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minamina's avatar

Apartment leasing problem (no legal!)

Asked by minamina (16points) July 8th, 2011

Hi everyone,

My roommate and I signed a lease for a new apartment with an exact move-in date (next month). With only 3 weeks left until the beginning of the lease, the Management called us to tell us that the former tenants decided to extend their lease and thus the room will no longer be available.

Can we take legal action on this?
We’ve already paid a $100 holding deposit for the apartment, signed the lease, and everything else (security deposit, first month’s rent) was supposed to be due @ the time when our lease began.
From my understanding, the holding deposit should ensure us the room and prevent anybody else from taking it.

Please let me know if I’m wrong on any of the stated points, and what action my roommate and I can take at this point.
Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!!

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6 Answers

DrBill's avatar

A holding deposit prevents the landlord from renting to anyone else, but MAY (look at the lease agreement) allow them to renew the current lease. It all depends on what that rental agreement says.

JLeslie's avatar

Unless there is some odd wording on your lease, they are not able to do that, they are obligated to the contract. Most states had a 15 or 30 day requirement to kick out a month to month tenant, which I assume the people living there now are, so the landlord should be delivering a notice to them not you. Having said all of this I would look for another apartment, and get my $100 back.

jrpowell's avatar

Get your money back and look for another place. I can pretty much guarantee that if you do anything legal to force yourself into the place (the odds are slim it would work) you will get evicted for trivial shit in two months. Landlords don’t want tenets that scream “Lawyer”. They will will find a way to evict you and then your rental history is shit.

YARNLADY's avatar

I would demand my deposit back with interest.

WasCy's avatar

Yeah, I’m with @JLeslie and @johnpowell on this. Regardless of your “legal rights”, you have to live in the real world. And in the real world, a landlord who will do this to you now will do it to you again. (And it costs money – for an uncertain result that takes who knows how long to resolve – if you hire an attorney to exercise your rights.) Certainly it’s a hassle and a new round of apartment hunting for you, but if your needs aren’t so specific that “only that apartment in the entire city” will do, then you’re better off finding a place with a different landlord who does better business.

I would certainly demand the immediate return of the deposit (politely) and request interest, too, as @YARNLADY suggests (but don’t hold your breath on that, either). Keep in mind that if he had your $100 deposit for an entire year (which he didn’t) then even 10% compounded interest (a much higher rate than you could have earned if you had the money deposited in an interest-bearing account) would only be a bit over $10. So you’re talking peanuts.

The aggravation is the big thing for you, and the ticking clock now. So just do what you have to do and find a new apartment.

If you’ve paid out money to have addresses changed and other things to add to the inconvenience, this may be more than the “peanuts” above. It would be reasonable to (politely) request compensation for this out-of-pocket expense, too. But you’ll have to document it if you expect to get it.

perspicacious's avatar

You could probably specifically enforce your lease, but do you really want an enemy for a landlord? Just my personal opinion. Be sure you are reimbursed for anything you paid in the way of deposits, application fee, cleaning fees, credit report/background check fees.

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