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Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:32 pm
by lomarica01
Our great tenants are having their first child and suddenly want to leave 2 months early of their second 1 year lease. Just wondering if I should take any actions such as keeping part of the deposit, pet deposit or something or just let it go and wish the young kids well. I know some might say you should not be a landlord if you can't evict someone on Christmas eve, but I think that is a bit much. One thought is I should be able to raise the rent, so the sooner they leave the sooner I can raise the rent. The rental is paid for and I think I know what my wife will say when I tell her this news.
Any Advice is appreciated.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:34 pm
by denovo
What does your contract say about breaking the lease?

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:35 pm
by Keepcalm
They pay the two months. Period.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:36 pm
by samsoes
You said they were great tenants; that's like gold. Let 'em go early, wish them well, thank them for being good tenants, and offer to give them a good reference. They probably found a bigger place to accommodate a growing family and don't want to lose it.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:37 pm
by david
lomarica01 wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:32 pm Our great tenants are having their first child and suddenly want to leave 2 months early of their second 1 year lease. Just wondering if I should take any actions such as keeping part of the deposit, pet deposit or something or just let it go and wish the young kids well. I know some might say you should not be a landlord if you can't evict someone on Christmas eve, but I think that is a bit much. One thought is I should be able to raise the rent, so the sooner they leave the sooner I can raise the rent. The rental is paid for and I think I know what my wife will say when I tell her this news.
Any Advice is appreciated.
You may want to try and rent the space, and if you can rent it give them back their deposit. If you can't, keep the security deposit as your damages from having the place remain empty. (In some places, this is a legal requirement on the landlord, called mitigating damages.)

No reason to be heartless, no reason to be a pushover.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:38 pm
by mhc
If it will be easy to find new renters and you can raise the rate, then let your current tenants go with no penalty. Being kind is always a good thing.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:38 pm
by KATNYC
lomarica01 wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:32 pm Our great tenants are having their first child and suddenly want to leave 2 months early of their second 1 year lease. Just wondering if I should take any actions such as keeping part of the deposit, pet deposit or something or just let it go and wish the young kids well. I know some might say you should not be a landlord if you can't evict someone on Christmas eve, but I think that is a bit much. One thought is I should be able to raise the rent, so the sooner they leave the sooner I can raise the rent. The rental is paid for and I think I know what my wife will say when I tell her this news.
Any Advice is appreciated.
If there is a penalty in the lease for leaving early, I would follow through on it if you can't relet the place to make up for the early move out. If it's already in writing, they shouldn't be surprised. I'd keep part of the deposit only if the rental needs repairs. I'd wish them well but it's still a business.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:52 pm
by randomguy
david wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:37 pm
lomarica01 wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:32 pm Our great tenants are having their first child and suddenly want to leave 2 months early of their second 1 year lease. Just wondering if I should take any actions such as keeping part of the deposit, pet deposit or something or just let it go and wish the young kids well. I know some might say you should not be a landlord if you can't evict someone on Christmas eve, but I think that is a bit much. One thought is I should be able to raise the rent, so the sooner they leave the sooner I can raise the rent. The rental is paid for and I think I know what my wife will say when I tell her this news.
Any Advice is appreciated.
You may want to try and rent the space, and if you can rent it give them back their deposit. If you can't, keep the security deposit as your damages from having the place remain empty. (In some places, this is a legal requirement on the landlord, called mitigating damages.)

No reason to be heartless, no reason to be a pushover.
And in some places doing that is a violation of rental laws and leaves the landlord liable for damages. As always check your local laws.

