Problems with my landlord

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by cvahl, Mar 1, 2008.

  1. cvahl macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Location:
    Boston
    #1
    Hi there,
    I currently live in Boston, but I'll move back to Europe at the end of April. When I signed the lease last September, I thought that I would leave in the Middle of May, so we used the end of May as the end of this contract.

    Last week, I wrote this email to my landlord:
    Dear X,
    my supervisor offered me to send me to a immunology summer school in Italy in May. It will not make sense for me to return to the US afterwards, because my visa will expire a few days later. For that reason, I will leave the US sooner than expected on the 29th of April.
    I would like to know whether we could shorten the lease, having it terminate at the end of April (instead of the end of May)?
    Best regards


    This is what he responded:
    Hi C-- first, congratulations on your attaining this new opportunity in sunny Italy. However, I must remind you that a lease is a legal contract and cannot be broken because someone, you or anyone else, decides to move from X to Y before the lease is over, which in your case, is May 31. In simple terms, you remain responsible for the rent due on May 1, even if you leave the premises. You're a smart and mature adult, C, so I trust that you understand these points and are not offended by my reminding you of them. All the very best........X

    Personally, I think his tone is a little rude, but that's not important here. What would you answer on this? In my opinion, if I would find somebody who would move in at the first of May, that should be fine for my landlord, as long as somebody lives here and pays the rent, he cannot complain. Unfortunately, subletting is prohibited, so that won't work.

    What shall I do? I do not know much about the American law system, but I think he won't be able to let me pay the rent and rent the room to another person in the same month. Except for that, I do not see any reason for him not to help me, except he wants to teach me about contracts... :(

    I would really appreciate any kind of help
     
  2. R.Youden macrumors 68020

    R.Youden

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    #2
    As far as I am aware you are in a very difficult situation. You have signed a contract and there is nothing you can do about that. Now if he was being reasonable then he would advertise the property for rent from the 1st May and if he found someone, great, if not you cover the rent until he finds a new tenant, however he is under no legal obligation to do so.

    Maybe you could suggest this idea to him?
     
  3. strider42 macrumors 65816

    strider42

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2002
    #3
    Forget letters and call him and see what you can work out. make it clear you have no intention of shirking your responsibility to pay the rent. Breaking a lease is a negotiation, and you will have to be willing to give up something as well, perhaps paying a penalty. otherwise there is no reason for him to help you out is there.

    From where the landlord is coming from, part of the problem is that you are putting an additional burden on him. Presumably he will want to do a credit check, etc on anyone new who moves in (which is probably why there is no subletting allowed), and you are asking him to go through this process earlier than he wants to. So when you say "In my opinion, if I would find somebody who would move in at the first of May, that should be fine for my landlord, as long as somebody lives here and pays the rent, he cannot complain." that isn't really totally correct. Its not just a matter of someone paying rent, its someone who has to clear a credit a check and sign a lease. Its a new legal contract with someone else. If everyone could just walk out of their leases whenever they wanted, it would make the business he is running much more difficult to manage.

    So like I said, I'd call the landlord and see if there's anything you can work out. You state you see no reason he shouldn't help you out, but really, there is no reason he should help you out or make an exception for you. So what can you offer him. Will you make the apartment available for viewings while you still live there so there is no lag time between tenants like there probably would otherwise be? what can you offer them?
     
  4. yeroen macrumors 6502a

    yeroen

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Location:
    Cambridge, MA
    #4
    As long as you find someone to move in and take over your lease in the interim, then your landlord should have no cause for complaint. It isn't as if apartments in Boston are hard to let.

    On the other hand, it's only one month, so I can see his point. The law is on his side, after all. Did you not already pay the last month's rent when you originally signed the lease? Typically you pay first, last, and a security deposit.
     
  5. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #5
    lol thats life

    plan on paying the month. why should he be negatively impacted/burdened by your decision? look at it from his point of view...
     
