Some of the other voices suggest that you might (or might not) find some loophole that will allow you to wriggle out of the obligation. Maybe there is some way that you could structure the sale to that renter that would cut the agent who originally introduced her out of her fee, but that would not be the morally right thing for you to do. And you are not a dishonest person.
Another thought: : Is it possible that this renter is also suggesting that she might buy it during or at the end of the lease? Is the prospective renter also suggesting that the Realtor be cut out of the deal so that you get more and she pays less? If that is the case, you may want to be wary of the prospective renter herself.
If she is suggesting an end run around the Realtor, then might she also try to take unfair advantage of some one else? like, uhm, er ........her new landlady?
That is a good question.
Different states have different state statutes that may affect what needs to be done. Ours does.
Also your listing agreement may address that situation.
What state are you in?
Maybe some brokers from your state can advised you on the state specific answer.
Best of luck
Great question and very good answers.
There is a difference between legal and moral.
Read your contract. There is a term "procuring cause". If the renter came from the Realtors marketing efforts, then they would be the reason the renter came.
However, there are a lot of variables here. I am not an attorney. You might want consult with one.
Here's a thought. You're waiting for the market to go back up. The renter wants to rent. Maybe a lease option would be a good incentive. BTW, how do you KNOW the market is going back up? My crystal ball is a little foggy right now.
Here's a suggestion. Have the Realtor ask the buyer at what price she would make an offer....
Start by asking the realtor if she has an executed Buyer Agency agreement. This document is a committment between buyer and agent outlining the terms and length of time of relationship.
You might also want to ask if he/she can provided any documentation showing the date and time of original showing.
How to proceed from there will be contingent upon the responses to these 2 questions.