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TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4430
Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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If a couple are both on the lease and they break up, do I have

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If a couple are both on the lease and they break up, do I have to honor the term of the lease for the other tenant. The women is living in the house with her new boyfriend, and the man on the lease wants needs me to release him from the lease so he can get another apartment. Right now they are all living in the house with her 2 children. She has a court date in a week because she was arrested and lost her job. What are my options? If I let him out of the lease and the new boyfriend has a criminal background, what do I do?
I'm assuming from your question that you are the landlord. You are not obligated to release the ex-boyfriend from the lease. As the woman just lost her job, it would not be wise to release the ex-boyfriend from his obligations to pay rent.
Also, you need to check the lease to see if it contains a limitation on the people that can be living in the house. If the woman has a new boyfriend who is living with her, this may be in breach of the lease.
The fact that you are hearing rumors that they are dealing drugs out of your property is bad. Your lease may state that no illegal activity can take place on the property.

Now, you can release the ex-boyfriend from the lease if he is requesting it (I recommend charging money to let him out). Then you could wait for the woman to fail to pay rent and evict them. An eviction sounds like the only way you are going to get the woman out, either by the woman's failure to pay rent or by the fact that you have hard evidence that they are dealing drugs out of the property.

You would then want to have a new tenant move in as soon as possible to preserve your revenue stream from the property.

Please let me know if you need any further information.

Best Regards,
Zachary D. Norris
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I am the landlord. They have always paid their rent in a timely manner. The lease does state no other person other than her, her boyfriend the kids and the dog, are permitted to live there. What constitutes "living" in the house. He has been staying there. She wants me to release her old boyfrien and put him the new guy on the lease. Can I insist on a background check first? He is known to have a criminal record, at least by hear say. She was an unlicensed massage therapist and was arrested for prostitution at her work. I would like to find a way to get them all out of the house. They just flooded my kitchen with water from the washer for the third time. I sent out a plumber because they said the drain was clogged, but it was a malfuntion on their ancient washer and there was an inch of water in the kitchen and it flooded the living room carpet and went betweent he walls to the family room. The carpet was brand new when they moved in.
Generally, "living" means just that...a person who has moved in and is staying there on a permanent basis. That is a violation of the lease. However, its doubtful that this is a violation on which you could base an immediate eviction.

It really depends on what your lease says in the end. If it is a landlord friendly lease, it will make every violation by the tenant one which triggers the potential to evict. However, if she is paying rent on time, then the court will need some concrete proof that she is otherwise violating the lease by letting a person live there who is not on the lease.

As for insisting on a criminal background, yes you can. If the new boyfriend proves to be a felon, or has bad credit, you can use this as a reason to not put him on the lease. However, as I said before, you don't have to take the first boyfriend off the lease. I would keep him on and say that you won't release just one party from the lease.

You can also tell her that you will not let her ex-boyfriend off the lease and that you will not let the new boyfriend on the lease, but you will allow her to terminate the lease early if she wants to move out now and look for somewhere else to stay.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
If I sit down with them and tell them all of this and one of them still wants to be removed, could I terminate the old lease for both of them, if they agree, and have whoever stays sign a new month to month lease? I would charge them to let one out. The lease expires in June of 2012. They just signed a new one year lease in July because they were there a year in May and they went month to month after the year was up. I had a property manager that was on all the old paperwork and thought I needed to update it since she isn't involved anymore. They were taking really good care of the house and wanted to sign a 3 year contract. Thank God I refused. Just got a text from the old boyfriend and he wants to live in the house so it may be a fight. Thank you for all your help! Its very much appreciated.
No worries. Glad I can help.

As long as they both agree, you can terminate the lease. They will have to sign an agreement stating that the lease is terminated, or an amendment stating that the term of the lease has been changed to month to month.

If you can get them into a month to month, then it will be easier for you to terminate the lease early without having to go through the eviction process.

Good luck,
Zachary D. Norris
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