Left apartment early...still paying rent

marie26January 23, 2005

I left my 3-bedroom apartment 5 months early at the end of December (new job, different state) but am still paying the rent on it. We had paid $400.00 because the leasing agent told us on 3 separate occasions that we could get out of the lease with one-month's notice. Anyways, the paper we signed didn't say that. Each time we told the agent that we didn't read what she was explaining on that paper, she said we could get out of the lease, no problem. Now we are told that we could save about $600.00 on the last month of the lease.

I called the leasing office and asked if there was any interest in the apartment. They said no and told me that another apartment close to mine and exactly the same was being vacated on February 1. Also, the rent was raised. I am paying $1050.00 for the apartment and they are now asking $1208.00. This includes a $20.00 fee for the view of the creek. There is no view of a creek, only mosquitoes from the brush behind the porch.

Should they agree to let me pay a couple of hundred dollars a month towards the rent until my lease is up so that people would have an incentive to rent it?

A management company owns this and other properties. I can't afford to keep up two places for 4 more months.

The manager walked through the place with me just before I left and told me there would be no charges to me. The place was left in really good condition.

Can anyone offer me any advice?

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I suppose it's a hard-earned lesson, but whatever is said means nothing, especially when it comes to real estate. The written contract is everything. In the future, make sure that everything that is agreed on is in the contract, and nothing more - or don't sign.

If they allow you to do as you've asked, it's out of the goodness of their hearts, not because they owe you anything. Sounds like they were shady, but you didn't insist on having what they'd told you in writing.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2005 at 6:25AM
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We had rented the apartment last April (prime renting season) at a much lower amount than they are asking for now in non-prime season. Do I have a case at all because they are trying to get that much more money less than a year later?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2005 at 4:19PM
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Depends on what your lease says, and what state law is. Often, state law allows a landlord to increase rent once a year, but I'm not sure if that's the case where you live. It might be worth your while to pay a lawyer to review the lease and inform you of state law on the matter. You might also google: rent increase your state

Good luck. This must be very frustrating for you.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2005 at 10:41PM
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To be blunt: new job, different state means that they will have on heck of a time forcing you to pay ANYTHING! They can ruin your credit rating, however.

And unless the lease states they can raise the rent, they can't ask for more.

Send them a letter formally notifying them that you have vaceted the premises and that they should proceed to re-rent the place ASAP. They are legally obligated to "mitigate the damages" by actively seeking new tenants - they can't sit on their butts and collect rent from you. Have friends call and ask about apartments there and as soon as that place is rented, let the management know that you know its been rented

AND ... next time you are promised something that isn't on the contract, DON'T SIGN THE DANGED THING! If the agent or salesperson says "there will be no problem getting ____", tell them "then you will have no problem putting it in writing for us, will you?" If they balk, you walk.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2005 at 9:09AM
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They have shown the apartment twice but say since a new lease will will written, they will ask for $200.00 more for the place.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2005 at 3:35PM
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yes, but they can't get that $200 from YOU--if they want to change your rent, then they're changing the contract, which means you ought to be free to reject it.

It might slow down their ability to rent it (that's one thing that's worrying you?), but then, they'll be out the $200 for every one of those months, too.

And, the fact that renting it to a new person will mean they start collecting that additional $200 should translate into them really WANTING a different tenant--the sooner they get somebody new, the sooner they get more money for the place.

You might point this out to them.

Plus, even if they figure they can wait for a new tenant, since you're covering the bills in the meantime, EVENTUALLY it's going to be sitting empty for them.

What you are wondering, really, is, "what if I offered a rebate to a new tenant for this apartment, to make it easier for someone to pay that higher rent."

That, you'd have to ask the management. A sane one might. But you'd want it in writing.

Another option would be to find the tenant on your own, and make that "bribe" or "rebate" offer independently. The new tenant would have to pass the landlord's scrutiny, but if they did, it might be worth it. Can you think of anywhere you could run a 'TAKE MY APARTMENT OFF MY HANDS" ad? Former co-workers you could ask?

You also might check; some states have renters' laws that say, "if your job takes you X miles away, you can break your lease." Look into it--just in case.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2005 at 4:01PM
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Talley Sue, I was going to call the rental board tomorrow to ask them if the rent can be raised this much in just 9 months. I had never thought to ask about breaking the lease if I move. Thanks for that thought.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2005 at 7:16PM
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I just occured to me, that it may be possible that they have already rented out the apartment and are still collecting rent from you (as well).

Do you know anyone there who could pretend to be looking for a place to rent and ask to see all the apartments available?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2005 at 11:10PM
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I called the rental board today and they said there are NO rent controls in Texas (the state I moved from). That doesn't surprise me. So, they could raise the rent as much as they want. Also, there are no laws to help me because I moved out of state.

