What language to include in an agreement to move out
January 30, 2014 8:02 PM   Subscribe

I am leasing a townhouse in CA. I am the tenant, ex-girlfriend is listed as occupant. 5 month into the lease relationship fell apart. ex refused to move out. She does not work, doesn't pay rent or board. Legal options to resolve are limited. Conditions meanwhile are unbearable and unhealthy. She agreed to accept a substantial amount of cash in order to move. I need a simple legal document to cover my end which I believe should include a) she moves herself and all her belongings out by an agreed upon date in the near future b) she will not return c) she will not harass me. Money will change hands when signing document in front of a notary after keys are returned and her stuff is out. My questions are - should anything else be included in the agreement? She doesn't want cashier's check, cash only. Is it save to agree to this, or do I need the paper trail ? Any other tips are welcome also. Thanks in advance
posted by trackfan to Law & Government (16 answers total)
Get a notarized receipt for the cash.
posted by El Mariachi at 8:05 PM on January 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

telling you what to put in the agreement would be legal advice, and a currently active member of the california bar would be in the most knowledgeable position to do this (i've been inactive since 1995). you have the money deposited in his/her attorney-client trust account and your ex gets a check drawn on this account when she signs the paper and moves out. no cash, that's just asking for trouble. do not permit her to dictate terms under which she can screw you.
posted by bruce at 8:19 PM on January 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'd advise getting her new address from her before you hand over any money—and hell no, not cash. If you don't have to pay her until after she's out, hand her a cashier's check when she hands you the keys. Or better yet, do as bruce advises. Having her new address will help if she doesn't adhere to your b) and c) clauses. It's helpful to know where she is if you want to try to sue her or get a restraining order.

The minute her belongings are out you should change the locks. She's going to want the money before she moves out (how else will she be able to afford rent at a new place) but don't do it.

Are you ever expecting this money back? Because that won't happen.

I am very sorry this is happening to you. Sounds unbelievably stressful. Good luck!
posted by clone boulevard at 8:41 PM on January 30, 2014

Any other tips are welcome also.

I feel so sorry that you are being blackmailed in this way. I hope that you are at least certain you can keep her out long enough to change the locks--which you should do immediately upon receiving those keys.
posted by misha at 8:56 PM on January 30, 2014

I'm not sure this is blackmail. From OPs post, she didn't demand the money - she agreed to it, which makes it sound like OP offered.

It sounds like, and please correct this if I'm wrong, that conditions are unbearable for you - not her. She sounds like she's fine staying, for whatever reason, but that you want her to move. This puts you in a tough spot where she can leverage that difference as power in the negotiations.

Is there any way to sit down with her and a counselor, arbitrator, or other party and discuss a way to deal with this a bit more like adults?

She could sign all the papers in the world and take all the cash you offer - but that won't stop her from harassing you. Is one of you uselessly fighting against a necessary ending? Is there a way to productively grieve this ending cooperatively, so that she can move on and move out without this strange payment situation?

The ending of a relationship doesn't have to be hateful and about egos and battles - is it possible to use compassion to end this relationship? And the kind of stress that it sounds like this is producing is making you willing to do anything to get rid of her - including paying a "substantial" sum of money. Are you sure that's the best route?
posted by jardinier at 8:57 PM on January 30, 2014

Tried many amicable and supportive solutions to address this situation with dignity for both parties. In the end ex did demand money but it remains clear to me she would much rather stay rent free until expiration of my lease next August. With her comes a 14 year old handicapped dog I love and have supported. I simply can not live with my ex any longer under the same roof for a variety of personal reasons I hesitate to list here.
Deeply appreciate the sentiment and advise offered. As suggested this has been one of the most stressful event ever. For both parties, I'm sure.
posted by trackfan at 9:23 PM on January 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

PS. Ex has not stated where she's moving to. It's none of my business I'm told. She was homeless when she moved in but has a number of supportive acquaintances and family in the area. I am of the opinion cash may not be used for housing.
posted by trackfan at 9:31 PM on January 30, 2014

If you are getting the transaction notarized I don't see any advantage to you of a cashiers cheque over cash (besides not having to carry a bunch of cash around which isn't something that would bother me). You already have strong legal proof that receiver got the money from the payer; the paper trail of the cheque adds nothing to that.

This is really the sort of thing you should consult a lawyer about though. A few hundred bucks up front could save you thousands down the road and eliminate the possibility of serious aggravation. You have a legal problem and the right tool to fix that problem is a lawyer.
posted by Mitheral at 9:41 PM on January 30, 2014

Retained an attorney to launch restraining order or eviction notice but backed away from these solutions due to privacy and timing concerns. Drafted a simple Move Out Agreement with Google's help tonight and solicited their input. Good advise!
posted by trackfan at 9:49 PM on January 30, 2014

Pay a lawyer with the money. Clean any stuff you don't want cops to see out for a few weeks. Have the lawyer take care of getting rid of her.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:57 PM on January 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

From my own recent adventures in landlord/tenant laws in California, California tenant laws can be batshit insane depending on where you live. (Looking at you, Bay Area.) You really need to make sure what you're doing is legal or that there are no legal quirks hiding around that allow her to stay as long as she wants. Like most other people are saying, it'd do you well to get a lawyer in this instance.
posted by thermopoetics at 10:13 PM on January 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

nthing the legal investigation - you don't want to pay her and then find out that she has a legal right to move back in.

I'm so sorry to hear that this is working out like this and that it's so stressful for you, and glad to hear you've tried hard to end things well. You may want to consider moving yourself, changing your phone number, and making sure that you're completely clear of the situation by taking other such actions to positively move forward and free yourself of the situation. Perhaps it's a last resort, but remember that you are not trapped - you can always find a way to extricate yourself from this situation, it's just a matter of how.
posted by jardinier at 10:34 PM on January 30, 2014

If you're planning on moving in seven months anyway, use the money to pay the penalty to break your lease and just move now.
posted by ob1quixote at 2:20 AM on January 31, 2014 [23 favorites]

If you do an exchange of cash at a UPS store (where there are notaries) you can record the transaction with your phone.

But once she's out, if you give her a cashier's check or money order, and walk away, what's she going to do?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:43 AM on January 31, 2014

Also, I think you want to notify the landlord in writing that she is to be removed as an "occupant" on the lease, send the notice registered or get some proof of receipt of your notice. Something nags at my brain that her rights to enter the leased premises may continue because of the lease.
posted by Lornalulu at 7:38 AM on January 31, 2014

Landlord has been advised. They are meeting me at the property day after Move-Out to amend lease agreement. Thanks
posted by trackfan at 12:22 PM on January 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

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