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Can a landlord do this?

My SIL and MIL found a house to rent. They decided they didn't want it bc of the condition it was in (it isn't in good shape). They already signed a 12-month lease, paid the security deposit and half a month's rent. The landlord originally said that if they wanted to leave, she would give the rent back but keep the deposit. Now she says that she will fix what they want her to but will not give back the rent and will charge them rent until she rents it to someone else. I don't know any other details. I just wanted to get your opinions. Since they're locked into the lease, logic tells me that she could charge them rent for the entire 12 months and not even look for someone else to rent it to, but I don't know the law or the details of their lease. Thoughts?

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Karinza

Asked by Karinza at 1:37 PM on Dec. 4, 2008 in Home & Garden

Level 1 (0 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • You're right. Some landlords will let you break a lease if you/they find a tenant to replace you but they always keep the deposit. The landlord really isn't obligated to do anything other than fix any problems that violate building codes or put your family at risk unless it was agreed to in writing before they signed the lease. Why in the world would sign a lease/pay anything until they knew what shape the property was in! Sounds like something my MIL would do....
    Slinkee

    Answer by Slinkee at 1:40 PM on Dec. 4, 2008

  • Unfortunately since your mil and sil didn't get the prior agreement in writing it would not stand up in court. They signed the 12 month lease and you should NEVER do that unless you plan to stay the full 12 months, even if the landlord promises something. Always get everything in writing with signatures and make copies.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:41 PM on Dec. 4, 2008

  • i believe only 3 months rent she can charge, and if they don't have a contract stating she cold have her money back just nothe deposit then she has no case. UNLESS the place was unlivable
    krazyash023

    Answer by krazyash023 at 1:42 PM on Dec. 4, 2008

  • It depends on the exact wording of the lease. Never sign one that doesn't have a reasonable escape clause.
    riotgrrl

    Answer by riotgrrl at 1:45 PM on Dec. 4, 2008

  • I think that this is an issue that will have to be taken to court. There are alot of stipulations.
    pupmom

    Answer by pupmom at 1:51 PM on Dec. 4, 2008

  • I've heard people say that as long as you give 30 days notice they can not charge you rent. NO idea if it's true or not.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:07 PM on Dec. 4, 2008

  • Yes you need to give them 30 days notice. Call you local magistrate and they will direct you in the right direction
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:14 PM on Dec. 4, 2008

  • I know it's different in different states, but usually there's a certain amount of time (like 3 mos) that the landlord has to look for a new tenant. They have to mitigate their losses to a point. I would call the court or a magistrate or something to find out what it is in your state.
    mom2XandZ

    Answer by mom2XandZ at 11:45 PM on Dec. 4, 2008

  • It was always my understanding that the purpose of a lease was basically so that the Landlord themselves could not throw you out into the streets. I thought that if you chose to leave for a understanding reason that you could give 30 days notice and leave. However, my lease is a 12 month lease that is both ways- The landlord can not kick us out and we can not leave. If we find another home we have to pay this rent as well till the lease is up. If the house is unlivable though, they should be able to leave and break the lease- but they will more then likely lose the deposit.
    BabyBeans0506

    Answer by BabyBeans0506 at 3:05 AM on Dec. 5, 2008

  • Landlord can do it
    But if the house/apt is very bad off, maybe it is soooo bad it wouldn't pass an occupancy. They can check if it's got an occupancy permit for renting. And they can ask the township if it can be inspected if not done recently, maybe it won't pass now.
    And if it doesn't pass, I believe the Landlord has to give them back everything since he wouldn't be legally allowed to rent, he'd have broken his side of the lease.
    Nakashama

    Answer by Nakashama at 7:34 PM on Dec. 6, 2008

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