Breaking up can be tricky. Sometimes the break can be unexpected and painful to manage. Other times, the feeling is mutual and fairly quick to wrap up. Business breakups are no different. At times the perfect client or landlord changes after the papers are signed, or sometimes life simply alters plans. Have no fear! Here are a few helpful hints to help both parties walk away from a lease scandal free.
The Golden Rule
Be courteous! You would not quit a job without notice and a lease is no exception. Your landlord or tenant signed those papers counting on you to do your part and cancelling the contract takes time to finish, so give the other individual time to take in the situation and proceed accordingly. At Simply Residential Property Management, we require a 60 day notice, in some cases landlords only ask for 30 days. Be specific on the closure. Mention prospective dates to move out, payment details, etc… The more clear the details the less room there will be for argument or nit picking. Once you give notice, be prompt to follow through.
Put everything in writing! Your landlord or tenant may be the sweetest person on earth, but do not leave the transaction undocumented. Give notice on paper. Give forwarding address on paper. Give monetary details on paper. Do you see the trend? Paper, paper, paper! Even if you notify the other individual online, always follow up with printed documentation and make multiple copies. This way, if any argument erupts, you will have hard copy evidence to bring the conflict to a close. These copies are also great for future reference (taxes, new clients, etc…)
Many states require landlords to perform an inspection of the property before the tenant officially vacates. Again, this goes along with common courtesy. You would not return a borrowed shirt or dish while it is still dirty, and you should not return a rented home without cleaning it either. This does not need to be a long or expensive process. A good spring cleaning and general touch ups will be a good start. Once the inspection is complete, the tenant will have a good idea what else to fix before vacating. Again, make certain that all the details are documented and copies made! Once the exit is complete, a second inspection should be conducted (the tenant may or may not be invited to participate). Landlords should take careful notes and photos (be sure they are dated). Photographs add visual documentation to the other paperwork. The tenants should have copies of these as well for their files.
Once the inspections are complete and the tenant moved out, the landlord will have a bracket of time to return the tenant’s security deposit along with the compilation of the deductions resulting from the inspections. This should all be provided promptly so as to avoid conflict.
As with any breaking of a relationship, communication is key to a peaceful and cordial parting. Treat the other individual well, and parting will be simple and pain free for everyone involved.