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Lease Renewal


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#1 NaNa2Many

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 02:21 PM

My renewal is that last of March. They require a sixty day notice if you do not plan to renew so about sixty days before renewal you are sent a letter asking you your intentions which I received in January around the 19th. I had moved into a less expensive apartment in the same complex last March and was told that would be a permanent price because I was paying the total price on the apartment. The letter I received in January stated that my rent would be a $10 increase and not the same. Does not seem like a lot for some but I am old (75) and live on a budget --- I seldom even turn my heat on in an effort to save money, only when it is really cold. Fortunately our winters are mild in South Carolina. I objected to the higher rent and was told the price of all the apartments had gone up but she would give me the same rate if I signed a lease for a year.

I asked to have the lease so that I could read it over --- it is about 12 pages long. It was only four pages when I moved in here in 2010 but they keep adding things to it to relieve them of any obligation should anything go wrong. The tenant is signing that should you get mold,etc. you are now responsible to pay for whatever cost are incurred to remove such.

Anyway I signed the lease for 12 months and turned it in to one of the ladies in the office. She went over it and even asked me to sign one thing I had missed. She accepted the agreement.

A few days later I received an envelope in my door that I thought was a copy of the lease that I had signed since I had asked for it. Instead, it was another lease with at least four things typed in that were not there before. I told them I had already signed a lease and did not need to sign another. I asked them for a copy of the lease I had signed and was told that I would not receive a copy until I signed the corrected lease.

The typed in things were that I was getting a concession with the $10 lower rent; and three additional fees should I break my lease amounting to around $400. Normally it is $1,100 but would run about $1,500 i I broke my lease.

Now I wonder where I stand with this? I feel that I have already signed a lease for 2013. They feel that I need to sign the second one that they put in my door. I feel as if they are just "jerking me around". I wrote their home office and also the BBB yesterday.

#2 FindLaw_Amir

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 02:33 PM

Sorry to hear about your situation. You may want to contact the South Carolina: Office of Aging: Legal Assistance for Seniors as a good resource to address your concerns.

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#3 Tax_Counsel

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 03:05 PM

Now I wonder where I stand with this? I feel that I have already signed a lease for 2013. They feel that I need to sign the second one that they put in my door. I feel as if they are just "jerking me around". I wrote their home office and also the BBB yesterday.


Well, you did evidently sign the new lease. That indicates that you agreed to the proposed lease. But did the landlord or an agent of the landlord also sign the lease? In order for there to be a contract, both parties need to agree to it, and in a written lease the agreement is indicated by each party signing the lease document. If the landlord or landlord’s agent did not sign the lease, then you likely didn’t get an enforceable contract. My guess is that the person in the office with whom you spoke wasn’t authorized to sign the lease and had to send it to someone else in the company for approval. That person wanted a few changes, so the contract was returned to include those changes. But that’s just a guess. In any event, the new lease isn’t effective until you and the landlord execute the lease agreement.

#4 Fallen

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 02:51 PM

"The tenant is signing that should you get mold,etc. you are now responsible to pay for whatever cost are incurred to remove such."

That won't be enforceable if the source of the mold is related to the landlord ignoring X-Y-Z obligations. Not sure how this is relevant though.

In future, never hand over the only original you have of X document that you've signed before making a copy or ensuring you have a duplicate original. You're free to insist that someone in authority sign the lease first, so that after you sign it, you'll be in a position to make a copy. (Asking them to send you duplicate originals, both signed with original signatures, is even better.)

"They feel that I need to sign the second one that they put in my door."

See Tax's response in case they say "No, X person/staffer didn't understand that she wasn't entitled to agree to Y rent without including Z provisions in case you break the lease." If they're giving you a so-called "discount" on the rent (or simply not raising it as they otherwise would) and you wind up wanting to break the lease/move out early, they'll want that savings back + if you wind up breaching.

Unless you've broken or intend to break your lease, I'm not clear on what the problem is. (Your post is a bit garbled in terms of it not being clear whether you have.) Ultimately, the landlord's free to insist on X provisions and you're free to say you don't want to agree to that ... but the hitch is you'll have to move if they call your bluff and give you termination notice.

The BBB can only put other folks on notice if they check with the BBB before renting from this place. Can't know from here whether the landlord cares what the BBB thinks (it has no authority over them), or whether you'll wind up on someone's "troublemaker" list for making waves and having them decide they don't want to enter into a long-term lease with you after all. (If so, and push comes to shove, you're free to file a petition in the local landlord-tenant court about this and see what a court says.)

Please understand if you intend to stay at this place indefinitely that, like the vast majority of places/states, SC is not a place with rent control laws and I'm afraid they're free to raise your rent as much as they like every year regardless. (Further, they don't even have to offer you a long-term lease; they're free to insist on a monthly tenancy after an initial term expires, and raise the rent every month so long as they give you a rental month's notice of the increase.)

In short, you may want to contact them and say "mea culpa" about the misunderstanding; only you can gauge what X person may feel like doing if you leapfrog over the local office staff's head to HQ.

I'll echo PG's advisory "warning" with a twist: (Many) legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here might not fully identify or explain the ramifications of your particular problem. I do not give legal advice as such (and such is impermissible here at any rate). Comments are based on personal knowledge and experience and legal info gleaned over a quarter century, and every state has differing laws on and avenues to address most topics.  If you need legal advice, you need to consult (and pay) a professional so that you may have someone to hold accountable.  Acting on personal and informational advice from a stranger on the internet is a bad idea -- at least not without your own thorough due dilience/research and confirmation as it applies to your situation.  :)





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