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Thread: Landlord / tenant issue with breaking a lease.

  1. #1
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    Landlord / tenant issue with breaking a lease.

    I am currently starting the 6th month of a 12 month lease. I am forced to break the lease because I am being transferred out of state for work (though, this might not happen for 3 more months). In my lease it states that,

    "The Early Termination Rent is an amount that we set and change from time to time in our sole discretion."

    When we signed our lease, this amount was one month's rent. Also, in our previous year lease with this community, the fee was one month's rent.

    When we inquired about terminating, the amount became two month's rent. Under the Civil Code 827, which covers periodic rent (weekly, monthly), it states that the landlord must give 30 days notice to any changes in the agreement; however, this is not covered under lease law (California Code 1091, 1624(a)). Why not? This seems important and we have no laws on the books for it. There must be something under contract law, no?

    I am going to request that I get it in writing when this changed and how often it has changed in the last two years. Can anything be done about it? I'd sure like to put provisions into contracts that says I can change the terms of the contract. It seems very fuzzy and highly suspect. :icon_cry:

    Also on a side note, anyone in the San Jose area interested in cheap rent on a posh 2 bedroom / 2 bathroom apartment, for 3-6 months?
    Hell is--other people!

  2. #2
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    There isn't a whole lot that you can do and in most cases there is not a whole lot the landlord can do if you decide to pack up and leave. It will cost the landlord far more money to pursue you if he takes up legal battle than it would just to take your security deposit. Typically if there is a lot of vacancy you may be screwed but if there isn't a lot of vacancy see if you can get someone to take over your lease. I guess what I'm saying is if this contract breaking charge is greater than your security deposit bail, if not try to get a sub-tenant to take possession of the space and if that doesn't work pay the two months penalty. Other than that there isn't much you can do IMHO.

    You may have made things more complicated by going to the landlord unless there are a ton of vacant units in his complex. Good luck, God speed and Happy New Year.

    That is my two cents.

    cavyr.
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  3. #3
    Tell him you're leaving the country for 2 years and aren't giving him shit.

  4. #4
    Twitch Guest
    Just leave man fuck this guy. Fuck your apartment up too before you leave as well. Nothing too obvious of course but something that's gonna break in 6 months that costs thousands to repair. This guy sounds like he deserves it every single bit of it.

  5. #5
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    If I was a landlord, which I am, I wouldn't pursue legal action because of the money and time involved. What I would do, and what most landlords would do, is hire a collections agency to get the money. The purpose of this is not to get my money buy actually to jack up your credit so you can't rent anything decent ever again.

    Conclusion: make sure he's not going to sick the dogs after you once you leave. Your credit might be more important than a couple of k's.
    "We're all black when we turn off the lights!"
    -Jus'n

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twitch
    Just leave man fuck this guy. Fuck your apartment up too before you leave as well.
    Yeah, that's called materially damaging rental property. Probably the worst advice in the thread.

    "The Early Termination Rent is an amount that we set and change from time to time in our sole discretion."
    What does it say you would have to pay for early termination of your lease? Is the "one month's rent" something you agreed on verbally, even though you signed a lease?

  7. #7
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    Hmm, if the landlord does pursue a legal remedy, you may also be liable for legal expenses and time lost in recovering the money. That could be lots of $$$ right thar too.

  8. #8
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    If your company pays for relocation, sometimes they will cover the cost of breaking your lease.

    All in all, it sucks , but pay what they want .. or they WILL fuck you

  9. #9
    Twitch Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by x[gizmo]
    Yeah, that's called materially damaging rental property. Probably the worst advice in the thread.
    I said nothing too obvious something that was gonna break in 6 months. He'de be hard pressed to be able to blame the damage on you.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by x[gizmo]
    What does it say you would have to pay for early termination of your lease? Is the "one month's rent" something you agreed on verbally, even though you signed a lease?
    It was all verbal -- which is pretty funny in itself. I will get something from them in writing stating when they made the change. Even if it doesn't work out, at least I'll have something.

    Right now it looks like I'll be petitioning for something on the books in the future -- and of course, renting my apartment out for cheap.
    Hell is--other people!

  11. #11
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    O... I almost forgot....

    I'm pretty sure this is a CA law for protecting renters: If you break your lease you are only responsible for the months that the landlord failed to re-rent and possibly fees for finding a new renter ie., advertising. For instance, if you bailed on your lease and your landlord found tenants within 1 month you would be legally responsible for the one month that the house was vacant and the costs to find that new renter.

