I met with my landlord last night and they do not have a copy of my lease agreement. He asked me for a copy of the one I have. I am trying to get out of my lease agreement by proving that the landlord has not done at least 18 items described under "Landlord Responsibilities" for the county (not spelled out in lease). I realize that I will have to go to court to prove the 18 items but then thought this morning, If they don't have a copy of our lease agreement, how can they take me to court if I break the lease? If the landlord does not have the executed document, what rights do they have?
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): Maryland
Mtg with Landlord - did not go very well
Reached out for Lawyer help - did not hear back from anyone
Hi, My name is XXXXX XXXXX X'd be happy to answer your questions today. We have recently implemented a new payment and feedback system. Please be aware that you are rating my courtesy and service as a professional, and not whether the answer supports your legal position. If you have any questions at all, or there is anything I can clarify for you, please bypass the rating system and click “Continue the Conversation” or "Reply". Choosing either of the lower two options reflects poorly on me (and not the law), so please reply to me if there is anything I can do to help before choosing those options. I appreciate your patience while we work out the kinks.Unfortunately, the law does not require that all leases be in writing. All the landlord needs to establish to sue a tenant for breaking a lease agreement is that they had an agreement that the tenant would rent the property for X months at $Y/month. The landlord will give testimony, and should have copies of checks to show, at the very least, that you were paying. The landlord can also introduce any other evidence he has that there was an agreement so, for example, if you sent the landlord emails or text messages that say that he's in violation of the lease, that tends to show that you have a rental agreement. If you wound up in court, the judge will ask you about it. You're in a bit of a difficult position. Say you decide to just up and leave, and the landlord sues you for breaking the lease. If you want to allege that the landlord breached the lease in these 18 ways, you have to assert a counterclaim - you're not allowed to file a separate case later (it's called a compulsory counterclaim). That means that you would find yourself in court arguing (1) that there was no lease and (2) that the landlord violated multiple clauses of it. You would lose all credibility with the judge, which is really bad. If a judge catches a party being untruthful, he can choose to disregard every word that person says. That leaves you with the option of leaving, seeing if they sue, and then committing perjury by telling the judge that there was never a rental agreement, because he will ask, and it's not a criminal case, so there's no right to refuse to answer. If you do refuse to answer, the judge in a civil case is allowed to assume that the answer would go against you. So, that doesn't help you either.Now, you don't have to just hand them a copy of the rental agreement to prove their case for them. But the fact that you have it and they don't doesn't automatically mean they can't sue you if you move out during the lease period.I understand that you may be disappointed by this Answer, as it is not entirely favorable to your situation. However, it would be unfair to you and unprofessional of me were I to provide you with anything less than truthful and honest information. I hope you understand. Good luck.
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