How much notice are they giving you (i.e. they will be out in 2 weeks versus 2 months)? If you are getting 30+ days, I would let it go and move on to finding a new tenant.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:56 pm
by dm200
samsoes wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:36 pm You said they were great tenants; that's like gold. Let 'em go early, wish them well, thank them for being good tenants, and offer to give them a good reference. They probably found a bigger place to accommodate a growing family and don't want to lose it.
I agree. They are, apparently, leaving only a small period before the lease termination. You seem to have plenty of notice to prepare for the next tenants and you might be able to increase the rent for the next tenants.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:57 pm
by Da5id
My inclination is to have them pay or (if you allow) find subletters. If they gave enough notice that you can find new tenants, I'd let them off the hook though.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:00 pm
by dm200
Da5id wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:57 pm My inclination is to have them pay or (if you allow) find subletters. If they gave enough notice that you can find new tenants, I'd let them off the hook though.
I really doubt subletting is possible/practical for just the 1-2 months.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:00 pm
by ajr22
Talk to them and see if they will be helpful in keeping the unit clean in show condition as well as very flexible on showings. If you the unit needs no work to turn it and they are easy to work with for showings let them go free. Tenants can make your life difficult with showings (messiness/inflexible with showings) which can cause much slower turns and money out of your pocket. You already got almost two years of headache-free rents which is a blessing. You never know if they know someone who will want the place now or in the future.

However, if you want to keep the deposit/charge them there is nothing wrong with that, either. Your choice.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:02 pm
by lomarica01
Thanks for all the responses. Interesting there was no clear concensus but I will review the lease and go from there

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:05 pm
by knpstr
You can give charity to anyone. If you want to "let them leave" you can. I wouldn't give nor promise full deposit before they leave.

I would wait till the leave, try to re-rent.
If the place is spotless and re-rented within say 3 weeks, keep deposit amount equivalent of 3 weeks lost rent. If you don't need the money, would like to give them a gift, let them leave with a full deposit. If you do so, I'm sure you know they won't go around singing your praises of great generosity to strangers.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:09 pm
by Pajamas
If you can raise the rent, don't penalize them, give them a gift for the baby, and wish them well. You would be in the same situation in two months anyway. Sure, you could enforce the letter of the lease, withhold the security deposit, etc., but you really wouldn't gain from it under the circumstances. You will be able to sleep well at night.

Even if you decide to enforce the lease, make your best effort to rent it as soon as possible and consider refunding any amount over what makes you whole.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:16 pm
by itstoomuch
mhc wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:38 pm If it will be easy to find new renters and you can raise the rate, then let your current tenants go with no penalty. Being kind is always a good thing.
Our renters are terminating at the end of their lease. We even offer them a new build, never lived in TH with views, AC, great location and neighborhood but different neighborhood. They wanted to stay in the same area :| :annoyed .
They are great housekeepers, and we are showing the place for a March turnover. We are raising rent 2% in the process.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:17 pm
by Lauretta
lomarica01 wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:32 pm Our great tenants are having their first child and suddenly want to leave 2 months early of their second 1 year lease. Just wondering if I should take any actions such as keeping part of the deposit, pet deposit or something or just let it go and wish the young kids well. I know some might say you should not be a landlord if you can't evict someone on Christmas eve, but I think that is a bit much. One thought is I should be able to raise the rent, so the sooner they leave the sooner I can raise the rent. The rental is paid for and I think I know what my wife will say when I tell her this news.
Any Advice is appreciated.
I would definitely let them go without penalising them (you speak of them as 'great tenants' and personally I always feel very grateful and accomodating when I have great tenants, since I have experienced the hassle of having bad ones). And as you say you'll be able to raise the rent. It's happened to me in the past (and it wasn't because of their child, they didn't really have a valid reason) but I just found new tenants at a higher price.
But then I am not sure I am qualified to give good advice, as I have rented out one of my flats in the past to a couple of very bad tenants precisely on Christmas Eve(!) because they really needed it (and I subsequently lost near one year's rent because I hadn't made the necessary checks)...But that was a long time ago and I think I know better now.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:19 pm
by TallBoy29er
What would you want done for you, if you were in their shoes? What feels right?

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:22 pm
by Grt2bOutdoors
My two cents: if they've been good tenants, then you must have been good landlords. Let the good karma continue, make sure the apartment is in viewing and good condition, let them go, give back deposit if apartment is returned back in as good if not better condition when they started renting it.

