Leases are important—why else would we use them? They spell out the terms of the apartment so that the renter knows all the rules and requirements going in to the agreement, and leases protect the interests of both the property manager and the resident.
And, while an important contract, leases are written in ink. Not carved in stone. (See also: “rules are meant to be broken,” and “the bell doesn’t dismiss you, I dismiss you.”)
Sometimes, residents might need to leave an apartment before the end of the lease. Of course, this is why there are leases—to prevent this so the property manager isn’t stuck with an empty apartment and no money coming in. It is the property manager’s prerogative to hold residents to their lease agreements.
Once in awhile, if the renter was a good resident and gives you plenty of notice, it might pay to make like Gumby and be a little flexible. After all, it’s still pretty much a landlord’s market out there, especially if the building is in a popular area, such as a major city. So if you think you could get the apartment filled quickly, why not let the resident move a little early.
Also, if a resident has been there for a few years already and wants to move out, this could be an opportunity to make more money from the next renter. For example, if the current resident originally signed a two-year lease, then the property manager couldn’t raise the rates during that time. But with that renter gone, voila!, now the rent could go up for the next person who lives there. (Otherwise known as a property manager’s favorite magic trick.)
And, sometimes, a resident’s living situation might change. Like, what if your resident gets a new job somewhere not even close to the apartment. Or has to take in an elderly parent or has a baby and wants some extra space. Or just had a divorce and wants to downsize. Property managers aren’t robots (and if they are they’re very lifelike). Sometimes, even though it might go against the lease, you have to do what you think is right.
Of course, even though property managers are human, they do have a business to run. And not everyone, even if they have a good excuse, should be let out of a lease early. But, once in awhile, it might benefit all those involved.
Would you (or have you) ever let a resident out of a lease early? If so, what were your reasons? Or do you think if you make an exception for one person you’d have to make it for everyone, so it’s better to avoid that totally?
-Jessica Fiur, News Editor
Photo credit: Dario Lo Presti