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We are on good terms with our landlord, however, a house came on the market in our school zone (have 2 kids). In our area good places go quickly. I do not want to break my lease on bad terms, and I do not want to lose this house. I am considering putting in an offer. What are my options to avoid paying another 6 months of rent along with a new mortgage? Is my landlord responsible for finding another renter? Or am I on the hook? Thanks for any input.

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This is constructive feedback. I agree (in an ideal world) renting is a means to an end for both parties, not just one.... (more)

robojwest (Jan. 12, 2013 @ 3:46p) |

this might be an opportunity for the LL to raise rent for the next tenant depending on the local markets in your city. I... (more)

xit (Jan. 12, 2013 @ 11:15p) |

Why not make an offer on a house contingent on seller paying off lease?

cameron2003 (Jan. 26, 2013 @ 2:24p) |

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robojwest said:   We are on good terms with our landlord, however, a house came on the market in our school zone (have 2 kids). In our area good places go quickly. I do not want to break my lease on bad terms, and I do not want to lose this house. I am considering putting in an offer. What are my options to avoid paying another 6 months of rent along with a new mortgage? Is my landlord responsible for finding another renter? Or am I on the hook? Thanks for any input.

read your lease?

but usually you'd be responsible for paying rent for the term of your lease.

What does your lease say? Would you like it if the LL asks you to leave in the middle of the lease since he found another higher paying tenant. The lease is for a reason, and I believe you can break it only for specific reasons, such as a job more than 150 miles away or something

If you add six month worth of lease payments to the sale price of the house, would you still buy the house? That's the factor that decides if you make an offer on the house before talking to the landlord, or talk to the landlord before offering on the house. Either way, when you talk to the landlord you simply tell him you want to buy a house, and ask what it'll take to buy out the remainder of your lease.

And don't forget, unless things move extremely fast you're going to have another couple months before being able to actually move into the new home.

Explain to landlord your situation, if they are reasonable they *might* let you slide out of the lease. If that doesn't work consider these options,

1) sublease - you will find someone to rent the apt
2) break the lease - no other choice, lose security deposit vs 6 months of rent - really depends on the landlord

The landlord is not responsible for finding tenants.

I have seen apartment leases with 2 months penalty for breaking the lease and SFH leases showing the full amount you owe over the life of the lease. Depends on what your lease says. You are ultimately responsible.

No one here can give you accurate advice with the information presented. What does your lease day about breaking the contract? What state do you live in?

Also,

Regardless of what the lease says, your landlord my agree to a early termination if you just ask. This is why it's so important to maintain good relationships with your landlord.

There's another angle, which is that even if you put in an offer on the house, you can put the closing date 2 months from now, so that you only have 4 months of overlap. You are almost certainly going to need *some* overlap to clean/touch-up the new home and to move in.

This information is in your lease. My lease says to break the lease I owe them 1 month rent + security deposit (which is only $100) if i give them 30 day notice. Most leases aren't that forgiving. Place I live in has 100% occupancy and a waiting list, so they aren't out anything if you break the lease.

First off, thanks for all the replies - hardly expected quick responses. I live in Seattle, Washington. It's becoming more clear I need to read my lease more closely. I'll do that when I go home tonight. I need to have a conversation with my landlord prior to going forward. My wife, bless her soul, sort of thinks we can just get out of the lease. I am not so sure I agree. If I were a landlord, I would be annoyed with my tenant - even if I do not plan on renting again. In the long term paying extra 4 months of rent would not matter over 30 years. I hadn't thought of the subletting idea. I suppose in that case is it on me to screen applicants? I don't know anyone currently looking for a place to rent. Rents are going way up in the area I live since a lot of young hipsters like to live here so the landlord may agree and raise the rent?

