Q: I dread being a landlord. I am a 68-year old disabled veteran and have moved into another home. I have had to rent out my other home because I couldn’t sell it.

One of the tenants wants to break the lease because she and the other female tenant cannot get along.

I am also on a fixed income and do not want to have to hire an attorney. Do you have any suggestions for me?

A: You’re a perfect example of someone who should not be a landlord. It appears you don’t have the temperament or financial wherewithal to handle the problems associated with renting property. Unfortunately, you were forced into being a landlord because you couldn’t sell your house.

Make it a goal to get the property sold as quickly a possible. For now, tell your tenant she is legally liable for the rent and that you will pursue her legally if she skips out. If she’s unhappy, have her find a replacement tenant.

I’m sorry that you don’t want to hire an attorney, but you’re experiencing a fairly common landlord experience. Please seek legal advice. You may also want to check out any of the excellent books on being a landlord from Nolo Press (nolo.com). You should also check the terms of your lease. Many leases allow you to recover your attorneys’ fees should your tenant default under the lease.

Published: Sep 1, 2007