Come on landlords, just be nice and give us what we want.
March 21, 2012 7:22 AM   Subscribe

Help me and my girlfriend get short extensions on our separate leases instead of being forced into year-long extensions.

My girlfriend (soon-to-be-fiancee! :) ) and I intend to buy a house in the next 4-6 months. But we are not in a rush since this will be our first home buying experience. (This question is not about the logistics of buying a house, we’re working on that) We currently live in separate apartments with different landlords (mine is a small property management company, he landlord is an individual renting out a condo). We would both move into the house once it is purchased.

Unfortunately, my lease ends May 31, and hers ends a month later. We are not ready to move and will almost certainly not have purchased a house by those dates. But if we both sign a new lease we’ll be stuck with our apartments until next summer. Ideally, we would both sign extensions for 4-6 months. That way, when we do buy a house there would only be a few months of extra rent at a maxumum. But that depends on our landlords accepting those shorter terms.

What can we do and say to our respective landlords to increase our chances of them accepting short extensions? Is there anything we can do / offer that makes it more likely they’ll accept?
posted by Tehhund to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
IME, property management companies will be happy to offer shorter lease terms in exchange for some percentage higher monthly payment. When I was in this situation, I just let the lease expire and went month-to-month. I payed an extra $50 or so a month. I would definitely ask your landlords if that is an option.
posted by muddgirl at 7:25 AM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I had roommates that were only in town for 6 months and then went back to Texas (because of his job). They signed a year lease with the understanding that they would replace themselves on the lease when they needed to leave. They did this, and the new guy was responsible for finishing out the lease. This isn't exactly a sublet, but it takes the pressure off the landlord of having to tenant-search and possibly having an empty property. This is especially important if you live in a area where most of the moving happens during a certain time period (for example how I live in a University area).
posted by DoubleLune at 7:25 AM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

re: muddgirl's suggestion above - can you and youg GF live together temporarily before the home purchase? At least that way you won't have to worry about convincing BOTH landlords to let you rent month-to-month.
posted by elizardbits at 7:36 AM on March 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

It depends on the housing demand where you live. We have a vacancy rate in the 0.5% usually where I live and there is NO WAY IN HELL I could do anything short of a year's commitment here, and we don't have the option of moving anywhere in this town with a month-to-month lease. But I've heard of what muddgirl said happening in places with less urgent demand. It really depends on whether or not there's advantage to the landlord to be nice to you.

I think what DoubleLune suggested might be more practical for you--to try to find a subleaser later. Or just realize it's going to take awhile to buy a house and not be in such a rush to move? It seems to take at least a season to buy a house once the process is in motion, or so I'm told. If you're waiting six months to buy a house (sounds like it?) and then it takes the next 2-3 months to actually buy it, that's most of a year already.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:10 AM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Each of you say, to your landlord:

"My SO and I are planning to get married and buy a house together, but my lease expires before theirs does, and their place is very small. Rather than re-up the lease for a full year or leave when the lease is up to live with them in their very small place, I'd like to re-up on a shorter term, until [date.] Can we work something out?"

Chances are at least one of you will get an affirmative response, as they'd rather have some of your money than none of it. If you only get one, then live together in that one, and if you get both, then you can stay apart.
posted by davejay at 8:20 AM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Tell your landlords that issue and ask for a month to month with 2 month notice guarantee. If they give you any problems, offer to pay the last months' rent up front (this will ensure that you will not leave in the middle of the night).

If they have a long waiting list and you are good tenets then they won't have any trouble finding someone new. If there is no waiting list then they have no choice but to work with you. If it is somewhere in between then be prepared to pay last months rent.
posted by myselfasme at 8:22 AM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm in a similar situation and my landlord expressed sincere reluctance to extend my lease. Why? Turns out trying to rent an apartment out in Fall rather than summer is kind of a pain in the butt. It was something I really didn't consider.

First, check both your leases to see what the damages are for leaving early, it may be that it makes sense to sign a lease then break it and pay the fee. I would do this for one apartment and go ahead and move out of the other one. I imagine the loss is a bit smaller with a property managment firm than an individual, so check that out.

The property managment firm is also likely to have more policy in place. That is GOOD in this situation. Some have a different rental rate for six month leases, slightly higher, but worth it in your case.

What I ended up doing was at the end of my lease in April I am going to a month to month lease for no longer than July. If it looks like I will have to stay beyond July, I will sign another year lease that runs from April-April. In any case I offered to give at least a 60 day notice so that he would be prepared.
posted by stormygrey at 8:27 AM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, almost forgot: if you both have curmudgeon landlords or live in an area where demand is high or landlords like to align leases to a specific rental season, moving in together gives you each six months of the lease to pay for, rather than the full twelve. This has help ease the sting if you can't find a sublet when the time comes.
posted by davejay at 8:28 AM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I grew up in Chicago, where -- at the time -- June leases were the ideal, because of college housing move-outs and how much it sucks to move in the winter. Off-cycle leases were more desirable for people with off-cycle rental needs, but for the landlords, they sucked.
posted by davejay at 8:30 AM on March 21, 2012

elizardbits can you and youg GF live together temporarily before the home purchase

It's an option, but we would prefer to move furniture only once - plus we both have a full set of furniture and we're likely to keep most of the furniture after combining households (the extra set will be used to create a guest room and a TV room). So that means we'd need storage for some time. That's cheaper than renting, but storage + an extra moving van + all the effort to move twice begins to eat away at the savings.

Per davejay's similar suggestion, we can think about it, especially if one landlord is more flexible.
posted by Tehhund at 8:39 AM on March 21, 2012

« Older How can I be a true friend to a guy whose romantic...   |   Art Appreciation Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.