Law Offices of Heist, Weisse, and Wolk, P.A.
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Many employees of apartment communities live on-site and are provided an apartment as part of their compensation package. This apartment may be free of charge or at a reduced rental amount as long as the resident is employed by the apartment community. Thousands of employees are in this situation and are living on-site, usually under some form of employee rental agreement or addendum. However, the time comes when the employment of the resident may end, either voluntarily or involuntarily, fancy words for the employee quitting or getting fired. Sometimes it is an amicable breakup with the employee getting another job, while other times the employee is fired and you want him or her off the property as soon as possible, preferably yesterday! The mechanics of removing the ex-employee from the property all depend on the employee rental addendum and how you or your company deals with the situation. Mistakes are constantly being made, resulting in difficult evictions or delays in having the former employee leave the premises. In some cases the continued presence of the former employee on the property causes increased liability to the apartment owner or manager, and can seriously affect operations. The former employee may begin to act in a vindictive fashion, causing disturbances, badmouthing management, or otherwise interfering with business operations. Let’s face it: sometimes residents go “off the deep end”, and your former employee is no more or less likely to do this than any of your other residents.


Termination of Employment


This is handled in most companies by upper management according to the guidelines of their human resources department, and laws or rules covering this will not be covered in this short article. Your job will be to make sure that the former employee gets off of the property, and we highly recommend you immediately call your attorney for guidance from the very start.


The Employee Lease Addendum


For this discussion, we are going to assume your former employee signed an Employee Lease Addendum. If they did not, you have more significant problems. A typical Employee Lease Addendum will state what will happen if the resident quits or is fired. For us attorneys, the most important clause is the one that states how long the resident has to vacate the premises. We typically see timeframes between 3 days and 2 weeks as to when the resident must vacate.


The Call


Our office usually gets the call from the property manager about a week after the former employee was to vacate the property, desperately asking us to get the resident evicted as soon as possible. This is when we begin to ask some crucial questions, the answers to which will have an impact on how or if we are able to evict the resident.


  1. Are there more than one resident’s on the lease, and did all of them sign the Employee Lease Addendum?


We often see that Bill and Jane both signed the lease, but only Bill, the maintenance tech, signed the Employee Lease addendum. This can pose a major problem, as really the Employee Lease Addendum only applies to Bill and not his wife Jane. Big mistake. ALWAYS make sure all the residents sign the Employee Lease Addendum, not just the employee. This mistake is made all the time and will completely complicate if not make an eviction impossible.


  1. How much time does the former employee have to vacate and did you give them notice?


Notice you ask? What notice? You assume that since the Employee Lease Addendum states that the employee must vacate within 15 days, this is notice enough. Think about this. Your lease states that the resident is supposed to pay the rent, but you have to give them a Three Day Notice. To non-renew a resident, you need to give the resident a Notice of Non-Renewal. A resident who has unauthorized occupants needs to get a Seven Day Notice to Cure. Why are you not giving the former employee a notice to vacate? Because you don’t have one! Is it really necessary to give the former employee notice? Perhaps not, but it cuts down on any confusion as to the firing or quitting date, or exactly what date the resident must vacate. It is wise to use an Employee Lease Termination Addendum which clearly states the day the former employee must vacate.


The Former Employee Needs More Time

A common request by former employees who must vacate per the Employee Lease Addendum is that they need more time. They ask you and you say, “no”, they ask your regional manager who says “no”, and then they get high up in the corporate offices, and some big wig says “yes”, trying to avoid any kind of litigation. Now when does the former employee have to vacate? They have been given a verbal extension by someone in New York! If you are going to allow the former employee more time, make sure they sign an Agreement to vacate. Who are “they”?: the former employee and anyone else who is on the lease agreement, and hopefully on the Employee Lease Addendum


  • The Curable Noncompliance Examined PART 1