Management company and breaking leases

Here’s my dilemma, I own a condo in Palm Springs, CA and have a management company renting it out for me. They placed a tenant there several months ago with a years lease. We had a few issues early on with plumbing, and window blinds which I addressed and paid them to fix immediately upon being notified.

Now, the tenant is threatening to break her lease and move out if we don’t give her a free month’s rent for enduring aforementioned plumbing problems (which we fixed the very same day we were notified of, remember).

First, it seems to me this is exactly why I have a management co., to deal with these kinds of problems with tenanants, so why I am even being bothered?

Second, seeing as how the mananement co. screened and placed this tenant, either they or the tenant should be liable to fulfill the terms of the lease, right?

Please advise!!

Thanks a million.


I am NOT a lawyer (and don’t play one on TV) but here’s my two cents:

A lease works two ways and is binding upon both parties. The landlord agrees to provide inhabitable dwelling space and the tenant agrees to paid the agreed upon rent on time and to maintain the unit to a certain standard (certainly their are more responsibilities on both sides)…

In this case, the tenant is trying to work you over for free rent. If you, indeed, fixed the problems the day notified, then at worst, they were inconvenienced for a day and if push-came-shove, you might ‘owe’ them a day of rent refund…doubtfully, though.

If they, however, break the lease early for no provable cause, they are still liable, per the contract, for the rent for the months remaining on the lease. Could you collect? Possibly but not probably.

This sounds like the makings of a problem tenant. MY gut feeling is to address the problem through the management company (YES-- THIS IS WHY YOU PAY THEM!!!) and tell them that their request was considered but, unless they can tell you how they suffered enough ‘damage’ to warrant a month’s rent, that their request has been respectfully denied. Have this done in the nicest way possible.

This will place the onus on them to “put up or shut up”…either pay the rent and move on with their life or not pay the rent, pay to move their belongings and suffer whatever consequences come about from breaking the lease.

I would have the management company monitor closely as this may have the potential to escalate if she feels forced to move. She may try to exact revenge at the price of your unit.


Great post Keith!!!

Also keep in mind that this a State by State issue I have had tenants try to pull the same STUFF!!(that was a good cover huh)! Here in Colorado any court would tell them that rent and maintance are two seperate issues! This is a landlord friendly State!

Also let me add that Keith is 100% correct you might have the startings of a bad tenant!
The Question you need to ask yourself is how long did it take the management company to place a tenant and if it is over one month offer $100.00 off or what ever you can agree on! That way you do not have to pay the full mortgage while it sits empty for a month or two! Robb

I’m a landlord in SoCalif.

First, check this out

There are some basic “habitably” issues, but if you got them fixed in a rasonable time then you are OK. By the way, Calif landlord/tenant legal doctine says “reasonable time” is 5 days (I have seen this in writing).

At worst, you need to compensate for the loss of an amentiy (for example if a refrig breaks and take 3 weeks to get a new one). Again, if it a few days, then its a non-issue.

So, bottomline is tell the mgmt co. to tell the tenant to politly “go pound sand” on the free rent request.

Next question is now what to do with this problem tenant. 1) do nothing and hope for the best or 2)offer to let them out of the lease if they pay placement fee for a new tenant AND they pay rent until new tenant (of your approval) moves in. I have had good success with #2 with tenants who like to complain.


Thank you so much, all of you!

This site and your responses have been an incredible resource for me and my partner (Jane, who has posted further down).

I’ll keep you updated.

Go get 'em, TIger…LOL!

Good Luck…I bet she backs down!


Thanks also from the other half of the partnership for this valuable info- WOW what a resource!!!

I do have to add another question however which is more to do with how I feel the management company have let us down. With regards to “reasonable time to have a repair made” the company called me three weeks ago to notify me of the plumbing problem I promptly told them to have it fixed then, we would pay out-of-pocket since the warranty did not cover it - yet they were unable to coordinate it seems to have this done until September 6th!!!

Seems to me like the tenant is the one who has a bargaining here now and the management company is at fault?



what is the plumbing problem??

in general, it sounds liek there is an issue with the mgmt co. 5 weeks to get a plumber out to do a repair job??? not acceptable. time to read your property mgmt agreement with that company and have a hardball discussion.

Great post and great replies. I would like to know how this pans out.