As a landlord, you always hope that things will work out exactly as stipulated in a lease. Unfortunately, this is simply not the case. Situations arise that result in tenants needing to leave early, but there are also times when a landlord may need current tenants to vacate the property early. Unfortunately, this will not be easy, but with the right preparation and willingness to negotiate, it is possible for landlords to terminate a lease early.
Be Fully Prepared in Rental Agreement
Benjamin Franklin once said, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," and this is especially valid in a landlord-tenant relationship. In most situations, a lease is created specifically to prevent the agreeing parties from violating the terms of the lease. This means it can be difficult for landlords to end the agreement early, and that's why you should prepare a rental agreement.
With a rental agreement, you can create a month-to-month lease that either party can terminate at their discretion. There are online property management tools that provide rental agreement templates, but make sure to verify that they're legal for use in your state.
Keep in mind that a month-to-month lease doesn't mean you can roll in with a week's notice and take back a property. These clauses will usually provide a certain amount of notice that must be given, and in the end, this proves beneficial for both parties.
Provide Free Rent
If you didn't anticipate having to end the agreement early—and thus signed a full-term lease—your job becomes more difficult. It's not, however, impossible. One of the most popular methods of getting tenants to vacate a property early is by offering them free rent for a specified period.
This option is likely to influence your tenants to find a new home for several reasons. Once you make this offer, it's already apparent to residents that they'll have to move at the end of the lease anyway. This further incentivises them to move early in exchange for their last few months of rent.
If you need a tenant out in two or three months, offering them the last few months free will give them time to find a new place while saving money to cover moving costs and rent at their next home. Make sure, though, that you sign an agreement specifying these terms. Without this agreement, the tenant could try to stay longer even after receiving these months of free rent.
Though they are minimal, there are a few other options for getting tenants to leave early. If you're willing to lose a bit of money, you can always offer a tenant a cash payment to move out immediately. Once again, get this agreement in writing.
Additionally, landlords in some areas may be able to begin an owner move-in eviction. This allows for the early termination of a lease if you or a family member needs to move into your rental property. Keep in mind that these evictions may not be legal everywhere.
Terminating a lease before it's due is a complicated process, but you do have options. Most of all, remember to act in good faith and goodwill on the part of your tenants and you'll find these scenarios won't become hostile.
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