See what your wife thinks.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:22 pm
by fposte
dm200 wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:00 pm
Da5id wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:57 pm My inclination is to have them pay or (if you allow) find subletters. If they gave enough notice that you can find new tenants, I'd let them off the hook though.
I really doubt subletting is possible/practical for just the 1-2 months.
It's common around here to start with a sublet and roll over into direct tenancy with the new lease. If they're great tenants, they may even be able to refer someone.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:23 pm
by dm200
fposte wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:22 pm
dm200 wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:00 pm
Da5id wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:57 pm My inclination is to have them pay or (if you allow) find subletters. If they gave enough notice that you can find new tenants, I'd let them off the hook though.
I really doubt subletting is possible/practical for just the 1-2 months.
It's common around here to start with a sublet and roll over into direct tenancy with the new lease. If they're great tenants, they may even be able to refer someone.
OK - that is not something I am familiar with.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:25 pm
by dm200
When I was a renter (many years ago), it was common that, after the first year, renters would go on a month to month lease.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:26 pm
by Tal-
We own quite a few rentals, and have had, somewhat similar situations.

My view: Let them leave. In fact, I completely agree with the advice to buy them a gift and wish them well.

Breaking a lease early (but with notice) should have virtually no impact on, or cost to you. To illustrate this point, consider two situations: They leave with notice early, or they stay the extra 2 months and then leave. In either situation, you have turnover costs and lost revenue - but these costs should be the same if they happen today vs in 2 months.

Yes, your lease gives you the opportunity to take advantage of them. Them breaking the lease and you exercising this right actually gets you more money than if they had just followed the lease and left in 2 months. But, just because you can take advantage of them, doesn't mean you should.

As a landlord, I get that you need to make business decisions that can be hard. And when it comes to decisions that cost me money, I'm happy to be a hard nose. But, this isn't one of those times, and being a good person doesn't cost you much.

Congratulate them. Let them walk. You aren't really out anything, and everyone sleeps better at night.

Let us know what you decide.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:28 pm
by TSR
fposte wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:22 pm
dm200 wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:00 pm
Da5id wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:57 pm My inclination is to have them pay or (if you allow) find subletters. If they gave enough notice that you can find new tenants, I'd let them off the hook though.
I really doubt subletting is possible/practical for just the 1-2 months.
It's common around here to start with a sublet and roll over into direct tenancy with the new lease. If they're great tenants, they may even be able to refer someone.
Just because you mention a lack of consensus, I will add my vote to letting them go without penalty. Wish them well and ask them if they might be willing to post the listing on facebook.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:32 pm
by UpperNwGuy
Just let them go. Be generous. Don't pull out the fine print.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:33 pm
by denovo
Pajamas wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:09 pm If you can raise the rent, don't penalize them, give them a gift for the baby, and wish them well. You would be in the same situation in two months anyway. Sure, you could enforce the letter of the lease, withhold the security deposit, etc., but you really wouldn't gain from it under the circumstances. You will be able to sleep well at night.

Are you a landlord?

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:34 pm
by SmileyFace
How much notice did they give you that they want to leave 2 months early? (e.g. are they leaving suddenly or have they told you they want to leave in 30 days or 60 days or ??). Does it give you enough time to potentially re-rent it? If so - why wouldn't you let them break the lease and leave?
I'd let them go if they've been great tenants.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:39 pm
by drg02b
If they gave you more than 30 days notice, then let them go, or ask for a partial payment/split the difference. Not sure if you have a lot of properties, but they could be a good or bad reference for you. If they're good tenants, ask them to tell their friends.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:46 pm
by JBTX
Not a landlord. So I don't speak from experience.

On one hand this isn't a charity. If you view it as a business decision - what is the best business decision? Enforce the contract, or let them leave early hoping that their satisfaction/word of mouth will help lead to future positive referrals?

However, if you think letting them go early is the charitable thing to do, and that is where you want to expend your charity, and you can afford it, then by all means do it.

A compromise is to tell them you really can't afford to let it go two months unpaid, but maybe work out a compromise and split the difference, and if they can help lead to a referral let them off the hook.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:47 pm
by flamesabers
lomarica01 wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:02 pmThanks for all the responses. Interesting there was no clear concensus but I will review the lease and go from there
I think sticking to the terms of the lease is the simplest and safest option. Arbitrarily altering the terms of leases with some of your tenants could potentially lead to a disgruntled tenant suing you on the grounds of discrimination.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:54 pm
by novillero
It’s very simple. Legally, your damages are limited to the rest of the lease. But you have a duty to mitigate your damages by actively looking for new renters.

