What Renters Want with Jessica Fiur: The Playboy Mansion and When a Roommate Just Won’t Leave

One of the conditions of sale for the Playboy Mansion is that Hugh Hefner still gets to live there. In multifamily, what do you do when a roommate leaves and the other wants to stay—and bring in a new roommate?

By Jessica Fiur, Managing Editor

jfiur thumbnailDid you hear the bizarre news about Playboy? (And, no, I’m not talking about the fact that their print editions will no longer feature images of naked ladies, which allowed journalists who covered this news to all gleefully proclaim that now you weren’t lying when you said you read Playboy for the articles.) This time, the news is that the Playboy Mansion is on sale for $200 million. The mansion includes a tennis court, koi pond, of course the grotto and an octogenarian with a penchant for walking around in his bathrobe. Wait, I know, that’s every octogenarian. I mean the famous one. Yup, Hugh Hefner comes with the house. (No, the Bunnies don’t. They’ll be put out to pasture. I’m hilarious.)

It’s actually a condition of the sale that Hugh Hefner will get to live there for the rest of his life.

high hefner

Image courtesy of www.flickr.com.

Which brings us to multifamily. What do you do when a roommate just won’t leave?

A lot of renters have roommates. But if one roommate wants to leave as they are wont to do (because some people can’t seem to wash a dish to save their life, and jeez, how difficult is it to just wash a simple dish?), it might cause some headaches for you. Ideally the other roommate would just leave too, especially if it was the end of the lease period. Then you could just clean up the place and start the leasing process over again. But, what if one of the roommates wants to stay?

That roommate who is staying will more than likely want to get another roommate to help with rent. It is crucial to have processes in place to ensure the process runs smoothly. Does your community allow subleases? Does the remaining roommate have to renegotiate a new lease? If there are no subleases, do you need to approve (and give a credit check) to the new roommate? Or do you not care as long as the rent keeps getting paid?

This is a very common occurrence at multifamily communities. After all, people leave all the time. But it can because a surprisingly difficult—and extremely stressful—process. Everyone’s emotions are running high, including the property manager, who doesn’t want to lose out on any income.

That is why it’s crucial to have this all spelled out on the lease, and to have a contingency plan for when something like this happens. Make sure each roommate is officially on the lease. This protects them, as well as yourself from squatters, damaged property that you can’t collect money for because the person disappears, etc. And if at the end of the lease, if one roommate moves out, make sure the other roommate signs a new lease. That way it won’t just roll over and the person just collects roommate after roommate, until when you’re showing apartments you say, “Oh, don’t mind him. He comes with the apartment. We call him Hef.”

How do your leasing contracts deal with roommates, especially those that want to stay after the other one moves out? We’d love to hear from you! Post your comments on Facebook or send a tweet to @MHNOnline.