robojwest said:   First off, thanks for all the replies - hardly expected quick responses. I live in Seattle, Washington. It's becoming more clear I need to read my lease more closely. I'll do that when I go home tonight. I need to have a conversation with my landlord prior to going forward. My wife, bless her soul, sort of thinks we can just get out of the lease. I am not so sure I agree. If I were a landlord, I would be annoyed with my tenant - even if I do not plan on renting again. In the long term paying extra 4 months of rent would not matter over 30 years. I hadn't thought of the subletting idea. I suppose in that case is it on me to screen applicants? I don't know anyone currently looking for a place to rent. Rents are going way up in the area I live since a lot of young hipsters like to live here so the landlord may agree and raise the rent?
If you can just "get out the lease" as your blessed wife seems to think, why would the landlord even make you sign one?

robojwest said:    I hadn't thought of the subletting idea. I suppose in that case is it on me to screen applicants? I don't know anyone currently looking for a place to rent.

Be aware that many leases disallow subletting. So, go read your lease.

DaGimp said:   Explain to landlord your situation, if they are reasonable they *might* let you slide out of the lease. If that doesn't work consider these options,

1) sublease - you will find someone to rent the apt
2) break the lease - no other choice, lose security deposit vs 6 months of rent - really depends on the landlord

The landlord is not responsible for finding tenants.


Actually in some pro-tenant states. The LL is supposed to use "best efforts" to find a new tenant when the current tenants breaks the lease. Did the LL post an ad, show the property, take applications etc? If he have proof of all that and can't find someone, the tenant is on the hook for the reminder of the lease until they do.

However, like the other said, the LL might just ask for 1 month and keep your deposit and call it a day to avoid hassle.

PooDonkey said:   robojwest said:   First off, thanks for all the replies - hardly expected quick responses. I live in Seattle, Washington. It's becoming more clear I need to read my lease more closely. I'll do that when I go home tonight. I need to have a conversation with my landlord prior to going forward. My wife, bless her soul, sort of thinks we can just get out of the lease. I am not so sure I agree. If I were a landlord, I would be annoyed with my tenant - even if I do not plan on renting again. In the long term paying extra 4 months of rent would not matter over 30 years. I hadn't thought of the subletting idea. I suppose in that case is it on me to screen applicants? I don't know anyone currently looking for a place to rent. Rents are going way up in the area I live since a lot of young hipsters like to live here so the landlord may agree and raise the rent?
If you can just "get out the lease" as your blessed wife seems to think, why would the landlord even make you sign one?

Formalities - it's always easier to waive terms/rights than it is to add them after the fact.

I'd happily let you out of the lease as soon as you write me a check for the remainder of your total rent payments.

PooDOnkey, I see your point. As TYH3 said in some pro-tenant states I guess the landlord is supposed to use "best effort" to find another tenant. Can anyone clarify what "best effort" entails (Craigslist?)... Let me frame the question a different way to any landlords on this thread. Would you take a renter to small claims for 6 months unpaid rent or would the unpaid rent be sent to a debt collector etc downgrade my credit rating? Just speaking hypothetically. I want to put as much down on the house to make my offer competitive.

robojwest said:   PooDOnkey, I see your point. As TYH3 said in some pro-tenant states I guess the landlord is supposed to use "best effort" to find another tenant. Can anyone clarify what "best effort" entails (Craigslist?)... Let me frame the question a different way to any landlords on this thread. Would you take a renter to small claims for 6 months unpaid rent or would the unpaid rent be sent to a debt collector etc downgrade my credit rating? Just speaking hypothetically. I want to put as much down on the house to make my offer competitive.

You should probably just read the details of your lease before entering the hypothetical realm. If breaking the lease means 1 or 2 months of rent and the deposit (unless your deposit is huge), just pay that and get out. Otherwise, you're next step is to talk to the landlord and see if they'll let you out on some agreeable terms. If that fails, use the apartment as moving storage for the 6 months, or talk yourselves out of buying the house.

robojwest said:   PooDOnkey, I see your point. As TYH3 said in some pro-tenant states I guess the landlord is supposed to use "best effort" to find another tenant. Can anyone clarify what "best effort" entails (Craigslist?)... Let me frame the question a different way to any landlords on this thread. Would you take a renter to small claims for 6 months unpaid rent or would the unpaid rent be sent to a debt collector etc downgrade my credit rating? Just speaking hypothetically. I want to put as much down on the house to make my offer competitive.

