It happened, you, the landlord need to break the lease. Whether it is you are moving back in the area or selling the house; it is all the same. You need a way out of your lease, a binding contract with your tenants. The first thing you will want to do is to review you lease to see if they cover your current issues. Here are the three things you will want to review in your lease.
- Reverse Military Clause – In all of my leases I have a reverse military clause. This lets me break the lease at any time if we get orders back to the area.
- Break Lease Clause– I have in all my leases a break lease clause. This means my tenants or myself can at any time break the lease with 60 days notice and 2 month break lease fee. No questions asked!
- Sale Clause– My leases all have a 90 day sales clause. This allows me to break the lease with no penalty if I decide to sell the house. This was actually standard in my California lease and I used it as inspiration every where else.
If you review your lease and find one of these clauses than you are home free! No more questions or concerns following the lease and you are out.
Author’s Note: This is why it is sooooo important to have a tight lease and cover EVERYTHING even if you swear it would NEVER happen to you!! Trust me there is a reason why the saying “never say never” exists!! If you want to learn about everything I have in my lease check out How to write a lease in one evening and my awesome ebook The Everything Lease Addendum.
The problem arises when you DO NOT have anything in your lease.
The next step is to check out your local state laws. Some states have laws that specifiy these provisions and outline how one can break your lease if it’s not covered in your lease specifically, i.e. Florida. Here is the post where I have a summary of all 50 states and links or their local code.
Here’s where it becomes tricky. It become tricky when you have NOTHING in your lease AND your local laws have no provision. The reason it is dicey is you have a legally binding contract. The tenants are under NO contractual obligation to let you out of your lease . (Did I mention the important of a GREAT lease that covers all the different provisions?).
So now that you can’t REQUIRE the tenant to let you back into the house you have to look at your other options. These other options are:
One – Convince the Tenant To Move Out Early
Obviously if you want to move and they aren’t require to move out you have to entice them out. There are a couple of ways:
- Acknowledge that you are not renewing the lease and ask them if they would like to leave early- Depending on when you are moving back in your tenants might move out simply because they know you won’t be renewing the lease.
- Offer Monetary Repayment- If they won’t move out on their own you can always pay them to vacate.
Two – Find a Short Term Rental
You can leave your items in storage for up to 3 months for free with the military. I have heard that they offer waivers. Depending on the location (such as Virginia Beach) there are lots of fully furnished rentals. Staying in a rental might be a great option.
Three – Rent Another House
If you cannot get into the house you might need to rent another house and then just move when you house is vacated or just stay in the rental. While this might not be ideal it might be the easiest.
Four – Buy Another House
While this is will not work for everyone, having your rental filled is a great excuse to simply buy another one. Personal properties are an awesome type of investment as they have a cheaper interest rate and require less money down. Whether you use your VA loan (only allowed for personal properties) or a conventional 5% down loan (only for personal property), it is much cheaper than the 20-25% down that conventional investment property purchases require.
If there is a “will there is always a way”. So while you will always figure something out I personally have the three options written in my lease. While I am not required at anytime to use them, I always have the option. Unfortunately you can all decide not to use it, you cannot always add it later than it is needed.
What has your experience been? Have you had to move back into your home? Do you have regrets, or I am thankful I did something else?