This week a Portland landlord asks about tenant subletting while rental property is on the market and what they should do – the question for Ask Landlord Hank. Remember Hank is not an attorney and is not giving legal advice.
Dear Landlord Hank,
We own a rental in Portland, Oregon. Thank you for your condolences… we have put our rental on the market. One of the two tenants has moved out. The remaining tenant wants to get another roommate to cover the rent expense. Our rental agreement says no subletting, etc., but with the weird rules Portland keeps implementing, can we still say “no” to the present tenant’s request to get a new roommate in this rental?
Dear Landlady Betsy,
You’re right, it’s really complicated in Portland and Oregon right now. I don’t know exactly what your local laws are now regarding leases and leasing, but if one tenant broke the lease, and your lease forbids subletting, then you should be able to enforce that.
The problem is that most tenants that have roommates do so for economic reasons; it is more manageable to pay half the bills than all of them.
Can your current tenant pay the rent by himself or herself and still make ends meet, or will this desertion by the co-tenant make this tenant unstable, eventually having to move or be evicted?
You may need to compromise. Do you want to keep this tenant?
Does the tenant have a good long history with you, and how much time is left on the current lease?
If your tenant can’t pay rent alone, you may want to let him or her out of the lease and start over with a new, more economically sound tenant. Or, you could let current tenant find a roommate, subject to background-screening approval, to ride out the rest of the lease.
Not sure what current economy is like in Portland, but if it is strong, it may be better to start over.