Unless you are paying entirely in cash I don't think your down payment adds much weight to the seller. Only financing vs no financing. They may look down on some FHA offers but in the end money talks.

Also, just because houses go quickly in your area doesn't mean there wont be another house available in several months. It just means you have to act quickly when houses do come on the market. Make sure you are not acting on impulse, if you have been looking for available houses in the area for 6 months that is one thing but if you just happen to see a house come up for sale you could be making a mistake by rushing it.

Look at the above posts and talk with your LL before you screw him over. I'm sure if the area rents easily your LL may allow you out a few months early assuming you let him show it ahead of time and assure him it will be move in ready (clean, etc) by a certain date.

Dude, make a deal. Talk to your landlord. Explain that you want to go month to month. Offer to increase the rent 1.10 * current monthly rent. If the landlord refuses, ask if you can go month to month at the same rate and add an additional fee to cover their costs to find a new tenant.

I've used this method to mutually agree to break a lease. Just don't open negotiation where you get everything you want and the landlord gets an empty unit that they have to fill.

Read the lease and talk to the landlord first.

In Washington state the law reuires the "landlord shall make a reasonable effort to mitigate the damage" and the tenant breaking the lease is liable for the lesser of the remainder of the term OR any unpaid rent during a vacancy.

ref : RCW 59.18.310

"(2) When the tenancy is for a term greater than month-to-month, the tenant shall be liable for the lesser of the following:

(a) The entire rent due for the remainder of the term; or

(b) All rent accrued during the period reasonably necessary to rerent the premises at a fair rental, plus the difference between such fair rental and the rent agreed to in the prior agreement, plus actual costs incurred by the landlord in rerenting the premises together with statutory court costs and reasonable attorneys' fees."


So what that means is that you have up to 6 months to pay. THe landord is supposed to find another tenant. If they do find a tenant soon and fill the vacancy then you are not responsible for the full 6 months. You are only responsible for rent during the time the unit is vacant. But if they don't find a tenant you owe the full 6 months.


So yes you can break the lease and pay either 0 or maybe 6 months rent. Theres nothing really concrete that defines what reasonable efffort by the Landlord would be to rerent. A landlord *might* drag their heals or maybe jack up the rent and just hope he gets someone for higher rent while knowing you're required to pay. But collecting 6 months rent from most people isn't simple nor easy so often the landlord will be happier just filing the vacancy with a new tenant. I cant say how your landlord would look at it.

contactcr said:   robojwest said:   PooDOnkey, I see your point. As TYH3 said in some pro-tenant states I guess the landlord is supposed to use "best effort" to find another tenant. Can anyone clarify what "best effort" entails (Craigslist?)... Let me frame the question a different way to any landlords on this thread. Would you take a renter to small claims for 6 months unpaid rent or would the unpaid rent be sent to a debt collector etc downgrade my credit rating? Just speaking hypothetically. I want to put as much down on the house to make my offer competitive.

Unless you are paying entirely in cash I don't think your down payment adds much weight to the seller. Only financing vs no financing. They may look down on some FHA offers but in the end money talks.

Also, just because houses go quickly in your area doesn't mean there wont be another house available in several months. It just means you have to act quickly when houses do come on the market. Make sure you are not acting on impulse, if you have been looking for available houses in the area for 6 months that is one thing but if you just happen to see a house come up for sale you could be making a mistake by rushing it.

Look at the above posts and talk with your LL before you screw him over. I'm sure if the area rents easily your LL may allow you out a few months early assuming you let him show it ahead of time and assure him it will be move in ready (clean, etc) by a certain date.


