Stupid lease gets in the way of everything.
June 12, 2010 1:51 PM   Subscribe

My significant other and I signed a one-year lease for an apartment in Phoenix, AZ, in March. Then, I got an awesome 9-month job offer that requires me to move to Orlando, Florida in August. SO will be staying in this apartment in Phoenix. Please help me figure out how to get an apartment in Florida, keep my SO in this apartment in Phoenix, and all without paying ridiculous lease-breaking fees!

I'm pretty sure I'm just overthinking and over-worrying about this, but I don't understand much about the renting world, so I don't really know what I can expect an apartment manager to object to, etc. I need help figuring out what to do so that, ideally, my SO is living alone in the Phoenix apartment and I am living alone in the Orlando apartment. I have a few concerns:

1) Lease-breaking. If we break our lease in Phoenix, we'll be charged about $1500. I'm worried that removing my name from the Phoenix apartment's lease would count as breaking it. So, I'm worried about speaking to the apartment managers about my plans to move. Should I be?

2) Income requirements. Phoenix apartment requires one to make 2.5-times-rent each month. Together, SO and I definitely do so. Even considering what I expect my rent to be in Orlando, the two of us together will definitely make 2.5-times-rent for both apartments. Independently, however, my SO's income just barely fails to meet this requirement for the Phoenix apartment. So, Phoenix apartment might not even let SO continue living there if I fail to be on the lease.

3) Dual occupancy. Is it possible for me to be on two leases at once? Can I go to Orlando and rent an apartment, all the while being an official occupant of the Phoenix apartment? (Is this common? Will apartment managers be used to people with the sorts of issues I have?)

Is there a particular procedure I should take to figuring this all out? In other words, should I talk to Phoenix apartment managers before trying to get an apartment in Orlando, or can I just fly out to Orlando, fill out a rental agreement, and suddenly have two homes a couple thousand miles apart?

If I do need to discuss this with the Phoenix apartment managers, given my worries above, what should I say? Should I expect this move to be easy, without officially breaking my Phoenix lease?

In general, I've never done this sort of move before, and I'm kind of afraid of people to whom I have contractual obligations. Any advice or insight into the world and mind of leasing agents would be appreciated.
posted by meese to Work & Money (10 answers total)
Congratulations on the new job!

Why does the Phoenix landlord need to know that you've moved out for a bit? You're still paying the bill and no one else is moving in, so who cares?

It'd be another story if you wanted to sublet a room.

It is my understanding that income requirements are only looked at during the application process, much like getting a credit card.

Same goes for the Orlando apartment, I'd imagine.
posted by khedron at 1:58 PM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

There is no rule that you can't hold two leases at once unless you signed onto such a rule in your AZ lease. There are countless situations where people lease residences in multiple locations, whether by design or by circumstance.

I recently moved into a new apartment after taking a job in a new state, though a month remained on my lease in the old state. My name on the old lease signified my continuing liability for the terms and obligations of that lease. As long as you trust your SO to get you into any trouble that way by continuing to pay the rent and not violate the terms of the lease, I don't see any need to inform the landlord that you're moving.
posted by ctab at 2:01 PM on June 12, 2010

I've been a renter all my adult life. I can't imagine why a landlord would care if you were on two leases or a dozen, as long as you're paying the rent on time and not being a dick to the neighbors.

You can afford both places. There is no need to tell the landlord anything about where you actually lay your head at night.
posted by desjardins at 2:06 PM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

oh, yeah, ctab brings up a good point. If your SO goes psycho and trashes the place, or if you break up, you'll be liable for the place if you're on the lease whether you physically live there or not.
posted by desjardins at 2:07 PM on June 12, 2010

Agree with the above answers. There is no need for the Phoenix apartment people to even know about this. What they care about is that the rent is being paid, and possibly that no one else, who is not on the lease, has moved in.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 2:07 PM on June 12, 2010

Response by poster: Ah, so overthinking and overworrying it is! Thanks.

One more possible issue: While I have been a perfect occupant at the Phoenix apartment complex for five years now, this is the only place I've ever rented (before that, it was college and my parents' house). Will I have to do anything special if the Orlando apartment complex wants to check my rental history?
posted by meese at 2:14 PM on June 12, 2010

Special? No, you just give them your PHX landlord's name and number IF they ask for it. Which they may not.
posted by desjardins at 2:20 PM on June 12, 2010

I have held two leases at the same time before - one in Los Angeles and one in NYC. I traveled extensively for work at the time and divided my off-hours between the two. I had a roommate in each, but only the L.A. one was on the L.A. lease. None of the leasing people cared.

If you are worried about the Orlando people calling the Phoenix people for a reference, you could call the Phoenix landlords and tell them that you have to have a temporary lease somewhere else for work and that they'll be calling for a reference.
posted by bedhead at 2:54 PM on June 12, 2010

Although you have no obligation to tell him you would be leaving for 9 months (if you continued to pay the lease during that time), maybe you can try being honest with your landlord that you will be away for 9 months and only one of you would be in the apartment.

"hey Mr. Smith, great news! I got a this great temporary job. I wont be around much, but its a great thing to put on my resume. Why wont I be around? Well it's in Florida. No, we're not moving out, Jim will still be here. Yeah it's only for 9 months, and I'll be back every now and then. Gosh you're REDUCING the rent for nine months? But why? Oh, only one person in the apartment means only half the water consumption and reduced other utilities that are included in the rent. That's awfully swell of you , Mr Smith. I'm going to bring you a bag of oranges when I get back!"

Landlords tend to get stereotyped as a$$holes unfairly. When I was younger, all of my landlords were really nice, fair and understanding. Now that I'm a landlord, I treat my tenants the same way. Respect is a two-way street.

now you know, and knowing is half the battle.


posted by sandra_s at 3:03 PM on June 12, 2010

Yes, do talk to your apartment manager. Their overwhelming concern is that they get the money promised in the lease. For example, if you sign leases on ten apartments, pay the rent on time, and never move anyone in, why would they complain?

Rental law varies from state to state. Get educated about Arizona law. I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a state agency intended to help tenants deal with problems and questions re: landlords. Find them.

If your name is the only name on the lease, I doubt SO’s income is an issue. Remember, the person whose name is on the lease is liable for the rent. If you move to Orlando and you and your SO want to share the expense of the rent on the Phoenix apartment, why would the apartment management care? They’re getting paid, right?

I know of no reason why you can’t be on any number of leases simultaneously. Just pay the rents.

I assume your SO will move to join you in Orlando ASAP. So, go to the apartment managers and explain what’s going on. Tell them that, as the person whose name is on the list, you will continue to pay the rent through the term of the lease after you move to Orlando. Ask them if they would be willing to tear up your lease if they find a new tenant before your lease expires. If they agree, and are able to lease the apartment before your lease is done, so much the better.
posted by justcorbly at 4:07 PM on June 12, 2010

« Older Why Round 1 draws in World Cup?   |   iPhone App for Baby Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.