Phil Querin Q&A: Married Couple Divorce - They Qualified Based Upon Joint Income - Now What?

Want access to MHCO content?

For complete access to forms, conference presentations, community updates and MHCO columns, log in to your account or register.

April 29, 2014

Question: A few years ago, a married couple originally applied together for residency in our community. They have since divorced and one of them has moved out. They qualified for occupancy based upon their joint income. The party retaining possession would clearly not qualify today. How do we deal with this?

 Here are my questions: 1. Do we write a new lease for the remaining resident or keep the old lease with both residents on the lease? A new lease would presumably require than any new occupants be qualified all over again. But the current occupant would not qualify. Secondly, the ex-spouse would have no liability for space rent going forward. You may want to leave the status quo, to keep your options opened. 2. Can we legally keep the resident that moved out, responsible for the lease after a divorce and separation of assets? Yes. 3. Do we re-screen the remaining resident to see if he/she qualifies on their own? I have a concern about doing so – if they did not pass the credit requirements, then what? You can’t evict them without cause, and as long as the remaining occupant is current, you could not do so. Besides, if the remaining occupant is receiving spousal or child support, their income might be sufficient. 4. Who owns the security deposit or pre-paid rent? I don’t think you have a duty to refund any deposits until the tenancy is ended, and so far, that isn’t the case. If and when it is ended, you could ask for joint instructions from both of them, and if they can’t agree, make the check out to them jointly.