How to Handle Early Termination for Your Glendale, CA Property
Early lease termination is a nightmare for Glendale, CA landlords and property owners. Not only do they have to prepare and rent their rental units out again, but they are likely to face issues with security deposits and future lease payments.
You may have already adopted some measures to minimize the likelihood of tenants moving out sooner than they signed for. But the tenant-landlord relationship is a sacred one- it is critical to your reputation and the occupancy of your Glendale CA rental property. You certainly want to avoid conflicts.
Most landlords choose to ignore the situation, hoping that the tenant will stay or find someone to take their place, only to get surprised when the renter leaves and still owes them money.
This post compiled by the pros at RTI Properties – a highly reputed Glendale property management company – divulges practical tips to help you approach early lease termination proactively and prevent problems. Let us dive right in.
Legal Reasons for Early Lease Termination in Glendale, CA
The California State and Glendale City laws allow tenants to terminate a lease sooner with no further rent obligation after the notice period under the following circumstances:
» Active Military Duty
Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), tenants have the right to break their lease early if they are called up for active military duty. This law applies to various services, including NOAA Corps, National Guard, Public Health Service, and armed forces more than 50 miles away.
The law requires the tenants to give their landlord 30-day notice. Once they have done so, they aren’t required to make any further rental payments.
» Illness, Divorce, or Job Transfer
Life surprises such as divorce, unnegotiable job transfer, and illness are all to0-common reasons for an early lease agreement termination.
As an experienced Glendale property management expert will advise you in such circumstances, allowing early termination rather than pursuing eviction saves you both time and money. However, the vacating renter may be required to pay the rent while the rental unit is vacant. But the law allows you to look for new renters.
» Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault
California housing law allows tenants subjected to domestic violence or sexual assault to break the lease agreement irrespective of how much time is left in the term. The tenant must, however, provide a 30-day early termination notice.
» The Rental Unit is Inhabitable or Violates CA Health or Safety Codes
Suppose your Glendale rental property does not meet both state and local housing codes or is considered unsafe living space. In that case, the tenant may legally terminate the lease with no further rent obligations. This typically happens when a major property or equipment problem, including gas/electric/plumbing issues and a leaky roof, goes without corrective actions.
However, the law requires the tenant to follow proper procedures for leaving the inhabitable rental property.
» Continued Violation of Privacy Rights
The law requires tenants to give 24-48-hour notice before entering a tenant’s unit, except during emergencies. Tenants can break the lease early with no further rental payment obligations if the landlord repeatedly violates their privacy rights. However, the tenant should provide a formal written complaint of privacy intrusion beforehand.
» Loss of Employment
If your tenant cannot pay rent due to a layoff or reduced wages, early lease termination is often the easier option than eviction. You may charge an early termination fee to recoup a portion of your lost income- two month’s rent is the typical fee in Glendale.
How to Handle Early Lease Termination Proactively
» Get Prepared with an Early Termination Clause
At RTI Properties, we highly advise landlords to include an early termination clause in the lease agreement to prevent confusion and frustrations synonymous with early termination requests.
The clause should highlight written notice requirements, early termination fee, minimum notice, and other requirements to ensure a smooth process.
If you need help developing this clause, you can always turn to the Glendale property management pros at RTI properties.
» Demand a Lease Termination Agreement
If a tenant wishes to vacate from your Glendale rental property early, have them write and sign an early termination notice, which you must keep in your records. You also want to ensure the renter has finalized all pending payments before physically leaving your property.
» Offer a Buy-Out
You have the right to keep collecting rent until you find a replacement tenant. However, the vacating tenant can find it more appealing to pay a non-refundable fee known as “buy-out” that allows them to break the lease and vacate.
Because the early termination fee is typically two months’ rent, you do not have to refund the tenant if you find a replacement tenant in less than two months. Similarly, you cannot ask for more money if the search for a replacement takes more than two months.
How NOT to Handle Early Termination Request
We highly advise landlords against allowing vacating tenants to find a sublet to stay in the property through the duration of the lease. Subletting might sound like a good idea, but it can complicate the situation and liability issues. For your peace of mind, finalize the early termination, and have a new renter sign a new lease agreement.
» Using Security Deposit for Rent
Always keep in mind that the security deposit is meant to protect your investment against damages, not to cover lost rent in the event of early lease termination. Using the deposit for another purpose other than the stipulated one leaves you vulnerable to legal liabilities. Instead, inspect the rental unit and see if you need to use the security deposit for cleaning or repairs.
All in all, early lease termination can be frustrating and time-and money-consuming for Glendale landlords. An experienced property management agency can help eliminate the guesswork from this process and ensure your rights and money are protected.
RTI Properties offers professional Glendale Property Management Services, from tenant acquisition, rent collection, maintenance to record-keeping- all at an affordable cost. Get in touch with us at 310-532-9122 and learn how our services can help you get the most out of your rental property.