Landlord issues

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by rontheancient, Jan 11, 2015.

  1. rontheancient macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #1
    Hi all, I'm just seeking advice on an issue I'm having with my landlord.

    Back in July 2013, I signed a 1-year lease for my condo in MN. When the lease expired in July 2014, the landlord never approached me to renew or terminate my lease. Since then I have been paying month-to-month without any written contract and the original lease does not have a automatic renewal/termination clause.

    The landlord and I agreed over the phone to extend/renew the lease to April 2015 back in Sept, but no lease or contract was signed and I'm still paying month-to-month.

    4 days ago, I was offered and accepted a job in CA and promptly gave in my notice to my landlord. It looks like he's sticking with the verbal agreement, expecting me to pay till April or find a new tenant. He also sent me a intimidating and threatening e-mail about the consequences of breach-of-contract, citing "502.04 action". He may be blowing smoke since that particular law has been repealed.

    I've been researching this myself and it looks like MN504B.135 says I need to give 1-month. Still means I need to pay Feb rent, but such is life.

    With that story out of the way, what should I do?
     
  2. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    #2
    Can't imagine he would take legal action for two months rent. Doesn't seem worth it. If you want to break your verbal contract and move, I doubt anything would happen. Just get out of there before you tell him anything else.
     
  3. stridemat Moderator

    stridemat

    Staff Member

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    #3
    Please don't consider this legal advice by any means!

    Not sure about American law, however in the UK a verbal contract is as legally binding as the written form.

    I would say that by agreeing over the phone to extend the lease until April 2015 that you have offer and acceptance, thus a contract. Yes it should have been written down, but you are where you are.

    Perhaps negotiate to pay half the remaining terms or something?
     
  4. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #4
    I go by if its not written its not said and if your lease wasn't formalized in writing then it will be hard for the landlord to dispute.
     
  5. samiwas macrumors 65816

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    Atlanta, GA
    #5
    I agree with maflynn and Mac'n'Cheese. I'd just go ahead and move, probably pay the extra month. If there's no signed contract, there's little he can do. And the trouble, time, and money it would cost to recoup the two extra months of rent through court is not worth it at all. I find it highly doubtful he'd actually pursue it.
     
  6. rontheancient thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
    Looks like oral contracts are enforceable in MN:

    I'm poking around and getting some interesting info from the state:

    I know I'm not helping my case, but just putting it out there.
     
  7. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    Colorado
    #7
    Agreed. You will be paying February rent, which only leaves the landlord on the hook for 2 months. I can't imagine that he would try and collect.
     
  8. Mr. McMac Suspended

    Mr. McMac

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  9. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #9
    You made an agreement so stick to it. If the landlord was trying to get you out few months early, you'd be here complaining about that, wouldn't you?

    And your thread title should be Tenant Issues.
     
  10. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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  11. Roller macrumors 68020

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    #11

    I was just about to post the same thing. Regardless of the legalities or what the OP can get away with, he did make a verbal agreement and should live up to it. One option would be to approach the landlord and negotiate a settlement.
     
  12. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

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  13. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

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  14. OneMike macrumors 603

    OneMike

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    Oct 19, 2005
    #14
    my word is important to me so personally if I said I was going to pay till x date I'd honor what I agreed on. Same as I'd expect to not be told I had to leave prior.

    That said. I'm not sure how an oral agreement could be valid unless recorded. Otherwise, one could say anything. Obviously within reason but I never heard of that.
     
  15. aaronvan Suspended

    aaronvan

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    #15
    Getting a lawyer will cost more than you will save, I'd suspect, not to mention all the aggravation. I'd plan on paying February rent and have another sit-down with the landlord, explaining your situation. Bring him a Starbucks. Also, advertise the soon-to-be-vacant apartment on Craigslist. I bet things work out.
     
  16. HalfMoonEditor macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    #16
    If it's not in writing, then it's not enforceable even if MN law says an oral agreement is enforceable, dare your landlord to prove it. If there's no lease in writing for the time you're currently there, you're fine. It's the landlord's responsibility to have his bases covered, not yours.
     
