Author Topic: Need some rental advice...feels like I'm being taken advantage of  (Read 3045 times)

Bikesy

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Is there someone familiar with landlord/tenant law who could give their input before I cough up 6k to break my lease?  Rent is 1200 per month and we are 5 months into a 12 month lease. The letter from the attorney is attached.  I feel like we are being taken advantage of.

historienne

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Re: Need some rental advice...feels like I'm being taken advantage of
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2014, 03:40:53 PM »
Is there someone familiar with landlord/tenant law who could give their input before I cough up 6k to break my lease?  Rent is 1200 per month and we are 5 months into a 12 month lease. The letter from the attorney is attached.  I feel like we are being taken advantage of.

What jurisdiction are you in (ie country/state/city)?  What does your original lease specify as terms for breaking the lease?   It does seem like they are asking for the stars, but your legal position is going to depend greatly on the details.   In at least some jurisdictions, if you can find a reasonable replacement tenant, they have an obligation to allow you to sublet or transfer the lease.




Bikesy

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Re: Need some rental advice...feels like I'm being taken advantage of
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2014, 03:48:22 PM »
We are in ft.myers fl.  I don't have a copy of the lease handy but I can get it tonight. 

historienne

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Re: Need some rental advice...feels like I'm being taken advantage of
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2014, 03:50:54 PM »
I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, but a quick google doesn't look so good for you:
 http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/tenants-right-break-rental-lease-florida.html

AH013

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Re: Need some rental advice...feels like I'm being taken advantage of
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2014, 03:53:15 PM »
Not really.  Looking at it, they want rent for the earlier of 3 months or until re-rented, plus a Realtor commission.  The only thing I'd question is whether they paid the Realtor commission when you originally moved in, either in part or full.  If you had to pay it (1st, last, deposit, plus Realtor fee or usually 1 month), then that is a bogus amount to tack on since they will basically double-dip (charge you the Realtor fee, plus charge the next guy the fee).  If you didn't pay it, then again that is fair -- the landlord ate the commission to secure 1 year of rent, if you are reneging then it isn't fair for him to have had to pay a 1 month fee for only a few months of you being there when he could otherwise force you to adhere to the lease and pay for the full year.

To be honest, 3 months or until re-rented isn't too much to expect.  It can take a while to find a new tenant and it isn't fair to the landlord to have to eat that risk by himself.  Plus it isn't like he's charging a full 3 months as a fee -- if it rents earlier he stops requiring you to pay the rent the new tenant is paying.

If you want to do yourself any favors, blast the rental listing around to any friends or communities you know.  If one of them rents it out quick enough, you'll avoid some of those 3 months of rent for nothing payments.

EDIT; He also basically has you over a barrel.  If he wanted to be an ass, he could say "too bad you're moving...continue paying me for the remaining 7 months whether or not you're living there" and be perfectly justified in doing so.  Of course, you hold the trump card of being able to not pay and force him to evict, take you to court, etc.  Most landlords don't take legal action other than to evict because deadbeat renters are usually deadbeat because they have no money to win in a judgement.  But if you're willing to run that risk that he could take you to court and win the 7 months rent plus damages than go ahead, that's legal to do.  I'd say it's unethical, but so is walking away from underwater mortgages, and people do it every day and then complain the IRS taxes them on the forgiven loan.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2014, 03:59:12 PM by AH013 »

historienne

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Re: Need some rental advice...feels like I'm being taken advantage of
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2014, 03:57:49 PM »
I would say that you can certainly try to negotiate - especially if you can find someone else that wants to rent the apartment.  I'm pretty sure that they would prefer not to have to take you to court over unpaid rent/fees.

Bikesy

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Re: Need some rental advice...feels like I'm being taken advantage of
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2014, 04:28:17 PM »
I'm not overly concerned considering my new employer pays the termination...it just seemed like a lot of cash and a small part of me likes conflict...I know that's bad.  I'll probably try to negotiate it down just for fun.

electriceagle

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Re: Need some rental advice...feels like I'm being taken advantage of
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2014, 05:26:25 PM »
I don't know much about your jurisdiction, but in most places, the landlord has an obligation to try to re-rent.

Generally, you are on the hook for rent until a new person moves in or the lease runs out, plus the cost of the landlord's re-rental efforts.

The best/most Mustachian thing for you to do is probably to find your own replacement and present him/her to the landlord. If the person is employed, has decent credit and has no eviction history, the landlord will be hard pressed to turn him down and try to charge you.

Credaholic

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Re: Need some rental advice...feels like I'm being taken advantage of
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2014, 06:52:12 PM »
In my area your landlord has to make a valid attempt to find a new tenant at reasonable rents, and you have to pay until they find new tenants or your lease runs out. Once they find a new tenant, you're free.

I read this legal agreement as saying you'll pay $6060 to be released from the contract OR you'll pay until it's rented (potentially more than 3 months, but also with a possibility of less) but not that you get to take advantage of both worlds. It's entirely possible if you sign off on the $6060 they could have someone moving in the next weekend, but they would not be refunding any of your money to you based on this legal agreement, which would make me argumentative just for fun too ;) But since your employer pays the fees, might want to just do it since they could always renege on the termination offer (unless the three months and realtor fees are in your lease somewhere) and keep you on the hook for longer.

Of course if the rental market where you are is as hot as it is where I am, they won't have any problem renting it to someone new!