See if they know somebody who will rent the place, or start searching now.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 5:02 pm
by cadk
Check your state's / local laws if you are not planning on being lenient. For example, in CA a landlord can only charge the renter a reasonable cost of replacing the tenant (regardless of what is in the lease). If you are in an upmarket, with rentals in high demand, it would be hard to legally justify that the renter should pay the entire two months.

www.nolo.com has books that cover various states laws on renting (also comes with a download of all the forms which is handy).

Like other posters, I would thank them for being great tenants and wish them well.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 5:15 pm
by ralph124cf
Under no circumstances would I allow a tenant to sub-let one of my units. This leaves you out of the loop on credit checks and background/criminal checks.

There are far more people who I do NOT want as tenants than there are people that I DO want as tenants.

It is much, much better to have NO tenant than to have a BAD tenant.

Ralph

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 5:16 pm
by dm200
flamesabers wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:47 pm
lomarica01 wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:02 pmThanks for all the responses. Interesting there was no clear concensus but I will review the lease and go from there
I think sticking to the terms of the lease is the simplest and safest option. Arbitrarily altering the terms of leases with some of your tenants could potentially lead to a disgruntled tenant suing you on the grounds of discrimination.
Even for me - that seems a real "stretch". How would some other renter even find out the details of a previous lease?

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 5:39 pm
by Da5id
dm200 wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:00 pm
Da5id wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:57 pm My inclination is to have them pay or (if you allow) find subletters. If they gave enough notice that you can find new tenants, I'd let them off the hook though.
I really doubt subletting is possible/practical for just the 1-2 months.
Depends on the area. Maybe in a college town it would fly.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 5:43 pm
by BolderBoy
samsoes wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:36 pm You said they were great tenants; that's like gold. Let 'em go early, wish them well, thank them for being good tenants, and offer to give them a good reference. They probably found a bigger place to accommodate a growing family and don't want to lose it.
+1. This. "Life is short and full of pain..."

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 5:45 pm
by barnaclebob
flamesabers wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:47 pm
lomarica01 wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:02 pmThanks for all the responses. Interesting there was no clear concensus but I will review the lease and go from there
I think sticking to the terms of the lease is the simplest and safest option. Arbitrarily altering the terms of leases with some of your tenants could potentially lead to a disgruntled tenant suing you on the grounds of discrimination.
Not renting to someone because they are pregnant would be discrimination. Once the tenent is in a lease the OP can adopt any amendment he wants if the lessor agrees to it and it doesnt violate state laws. Id bet that for it to be discrimination youd have to establish a pattern or find an email where the OP admitted to discrimination.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 5:45 pm
by flamesabers
dm200 wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 5:16 pm
flamesabers wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:47 pm
lomarica01 wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:02 pmThanks for all the responses. Interesting there was no clear concensus but I will review the lease and go from there
I think sticking to the terms of the lease is the simplest and safest option. Arbitrarily altering the terms of leases with some of your tenants could potentially lead to a disgruntled tenant suing you on the grounds of discrimination.
Even for me - that seems a real "stretch". How would some other renter even find out the details of a previous lease?
The issue isn't finding out the precise details of the lease. The issue is other tenants finding out the OP is making exceptions to the rules for some tenants. This discovery could be made via social media or word of mouth. Consider the possibility of what if these great tenants post a glowing review on the landlord's site about how accommodating the OP was in terms of allowing the lease to be broken early.
barnaclebob wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 5:45 pmNot renting to someone because they are pregnant would be discrimination. Once the tenent is in a lease the OP can adopt any amendment he wants if the lessor agrees to it and it doesnt violate state laws. Id bet that for it to be discrimination youd have to establish a pattern or find an email where the OP admitted to discrimination.
In regards to discrimination, I was thinking in terms of the OP letting this couple break the lease without consequence but not doing the same for a different couple. If it's arbitrary and not due to an amendment to the lease, this could be regarded as discrimination against the second couple.

