Jump to content
justagirl26

Landlord termination of lease notice

Recommended Posts

I signed a 12 month lease Feb 22, 2016 to include that I was a nonsmoker, which I am.  This weekend my landlord had appliances delivered at my house, which he didn't confirm with me the delivery date and just showed up Saturday afternoon, which is another issue.

During the 5 hours he was there, he found a cigarette package, on the table from a small gathering I had at my home the night before. I knew they were there but didn't think much about it when he was over, as I don't smoke and when I have guests over they smoke outside on the back deck. The next day (SUnday) after numerous calls, texts and emails, I finally responded to him on Monday, as I was already aggravated he just showed up Saturday ruining my afternoon since it was implied but not confirmed about him coming by..So Monday evening he comes by with a notice saying my lease is terminated and I have until April 30 to move out. The caveat to this is if I turn in my keys and move by April 30 he will pay me $250 for my "inconvenience".

 

I just paid 3k in the last 30 days to move in, and my gut instinct is telling me he is looking for a reason to terminate the lease. New appliances, updates on the house and I saw that it was listed for sale before I relocated to this area.

 

He put there was smell of cigarettes, which is a blatant lie, and I think he was accusing me of being a smoker.

 

Is a cigarette pack justification to terminate my lease? There has never been smoking in the house. I am the only one who resides there, never had an overnight guest, and had only one gathering the night before with a few peope that Im sure smoked outside.

 

I don't have the friends that would smoke in my house, as the house is beautifull and being an avid runner myself, they know I detest it. Not to mention I just lost my mother in January to lung cancer from smoking.

 

My apologies this is so long, I'm very angry that he based his decision on this, if he is that against smoking, a clause in my lease saying not to have any smoking within 20 feet of the property would have sufficed. I had no idea I wasn't allowed to have friends who smoked. Is it legal? I really don't want to move since I just settled into the home.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is a cigarette pack justification to terminate my lease?

 

Probably not, but we obviously haven't read your lease.

 

If the landlord wants to terminate your lease, he'll have to prove that you violated some term of the lease.  If he contends you violated a provision against smoking, he'll have to prove it.  Line up your friend who left the cigarettes in your apartment to testify on your behalf.  You may also want to consult with a local attorney.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

your landlord sounds like a good person. he is willing to pay you $250 to move. it seems to be a good offer. Let's re-evaluate your living arrangement. can you live there peacefully until lease end? if not, $250 is a good offer. Tenant screening is hard job in rental business. They rent the property to you with good faith. They think you are a good choice. They could be wrong. If you guys are not compatible,it could become a problematic situation. most of the landlords use mutual recession to end the lease in 30 days notice to resolve a problematic situation. Your landlord did that and more. they offer you $250. If you can find better place in 30 days, take the money. It is good for everyone. if not, it could be challenging down the road. good luck

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The lease states and on the application I also put I am a nonsmoker. Yes my landlord appeared to be a good person, however it is completely unprofessional to terminate a lease solely because of a cigarette package left.

 

Let's re-evaluate your living arrangement. can you live there peacefully until lease end? if not, $250 is a good offer.

I can leave peacefully as I'm a professional female, with a government job and obviously when he screened me as you wrote, my credit is great, I've never had previous issues with landlords, most often renewing my lease and residing for multiple years and upon move out the past properties I've rented have had no damage, clean and my security deposits returned. Compatibility has nothing to do with the landlord-tenant relationship as long as we equally abide by the terms of the lease.

 

While he offered me $250, it's nothing in comparison to the $3k I've paid out in the last 30 days to move in, now to turn and find another rental to pay another deposit and more fees. Additionally what is $250 when he has over a 1k of my money for the deposit. Since his behavior of terminating the lease, allowing the home to sit empty and going through the whole process again, doesn't give me the impression he won't argue there was cigarette smoking in the house to keep my deposit. What's more isn't this why there are deposits when people rent? For damages such as smoking? I believe his intentions are for other reasons then re-renting it if I move.

 

Interestingly enough, he's lied multiple times, saying there was smoking odor in the house, the "owners" were making him terminate my lease because he is the owner.  Giving me $250 is a joke when calculated the money I've given him and money it will cost to move again. Essentially I will be paying two rents simultaneously.

 

I appreciate your comment, however that didn't answer my question of "can he terminate my lease based on a cigarette package found when the lease states the tenant is nonsmoker".

 

I agree with you deebeekay that it's problematic to live in a situation like this down the road, however if this is a common practice for my LL to collect large amounts of money, only to terminate leases within the first month, there needs to be protection for tenants.

 

Because I submitted bank statements and financial information, I feel he thinks I can financially afford to move, which I can but I can also afford a lawyer which sadly I believe is the route I will go.

