General Question

Ownage's avatar

Can I legally ammend a lease?

Asked by Ownage (296points) May 9th, 2009

Ok lets say I have a lease for an apartment (student housing) for $500 a month. Assume that I got these rates during a promotion, as normal rates are $550 a month.

Am I allowed to ammend the lease such that the difference (or atleast a portion… have to remain competitive) goes to me?

Normal rates $550 / month to landlord
My rates: $500 / month to landlord
The person I transfer my lease to: $550 / month ($500 / month landlord $50 / month me)

I see this as no different than buying a car for $200 and selling it for $300, only in the case of a lease I did not “buy” anything, rather I own the “rights to buy” something (the right to pay $500 a month).

It seems legal, but are there any Fluther lawyers who can confirm. Also how would I go about doing this??

The lease is totally transferable, but for a fee. I hope to pass this transfer fee to the next person in the form of higher rent (well current market price rent), or get extra cash if I can get them to agree to pay the transfer fee.

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18 Answers

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

That’s called subletting.
Check your lease. There’s likely a clause there about whether or not you can do this.
I’m leaning toward “not”.

I highly doubt any landlord is going amend your lease to let you do this when they could just write up a new lease accounting for the new person living there and take that extra money for themselves. Landlords are not servants, they are business people and their first order of business is always to going to be that of making money.

Ownage's avatar

Yes compassionate you explained it better. Not really an ammendment, but more of a new lease.

“If you agree to these terms, I will transfer my lease to you…..

x_________(Sign here)

This is not a sublet either as I have not aquired the property. The lease is totally transfered (assuming they approve the new applicant). Their name is now on the lease not mine.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

If you want to transfer the lease then they’ll usually do that but I think that’s all you’re likely to get out of the situation. You’re not really buying anything while renting, you’re paying money to live someplace. There’s no ownership of property conveyed to you.

Lightlyseared's avatar

If you are renting an apartment and you let someone else move in and you get a portion of the money it is a sublet however you try and describe it. As the tenant you do not have the right to let the property out to anyone else.

jca's avatar

and also, since the new lease will not have your name on it anywhere, you are totally out of the picture. with the little contract you made up and had the person sign, how legal would that be and how would you enforce it? taking the person to small claims court?

remember in a lease (which is a contract) you are only half – the other half is the landlord, and since he owns the property he has the final say.

Judi's avatar

It would be a 3 way negotiation and I doubt your landlord would agree to it.

jca's avatar

sorry for ending quickly – what i meant when i said he has the final say is that when your lease expires he has the right not to renew it, and so even if you did sublet or if he found out you did this subleasing without his permission and this caused him to decide not to renew, you’re out of the picture anyway.

jca's avatar

judi: i am thinking he thinks the landlord won’t know. as if the landlord does not know who lives in his units.

Judi's avatar

I’m sure the lease states who’s allowed to live in the apartment but I agree that he should be thanking the person for taking over his lease (if the landlord agrees to it) instead of trying to profit for it.

skfinkel's avatar

@Ownage: Making money this way (you got a break, and you want to leave, but still keep the break) doesn’t sound or feel right to me. You don’t own the apartment, like you own a car—and you don’t get to make money on it if you don’t own it. If you can, pass the lower lease to someone else—obviously with the agreement of the landlord. If not, just be happy for what you got.

Meanwhile, it sounds like you need to take some business classes and get into the business world and begin to earn some money—ethically and with the gusto you obviously have.

jca's avatar

the lease probably does not allow subletting because if the unit went for a promotional rate, i’m sure you’re not the first person to think of this idea – rent it at the promo rate and then lease it out at a market rate.

maybe you should become a property manager, and then you can do this legally and for a profit – just not on this unit!

cak's avatar

If they need to approve the new tenant, how exactly do you come into the picture? They will know the new tenant is there, so they will be collecting the rent from that person. So what…are you like an apartment pimp?

No, this isn’t legal and it’s not even a sublet. I got a great idea, go run it by your landlord and see how they feel about the whole idea. In a lease, you do not own the rights to buy anything, so you are never gaining property. Ever. Unless it is a lease to own, and that is something completely different. The contracts for a lease to own are very structured and have very specific stipulations.

Once your lease is terminated, you are finished. Once his name is on the lease, he deals with the landlord, not you. If he is dumb enough to pay you rent directly, frankly, he gets what he deserves. This is not a get rich quick scam. This is a quick way to get sued or get in trouble with the law.

Triiiple's avatar

The complex we live in would know. They lease all the rooms on a semester basis and usually keep track who is in what and paying what.

I guess you could try and hope you dont get caught.

chyna's avatar

It also seems like a lot of trouble to make 50 bucks a month.

jca's avatar

i would think that buildings where a lot of students reside have had issues like this before, with students renting and having others try to live there for free and all kinds of stuff, so they’re probably pretty savvy dealing with this issue.

Ownage's avatar

@skfinkel I don’t see whats wrong with it. It’s a competitive marketplace out there. I got a deal and got rent bellow market price. Why should I pass those savings onto the end consumer, when I can take a little tax myself. With current market rates (and the fact that its full), no one could get a lease there for the price I locked in. I have had multiple calls from people who want my lease on craigslist, Isin’t it an economical thing to do to let it go to the highest bidder?

Its teh same as me saying pay me $600 up and Ill give you the privelage of living at Jefferson at these rates. I think thats legal. Me adding $50 per month is simply differing that $600 over a 12 month period. $600 per month, which is actually still bellow market price for that unit ($50 extra / month to me) sounds a lot better than me saying pay me $600 now.

Hell I’ll try a contract, and if he dosent pay I can try small claims. It dosen’t hurt.

I just don’t see why I can’t do this? If I am allowed to transfer my lease for free (assuming the LL approves the xfer), why cant I transfer my lease for a private fee however I want to collect it, either up front or differed over 12 months (assuming the LL approves the xfer)/

cak's avatar

@Ownage – You are missing a crucial piece of this…it’s not your apartment to lease. IF the owner approves the transfer, it removes it from your name. They will be perfectly aware that you are no longer the tenant and will be collecting the money from the tenant, directly. You are removed from the picture.

There is nothing enforceable on your part. Your contract would be illegal, nothing enforceable and laughable in court.

If you were trying to sublet, which you clearly stated you are not, you would still be on the lease. If you are transfering the lease (your words), you are no longer on the lease.

jca's avatar

let us know how it turns out.

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