  17. rontheancient thread starter macrumors regular

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    Nov 22, 2005
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    USA
    #17
    Wow, I didnt expect so many responses.

    I'll try to clarify what happened as part of the "verbal agreement". I told my landlord that I intended to extend/renew the lease till March (or April, I forgot) and that we should sign a lease. Obviously, that last part never happened. Probably wont make much difference, but just kinda funny since this would be a good reason to get everything in writing and why verbal agreements should never be held up.

    On a related note...
    For month-to-month (at-will) tenancies, MN law says I need to give notice before the start of the final rental period (Feb 1). However, the expired lease required 60-days. Which would be correct?
     
  18. chown33 macrumors 604

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    Aug 9, 2009
    #18
    The lease ended (expired). Its terms are no longer in effect.

    The only exception I can think of for that is if the lease itself says that after expiration and the transition to month-to-month, that some other set of terms applies.
     
  19. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #19
    Oral contracts are so difficult to enforce especially without any witnesses. I'm not saying you should lie, but if there were misunderstandings or expectations that were failed. Ultimately its what was signed and agreed.
     
  20. Aspasia macrumors 65816

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    #20
    You've given him the required notice so pay him the February rent and carry on with your life.

    Just make sure the place is immaculate when you leave and take photographs of every room, the appliances, etc.

    Out of curiosity, did you have to pay one month's rent in advance or make any other escrow payment when you first moved in?
     
  21. rontheancient thread starter macrumors regular

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    Nov 22, 2005
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    USA
    #21
    Just a small deposit about half of one month's rent.

    This landlord has been flooding my inbox over the last 24 hours with threats of small claims action, written in pseudo legalese and self-lawyering, along with statements like "I'll take you to small claims and win".

    Since there are so many nuances and questions with my situation, I've decided to seek legal advice from a local tenant advocacy group.
     
  22. Hookemfins macrumors 6502

    Hookemfins

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    Florida
    #22
    I'd shoot back with, " and if you don't win you'll be responsible for my legal fees".

    From a legal standpoint you are liable. This lease was for less than 1 year and you had a meeting of the minds.

    I assume You put down a deposit? I would negotiate with to him to keep the deposit to avoid any legal problems on either side, to avoid the hassle.

    Another thing to consider, had he agreed to a written extension then where would you be now? Probably in the same position or worse had he agreed to the extension? You may have been on the hook until July.

    The advocacy group may write a threading letter to your landlord just to scare him like he trying to scare you.

    Let us know what happens.
     
  23. HalfMoonEditor macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    #23
    No he's not. There's nothing written aside from the original lease which is over so the contract is no longer viable. As far as the law is concerned, the tenant can leave anytime he/she wants. It's a courtesy that they are giving as much notice as they are. And the landlord can threaten all they want. If I were the OP, I'd file a harassment complaint. I've had a landlord like this in the past, and when I threatened to get the police involved over a harassment complaint, they suddenly became calm and reasonable.
     
  24. adk macrumors 68000

    adk

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    #24
    I am not a lawyer, but I would advise that you not respond to any of his emails for now. Second, scour your lease for an auto-renew clause. Some of my previous leases have had a clause reading that if I didn't give 60 days' notice (and the landlord wasn't trying to raise rent) that the lease would auto renew for another year. Third, the simplest solution might be to find a replacement tenant yourself. I've had a landlord willing to let me break a lease early as long as I found a replacement tenant to sign a new 12 month lease.
     
  25. rontheancient thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #25
    All good advice, all of which I have been following.

    There is no auto-renew clause in the lease and experts I have consulted agree the state minimum of one rental period applies, which is the same as my OP. They also agree that the lease is poorly written and the past conversation about extending the lease is hard to hold up given no hard evidence..

    The landlord is OK with finding a replacement tenant. I did post up my place on Craigslist and there is one person interested at the moment. However, the landlord has the final say. I'm concerned on this end because he has stated before due to past tenants that he "will never rent to a woman again", and guess what: the applicant is a woman. I dont condone this behavior and wish I could report him, but there's no proof.

    To top it all off, the rent he is asking is unreasonably high for the area. Adjacent condos (I share a wall with them) are leasing for 20-25% less.
     

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