I have a bit of a problem on my hands. I haven’t talked about it in some time, but I’m a landlord. I kind of fell into the position when my fiancee and I headed west to pursue great career opportunities. I was a little leery of becoming a landlord. The job doesn’t have a lot to love for a Lazy Man like me – more responsibility and losing money each month were at the top my most hated list. Still, the move out west would be far, far more beneficial economically. Becoming a landlord was the lesser of two evils. The other evil, would have been selling the home for far less than I paid for 2 years ago – perhaps $40,000 less using my neighbor’s place as an estimate.
Despite all the potential for disaster, up until earlier this month, it’s the easiest gig I’ve ever had. This is largely because I may have the best tenant in the world. She actually asked me if she could pay me earlier in the month. She forwards on my mail – on her own dime (side note: the US Postal Service needs to revamp it’s system greatly). As a florist she’s touching up the garden – again on her own dime. I’ve offered to pick up the mail costs (not that I want it as it’s been all junk mail), but she wouldn’t have of it.
However things have gotten to be difficult. Due to a life-threatening reason beyond her control, she is forced to relocate before her lease is due. I’m not really going to go into the reason, but let’s just say that I believe the reason. There’s a chance that she could be making the reason up to get out of the lease, but it wouldn’t make sense that she would. She only has two months on the lease after the day she plans to move out.
I’ve already decided that I will let her break the lease. However, should I apply some kind of penalty for not staying the full year? If so, what would be an appropriate number? How would your answer change if I was able to rent it out without a day of missed rent?