Ultimately my point to the OP was if you're going to bend the rules for one tenant but not another, there might be legal ramifications for doing so.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 5:54 pm
by Abe
I knew a fellow who rented a house to a couple. One day the husband came to him and said he couldn't pay the rent this month because his wife was pregnant. The landlord said do you remember when you moved in to my house we agreed that anything that's my fault I pay for; anything that's your fault you pay for. The tenant said, "yes I remember". The landlord said, "I want you to know I didn't have anything to do with your wife being pregnant".

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:43 pm
by denovo
denovo wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:34 pm What does your contract say about breaking the lease?
Follow-up.

When drafting your lease or extension, did you check your state's landlord/tenant law to make sure your terms were compliant with the law? If not, you should check those now.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:46 pm
by randomguy
denovo wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:43 pm
denovo wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:34 pm What does your contract say about breaking the lease?
Follow-up.

When drafting your lease or extension, did you check your state's landlord/tenant law to make sure your terms were compliant with the law? If not, you should check those now.
+1. There are really 2 issues here
a) What are you AND the tenants legal obligations once they inform you that they are going to break the lease. In CA for example, you are required as the landlord to try and find another tenant (and there are a lot of court cases about things like trying and what happens if you jack the rent up 20% or do 30 days worth of repairs) and once that person signs, the previous occupants liability is eliminated. Some of the suggestions in this thread are clearly illegal in certain jurisdictions no matter what the lease document says. Rules on subletting often fall into this category. To some extent you have no recourse if the tenant does chose to sublet. In most areas it would take over 2 months to work something through the courts and they can argue things like the person is just a guest/house sitting.

b) what you want to do. Maybe waving the last 2 months and gambling that you can get someone in paying 20% more is worth it. Maybe you would rather be trying to rent in say May instead of July. Or the reverse. It does leave you open to the potential for discrimination lawsuits but those people will find something else to sue you about anyway:). A lot of people do business with the concept of doing what is right for both parties and only going to the contract when their is a disagreement. There leaving 2 months early might not cost you anything (i.e. you will have to rent out the apartment anyway in 2 months and if you don't make a deal with them they can chose to keep the apartment until the end so it isn't like you can do repairs/paint jobs/showings on their dime anyway. Maybe they choose to use it as a party house for 2 months for their friends:)).

What you need to do is figure out A and then figure out what the heck you want to do. The intersection of those 2 items is what you should be doing:)

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:55 pm
by MP123
Let them go, give back deposits assuming it's in good shape, and raise the rent. Win/win.

Trying to claw two months rent out of them isn't worth the headaches.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:39 pm
by bsteiner
dm200 wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:25 pm When I was a renter (many years ago), it was common that, after the first year, renters would go on a month to month lease.
When I was a tenant I negotiated that in the renewals after the first year I could terminate the lease on 2 months’ notice. The landlord wouldn’t be any worse off if I left at a different time of the year. Indeed since I took the apartment on a February 1, the landlord would probably be better off if I moved out at the end of a different month (other than December).

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:58 am
by raisinsaregrapes
MP123 wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:55 pm Let them go, give back deposits assuming it's in good shape, and raise the rent. Win/win.

Trying to claw two months rent out of them isn't worth the headaches.
I do a month to month lease and give my renters very competitive rent. Gives them flexibility but also encourages them to be good renters because they know that I can end the lease in 30 days if I need too. My current renters are on their 3rd year and always pay on time.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:13 am
by arsenalfan
(Assuming compliant with state laws and your Lease says sec deposit is forfeit if lease is prematurely broken)

I would keep the deposit as per contract and tell them that's your plan now.
If they want the deposit back, tell them to:
Find a subletter you approve of for the 2 months.
Find a new tenant starting when they want to leave - and will provide a finder fee to incentivize them.

Granted, it is a lot easier for me to write this neutral advice about an anonymous person's rental.
If I knew/liked the tenants, and wasn't dependent on the income, I probably would let them go/take the risk and raise the rent. Karma, etc.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:22 am
by Liberty1100
The number 1 thing is don't break the law. In most states, security deposits are to only cover physical damages, not lost rent or late payments. It is not your money to pay their rent with, only to cover damages beyond normal wear and tear. For examples, changing a 10 year old carpet shouldn't be paid for by their security deposit, but a 1 year old carpet should be paid for by their security deposit if left stains throughout the bedrooms.