Yes, we sold in June started renting current place in September. Thanks for the good perspective. I want to have 20 percent and enough to cover some minor items if I do go forward. I think I need to talk to the landlord and reassess...

axiom said:   Dude, make a deal. Talk to your landlord. Explain that you want to go month to month. Offer to increase the rent 1.10 * current monthly rent. If the landlord refuses, ask if you can go month to month at the same rate and add an additional fee to cover their costs to find a new tenant.

I've used this method to mutually agree to break a lease. Just don't open negotiation where you get everything you want and the landlord gets an empty unit that they have to fill.


Good thought as I am inconveniencing them I will try this negotiation.

jerosen said:   Read the lease and talk to the landlord first.

In Washington state the law reuires the "landlord shall make a reasonable effort to mitigate the damage" and the tenant breaking the lease is liable for the lesser of the remainder of the term OR any unpaid rent during a vacancy.

ref : RCW 59.18.310

"(2) When the tenancy is for a term greater than month-to-month, the tenant shall be liable for the lesser of the following:

(a) The entire rent due for the remainder of the term; or

(b) All rent accrued during the period reasonably necessary to rerent the premises at a fair rental, plus the difference between such fair rental and the rent agreed to in the prior agreement, plus actual costs incurred by the landlord in rerenting the premises together with statutory court costs and reasonable attorneys' fees."


So what that means is that you have up to 6 months to pay. THe landord is supposed to find another tenant. If they do find a tenant soon and fill the vacancy then you are not responsible for the full 6 months. You are only responsible for rent during the time the unit is vacant. But if they don't find a tenant you owe the full 6 months.


So yes you can break the lease and pay either 0 or maybe 6 months rent. Theres nothing really concrete that defines what reasonable efffort by the Landlord would be to rerent. A landlord *might* drag their heals or maybe jack up the rent and just hope he gets someone for higher rent while knowing you're required to pay. But collecting 6 months rent from most people isn't simple nor easy so often the landlord will be happier just filing the vacancy with a new tenant. I cant say how your landlord would look at it.

Seems like the landlord could go for a few months, collect rent from me and then start looking. If the landlord is not open to month-to-month (with offer to pay a little more in rent + search fees) I may just end up with a very expensive storage unit or just wait till June. I hope something is on the market within our school boundary. We've been house hunting since June. Thanks for digging up the code. The law is clear but also a bit grey at the same time. It's contractually clear the liability to pay is mine.

robojwest said:   axiom said:   Dude, make a deal. Talk to your landlord. Explain that you want to go month to month. Offer to increase the rent 1.10 * current monthly rent. If the landlord refuses, ask if you can go month to month at the same rate and add an additional fee to cover their costs to find a new tenant.

I've used this method to mutually agree to break a lease. Just don't open negotiation where you get everything you want and the landlord gets an empty unit that they have to fill.


Good thought as I am inconveniencing them I will try this negotiation.


I don't see how this is an incentive really. As a landlord I would assume someone wanting switch from a 1 year lease to month to month is planning to move next month. Offering to cover the costs to find a new tenant isn't an incentive as you're already legally responsible for that if you break the lease.

robojwest said:   axiom said:   Dude, make a deal. Talk to your landlord. Explain that you want to go month to month. Offer to increase the rent 1.10 * current monthly rent. If the landlord refuses, ask if you can go month to month at the same rate and add an additional fee to cover their costs to find a new tenant.

I've used this method to mutually agree to break a lease. Just don't open negotiation where you get everything you want and the landlord gets an empty unit that they have to fill.


Good thought as I am inconveniencing them I will try this negotiation.

I wouldn't try that. A tenant asking to pay more rent is going to make me very suspicious. Your situation is very reasonable, just tell him the truth and ask what the options are he'd go along with. Have a couple suggestions ready if he asks what you want, but don't start off trying to tell him what's good for him, when you are the one locked into something you want to change.

