Author Topic: Quick Lease Question - Is this enforceable?  (Read 1379 times)

therethere

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Quick Lease Question - Is this enforceable?
« on: February 28, 2017, 02:40:06 PM »
I'm printing out my new lease in prep to sign. I'm worried about the lease cancellation fees. I just now realized they have changed the terms since the last lease. Is this even enforceable (mainly the bold print)? The old lease only stated there was a one month fee for leaving prior to the end of the lease. Now I'm not so sure I want to sign it in case we want to vacate before the end of 12 months. The place "should" be easy to re-rent but the management company sucks and would likely drag their feet for months to get a new tenant in (probably longer because we'd be obligated to pay the rent still). Of course I waited until the last possible day....

Lessee must stay entire length of Lease or all deposits are forfeited. If Lessee vacates Premises prior to the end of this
Lease, Lessee will be responsible for rents, lock change and other fees per this agreement through the end of the Term, or
until the Premises is re-rented to a qualified lessee, whichever comes first. In addition, Lessee will be charged a re-lease fee
in the amount of 100% of one month's rent or $795 (whichever is greater) if Lessee does not fulfill the terms of their lease.

Drifterrider

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Re: Quick Lease Question - Is this enforceable?
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2017, 08:11:32 AM »
Everything depends on the law in the jurisdiction where you live.

In general, security deposits may only be held if damages have occurred.  Security deposits may not be held as a "punishment".

Again, it all depends on the laws of your jurisdiction.

therethere

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Re: Quick Lease Question - Is this enforceable?
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2017, 08:17:21 AM »
I mean, my management company is awful and since we've been in the unit almost 5 years I was already expecting them to take the entire security deposit. My issue will be if they decide that the deposit is punishment and then want to go over damages beyond the deposit. I always thought deposits can only go towards damages unless you actually abandon the property and leave without notice. But to take the deposit and a months rent, and require that I continue to pay rent until the unit is filled, seems a little over the top for breaking a lease.

Mola

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Re: Quick Lease Question - Is this enforceable?
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2017, 01:40:08 PM »
Depends on your state. Look up the landlord law and read it. Now that I am a landlord I have read it and I kick myself for all the crap I let landlords get away with when I was a renter. Some states if the renter breaks a long term lease they are on the hook for the rest of it and the LL doesn't even have to do due diligence to re-rent. In Oregon I have to do due diligence and even so I can only charge 1.5 of a month's rent. So if it takes me 3 months to rent I can still only pass on 1.5 months.

Also in a lot of states there are rules like the LL must provide accounting for any security deposit they keep within x days. And if they don't then they have to pay the ex-tenant some amount of money. So read your LL law, you may find yourself in a situation where you can turn the tables and demand money from the LL if they didn't handle move out correctly.

therethere

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Re: Quick Lease Question - Is this enforceable?
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2017, 02:46:43 PM »
I have never found good landlord tenant laws for Denver. Trust me I've looked for several different issues since I've been renting. If anyone has a link please post it!!! The best I've found is a one page document that wasn't even specific to the city/county and only went over what constituted as habitable. So unfortunately, laws are no help or at least not readily available.

I would love to find a clause that says the management company has to do due diligence to re-rent the property. Because that's my other large fear, that they won't (it sat empty for 2-3 months before they got their shit together when we moved in). I'd also be interested in whether there are any laws on my responsibility should I cancel the lease and they decide to sell the property versus re-rent it because I'd see that as the most probable case. Would I be required to pay the months before closing and while the property is being shown? Doubt that is laid out anywhere.

Mola

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Re: Quick Lease Question - Is this enforceable?
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2017, 03:39:25 PM »
I believe CO is a landlord friendly state.

A synopsis:
https://www.landlordology.com/colorado-landlord-tenant-laws/

The Actual Colorado Law:
http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/colorado/?app=00075&view=full&interface=1&docinfo=off&searchtype=get&search=C.R.S.+38-12-103

Denver Municipal Code:
https://www.municode.com/library/co/denver/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TITIIREMUCO_CH27HO

The last two are the actual laws so its boring reading, but I never 100% trust those sites (like the first link) that boil it down for you.

So can they add that to the lease? I think so
"Nothing in this section shall preclude the landlord from retaining the security deposit for nonpayment of rent, abandonment of the premises, or nonpayment of utility charges, repair work, or cleaning contracted for by the tenant."

And if you abandon it looks like you are the hook for the entire rental period, they have no due diligence requirement. Your other options in that case would be subletting. Or perhaps, add a roommate to the lease and then move out and have them remove you from the lease (although you will forfeit your sec deposit since that stays with the property unless you're roommate is kind enough to reimburse you.)
« Last Edit: March 01, 2017, 03:50:51 PM by Mola »

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: Quick Lease Question - Is this enforceable?
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2017, 09:33:51 PM »
I'm printing out my new lease in prep to sign. I'm worried about the lease cancellation fees. I just now realized they have changed the terms since the last lease. Is this even enforceable (mainly the bold print)? The old lease only stated there was a one month fee for leaving prior to the end of the lease. Now I'm not so sure I want to sign it in case we want to vacate before the end of 12 months. The place "should" be easy to re-rent but the management company sucks and would likely drag their feet for months to get a new tenant in (probably longer because we'd be obligated to pay the rent still). Of course I waited until the last possible day....

Lessee must stay entire length of Lease or all deposits are forfeited. If Lessee vacates Premises prior to the end of this
Lease, Lessee will be responsible for rents, lock change and other fees per this agreement through the end of the Term, or
until the Premises is re-rented to a qualified lessee, whichever comes first. In addition, Lessee will be charged a re-lease fee
in the amount of 100% of one month's rent or $795 (whichever is greater) if Lessee does not fulfill the terms of their lease.

Most likely not enforceable in any UORRA state. You're in Colorado, right?

I have a landlord-tenant blog, and one of the things I've been working through is the law in each state. I'll do Colorado next just for you, because I fear you may be about to really step in it. One of the things you can't do in Colorado is anything that constitutes having the tenant waive the right to have the damage deposit returned. A landlord can put the deposit toward unpaid rent (if there is any) but arbitrarily taking the whole deposit is no-go especially on top of all the rents the way it's been worded. That's not a legally enforceable document and whoever wrote it would get shredded in court, HOWEVER first you'd have to get to court which is a giant pain in the tush. CO is landlord-friendly but not that landlord-friendly.

Don't sign that clause. Take a red pen to it and fix the contract first so that it's fair. You can spell out an early lease cancellation fee IN LIEU of remaining rent, but it's not going to be in addition to it. I always structure my leases with a buy-out option from the tenant's side. It makes everything cleaner. The absolute last thing you want in any structure you own is a tenant who doesn't want to be there.

Failing that you can find a better landlord.