file for eviction against both tenants.  The eviction will go on her record and it will be difficult for her to rent in the future.

They both have the responsibility to pay the rent and honor the terms of the lease, despite the separation and pending divorce.  In your shoes, I would notify both parties of their responsibility and your expectation that they will follow the lease contract. 

gregg687

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #36 on: November 04, 2016, 06:21:50 AM »
Update, many of you were right.  I talked to a lawyer and he said that most all custody agreements will allow a person to move within a certain amount of miles.  It's clear he was lying about this. 

He told me he wants me to evict them so it goes on her record.  Isn't it illegal for him to be advised to just stop paying rent even if he has the money?  I believe I am stuck in between an ugly divorce and I will lose about 5k when all said and done. 

Is there any bargaining chip I have to convince him to work with me?  You would think that he wouldn't want this on his record.  The lease states that my attorney fees and court costs will be covered by tenant (I know that seeing that money is slim to none).  He gets paid pretty well, so maybe the threat of wage garnishments in addition to that would get him to cooperate with me? 

hoping2retire35

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #37 on: November 04, 2016, 07:11:26 AM »
Sounds like they are trying to get you to play their legal shenninigans. Move to evict the mom. That could make things real interesting. Maybe not physically, but contractually she still lives there.

charis

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #38 on: November 04, 2016, 08:01:17 AM »
Sounds like they are trying to get you to play their legal shenninigans. Move to evict the mom. That could make things real interesting. Maybe not physically, but contractually she still lives there.

Why would he file to evict the wife?  It will cost him money to file and it's useless as moot since she has already vacated the premise.  If her name is on lease, he can file a suit against her in small claims for unpaid rent and damages for breaking the lease, etc, but that's it, and only if the husband doesn't pay, since they are equally liable for the total rent.   The point of an eviction is to physically remove someone.   

Now whether the eviction against husband, should the OP get one, would show up on the wife's record, that doesn't sound correct to me, but a landlord/tenant lawyer would probably know.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2016, 08:03:28 AM by jezebel »

Another Reader

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #39 on: November 04, 2016, 08:38:07 AM »
The right to occupy has been conveyed by the lease.  The lease must be terminated in some way to convey occupancy to a new tenant.  In most jurisdictions you need to file for eviction.

gregg687

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #40 on: November 04, 2016, 08:40:16 AM »
Why would it be better to just evict the Mom?  I'd be fine with him continuing to live there if he could pay rent, or anywhere close to it, but he is unable to and has shown an unwillingness to work with me.  I didn't expect it to get this ugly, but that's what happens when your a landlord and a relatively new one at that.  Thanks again.

Do you think it could be an issue that the locks were changed by them before I consented for them to be changed?

charis

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #41 on: November 04, 2016, 08:58:17 AM »
The right to occupy has been conveyed by the lease.  The lease must be terminated in some way to convey occupancy to a new tenant.  In most jurisdictions you need to file for eviction.

Cite, please, re most jurisdictions requiring this.  A prerequisite to filing for eviction is that the tenant is still occupying the premises, regardless of what the lease conveyed.  Clearly the prior lease must be terminated prior to letting to a new tenant.  Once the landlord can determine that the tenant has abandoned the property, and stopped paying rent, the lease is broken and the landlord can sue the individual civilly for damages. 

Enigma

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #42 on: November 04, 2016, 09:40:00 AM »
I would immediately send an eviction notice via certified mail and get that ball rolling the moment he is 1 day past the agreed date of the move.  Everyone's name on the lease is whom gets the eviction notice due to failure to meet the lease terms.  Your discount of $650 will quickly be made up the next month when you have a different tenant.

They sound like they are playing you.  I do not recommend just accepting half rent until their lease is up.  It sounds like they will even push for you to evict them in Feb.  This headache will not go away unless you start the process for better terms for yourself.  You may get surprised with him actually coming up with all the money or the wife stepping in to pay.  Either way you will get nothing if you drag your feet.

Another Reader

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #43 on: November 04, 2016, 09:59:02 AM »
The right to occupy has been conveyed by the lease.  The lease must be terminated in some way to convey occupancy to a new tenant.  In most jurisdictions you need to file for eviction.