    My advise is to contact the landlord and see if you can come to a reasonalbe agreement. Let's say you offered to pay one months rent and $250 to run a new add in the paper; I think that is a reasonable and I would accept an offer like that from my tenant. It shows responsibility on your part and if the landlord is smart he'd realize that you could just bail without giving him a dime and odds are he'd never get anything out of you in a million years. Mediation is always the best approach and if that doesn't work just give him the extra months rent anyways and split; I'd bet that would do the trick and he'd leave you alone.

    Just don't leave him hanging without anything.... that will piss him off for sure. Besides you might need his reference for you new place.
    Last edited by wingnut; 12-30-2005 at 03:15 PM.
    "We're all black when we turn off the lights!"
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by x[penryn]
    It was all verbal -- which is pretty funny in itself. I will get something from them in writing stating when they made the change. Even if it doesn't work out, at least I'll have something.

    Right now it looks like I'll be petitioning for something on the books in the future -- and of course, renting my apartment out for cheap.
    Don't sublet

    A) It's probably illegal
    B) Dont want damage to "your" apartment

    Get your employer to pay the moving expenses. Or sell some stock :>

    When I moved from SD to SJ I ate ~7k because of breaking the lease. You have it easy :).

    Btw I got about 3k of it back in taxes. It IS a writeoff as long as its over ~300 miles.

  13. #13
    Here's a tip for the future though. Purchase your next home. Buy what you can afford, even if it does need some work or is a longer commute.

  14. #14
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    I would persue the mediation issue as well as the employer side. My employer has a specific section of their "promotional developement" department that deals with relocation issues. If your employed by anyone other than McDonalds, I would bet they have a stipend for relocation, are willing to cover any fees regarding early lease termination (up to a certain amount), and many other things. You would be surprised what corporate is willing to cover to move their assets around.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by x[penryn]
    I am currently starting the 6th month of a 12 month lease. I am forced to break the lease because I am being transferred out of state for work (though, this might not happen for 3 more months). In my lease it states that,

    "The Early Termination Rent is an amount that we set and change from time to time in our sole discretion."

    When we signed our lease, this amount was one month's rent. Also, in our previous year lease with this community, the fee was one month's rent.

    When we inquired about terminating, the amount became two month's rent. Under the Civil Code 827, which covers periodic rent (weekly, monthly), it states that the landlord must give 30 days notice to any changes in the agreement; however, this is not covered under lease law (California Code 1091, 1624(a)). Why not? This seems important and we have no laws on the books for it. There must be something under contract law, no?

    I am going to request that I get it in writing when this changed and how often it has changed in the last two years. Can anything be done about it? I'd sure like to put provisions into contracts that says I can change the terms of the contract. It seems very fuzzy and highly suspect. :icon_cry:

    Also on a side note, anyone in the San Jose area interested in cheap rent on a posh 2 bedroom / 2 bathroom apartment, for 3-6 months?
    I did not read any body else's response so I do not know if it was covered.

    I believe the issue you are facing is whether a penalty provision in a written lease contract is enforceable when the landlord is more than likely able to "cover" and be placed in the same position had you not broken the lease. Typically in California, these liquidated damage provisions are unenforceable. Contract damages are not to make the plaintiff whole, as in a tort claim, but to give the person the benefit of the bargain. In this case, the landlord bargained to let the premises out for 1 year. So long as the landlord is still able to obtain the benefit of the bargain no damages may be awarded for the breach. Because the landlord should be able to relet the premises in a short amount of time and the damages suffered will be minimal. Additionally, the burden is on the landlord to show reasonable diligence in attempting to relet the premises.

    Do not pay a dime, make the lanldlord prove the damages first. Your credit will only be affecetd through a judgment. You will have notice of such an event.

    There are many contracts that we as consumers sign which have unenforceable clauses. This is a great example.

    On a side note do not try and sublease for the period of penalty unless your lease specifically allows for it. You will end up getting sued by the sublessee and your landlord.

    Another note, which I have seen all the time, if the landlord fails to give you an accounting of your security deposit within 21 days of moving out. You may sue for treble damages (3 times the amount of the deposit). Do not try and avoid them and show good faith, with a retarded landlord you are put in the drivers seat.

    PM me if you have more questions

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by [iMF]Stalker
    Here's a tip for the future though. Purchase your next home. Buy what you can afford, even if it does need some work or is a longer commute.
    I'll be buying a house where I'm going in the next 6 mo, probably. Part of the reason I'm fleeign SJ as soon as possible.
    Hell is--other people!

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