 

I didn't post in the original post that after viewing security footage, when he was at the home with the delivery guys, he also went into the bedrooms when I had my doors shut, so I'm unsure the reasoning behind that. Should I also disclose that to the attorney when I speak with them?

 

So how would he prove there was smoking in the house? Is a package of cigarettes justifiable to a judge? I can smell cigarette smoke when I go into places or on other people but I've never been able to notice if I've moved into a new home and the previous tenants smoked.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I appreciate your comment, however that didn't answer my question of "can he terminate my lease based on a cigarette package found when the lease states the tenant is nonsmoker".

 

I'm not sure to whom you're directing this statement or why you're using quotation marks since you're paraphrasing or restating your prior question, not quoting anything.  As I stated in my prior response, the answer is probably not, but it will require a review of your lease to know for sure.

 

 

 

I didn't post in the original post that after viewing security footage, when he was at the home with the delivery guys, he also went into the bedrooms when I had my doors shut, so I'm unsure the reasoning behind that. Should I also disclose that to the attorney when I speak with them?

 

It's not terribly relevant.  However, if you do consult with or retain an attorney, there's no reason not to mention it to him/her.

 

 

 

So how would he prove there was smoking in the house?

 

We have no way of predicting what he will attempt to do.

 

 

 

Is a package of cigarettes justifiable to a judge?

 

I don't know what "justifiable to a judge" means.  Your landlord's observation of a pack of cigarettes on a table in your apartment is conclusive evidence of nothing other than the presence of cigarettes in your apartment.  It is circumstantial evidence that you smoke.  In my opinion, it would not be sufficient, by itself, to sustain the landlord's burden of production/proof.  However, we have no way of predicting how an unknown judge or jury would find.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suspect the question is not whether you are a smoker. The concern is whether anyone smokes in the apartment. You have obviously allowed a smoker in the apartment. The landlord may be alarmed since the odor of cigarette smoke is very hard to coverup.

Smokers have an odor that is easily detectable by non-smokers. I am a recovered smoker and I guarantee you I can tell if a person smokes from five feet away. It is also easy to tell if a person spends significant time with a smoker since the odor clings to clothes like a magnet. Is it possible the landlord detects the odor of smoke around you?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

justagirl26,

 

Thank you for the post.  pg1067's posts are instructive. The burden to prove you violated thee lease is on your landlord. The landlord is obligated to follow the eviction process. You must adequately respond to a complaint for unlawful detainer if one is filed after the notices.

 

As pg1067 also pointed out the pack of cigarettes in in the residence and I would include a faint odor of cigarette smoke on a single occasion may not meet the requirements of evidence that smoking has occurred in your residence. The lease provisions also factor into this situation

 

Many states require notice before a landlord enters a tenants premises so you should also discuss that with your attorney.

 

Take a look at the following and if you need help searching for an attorney you can start with our directory:

 

Tenants' Rights Basics

Eviction and Unlawful Detainer

Tenant Eviction: What You Should Know as a Renter

 

Please feel free to continue to post your legal questions at our forums,

-The FindLaw.com Team

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you everyone for your responses. I admit, I wasn't very clear in my first post as I was still angry.

 

1. My application I put down I am a nonsmoker.

 

2. The lease doesn't address smoking at all. There is nothing that states smoking on or off the premises. However, it was just common sense smoking wouldn't be allowed.  Now it raises the questions if smoking was allowed outside the property, since the lease states nothing addressing.

 

3. He is not evicting me but instead terminating my lease causing a huge financial burden.

 

4. Nobody smoked in the house, I do not have friends, clients or business associates that would disrespect me in that manner.

 

The accusations from the landlord keeps coming, a day later I received an email not to "lock my dog in a room but instead crate him".

 

Essentially, this man wants his house to be able to put it on the market and wants me out. 

 

What legal options do I have?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you everyone for your responses. I admit, I wasn't very clear in my first post as I was still angry.

 

1. My application I put down I am a nonsmoker.

 

2. The lease doesn't address smoking at all. There is nothing that states smoking on or off the premises. However, it was just common sense smoking wouldn't be allowed.  Now it raises the questions if smoking was allowed outside the property, since the lease states nothing addressing.

 

 

That brings up an interesting point. Re-read your lease. Is there something in it that says something like you obey apartment complex rules that are issued by management?

 

If yes, to that question, I strongly suggest that you get and read those rules to determine if there is anything in them that prohibits smoking in the apartments or in the common areas.

 

Come back to this thread with the results.

