Oct 07, 2010

Rahm Emmanuel's Travails as a Landlord

Renting out your home after you've moved for a new job can be a great strategy, both as an income-producer (though not always) and as a way to delay selling while the market is down. But, as the recent situation with Rahm Emmanuel illustrates, you'll have to get used to the idea that, while your tenant is protected by a lease, the house isn't yours to do with as you please.

Recent news reports describe how Emmanuel, having left his position as White House Chief of Staff and become interested in running for mayor of Chicago, is hoping to move back into his old house there. But there's an "oops:" He had recently signed a one-year lease with his tenant, who so far isn't willing to budge.

I asked Janet Portman, author of Every Landlord's Legal Guide, to comment on the situation:

"A deal is a deal, and there's no legal reason why Rahm's tenant should move," said Portman. "Emanuel is doing what any sophisticated owner would do -- offering to buy out the lease -- but he may find that he'll have to sweeten the deal a lot before his tenant agrees to move. He should consider looking for a replacement home for his tenant, making sure it's within the same school district -- and offering to pay for movers and all related moving costs."

Something to consider before you accept that White House position . . . .