General Question

deni's avatar

Is normal for a rental company to sign a lease for an apartment to a new tenant without giving the current tenant the option to re-sign and continue living there?

Asked by deni (22203 points ) June 13th, 2013

This has just happened to me and has never happened to me before. I am pretty baffled. I am leaving town in 3 weeks and will be gone til the beginning of August. My lease is up August 1st. I am now thrown into this situation where I am panicking because I planned on re-signing and thought that they just hadn’t officially asked me yet.

When I called the rental company a few days ago, the regular receptionist was out of the office but the man who answered the phone said he didn’t see a lease for next year in the stack of pre-leases he was looking at, and since I’m not in the college area of town he said they normally start showing them a month before they are available, so July 1. That’s what I had figured, so I was feelin good about it. Then I called yesterday just to confirm and I also had a few other questions regarding my apartment, and I was told that they rented out my apartment already, months ago, to my current upstairs neighbors. They are now going to be renting the whole house.

I was baffled. I can not understand why they wouldn’t give me the option to resign before making it available to others, or at the very least, why they would not tell me immediately, if not purely to be professional and fair? Or is this just totally normal? Does this happen all the time? I feel kind of fucked in my situation, not saying it’s not my fault at all. It is. I could have called months ago to be sure. I just didn’t think that type of thing was commonplace. Any insight? Do I have any rights here? No? Should I just call and bitch them out anyhow? No?

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21 Answers

hearkat's avatar

Are there any clauses in your current lease about renewal? Most states have housing and tenants’ rights information on the web. It sounds to me like your upstairs neighbor was making a deal behind the scenes for a while, check to see if any of your rights have been violated. Good luck!

jca's avatar

Usually the standard rule of thumb is they give you two months notice if they are not renewing. Not sure what the law is in your state, though. You might want to google your states rental laws. If not, consult a lawyer.

JLeslie's avatar

I agree with @jca, usually there is 2 months for them to notify you, or possibly your contract said you had to notify them. Some laws probably vary by state.

Cupcake's avatar

Your lease should have all of the relevant information.

jca's avatar

@Cupcake makes a good point.

Seek's avatar

Try Municode to find the local Landlord/Tenant law in your area.

marinelife's avatar

1. They may have had the right to rent the whole house to an existing tenant, but you should have been told at the time it was done.

2. How much notice did you have to give the landlord according to your lease? They should have to give you the same amount. If you thought it was 30 days then you are out of luck.

Jeruba's avatar

Maybe you can buy a little time, under the circumstances.

Whether this happens all the time or not isn’t going to be of any help to you. If the legalities are not on your side, what you need is a plan and not statistics.

The folks upstairs already have a place to live. They’re going to take some time expanding, no doubt. If the change of tenants for your place is a done deal, maybe you could negotiate for an extra month or two to give you time to find a new place and move.

That will probably work best if you keep it on amicable, or at least neutral, terms.

jca's avatar

First find out what the laws are in your state. Then “amicable” won’t be an issue, if you’re lucky and have the law on your side.

rojo's avatar

Check your contract. Ours say you will give us notice at least 60 days prior to the end of your lease. If you do not, we can put the unit up for lease.

In practice, I will usually initiate contact before the 60 days to find out but, I am not their mama, I don’t have to I do it as both a courtesy and to help me out to get a jump on the market.

deni's avatar

Unfortunately, like a dum dum, I do not have a copy of my lease. It was a pretty standard lease and when I signed it they did not give me a copy. I’m sure I could obtain one and I probably will. I just have never had any issues with a landlord, or anything like this before, and figured I wouldn’t have an issue here either. In retrospect that was silly, but regardless…..

@Jeruba The only issue is that things are a tiny bit hairy with the folks upstairs. However this is more due to them than me. They are very loud and noisy, one stays up very late (but doesn’t make much noise), while the girl gets up around 5 every day and does not sit still. It’s an old house and their living room is above my bedroom, so it’s really hard for me to sleep sometimes when she’s screaming on the phone or having 10 people over. I never said anything because an old house with no soundproofing is what it is, I didn’t expect much more than that from living in a basement apartment. Anyhow they started complaining about the level of my music…which was very low to begin with. Sometimes I could not even hear it while I was in the kitchen cooking, from one room over! So it was not loud. And I don’t like bass. But every time I would turn it on he would text me (pLEASE TURN THAT DOWN IT’S REALLY BUMPIN UP HERE) and I’d say Sure! Then finally one day he said WE NEED TO TALK. I said okay come on down! He proceeded to complain at me for an hour about how loud I was. All totally bogus. I think his girlfriend is just a baby….I said that’s fine, I won’t play music on speakers anymore, but could you please ask your lady to stop sprinting through the house at 5 AM? He said yes. But it hasn’t stopped. And I have stopped using my speakers all together. So if there is an issue, that is the only one. It’s not a big deal to me, only to them, and they have been extremely unreasonable about it. Regardless of if that is the reason or not though that they want to rent the basement out, I still think it’s unfair to do it behind my back.

jca's avatar

How can you not have a copy of something you signed?

You should get a copy of that asap, but now you’re in a spot because you’re dependent on them.

JLeslie's avatar

@deni Start looking for another place, this might be a blessing in disguise. Your apartment floods and possibly has a mold problem.

Jeruba's avatar

@deni, did you catch the suggestion, though, that you might be able to negotiate for another month or two on a month-to-month basis?—since you’re going to be away right at the time that you would be having to move out? That’s the idea I was trying to get across. Wouldn’t that get you out of the worst of the bind?

deni's avatar

@Jeruba It would but they are truly assholes, so probably not.

deni's avatar

Ok folks so I need some help. I got my lease today and really, it says nothing except this about continuing my lease in this apartment:

Tenant understands that (rental company) reserves the right to “Pre-Lease” the premises for the following year and is therefore not obligated to renew with the Tenant if Tenant cannot decide if they wish to renew by a date determined by the Lessor.

The only issue with this is there is no date in the lease about when I need to “decide”....so I don’t know if that helps me or hurts me. Anyone know?

JLeslie's avatar

@deni You would need to know the law for your state. It doesn’t matter what the contract says if it breaks the law. If there is a law of 60 days, then you are already inside that window I think from the dates you provided. If you got lucky your state might have a smaller window.

jca's avatar

Google “______ rental laws” or find your local “landlord tenant” service (usually if there’s one they provide free advice. Please post an update and good luck to you!

JCA
The Update Lady

deni's avatar

Here is one thing that seems relevant: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/consumer/09905.html

However, in the section right above the “rental period” etc little table, of the three bullets, it seems like the first and last both fit that little clause I posted above from my lease? I’m not sure which applies, and if its the third one then it seems they should have given me three months notice. If it is the first one, then I’m shit out of luck it seems. But whcih is it?

Cupcake's avatar

Their lease seems poorly written to not have a timeframe regarding the pre-lease.

It looked like they needed to give you 3 months notice from your link.

I really don’t understand why they wouldn’t have told you when they signed your upstairs neighbor months ago.

deni's avatar

@Cupcake That is what I gathered from it too. It seems like if that little section about deciding to renew is there at all, then they have to give me the option. THe only thing missing is the date they have to do it by. But they never did it and now I don’t have the option. I want to call and talk to them about it but I don’t want to be misinformed which is why I’m trying to get my facts straight first….

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