 

 

 

 

3. He is not evicting me but instead terminating my lease causing a huge financial burden.

 

 

A termination notice is a precursor to an eviction through the courts. In other words, if you are still there after the deadline date, then he has the option of filing for eviction through the courts.

 

 

 

 

 

4. Nobody smoked in the house, I do not have friends, clients or business associates that would disrespect me in that manner.

 

 

 

 

 

That could certainly be a defense in court if it comes to it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The accusations from the landlord keeps coming, a day later I received an email not to "lock my dog in a room but instead crate him".

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again, check lease and rules for anything connected with dogs.

 

 

 

 

Essentially, this man wants his house to be able to put it on the market and wants me out. 

 

What legal options do I have?

 

One option is to ignore his notices, stay put, and see what happens when the deadline passes. Make sure you pay your next rent ahead of the due date. Pay it in person and take a trusted person with you to photograph you handing him the check. That person should be willing to testify in court if necessary.

 

Also consider paying a lawyer a few hundred to write a nasty letter to the landlord explaining the dire financial consequences of a lawsuit for wrongful eviction.

 

If you don't want to spend the money, you can write your own letter demanding that he cease and desist his unlawful attempts to remove you from the premises and he may suffer serious financial consequences under Alabama statute 35-9A-407:

 

http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/alcode/35/9A/4/1/35-9A-407

 

Include the wording of the statute in the letter.

 

It would be scarier coming from a lawyer, but might suffice if you write it yourself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. My application I put down I am a nonsmoker.

 

2. The lease doesn't address smoking at all. There is nothing that states smoking on or off the premises. However, it was just common sense smoking wouldn't be allowed.

 

As much as I despise smoking, I disagree.  When you're dealing with a contractual situation -- as is the case with a landlord and tenant -- there is no "common sense," just the terms of the contract.  If your lease doesn't prohibit smoking, then the only thing the landlord could do here would be to try and prove that you lied when you said you are a non-smoker.  As long as that statement was true when made, your landlord has nothing to stand on, even if you subsequently became a smoker.

 

 

 

3. He is not evicting me but instead terminating my lease causing a huge financial burden.

 

I'm curious what you think the difference is.

 

 

 

What legal options do I have?

 

I guess if you felt like moving, you could try to negotiate with your landlord -- e.g., for the payment of moving expenses.  However, as long as you're not in breach of your lease, there isn't a whole heckuva lot he can do (other than keep hassling you).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • The lease states just to keep house clean. There is nothing that states a smoking policy.
  • The notice of lease termination states breach of clause 5 in the residential rental agreement.  #5 Rental application: The tenant acknowledges that the landlord has relied upon the application as an inducement for entering into this agreement, and the tenant warrants to the landlord that the fact stated in the application are true to the best of the tenant's knowledge. If any facts stated in the rental application prove to be untrue, the landlord shall have the right to terminate the residency immediately and to collect from the tenant any damages resulting therefrom."

 

Upon entering the premises on 2/19, the rental manager found evidence of smoking inside the house, including obvious odor and pack of Marlboro cigarettes in plain sight. In the application the tenant answered "NO" to the question. "Do you smoke".

 

 

The only time smoking was addressed was on the application as I am a non smoker. Nothing in the lease has a smoking policy. 

 

 

PG1067 you made some valid points. I also despise smoking but this is a contract and while It was implied for obvious reasons not to smoke in the home, it didn't state that in the lease I signed. Technically I could have had a smoke filled party because there is nothing I signed in the lease addressing smoking.

 

Regarding the dog, my dog is a service animal.

 

I guess there is no difference except the courts aren't involved, so he's terminating my lease and not evicting me. It's the same to me. I feel as he got more than 3k in the last 30 days and bought new appliances to sell the home and found any reason to kick me out.

 

however, not wanting to live with a landlord like this, my intent was to just move and not pay him the last months rent as he has my deposit. His behavior thus far, doesn't warrant he will return my deposit and I don't want a long lengthy  court battle. I just want to move on and cut my losses. Unless I can still bring him to court and sue for financial damages.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

justagirl26,

 

A landlord terminating a lease is an eviction. How its accomplished can be done in multiple ways. A tenant can leave voluntarily after the landlord request the tenant to leave or the landlord would have to follow the statutory eviction process. The statutory eviction requires specific circumstances to allow a landlord to follow through with an eviction.

 

Take a closer look at what pg1067 has written, youre not obligated to do what you may think. Speak to an attorney immediately.

 

The FindLaw.com Team

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

however, not wanting to live with a landlord like this, my intent was to just move and not pay him the last months rent as he has my deposit. His behavior thus far, doesn't warrant he will return my deposit and I don't want a long lengthy  court battle. I just want to move on and cut my losses.