If the rental is in a good neighborhood, someone will want to rent it. To sweeten the deal you can offer to pay $100 per month to the new tenant, for 6 months, if they would move in by xx date.
One time when I moved out early, I put an ad on CL and found my own replacement tenant (with LL approval). The LL was quite thankful he didn't have to exert effort.

...and June of 2012 is when this subject should have been discussed.

You knew your intent and entered into another 1 yr contract.

When I purchased my home, I had about 6 months left on the lease. I was able to limit everything to only two weeks of overlap by working with my landlord.
As soon as our offer was accepted by the seller, I notified my landlord that I wanted to move out in 2 months. In return for their helping me reduce the lease length, I very thoroughly cleaned the apartment and kept everything as neat as possible for showings. They found someone easily, and had to very minimal turnaround work before the next move-in. Win-win.
I think that most landlords in high occupancy areas would accept similar terms.

robojwest said:   PooDOnkey, I see your point. As TYH3 said in some pro-tenant states I guess the landlord is supposed to use "best effort" to find another tenant. Can anyone clarify what "best effort" entails (Craigslist?)... Let me frame the question a different way to any landlords on this thread. Would you take a renter to small claims for 6 months unpaid rent or would the unpaid rent be sent to a debt collector etc downgrade my credit rating? Just speaking hypothetically. I want to put as much down on the house to make my offer competitive.

That is why they use the term "best effort", its up for interpretation. If the LL can proof he put up an ad, showed the property to potential tenants (backup by email, or phone logs or personal logs), accepted applications (with them in hand), I think its reasonable to say he showed best effort.

In your case, the LL will mostly pursue at least some if not all the $$ because he can tell you are not a "professional tenant", just a regular guy trying to buy a house (he will know where you live by looking up public records and probably have your job info via your rental application should he need to take you to small claim court).

With that said, like other mentioned, you put the offer in, by the time you negotiated, inspect the house, couple weeks for the P&S, 30 days to get the loan, you are looking at mid March earliest for closing. So just start the conversation with the LL now and cut a deal like, "Look, I would like leave on March 31st, how about I pay for the rent for April so you can find someone to come in and we call it even." I think any reasonable LL would say sure, given May is getting back into prime rental season again.

FSBox said:   Also,

Regardless of what the lease says, your landlord my agree to a early termination if you just ask. This is why it's so important to maintain good relationships with your landlord.

There's another angle, which is that even if you put in an offer on the house, you can put the closing date 2 months from now, so that you only have 4 months of overlap. You are almost certainly going to need *some* overlap to clean/touch-up the new home and to move in.


This. Once you have a signed P&S, ask for early termination nicely. I'd also be delicately pointing out how you're going anyway, how you're open to some creative options (such as painting or cleaning or showing the unit) to help the process, and finally remind him of the laws on early termination and his obligations w rerenting that will exist regardless. (And yes, he has to document and prove a good faith effort to the court.)

Do a two month closing. Then plan on a one month overlap-you won't be paying your first mortgage payment until a month later anyway. Then you're left w 3 mos if the landlord is unable to rerent the place. So, worst case is you figure it in as part of your unofficial closing costs. A cheap price to pay for the right house vs renting even longer.

Thatsnotme said:   FSBox said:   Also,

Regardless of what the lease says, your landlord my agree to a early termination if you just ask. This is why it's so important to maintain good relationships with your landlord.

There's another angle, which is that even if you put in an offer on the house, you can put the closing date 2 months from now, so that you only have 4 months of overlap. You are almost certainly going to need *some* overlap to clean/touch-up the new home and to move in.


This. Once you have a signed P&S, ask for early termination nicely. I'd also be delicately pointing out how you're going anyway, how you're open to some creative options (such as painting or cleaning or showing the unit) to help the process, and finally remind him of the laws on early termination and his obligations w rerenting that will exist regardless. (And yes, he has to document and prove a good faith effort to the court.)

Do a two month closing. Then plan on a one month overlap-you won't be paying your first mortgage payment until a month later anyway. Then you're left w 3 mos if the landlord is unable to rerent the place. So, worst case is you figure it in as part of your unofficial closing costs. A cheap price to pay for the right house vs renting even longer.


