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MIAMILAW1127, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 755
Experience:  Founding Partner at Moises Law, P.A.
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We are trying to sell a home that is currently tenant

Customer Question

We are trying to sell a home that is currently tenant occupied. When we listed the house we thought the interest would come from investors, but all the interest in coming from people who wish to occupy the home. This is creating major issues being that
the lease doesn't expire until April 12, 2016. We've tried everything we possibly can to work with our tenant and give him incentive to move early. We've offered money, moving services, and most recently we found him a bigger, nicer property that's right down
the road from him (location is a big deal for him). The property is obviously more expensive, so we offered to cover the difference in rent for an entire year. He's declined all our offers, and as a result two offers have fallen through on the home. The bottom
line is that we're losing money on the home. We should have raised his rent when he renewed his lease, but we didn't. We were trying to be kind and fair. And at the time of lease renewal we weren't aware of the fact yet that we were losing money every month.
We we discovered that we were losing money we decided to sell. But he's obviously not making that possible right now. We thought that line 15 of the lease would give us the right to raise his rent but we were advised that's not the case. So my question is
this: Is there anything in the lease that would allow us to terminate early? Note: lines 11 and 12 have been deleted so they do not apply. We really need to sell or we'll find ourselves in a financial situation that's hard to recover from. I realize that looking
over this lease could require extra fees, and I'm ok with that. Would you be willing to look it over? And if so, what will the cost be? Thanks.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  MIAMILAW1127 replied 1 year ago.

Hello. I will be assisting you with your questions this evening.

Expert:  MIAMILAW1127 replied 1 year ago.

I have reviewed the lease.

First, according to the lease, you are able to raise rents on the tenant.

Secondly, the only way you would be able to get the tenant out of the home (aside from everything else that you have already tried) would be if you caught him breaching the lease and evicted him.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We were advised earlier that we cannot raise the rent. This is what another lawyer said about the matter:"Your lease is ambiguous, at the very least, and it would be a big mistake for you to try to raise the rent in the middle of the lease term. The one year lease is at a specified rental amount. If you as the landlord could simply raise the rent any time you wanted---what would happen to the tenant if they didn't want the increase, and yet they are still locked into the lease?You can only raise rent at the time of a new or renewed lease term and you must give 60 day's notice of that proposed increase. That is what the terms of your lease mean. It is not legally possible to unilaterally impose a rent increase in the middle of the lease term. I am sorry. I empathize with your situation and I see how you could read the lease the way that you do. However, I assure you that no court would allow you to raise the rent by just giving 60 day's notice when you have a contract for a one year lease term.You asked: If he were to hire a lawyer, would he have anything that would allow him to fight us on this? Retaining an attorney would not do you any good. The tenant has the legal right of possession of your property until mid-April 2016 and short of them failing to pay rent or violating the lease contract, there is no way to legally force them out."So I'm worried about raising the rent. I obviously don't want to deal with any legal battles!So are you 100% sure it's within our rights?
Expert:  MIAMILAW1127 replied 1 year ago.

Here's the issue. The lease that the tenant signed with you says that he agrees that you can raise rent on him with 60 days notice. You would technically be within your rights according to the lease.

However, you would be rolling the dice because no one will be able to tell you with any kind of certainty how the courts would interpret the lease. What I can tell you with certainty is that there will be a legal battle if you decided to raise the rent. If your goal is to avoid a legal battle, I would not raise the rent.

Again, per the lease, you have the right to do it. Will the tenant fight you? Most likely. Would a court uphold it? The answer is that depends.