 

 

That, of course, is your decision. It's the same mindset that I've heard from a lot of divorced people who left the marriage with NOTHING, letting the enemy WIN, because they didn't have the stones to put up a fight.

 

 

 

 Unless I can still bring him to court and sue for financial damages.

 

 

The way to do that is to stay put, let him file in court, you defend and counter sue for wrongful eviction.

 

Talk to a lawyer before you walk away from $3000 and incur the cost of moving and starting all over someplace else.

 

Up to you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess there is no difference except the courts aren't involved, so he's terminating my lease and not evicting me. It's the same to me.

 

 

Unless you acquiesce, the courts will have to be involved.  He can claim to be terminating your lease, and you can say, "ok, bye."  Or you can say, "no, you aren't, because you have no valid grounds to do so."  If you refuse to acquiesce and he still wants you out, he'll have to file an eviction action with the court.

 

I agree with "adjusterjack's" most recent comments.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for the advice...I am on the fence, just to walk away, because it's to the point of constantly visiting the home for "maintenance".

 

Is it possible to just move and still file for wrongful eviction?

 

He comes tomorrow for A/C maintenance, which I'm unsure why, since there is nothing wrong with the unit but I plan on setting up a nanny cam video because I believe he goes through my personal things.

 

This will end up costing me almost 6k when it's all said and done within the last 90 days, because if I move, I hardly doubt he will give my deposit back. I don't want to take a financial hit, but I just want to be done with it except I don't want to lose all this money.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Update.

Well after many back and forth emails and my refusing to leave based on this. He told me I could stay in the house if I signed a new lease and I refused.

He had trees cut without giving me the proper notice and I stated he went against lease terms.

FInally, I emailed him stating him and I had gotten of on a very wrong note and I wanted to stay in the house etc and gave him post dated checks for 3 months. I stopped paying the rent initially but decided this wasn't the best course of action.

 

I did have late fees, which he allowed me to pay on the following months rent and I told him obviously when he ran my credit and checked previous landlords, I never had any issues.

 

Long story short. I learned a valuable lesson. Read and know what I am signing.  Also there are laws to protect tenants.  As much as I love the house, my landlord must be suffering from some mental illness, bc he is crazy..lol but I wont renew when lease is up for renewal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I doubt your lease terms would be be interpreted as preventing him from cutting trees without your consent (and unless diseased or affecting value of place negatively, not sure why he would; that said, you indicate he is loony). Such lease term in favor of tenant power wouldn't make sense but perhaps he made mistake.

If you moved in in Feb 22 (not confirmed), doesn't make sense that you wouldn't have paid rent for March. So perhaps you didn't pay April.

I wouldn't recommend handing any landlord post-dated checks, or paying lump sum rent in advance. You do not know what intolerable thing may occur that would cause you to decide to leave.

A (competent) court won't likely care about appliance delivery gripe even had you not info (whether or not confirmed) to indicate he'd bring on X date. Nor would (sane, not corrupt) court be pleased were he to have proceeded to file eviction on/armed with irrefutable proof of smoking incident (and this is true even if your lease prohibited smoking). Court would be further perturbed where you are in position to establish basis is a pretext. (After all, if he wants to sell place, he may. If he wanted m-t-m or shorter-term tenant so he could sell place vacant, he could go that route.)

Even if you do X supposedly awful thing, I'm confident even backward AL if not lease requires notice to cure breach condition or quit in advance of termination and eviction action option if tenant disagrees that breach occurred (and *material* uncured breach deserving of eviction, e.g., failure to pay rent and then failure to make good after notice of breach).

Keep in mind that you have right to seek court intervention on breach of law or contract too, and court with jurisdiction over landlord-tenant court issues is not formal. It won't be long, drawn-out ordeal unless one is inclined to appeal to higher court(s).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for your response.

 

To close this post, aside from the cutting the trees without my consent and all previous posts, my LL apologized that the tree service showed up early. I did post date checks (my mistake) for the next 2 months.

 

Thank you for all the posts and the advice on writing a stern letter, which I did and it seemed to make him realize he was being unreasonable.

 

However, everyone is human and has bad days so I'm chalking up his initial request to terminate my lease as "having a bad day". The tree service coming earlier than the LL thought was a mistake..mistakes happen.

 

I am keeping my fingers crossed till my lease ends to have no further issues. This site has brought a wealth of information, to include human behavior and how many are seeking frivolous court claims.

 

lastly, I fell on wet water that I dropped and sprained my pinkie toe, this has caused me great emotional stress and I'm now afraid to walk or use water. Can I sue my landlord for having a faucet?

 

I'm kidding about the previous question..Have a great day everyone!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...