Author Topic: 'Paug Lawyers / Prop. Managers? Lease / Contract Content:  (Read 336 times)

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Offline guyforget

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'Paug Lawyers / Prop. Managers? Lease / Contract Content:
« on: July 28, 2010, 05:07:48 PM »
I have a question, and I know that the answer ultimately is that it depends on my contract, but I'd like your general opinions here -

My wife and I just bought a house.  We still have 3 months left in our lease at our apartment.  Our landlord told us that if we found someone to sign a year lease he would let us out of our remaining months without penalty. 

We found a girl that went through their application process and put down half of the deposit to hold the apartment and signed a lease.  The landlord came by our spot to tell us that we were good to go.  We asked if we needed to sign anything that said that we were released from the lease and he said it wasnt necessary. 

Yesterday the girl who signed the lease with him for our apartment backed out.  He has informed us that there is a clause in their leases that if they do not deliver the property to the leasee within 3 days then the lease is void.  He says that if this happens, it falls back on us to pay the rent or find a new renter. 

Its my opinion that he entered into contract with someone else for the terms of my lease, and that should pretty much void my lease in and of itself.  Not to mention that he told us that it was not necessary when we asked if we needed to sign something that said that we were released.  But thats just an opinion.  In general, is there any basis for this opinion in terms of legalities?

I understand that there may be something specific in my lease that permits this, but in general, if theres nothing like that there, would signing a contract w/ someone else for the terms of my contract void my contract? 

Offline Superfreakie

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Re: 'Paug Lawyers / Prop. Managers? Lease / Contract Content:
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2010, 05:33:43 PM »
I don't know American lease laws and often lease laws change dependent on region and sometimes even city, in your case one would assume state to state. The first thing I would do is ask him to see the hard copy/documentation that he has informed you of regarding the three days. 
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Offline DoW

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Re: 'Paug Lawyers / Prop. Managers? Lease / Contract Content:
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2010, 05:52:12 PM »
I'll give my opinion on this later.  need to get out of here for a run.  my landlord is currently dealing with a landlord/tenant issue (not me).
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Offline DoW

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Re: 'Paug Lawyers / Prop. Managers? Lease / Contract Content:
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2010, 06:57:27 PM »
first point is that SF is correct.  landlord/tenant law differs state to state.
second point is that regardless of what the law says, it is always better to reach an agreement instead of having a court decide.  this is obvious but it is important to remember that even if you reach an impasse, it is still better to keep trying to reach a resolution.
thrd point is that it is probably safe to say that in every state a LL has a duty to mitigate and try and find a new tenant.

the clause in your lease would obviously be important but the arguments I would make on your behalf are:
you had a verbal contract with your LL that you were released from liability.  problem with this argument is that it can become your word against his and can't be proven.
another argument is that you did find someone to "sign" a lease.  did sher back out due to some fault of the LL or just by her own choice.  seems to me that a LL would never draft a lease allowing a tenant to back out within 4 days.  so you found a tenant and a lease was signed, and maybe it is your LL's fault.

either way, I'd at least still try and find another tenant as long as it is not a huge hassle but making it clear that it is as a favor.  you need to be clear that you feel you fulfilled your obligations but are doing it out of goodwill.

I'd also google if a penalty in your lease is enforcable in your state.  longshot, but you want to be sure the clause is legal.

I should edit to say that my only real estate law experience is commercial leases of a reasonably simple nature and landlord/tenant law is completely different.  so you shouldn't consider this very sophisticated advice.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2010, 06:59:37 PM by bvaz »
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Offline kellerb

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Re: 'Paug Lawyers / Prop. Managers? Lease / Contract Content:
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2010, 07:05:25 PM »
as a non-lawyer, I'd say your landlord didn't have you sign anything specifically in case this situation occurred; they wanted to keep you on the hook in case the new tenant fell through.  I'm sure their argument would be "I agreed to drop Guyforget's lease early if he found a replacement lessee for those final months, provided that lessee did take occupancy and pay rent for those months."

Offline guyforget

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Re: 'Paug Lawyers / Prop. Managers? Lease / Contract Content:
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2010, 01:49:30 AM »
bvaz - i hear what youre saying, and im not trying to take this guy to court or anything.  and i dont think he's going to try to take me to court, either.  what im trying to do is to be fully informed when i walk into his office to make the case for him returning my deposit.

the 3 day clause is in the lease, its actually a protection for the leasee.  its just saying that if he cant deliver the property in a reasonable amount of time (3 days) after the lease begins, then they can back out and receive a refund for any $$ they have given him so far (deposits, etc).  it makes sense.  im sure its never used to actually allow a leasee to flake before their lease begins.  but in this case, its coming back to fuck him over. 

my basic question is this - by entering into a contract w/ another party during the terms of my contract, did he breach my contract?  i know that lease laws vary state to state, yadda yadda, but my poitn is not for this to wind up in court over $700.  its for me to walk into his office w/ as much information as possible to persuade him to not charge me for this month and to refund my deposit. 

i have done nothing wrong in this situation.  i did exactly as he asked me to do to get out of the lease.  its up to him to screen the potential leasees, and this girl obviously filled out the same applications and went through the same vetting process that we did.  for whatever reason, she flaked on him, but its no fault of mine. 


Offline DoW

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Re: 'Paug Lawyers / Prop. Managers? Lease / Contract Content:
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2010, 07:29:22 AM »
ok.  so it is your security deposit and not a penalty in the lease.
I'd google your state security deposit laws.  there are usually pretty explicit circumstances clearly spelled out on what a security deposit can and cannot be used for.  I once had to file a claim against a landlord on small claims court for him trying to withhold my security deposit as a penalty and MA laws were pretty clear that he couldn't.  this was a situation where it was a house where he rented out rooms and he withheld 3 or 4 of our security deposits within a year.  once I filed the claim, I had my money plus interest within a week but I had a clear case in my favor.

I'd go in with that you had a verbal contract for release of liability.
I'd also try and get an idea of what your state security deposit laws are.
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