So, you signed a lease agreement with a happy and successful couple that you absolutely enjoyed having in your home or rental. However, over time, the exterior peeled away and it became apparent that a divorce was on the horizon. Now, you are left with two halves of a lease and only two ways to handle it.
Either the separated pair plan to break your lease or one of them intends of leasing the property on their own moving forward. Either way, dealing with this process can feel stressful and up-in-the-air at times. As such, we decided to help you walk through the entire event from step one all the way to the final step and beyond with this useful guide. Below are the best steps to take in order to handle a tenant divorce in the most stress-free and smoothest way possible.
One of the biggest mistakes that landlords make when dealing with a tenant divorce is picking a side. Although everyone loves a bit of drama and gossip, you must remain impartial and keep your distance from the situation. Once your emotions become involved, you will likely choose a side and cause even more trouble for yourself in the future.
You mustn’t forget that the lease is the most important part of this equation and that the key to this transition is focusing on the future rather than the present drama. A good way to go about this is running through your internal protocol to find whether or not the individuals plan on breaking the lease, subleasing, or one of them intends on simply giving the lease to the other individual.
Don’t let Your Emotions get the Best of You
During this process, you may become angry at the individuals, feel defeated, or even want to side with one of the individuals. Unfortunately, this is the last thing you should do when handling this situation. With stress levels already high and a lease now up in the air, you don’t want to give this separated couple any reason to ‘screw you over’.
If you become heated with them, make threats, or choose the side of one or the other, you create problems you simply don’t need to deal with and inevitably wind up with a far worse situation in the process. This is especially true when a bankruptcy is in the picture during the eviction process.
Determine if Only One Half Makes Triple the Monthly Rent
If one half of the separated couple keeps the lease under their own name solely, you may think your problems are solved. This isn’t the case, however. Sometimes, out of spite, an individual will claim they can afford the rental on their own when they simply cannot.
This is where you will put a protocol in place regarding a re-screening based on current financial status. For instance, if the couple barely qualified together, the likelihood of one individual making three times the rent on their own is slim and this could spell serious financial disaster in the future for you.
In this situation, ask for their last three pay stubs, a recommendation by their current boss, and proof of their long-term stability within their position. This will surely give you the results you are looking for. It will also help you to avoid a late rent payment or an eviction in the future.
Remove One or Both of the Tenants From the Lease
After you have decided how to go about this divorce situation, you will want to choose whether one or both of the tenants must be removed from the lease. If it is a sublease, they will legally need to stay on the lease so as to not break the lease.
However, what if it is a separation where one of the individuals keeps the lease? Remove the other tenant from the lease. This way they are not responsible for any mistakes made by the other party. They also won’t be responsible for evictions that happen thereafter.
Lastly, if it is a broken lease or eviction, you will obviously want to remove both parties. You will also want to track any damages or losses during this time. Lastly, it is time to follow through with the eviction/ broken lease process as you normally would.
Hire a Professional to Handle the Harder Situations
Although you can always go through this tedious process on your own, it may be in your best interest to work with a professional in order to handle the harder and more complicated processes with ease.
With this being said, if you are looking for a Baltimore property management team with years of experience in tenant divorces and what happens afterwards, contact Moon Ridge Property Management today! We aren’t afraid to do the dirty work for you and let you put these troubling experiences behind you without fail!