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Andrea, Esq.
Andrea, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 12554
Experience:  I have practiced law for 25 yrs. with an emphasis on real estate, business law, criminal defense and family law.
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My tenants (an unmarried couple) executed an original lease

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My tenants (an unmarried couple) executed an original lease for 15 months expiring March 31, 2014 ($3,000/mo). Then they signed an amendment for an additional one year, expiring on March 31, 2015 for $4,000 per month at their request. Then they separated and one of the tenants wants us to revoke the amendment and change the original lease to having only her name on the agreement.

I said I would not revoke the lease unless she paid a termination fee. My question is: What is a reasonable termination fee? The lease only states that the tenants are liable for all payments within the lease term. (I remember an apartment stated in their lease that for two months' rent, the lease can be broken.) They also have a $3,000 deposit.
Also, she wants to pay the remaining rent all up front and wants to change the original lease only if the negotiation takes too long. I feel uncomfortable with having only her name on the lease because it is one less person to recoup damages from in case something goes wrong. If we change the lease to only her signature, what should we make sure to include in the terms?

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Where is the other tenant and what does he say about all this ?




Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The other tenant (Dave) moved back to Dallas, Texas and one month ago also tried to get out of the additional one year amendment. The tenant (Kim) currently living at the rental home spoke to him about it and said that she would like to be the only one named on the agreement, negotiate the new terms, sign it herself and she said can't afford the extended $4000/mo payment and would like to terminate the agreement (original) on 3/31/14. He is out of the picture presently.

Hi, Kurt, I apologize for all the questions, but I do not use "stock" Answers, I daft each Answer according to the customer's specific facts


Is Kim willing to stay at least to March 31, 2014 at $3,000 per month ?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Hi, Kurt, Thank you for your additional information,


First, I would not amend the lease to remove the name of the tenant who moved. I would keep both names on the lease, Period!


If Kim, the tenant who is staying on is willing to pay the full amount of rent up front up to March 31, 2014, that would mean a payment to you of $24,000. However, she is not paying you anything extra, she is only paying what she is obligated to pay in rent, anyway under the lease. So, the only issue remaining is what to charge for rescinding the Amendment to the Lease for the additional year ending March 31, 2015.



There is no set rule of two months rent if a tenant wants to break a lease. What you have to take into account is, "How long will it take you to find a tenant for the one year that they want you to rescind the Amendment", and "How much will you be able to rent it". You also have to balance those issues with the fact that the law imposes on landlords the obligation to mitigate their damages when a tenant breaches a lease. In other words, the law imposes on you the obligation to find a tenant and lessen your damages and you would have to do so by taking the steps you normally would take to find a tenant, i.e., place the rental with a real estate rental office, advertise in the classified section of all the local newspapers and generally take all steps you would normally take. If you think you can find a tenant in two months who will sign a lease for $4,000 per month, then you would charge a termination fee of $8,000. If you think it would take you 3 months to find a suitable tenant at $4,000 per month, then you would charge a termination fee of $12,000. I have not taken into account the $3,000 you are holding as a security deposit because you would have to inspect the property when Kim left and only if you found everything in order would you return the $3,000. The check for the $3,000 should be in both names, unless Dave gave you his written consent to make the entire check for $3,000 payable to Kim. Be sure you get his consent in writing because you don't want to pay Kim the $3,000, then have Dave sue you for his share of the security deposit.


Back to the termination fee, determine how long it would take you to rent the property and also negotiate with Kim to allow you to show the property before the current lease term ends, at least for one month before March 31, 2014. So, in order for you to rescind the Amendment, Kim, or Kim and David, will pay a $12,000 termination fee and Kim will allow you to begin showing the property to prospective tenants on March 1, 2014,




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