  6. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    #6
    You signed a lease and you're responsible for it. Pay May's rent and move on.
     
  7. cvahl thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Location:
    Boston
    #7
    The thing is that I do not see a negative impact for him. If he has to find somebody for the 1st of May or June should not make a big difference. Instead, I will offer him to help him to find somebody, show them the room, so it would be even less work for him. Furthermore, summer school starts in the middle of May as far as I know, so it will be probably easier to find somebody than in June.

    Do you guys think he might plan to already rent the room to another person in May to get the extra money?

    Yes, I did
     
  8. Queso macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #8
    I don't find his tone rude, more matter-of-fact, but that's often a problem with e-mail. You don't pick up on the nuances of the meaning as you do with face to face or telephone communication. I honestly don't think he's being offensive.

    Call and ask if he'll waive the last month if he finds a new tenant for 1st May, but that if he can't you'll still pay the rent for that month. Unfortunately you are liable, but he's more likely to play ball if you're upfront and friendly about it.

    It's potentially a month's lost income. That's quite a negative impact.
     
  9. cvahl thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Location:
    Boston
    #9
    I meant that if I should find somebody who would take over the rent, then there wouldn't be a negative impact
     
  10. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #10
    well here is how he sees it probably

    1) he has a tenent who has signed a lease until may (you)
    2) if he agrees to let you go he will still have to do background checks and all that comes with getting a new tenet

    option 1 gives him the guarantee of the rent and none of the hassle of dealing with a new tenet, new contract whatever

    option 2 only gives him something else to deal with which he shouldnt have to

    you are banking on the fact he would have someone in there by the first of june. dont make that assumption as some places do sit vacant for a while which causes the landlord to lose money

    you should really honor your contract after he gave you a response already concerning the matter. he is 100% in the right on this one
     
  11. rhsgolfer33 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2006
    #11
    Thats what I would suggest doing. See if your landlord would be willing to let you find someone who would take over the remaining part of your lease and sign another lease at the same time, you would of course, have to allow the landlord to meet/interview or whatever he does to select tenants with whoever you bring in. That's a win win for both of you. You get out of the lease and he gets another long term tenant. Or you could just save yourself a lot of work and just pay the lease. You could also discuss a reasonable number to buy out the end of your lease. You're kind of in a limited options position here, he has a lot more legal power in this issue than you do, so proceed like that and be very open to anything he suggests that is even somewhat beneficial for you. I really didn't find him rude either, seemed just a normal legalish letter to me, I hear attorneys dictate letters with more negative tone than that all day long.
     
  12. nhcowboy1 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #12
    Because a lot of the tenant population in Boston is students, I can see where trying to find a new tenant at the beginning of May (when most new arrivals would still be finishing up school somewhere else) might be more difficult than finding a tenant for the first of June.

    That having been said, you've given the landlord two months notice of you intent to move out early - which is a substantial amount of time, and twice what would ordinarily be required if your lease was only month-to-month.

    I agree with the other posters who've suggested that you talk with your landlord - and I'd further suggest that you do it in person, and not over the telephone.

    You should state your willingness (1) to pay the rent required if he's unable to find a new tenant for the 1st of May and (2) to be generous in making the apartment available for viewing. You don't have to allow him to come in whenever he wants - but perhaps you could designate several blocks of time each week when you would be willing for him to come in and show the apartment to prospective tenants.

    By giving him two months notice and making it exceptionally easy for him to show the apartment (and by being willing to cover the shortfall if the apartment isn't rented by the 1st), you are creating a situation which he might actually view as being to his benefit.

    Also, I'm guessing that he really wants his lease to end during the summer and not at the end of April every year, so you might suggest that he offer the apartment to the new tenant on a 13-month lease for the first year, rather than a 12-month lease. That way his schedule for future years won't be disrupted.

    And, you're going to be gone the first of May even if he doesn't have a new tenant - leaving the apartment vacant for him to repaint, do repairs, renovate, at no cost to him since you've paid rent 'til the end of May! If he can benefit from having the apartment empty like this, maybe he'd be willing to give you a little bit of a break on your rent.

