Home Legal Advice What to Do if Tenants Request Lease Modifications Due to COVID-19

What to Do if Tenants Request Lease Modifications Due to COVID-19


With job losses, adjustments to distant work, and different hardships and life adjustments brought on by COVID-19, many tenants are requesting lease modifications. A lease is a binding contract, so landlords don’t particularly must agree. However, there are enterprise and authorized points that landlords ought to contemplate.

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What do I do when my tenant needs to alter their lease as a result of COVID?

The very first thing you need to do is ask your tenant why they need to change their lease. Are they unable to pay, transferring for a brand new job, or another cause? That could direct the way you make the choice to proceed.

For instance, many company landlords with properties in several cities will permit a tenant who’s transferring to switch their lease to a special property in a brand new metropolis. Even should you’re a smaller landlord, you may need a emptiness nearer to a tenant’s new job or that higher meets their present wants. If the tenant is unable to pay their lease, retaining them of their lease could solely add to a debt that you could be by no means gather.

Once you’ve discovered what your tenant wants, work out what you want. Do you need to fill a special emptiness, lock them right into a long run, or present a short lived concession to an in any other case valued tenant you suppose will keep long-term?

What lease modifications are you able to supply?

There are various alternative ways to change a lease supplied each events agree. Most modifications embrace combining one thing that advantages the tenant with one thing that advantages the owner. However, landlords could make goodwill gestures or make the choice to chop their losses.

  • Early termination
  • Rent concessions
  • Change within the rental price
  • Extension of time period
  • Allowing roommates
  • Transfer to a special property

How do I restrict my subjection when my tenant needs to maneuver out early?

If your tenant needs to maneuver out early, you ought to be conscious of your rights under the lease and native legal guidelines. Can you proceed to gather full lease for the rest of the lease with out motion, or do it’s worthwhile to attempt to discover a substitute tenant? Also needless to say being owed a debt doesn’t imply you’ll be capable of gather it.

Alternatives to easily canceling the lease embrace:

  • Charging an early termination charge in line with the lease, native legal guidelines, or negotiations with the tenant.
  • Allowing the tenant to assign the lease to a brand new tenant that you just approve.
  • Allowing the tenant to sublease.

Is it higher to amend the present lease or write an entire new lease when a tenant needs a modification?

Legally talking, signing an amendment typically turns into half of the present lease, so there isn’t any vital distinction between the 2. If you make the choice to jot down a brand new lease, you’d additionally must signal an agreement terminating the prior lease. For smaller adjustments, equivalent to extending the lease in change for a discount in lease, you might need to signal an modification or addendum. For bigger adjustments, equivalent to including phrases or altering a number of key provisions, signing a brand new lease could assist maintain the whole lot clear.

What are the downsides to a lease modification?

The main drawback to a landlord in a lease modification is potential misplaced lease. This will rely upon how lengthy you anticipate the unit to stay vacant, the brand new lease you anticipate to gather, and potential losses from having a non-paying tenant keep in your property. This is a query of enterprise judgment moderately than a authorized one.

In addition, you must also maintain honest housing legal guidelines in thoughts. Many giant landlords don’t permit modifications as a result of granting one however denying one other could result in honest housing complaints. To keep away from being accused of discrimination, you might need to write out a listing of standards you’ll use when contemplating lease modifications, equivalent to job loss or change in earnings.To get authorized assist with lease modifications, you possibly can ask a lawyer. For extra info concerning COVID-19, go to The Rocket Lawyer COVID Legal Center.

This article incorporates normal authorized info and doesn’t include authorized recommendation. Rocket Lawyer will not be a regulation agency or an alternative to an legal professional or regulation agency. The regulation is advanced and adjustments typically. For authorized recommendation, please ask a lawyer.


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