What to Do About Residents Who Break Up

It’s a tale as old as time: Boy meets girl. They fall in love, or at least fall in like enough that they’re together all the time and finish each other’s sentences and have their own language and are really irritating their friends. So they decide to move in together, because rent is expensive, their roommates are annoying and they spend all their time together anyway, and really, how different could living together be. Then it’s all cool for awhile until boy discovers that he can’t stand girl’s laugh anymore and girl is sick and tired of picking up boy’s laundry from the floor every day. And they break up.

But their lease keeps them united under one roof, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, until the lease terms ends do they part.

Seriously, this is a growing phenomenon, according to The New York Times.

Anyway, not to sound too much like a Bond villain with a facial scar stroking a cat, but this could actually work to the benefit of property managers, and they could even make a profit from it.

Couples are going to keep moving in together, whether it be a step before marriage, to save on rent, to make their moms mad, whatever. Unfortunately, not all these couples are going to go the distance. But if the broken up couple is stuck staying with each other, neighbors would possibly have to listen to more fights. Or one could move out in the middle of the night without telling the ex, who might not be able to afford the rent. Or, they could act like they were in an episode of I love Lucy and put a piece of tape down dividing the apartment, so one would have one side and the other would have the other side, which would definitely ruin the apartment paint job when they took the tape off. (OK, maybe this particular scenario isn’t that likely.) Anyway, no one is going to be happy.

But, with two warring people who can no longer stand the sight of each other, much less share an apartment, one person might be more than willing to move out. If your community isn’t 100 percent occupied, maybe if one of these residents comes to you, you could offer up another apartment in the building. You could be collecting rent off of two apartments now, instead of just the one, from the same people whom you’ve already done a background/credit/etc. check on. Instead of having this person sign a full-year lease on the apartment (because when you’re living in the same building as your ex, you’re guaranteed to run into that person roughly a million times a week), you could have them sign a month-to-month lease, or whatever would be most convenient for you.

What if neither of these people can afford to live in the apartment themselves—after all, this could be one of the reasons they moved in together in the first place? Allow them both to find new roommates, but make them do it through you so that you can do all your checks on the new people. That way it’s all done through you, instead of them illegally subletting the apartment so that they can afford the rent, or worse, start defaulting on payments because they can’t afford it.

See? Breaking up doesn’t have to be hard to do. [Insert maniacal laugh here.]

Have you ever had residents in this situation? What happened?

-Jessica Fiur, News Editor

Photo credit: Marie Appert