    Keep in mind that students are notorious for leaving landlords in the lurch - either by bailing on a lease early (and leaving rent unpaid) or by leaving extensive damage that the security deposit doesn't cover. So your landlord is understandably wary of how this might turn out.

    Assume that he wants the best for you (if he can accomplish that without hurting himself), and show him that you also want the best for him. Then see what kind of solution you can work out that benefits both of you.
     
  13. Koodauw macrumors 68040

    Koodauw

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2003
    Location:
    Madison
    #13
    While I am not lawyer, if you were to move out by the 30 of April, and you are leaving the country for good, I don' think there is much he could do to you. Not very responsible though.
     
  14. gmecca2 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    #14
    It's a loss of money but that's what happens when you sign a lease. The landlord is never going to take the loss of guaranteed income. If it was this easy I would be out of my current apartment also and people would be flip flopping residences every few months when they find out their neighbors suck.

    My suggestions:

    Due to it being a couple months away tell him you will recruit a tenant to the complex. Put your apartment on Craigslist and tell the new tenant you will give them $300 bucks to do so. (Recovering some of the money is better than none).

    OR

    Ask to see if your employer will cover part of the expense due to it being a work related opportunity.
     
  15. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #15
    I was thinking that too :p. Though they might not let you back in later.
     
  16. itcheroni macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    Location:
    CA
    #16
    He's already paid.
     
  17. ErikCLDR macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    #17
    It's a legal contract so unless you can persuade him to end it earlier or make some other arrangement, there's nothing you can really do.

    My parents used to own a 3 family house like 1 hr away and my dad would always have to go down to personally collect money from some tenants otherwise it wouldn't happen. Having tenants that actually pay makes renters happy.
     
  18. jb60606 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago
    #18
    A lease is a contract - period - and it generates his supplemental income or is his income. Lenient landlords lose a fortune in early lease terminations and if they terminate even just one contract early, it sends a message to the rest of the tenants, leading them to believe they have the same right. It can snowball on the landlord. And, IMO, his response was both professional & polite; especially in comparison to many former landlords that I've crossed paths with.

    Also, Spring/early-summer is generally a very busy time for US Landlords, especially if they own/manage many properties. They don't like anyone flaking out and adding to their load.
     
  19. smokeyrabbit macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 19, 2005
    Location:
    Escape from New England
    #19
    So you're a citizen of a european country and you think that he's going to pony up the cash to sue you for breach of contract for 1 month's rent after you leave the country? No attorney is going to take this case on contingency, there's no personal injury and you live outside of the US. There's no way he's going to do anything except turn your account over to a collections agent, who can do nothing outside of the USA.

    You are of course legally obligated to stick with your agreement, however the enforcement is just not going to happen.
     
  20. jb60606 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago
    #20
    then he'll lose his security deposit, which is likely more than a single month's rent (usually 1.5 to 2x rent). ;)
     
  21. Koodauw macrumors 68040

    Koodauw

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2003
    Location:
    Madison
    #21
    where did he say that?
    No it does not. The date your lease ends is not posted on your door, or public information. For all the other renters know, his lease could end on 4/31. It doesn't have to lead to any snowball affect.
     
  22. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    #22
    I agree with others that you contact your landlord in person and try and work something out. However, that said, you are still liable for the rent.
     
  23. jb60606 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago
    #23
    It doesn't have to, but it does sometimes. Often in my experience. Word gets out.

    My mother was a landlord for several buildings she owned over a 30yr time span. Initially, being a pushover, she'd terminate the lease early upon the renter's request. When she saw how much money she was potentially losing, she stopped (with a few exceptions). Afterwards, when other tenants requested out of their lease, and she denied them, it was almost always brought up that she let so-and-so go early.

    People take notice when people don't stay for a full year (standard lease term). It's even worse when tenants build relationships.
     

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