Imagine having your tenant tell you they want out of their lease because your house is haunted. It’s October, so a perfect time to remember this story from not so many years past.
How Do You Know A House Is Haunted?
A tenant called our office very upset. She wanted to break her lease. She and her family could no longer live in their home.
The family was finding open cabinets, doors, and the dishwasher. All kinds of things that were left closed. Not just once. Daily! In the morning, when they came home in the evening, weekends. At first I must admit I wondered if they might be embellishing. She proceeded to describe how the garage door opener would not work sometimes, or would work on its own. Televisions were turned on when nobody was around.
Then the story got really strange.
The tenant’s daughter woke up screaming that somebody was in her room. Loud banging noises coming from the basement at the same time. When she looked in the mirror she saw somebody else (OK..now we are having fun with the story).
The neighbor offers up more kindling for the fire. They tell the tenant that before our client purchased the home, there had been a couple in the home. She disappeared and one day he was found in the home having ended his life. She had never been found.
A little research appeared to verify the possibility the home had a history. The event was almost 20 years and two owners prior. No disclosure was required of this history when the owner purchased the home. Now the question. Did the tenant already want to break the lease and conveniently find out about the home’s history to use as the cause of the lease being broken?
A haunted house argument for ending her lease! One of our staff suggested we ask the owner to pay for an exorcist. I decided that idea was a non-starter.
The WILMOTH “Early-Break” Solution
We did propose our normal “early-break” offer. We will market the home for lease. The tenant must continue to pay rent, utilities, and maintenance as required. Tenants must cooperate with showings if they are going to stay in the home. When a new tenant is found, the existing tenant must pay all fees so there is no cost to the owner.
She took us up on the offer and moved out. With the owner’s approval, we decided that this “haunting” was not something we needed to share with other applicants. We had no way to know if the events were real or not. Fortunately, it has not come up again.
Except in October when a strange blue light is seen from the attic windows on many dark and stormy nights…