House #18: Tenant Leaving

April 20, 2011 · 13 comments

We have had a tenant in The Haggle House since November, and she has requested that she be allowed to cut her lease short…we are going to let her…

Without mincing words, the tenant has been a pain in the butt the entire time she has been in the house; it started with her complaining about trivial items and escalated to her complaining that the her heating bills were so high that she couldn’t afford to pay them (despite her choice to leave the thermostat at 75 degrees during the winter).

This was back in January (during the coldest winter on record here in Atlanta), and when I suggested that she consider turning her heat down, she came back the following week and said that her child’s doctor had diagnosed the child with asthma stemming from the cold house, and that she didn’t know what to do. To avoid a ridiculous on-going argument, at the time I told her that we’d be happy to let her out of her lease with no penalty; we didn’t hear anything from her for the next few months.

Then yesterday, she called my project manager (who is my Property Manager as well), and told him that the doctor is now saying the asthma is the result of “either the carpet or the ducts in the house.” Considering the carpet was new when she moved in and the ducts were professionally cleaned, I highly doubt that’s the case, but again, I didn’t feel like arguing. So, again, I offered to let her out of the lease.

This time, she took us up on it. Of course, when I told her I’d need a firm date that she will be leaving, she hemmed and hawed that didn’t didn’t know where she was going to go and needed more time to figure it out. I reminded her that this didn’t seem like the response of a concerned parent, and that I’d only let her out of the lease if she could give me a firm date.

Ultimately, she decided that she’d leave on May 15 (about a month from now). My attorney is writing up a contract to release her from the lease (I want to be careful with this one, as she has claimed health issues from the house), and I expect we’ll have it signed and official later this week.

So, come May 15, the property will be vacant, and while we’re considering all options, I have a feeling we’ll probably put it up for sale at that time.

13 responses to “House #18: Tenant Leaving”

  1. Zac says:

    Very smart idea to to let her out of her lease with no penalty … also very smart having your attorney write-up a contract to release her from the lease. You’ll definitely want that legal leg to stand on if and when she tries bringing you to court. Some tenants are simply impossible to please. Are you going to conduct a move-out inspection of the house with her present when she’s ready to turn in keys?

  2. Tom Greene says:

    That’s called the happy clause. You are happy she is leaving and she is happy she is gone.

  3. Mark in Fl says:

    And tenants are getting worse by the day. After 25 years, no more rentals for me. I’ve had all I can stand. LIfe is too short.

  4. reci says:

    I do understand how you feel and what you did is right to waive off the penalty. But like Mark in Fl said “Life too short”

    Thanks for sharing

  5. Bilgefisher says:


    Smart move on the legal side of things. Hope all goes without further complications.


  6. Luis says:

    It sounds to me she is looking for a way to sue you even though she clearly has no idea what the hell she is saying.

  7. J Scott says:

    Hey Luis –

    While we didn’t think there was a high likelihood of that, it did cross our mind. That’s why we had our attorney draw up the Lease Amendment, and include about two pages of verbiage that says she releases us of any responsibility, agrees not to sue for any reason, indemnifies us against any potential issues, and agrees that our letting her out of the lease early doesn’t constitute an admission of anything. Basically, a whole lot of cover-our-ass stuff, just in case.

    She signed it last night without any questions…so not only am I confident that we’re covered, it doesn’t appear that was her intent. I’m pretty sure she just wants to get out of the lease to move in with her boyfriend or something, and I’m happy to do it, as I’m looking forward to selling this one for a large profit at this point…

  8. says:

    House #18: Tenant Leaving…

    House #18: Tenant Leaving…

  9. Hec says:

    Great website and blog J ! You’re doing great as well.
    With rentals, we have had our ups and downs, however the downs tended to go away when we changed the way we found tenants.
    Basically like this : Simple add in newspaper – “open home 2:15 t 2:30 this saturday xyz address” 3/2 with double garage for rent abc$ per month” thats it, NO phone number.
    At the open home keep the mouth shut and take names and numbers of people interested. You get the feel for the right people pretty quick and its gets real easy the more you do it.
    Flipping is a lot more fun tho !

  10. J Scott says:

    Hec –

    Thanks for the tips!

  11. ezra says:

    It just occured to me I’ve been sick ever since I visited you last year. Must have been the sheets in the guest room! I’m suing!

  12. Mark in Fl says:

    Reading about this tenant will make your stomach turn:

  13. J Scott says:

    Mark –

    Thanks for that link! I’m going to make that a post next week…

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