Cite, please, re most jurisdictions requiring this.  A prerequisite to filing for eviction is that the tenant is still occupying the premises, regardless of what the lease conveyed.  Clearly the prior lease must be terminated prior to letting to a new tenant.  Once the landlord can determine that the tenant has abandoned the property, and stopped paying rent, the lease is broken and the landlord can sue the individual civilly for damages.

We file for eviction when the rent is not paid, even if the tenants have clearly abandoned the premises.  Legally, we cannot enter until the eviction is completed.  To avoid the eviction process, there must be an agreement by all partIes to terminate the lease contract.  Without that agreement, the tenants are presumed to be in possession until they are evicted.  Possession is not the same as occupancy.

We operate in California and Arizona.  Your jurisdiction may operate differently.

Gin1984

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #44 on: November 04, 2016, 10:00:52 AM »
The right to occupy has been conveyed by the lease.  The lease must be terminated in some way to convey occupancy to a new tenant.  In most jurisdictions you need to file for eviction.

Cite, please, re most jurisdictions requiring this.  A prerequisite to filing for eviction is that the tenant is still occupying the premises, regardless of what the lease conveyed.  Clearly the prior lease must be terminated prior to letting to a new tenant.  Once the landlord can determine that the tenant has abandoned the property, and stopped paying rent, the lease is broken and the landlord can sue the individual civilly for damages.

We file for eviction when the rent is not paid, even if the tenants have clearly abandoned the premises.  Legally, we cannot enter until the eviction is completed.  To avoid the eviction process, there must be an agreement by all partIes to terminate the lease contract.  Without that agreement, the tenants are presumed to be in possession until they are evicted.  Possession is not the same as occupancy.

We operate in California and Arizona.  Your jurisdiction may operate differently.
I'm in NYS and that was what I was told to do.

Ensign1999

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #45 on: November 04, 2016, 10:41:46 AM »
You could also amend the lease in your favor at this point.  The whole situation is a bit of a mess, but your lawyer should be able to help you write an amendment that helps protect you.

Here are the steps I think I would take (might be different depending on what my lawyer tells me).
-You have made verbal agreement that he is supposed to move out on a certain date and he has paid you half a months rent to allow for this.  I would make sure I had this agreement in some form or writing.  A verbal agreement doesn't hold up in court.  I think I would make this more official and have a lawyer draft an Amendment showing that the lease is now terminating mid-November and that he is the sole occupant of the property.  By doing this, you now have a legal way to start the eviction the day after he is supposed to move out if he does not move out.
-If you come to any other agreement with him, I would get it in writing as a legal amendment to the lease.  You want to make sure that anything you do at this point is covered.
-If he fails to move out when he agreed to and refuses to sign an amendment (and I think you would need her signature as well to remove her from the lease) then I would consult with my lawyer and see if they have already broken the lease (only paying half the rent required by the lease and then not moving out or paying the rest of the months rent).  If they have broken the lease, then I would move to evict right away.

You need to protect your interests at this point and get out from being a party to their mess.

gregg687

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #46 on: November 04, 2016, 11:59:24 AM »
Thank you so much.  I wish I would have gotten the half rent agreement in writing, but I have learned my lesson.  Looks like I will file the eviction notice ASAP on the 15th. 

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #47 on: November 04, 2016, 10:19:21 PM »
If you didn't get the half rent agreement in writing, isn't he technically in default now and couldn't eviction proceedings begin ASAP? Any need to wait until the 15th? If you begin the process now, it might send the message that you mean business and perhaps he'll vacate ASAP?

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #48 on: November 07, 2016, 05:32:54 AM »
A verbal agreement is still a binding agreement in Tennessee.  That is where it gets complicated in my opinion.  Then again they came back after the agreement and cited they will need to be evicted and do not plan to leave.  My concern was just that a judge may still be in favor of the tenant and their kids if a verbal agreement and money paid for rent haven't actually lapsed.  Then the whole process gets pushed back till Dec/Jan.

My argument to decrease any potential fallout is to give them until the 15ths (since they paid up to that date) and then start the eviction process on the 16th.  All the while sending certified letters informing them that if they plan to stay past the 15th their rent is past due.

gregg687

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Re: Tenants Getting Divorced- What do I do?
« Reply #49 on: November 09, 2016, 06:56:05 AM »
Thanks Enigma, that is what I plan to do.  I figure it isn't worth a week and have this whole thing messed up and be additional months. 

I truly appreciate everyone who took time to respond and help me out.