The only thing they said that was in my favor is the piece of paper I paid $400.00 for thinking that I could get out of the lease in one month. I knew I would probably end up breaking the lease and the girl who put the papers together said paying the extra $400.00 would let me break my lease with one month's notice and all we'd owe was the one month. The paper, granted, didn't read like this and we questioned it 3 times but she was adament. We later found out we were the only tenants who ever signed this paper. Also, the paper really meant that if we wanted to get out of the lease we could pay a lot more for the place in one lump sum instead of the monthly rent we are paying. They have a formula that says the place is worth $1650 or so but they'll rent it to you at a $600.00 discount. By using the $400.00, we'd go back to the $1650 with a slight discount. I hope this makes sense.

The rental board told me that they violated the deceptive laws act because they said anything they could to let me believe I could break the lease. He said I should send them a certified letter telling them of this and offer a deal and also that I shouldn't pay the rent. By not paying the rent, though, they could put it on my credit report even if a court found them in violation. Since we are renters, I can't chance this. He also said he'd be surprised if they rented my place.

So, that's where I am right now.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2005 at 11:12AM
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Well, my dh and I decided to send the apartment complex a certified letter informing them that we met our obligation as it was explained to us. My dh says that if they put it on our credit report, we'll put an explanation on the report explaining why we didn't owe this money.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2005 at 3:20PM
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sure they can make the rent anything they want, but they can't CHANGE it during your LESE>

Your lease SHOULD spell out how much money you will pay per month. If it doesn't, that's very slimy on their part, and very careless on yours. If they change that amount, they've either broken the lease, or proposed a new one.

Do you have a copy of that lease? *does* it say what your rent it?

If the landlord can raise your rent any time he wants, then you've got a month-to-month lease, and you can break it.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2005 at 11:48AM
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My rent that I was to pay is the same as what the lease stated. They raised the rent for any potential renters. I expect to be sued in a couple of weeks after they receive the certified letter I sent them saying I wasn't paying anymore because they were deceptive in what they explained to me when I signed the lease. My terminology in the letter was explicit.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2005 at 11:07PM
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Whatever is in the lease will be what the courts will use to determine the matter, unless you have a copy of an addendum signed and dated by both sides.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2005 at 9:18AM
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also remember that nowadays more and more employers are checking credit ratings before they hire people.

Best of luck--this really stinks, I know.

(are you allowed to get someone to sublet the space?)

    Bookmark   January 31, 2005 at 3:40PM
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We will put a notation on all the credit reports explaining what happened. It's just not fair that an employee who represents her company can give you false information. Then you end up paying $400.00 extra when you sign the lease only to be told by management later that this ensures that you pay a higher amount to get out of the lease. I had asked how much we would owe if we waited to the last month of the lease and used the $400.00 paper that we had signed towards payment. I was told it would still be more than my monthly rent. So, who in their right mind would ever pay the $400.00 unless they were given false information?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2005 at 5:36PM
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A credit reporting agency does not automatically "notate" its reports to reflect your letter of dispute. They will have 30 days to verify the information with your landlord before deciding whether or not to make the change. You will have to provide written documentation of your assertion to make your dispute credible. To do any good, you will have to have this alleged promise from the landlord's agent in writing and to provide a copy with your dispute letter.

Credit reporting agencies never change reports just because you ask them to. You have to prove the report is in error with written substantiating evidence.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2005 at 11:19PM
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Years ago, we had a dispute with a company and the credit agency added a notation of our problem on the bottom of the credit report. Did this change?

I also assume it would be illegal for the apartment to say we didn't pay for the 4 months left if they end up renting it in one month now that they have the incentive to do so.

Most of my life, I've been afraid of getting anyone angry at me because of what they could do to me. But why should I let the apartment misrepresent themselves? On the form we had signed, no figure was put in saying how much we'd end up owing if we left the apartment early.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2005 at 9:12AM
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I just wanted to give everyone an update. Apparently the apartment was rented. The electric company confirmed that someone took over the electricity as of February 15. They also told me it was a private party and not the apartment complex. Today I received $100.00 from the apartment management group saying it was for "move out". So, all my worrying is over. I will, however, check my credit report and I was thinking of telling them that if they say anything against me to future landlords, I would still pursue the $400.00 in court.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2005 at 9:58PM
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I can tell you in Utah.. New job, different state, does NOT get you out of a contract.. Only IF your current job TRANSFERS you, we will let you out of your lease...

What I don't understand, if you are on a lease... How can they raise your rent?? That was part of the reason for YOU to sign a lease.. To lock in the price....

    Bookmark   March 9, 2005 at 12:51PM
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They had a discount on the rent each month. Anyways, today they sent me a printout of the last month which included the $100.00 security deposit. I just have to check the lease to see if the pet deposit was non-refundable because there was no mention of it on the printout. I'm just glad the place got rerented. I have no idea if my letter saying I would not pay them anymore had anything to do with someone moving in there just 2 weeks later.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2005 at 6:51PM
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I know that people are frustrated when breaking the lease.
U can try this website www.bestsewa.com, it allow u to advertise you vacant apartment and give rewards to whoever taking over your apartment. This will avoid paying for the remaining rent that you don't actually live there.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2005 at 4:57PM
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