Between yours and TYH3 comments - the tact I will take with my landlord is to explain the situation before offering on the house. If I offer to make some concessions and leave the place spotless and offer to help find another tenant maybe they will agree. Thanks for reminding me iabout not paying rent the first month (well kinda) its been so long since I bought my first house I forgot. I appreciate the good feedback it doesn't hurt to ask.

I had a similar situation in IL. My lease said essentially that I was paying $x for a one-year lease on an apartment, but the LL would accept it in equal monthly payments ($x/12).

He did market the place and I did as well. The place was kinda high-end for the area and the rent was similarly high which significantly reduced the number of people who might be interested. He was probably lucky to get us in there in the first place (it was brand new). Also we were looking to get out in Jan/Feb which is a SLOW time for new rentals. We even tried to find someone to just pay 2/3 or 3/4 of the lease to save us some money.

Sublets were specifically disallowed. We never found anyone to take over and the LL was unwilling to give us any concessions that would let us break the lease for less than $x. In the end, we got kinda hosed on the whole thing, but that was totally on us -- no one made us sign that lease.

Be prepared that this is a likely outcome for you as well.

Good luck closing even in 30 days. At most you would be paying 5 extra months of rent.

Thatsnotme said:   FSBox said:   Also,

Regardless of what the lease says, your landlord my agree to a early termination if you just ask. This is why it's so important to maintain good relationships with your landlord.

There's another angle, which is that even if you put in an offer on the house, you can put the closing date 2 months from now, so that you only have 4 months of overlap. You are almost certainly going to need *some* overlap to clean/touch-up the new home and to move in.


This. Once you have a signed P&S, ask for early termination nicely. I'd also be delicately pointing out how you're going anyway, how you're open to some creative options (such as painting or cleaning or showing the unit) to help the process, and finally remind him of the laws on early termination and his obligations w rerenting that will exist regardless. (And yes, he has to document and prove a good faith effort to the court.)

Do a two month closing. Then plan on a one month overlap-you won't be paying your first mortgage payment until a month later anyway. Then you're left w 3 mos if the landlord is unable to rerent the place. So, worst case is you figure it in as part of your unofficial closing costs. A cheap price to pay for the right house vs renting even longer.
. Sounds good , unless ll finds someone right away and tenant wants to wait till they're ready... Wanting their cake....

I want a new house. but mr. landlord I reALLY DO NOT WANT to pay you what I owe you what can you do for me How can you help me I am sure there is some way you can benefit me, its always the same old crap

robojwest said:   My wife, bless her soul, sort of thinks we can just get out of the lease.

And I used to have an uncle who thought he was Kaiser Wilhelm.

Thinking so doesn't make it so. Although I did try my best to respond "Sir!" whenever he asked for something.

I don't know why everyone says do a 2 month closing, start your offer at 6 months closing, who knows the sellers may really want the time, you can always cut it back on the counter offer. For all you know they may responsibly want to sell their place, then find a place, offer on it, and close in a couple of months, all of which means you will close in 3-4 or more months.

BlueSeaLake said:   I don't know why everyone says do a 2 month closing, start your offer at 6 months closing, who knows the sellers may really want the time, you can always cut it back on the counter offer. For all you know they may responsibly want to sell their place, then find a place, offer on it, and close in a couple of months, all of which means you will close in 3-4 or more months.

good luck with that.. a 6 month closing is laughable at the current housing market.

if you want the house, do whatever you need to do to get it, especially if they don't regularly come on the market.

small $ upfront is nothing over the period which you will be paying for the house.

don't be penny wise and pound foolish.

JaxFL said:   ...and June of 2012 is when this subject should have been discussed.

You knew your intent and entered into another 1 yr contract.


tenants will always give LLs the shaft before themselves.

Skipping 7 Messages...
Why not make an offer on a house contingent on seller paying off lease?



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