The law over rules over what ever your lease says or they agreed to (you can't agree to break the law). I know in MA, if the landlord mishandles the security deposit, the renter is owed 3x the full security deposit immediately. That's a nice chunk of change.

Next, what does your lease state? Do you have a "breaking the lease" section? If not, add one in for next time. I would suggest having a lawyer review your lease completely before you find new ones.

Third, does them moving out benefit you? You mention rent increase, but what about the timing? Here, there is really a intense rental season with September 1st being the big move-in day. Does your market have such a season and does this make it closer to it or off of it?

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:42 am
by 8foot7
I have two thoughts.
One, if you are really trying to be in rental property as an ongoing part of your financial enterprise, I would use this as an opportunity to exercise your backbone. If you didn't get this tenant's wife pregnant, then I am unclear why it is on you to forgive rent that should be due to you per an agreement everyone entered into in good faith. To be a landlord professionally one must be able to hear all sorts of excuses with understanding and grace but a clear view that rent is still due. An excuse a year will kill your return and you'd be better off in an index fund. Business is business. That doesn't mean nickel and dime everyone but rent and term ought to be rent for the term.

on the other hand, if you are a reluctant landlord and just trying to cover expenses on a property you would liquidate later, then do what feels right.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:45 am
by bottlecap
dm200 wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:56 pm
samsoes wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:36 pm You said they were great tenants; that's like gold. Let 'em go early, wish them well, thank them for being good tenants, and offer to give them a good reference. They probably found a bigger place to accommodate a growing family and don't want to lose it.
I agree. They are, apparently, leaving only a small period before the lease termination. You seem to have plenty of notice to prepare for the next tenants and you might be able to increase the rent for the next tenants.
I agree with this. I imagine that you are entitled to charge them both months under the lease. If they were good tenants and they kept the place in good shape, I would either eat the two months or split the difference with them.

It's not clear to me how much notice they are giving you, but that might change things as well. You likely have a legal duty to mitigate any damages caused by their early termination. If they are three months from their new proposed move out date, I would imagine that would be plenty of time for you to find a renter. If it's next week, they I'd be more incline to require them to pay the last two months. If you get someone in there early, you can always send a check for the difference back to them.

Good luck,

JT

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:51 am
by destinationnc
I would let them leave. I still run into my former landlord who did a great job. If they ever needed a favor I'd be more than willing to help them out. Had they forced me to pay 2 months rent while expecting then I wouldn't give them the time of day. Yeah yeah it's a contract but have some perspective on things, and like someone else said put yourself in their shoes.

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:16 am
by MI_bogle
bottlecap wrote: Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:45 am
dm200 wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:56 pm
samsoes wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:36 pm You said they were great tenants; that's like gold. Let 'em go early, wish them well, thank them for being good tenants, and offer to give them a good reference. They probably found a bigger place to accommodate a growing family and don't want to lose it.
I agree. They are, apparently, leaving only a small period before the lease termination. You seem to have plenty of notice to prepare for the next tenants and you might be able to increase the rent for the next tenants.
I agree with this. I imagine that you are entitled to charge them both months under the lease. If they were good tenants and they kept the place in good shape, I would either eat the two months or split the difference with them.

It's not clear to me how much notice they are giving you, but that might change things as well. You likely have a legal duty to mitigate any damages caused by their early termination. If they are three months from their new proposed move out date, I would imagine that would be plenty of time for you to find a renter. If it's next week, they I'd be more incline to require them to pay the last two months. If you get someone in there early, you can always send a check for the difference back to them.

Good luck,

JT
+1 or + however many have supported this idea

Having been the good tenant in this situation twice, both times with good landlords, we easily reached a handshake agreement that worked for both parties, despite the lease we had each agreed to.

We left early, but agreed to pay rent until the new landlord found a tenant. Both times they rented it out for higher rent than we had been paying and found tenants before we even moved out, so we ended up not paying anything extra. We were inclined to be extra accommodating when potential tenants wanted to view the house, because the landlord was in turn accommodating us

It sounds like they are giving pretty advanced notice. Relationships matter. Not everything is about a contract. If they kept the place in great shape and have been fantastic tenants, ask them if they know any potential tenants and don't squeeze them for 2 months of rent