For JohnQ:I have a letter with a renewal offer from my landlord. There seems to be a typo in it, but I wonder if I can hold them to it. And if so, for how long. To paraphrase the letter:We are offering you a leaqse renewal. Your current rent is $4,305. Your new rent will be $4,850. You can choose a term from 6-12 months at this rate. Or you can stay and be month to month for a rent of $4,850 plus an addional $250 charge per month for being month to month. Please check one of the following:I want to have a new lease for __ months at $4,850I want to go month to month for $4,850 + $250 per monthI will be moving out at the end of my leasePlease check one of the above. If you do not move out at the end of your lease, you will automatically go month to month for $4,055 plus an additional charge of $250 per month.Sincerely,The LandlordThis implies if I do nothing, meaning I do not move out and do not respond, my rent will be $4,305 total per month on a month to month basis. If the $4,055 is a typo can they claim more rent from me after the fact? If not, can they make up a new rent in month 2 so I only take advantage of this mistake for one month?
I appreciate your patience.
Are you ready to begin?
I am reading your information provided.
If an offer is accepted and it is reasonable to assume the amount is not a typographical error it is enforceable.
Mistake as to a term is a defense to enforcement.
Normally, a landlord will not pursue a claim or fight to increase rent when the difference is not large. This is because the legal expenses will outweigh the lost rent.
Does that make sense?
Does an offer signed by the parties become an enforceable lease. The answer is yes.
Is there a potential defense a landlord can assert? Yes, that is called unilateral mistake.
A couple of things. One, the part where I may be able to take advantage of a lower rent than the other alternatives is by staying and not responding at all. Would that be called "acceptance"?
OK, so they could claim unilaterla mistake, but on the other hand if it expensive for them to defnd themselves they may choose to not bother. But then the second question arises: even if they do agree to the lower rent, since it is month to month do I have any assurance of the lower rent for more than the first month?
I see your point. Is the amount of monthly rent when the month-to-month conversion occurs in a lease elsewhere. Is this only in a letter. Does that letter have a place for you to sign?
Good observation. A landlord can increase month-to-month rent with one month's notice so there is no assurance that it would stay low.
The month to month price is not explicitly stated in the current lease. From what I read on the CT judicial web site I can even contest their month to month rent and simply pay whatever I think is fair, but it doesn't say on that site how I prove I am right and they are wrong.
As for whether there is a place to sign, there probably is, but again I would be opting for the situation where i do not return the page at all to them to trigger the clause about not responding and not leaving.
A tenant could pay a differing amount if they dispute the monthly rent, but could face eviction or increased rent in the next months.
I see. The important information here is that a month-to-month rate is only a commitment on a monthly basis and can be increased with a month's notice.
If I continue to pay the fair rent how could I be evicted?
So, initially a saving might be gained by accepting an apparent low rent. If there was an error than can be quickly corrected by a landlord.
A landlord can increase the rent or simply terminate the lease for no cause with one month's notice. A monthly tenancy can be ended with a month's advance notice for no reason even if the tenant has been paying their rent.
Does that make sense? That landlord has the ability to terminate.
Are you with me? The key to a month-to-month lease is the ease of termination by either party without cause.
OK, I understand.
If the lease was for a term, such as for a year, the landlord could not terminate. Cause, such as a breach of a lease, would be required.
OK. And if I do sign for a specific term, do I have any recourse if they have raised the rent to an unreasonable level (other than moving somewhere else, which is an option but somewhat unfair to force me to incur the tme and expense)?
No. A tenant does not have any recourse once they sign a lease agreeing to pay a specific rent. Any negotiations must occur prior to entering the lease. That can be done by showing data to the landlord of similar rentals at lower rates.
Some larger cities regulate rent increases.
Those are called rental control areas.
Most places do not have any rent control laws.
Yes, what I mean is, if I can show they have raised the rent to an unreasonable level before I have signed, do I have any recourse? There's no rent control I'm aware of in my town.
Does your town have a fair rent commission?
Here is the list of towns with a Fair Rent Commission:
If your town is included and a rent increase seems high, a complaint can be filed with the commission.
You will find how to file a complaint on the link above as well.
If a tenant does not have access to a rent commission then rent increases are solely a matter of negotiation between landlord and tenant.
Does that make sense? In the vast majority or areas, a rent increase is a matter of negotiation. A
OK, I'll have to live with that.
Consider attempting to negotiate by supplying market comparable information.
Please let me know if you need anything else.
Thanks, that's it.
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Thank you again
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