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Thread: Quick help with apartment lease issues

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
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    Phoenix, AZ
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    Exclamation Quick help with apartment lease issues

    So, BF and I have been living in an apartment for about 19 months. The original lease was a regular old 12-month lease, but at the end of 12 months, the landlords never asked us to sign a new one, and we never said anything about it. The apartment is kind of dumpy but not horrible (although the kitchen is a nightmare), and the location is good and no one complains about our dogs (location and dogs are the two key factors for us). I always said if a better/cheaper one came along and fell into our laps, we would move, but we wouldn't put forth any effort to find one because it's such a hassle during school.

    Well, one fell into my lap yesterday, and I'm going to look at it today. Our current apt is $1100/mo (2br/1bath)plus utilities, and it is FREEZING (despite $250 gas bills in the winter). The prospective apt is 1000/mo INCLUDING heat and hot water (I'm doing the happy warm dance), doesn't have a problem with dogs, and is in the same vicinity as our current one. (1 problem: no W/D hookup, and we have our own machines. Hmm.)

    Anyway, if we decide to take it (available 1/1), what obligation do we have to our current landlords (with whom we get along very well)? They still have our security deposit, but there's no lease holding us to anything. How could they potentially screw us? Would we be breaking any rules by telling them now that we want to move by the end of the month?

    TIA...
    -Rebecca


    Endurance comes from exhaustion. Keep running!
    --DH, aka "Coach"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    7,874
    Rebecca, I had a similar situation in an apartment I lived in several years ago, where I had a 6 month lease but I lived there for about 2 1/2 years. In my situation, once the lease was up, I just had to give 30 days written notice that I would be moving out. I'd think the worst case scenario would be that you'd have to pay rent on your current place until 1/5/05 (assuming you gave your notice today) and so you'd be paying rent in 2 places for 5 days. Which might not be that bad of a thing, since you could move your stuff a little more slowly.
    “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed
    door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”

    Helen Keller (1880–1968)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Marietta, Ga
    Posts
    7,693
    When DH and I got married we were living in an apartment. Our lease expired while we were looking for a house so I talked to the management and we went on a month-to-month arrangement for slightly more per month in rent. All they required was 30 days notice. We moved in the middle of the month, and they prorated that month's rent. We got our security deposit back with not problem. I gave them about 35 days notice.

    I'd say you need to give 30 days notice. Theh might want you to pay a prorated amount for January to equal 30 days notice.

    Leigh
    "Mommy, Can we Please, Please, Please have spinach for dinner?" DD2(age 6)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    San Ramon, CA
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    12,886
    Here in the Bay Area its standard to have an initial lease (6 months to a year) and then it converts to a month-to-month tenancy. I would give your landlord 30 days written notice. You may need to prorate your rent for January as Leigh said.

    Regardings your washer/dryer. You can talk with the new landlord to see if he would be willing to help pay for the plumbing/venting needed for the washer/dryer. If he says no, then ask if its okay if you do it (but if he is paying for the water and utilities he may still say no or he may raise the rent to cover the increase). My current duplex came with a washer/dryer. I sold my washer to a guy I worked with (since it was only 2 years old) and gave away my dryer by listing it on Craigslist (it was 17 years old and I couldn't sell it in good conscience. It worked for me, but I had no idea how much longer it would work).

    One question for you on the heat....do you control it or does the landlord? If the landlord controls it, are you sure the hours and temperature is going to be right for you?
    Democrats are Sexy. Who has ever heard of a good piece of elephant?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Lone Star State
    Posts
    20,663
    Unless there is something in your lease that renews it for another year term, you would most likely be considered a month to month tenant at will now. Either of you would generally be required to gives 30 days notice to terminate or change the lease. The landlord might try to make that 30 days the month of January since we are already into December. Look at your lease and see what it says -- it could say that the notice has to be one full month, but it might be 30 calendar days. Either way, you will come out ahead with the utilities.

    You've already raised the deposit issue. The law requires it to be returned expect for damages beyond normal wear and tear. I think the landlord has 30 days under the Texas statute to account for repairs and return the balance of the deposit. You could get into a hassle with that, but take pictures and leave everything spotlessly clean. Whatever hassles you have over a deosit will not likely change -- if the landlord is good and honest, you;ll get it back. If not, the will create reasons to keep it and fight over it.

    Digressing a bit, I've only had one landlord hassle over a deposit, and that was a man who decided he wanted to sell the house in a flat real estate market so he could put his money into the stock market. He kicked us out to sell the house. The very thin, builder grade carpet had worn threadbare in the 5-6 years since the home was built and he had replaced the carpet on the stairs while we were living there. When we moved out, he claimed that we had damaged the carpet so the rest had to be replaced and kept our entire deposit. We had a newborn and a toddler, so we didn't fight it and decided he would get his due somewhere down the line. Within months after the house sold, the stock market took a plunge and the housing market in CA started to heat up again. The house we bought when we moved went up 30% in the 20 months we lived there and helped us make our way to Texas before DH had a job lined up. I think what goes around comes around.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    1,204
    My lease is what the other said. Up to the contract it is the rate now.

    if I move 30 days written notice.

    If I do not resign the lease.. it is month to month and they have the option of raising the rates.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Chicagoland
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    6,729
    I think first you need to read your lease. Then when you nicely approach your landlord, you can reply with "but the LEASE states..." if he starts to give you trouble. Give him 30 days written notice.

    If the lease says 30 calendar days, the apartment you want may let you move in later this month if they don't rent it. You would still pay prorated on both apartments for a little while, but if you could afford that stretch you will be happy that you moved. You won't really lose the money because you're paying it to the utility company AND you would be saving $100 a month. Christmas isn't the best time, but I don't know of a present you'll enjoy more.

    and no more annoying lawn mower/leaf blower man
    If loving me is wrong, you don't want to be right.

    Don't touch the hair!
    JB

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
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    12,331
    Rebecca,

    Double check the landlord-tenant laws in Massachusetts to be safe. State law will govern what happens to your tenancy upon expiration of your initial lease term, and it generally depends upon how long the initial lease term was to start with. Most likely it will become a month-to-month like others have said, but you should double check.

    Also, double check to find out what the cancellation period is for a month-to-month tenancy (assuming that's what you have now). Your lease terms on cancellation would have only governed if you were still under your lease, which you aren't now. I learned when I moved to AZ that there is a quirky state law here that does not allow for prorated rent upon move out, so even if you give 30 days notice and that 30 days would run out on January 15 (for example), you are obligated to pay rent for the entire month of January because of the no-prorated-rent law. So here, at least, it is important to time your notice to run out at the very end of a calendar month.

    This link appears to have some good resources that might help you find your answers quickly:

    http://www.lawlib.state.ma.us/landlord.html

    If you can't find what you're looking for, PM me and I'll see what I can do.

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