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Legalease
Legalease, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 16289
Experience:  15 yrs residential & commercial leasing experience.
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I have a duly signed lease apartment I own in Nottingham,

Customer Question

I have a duly signed lease for an apartment I own in Nottingham, NH which is in effect until August of 2016. One of the two tenants gave the other about 24 hour notice in Mid March, packed a few things and left. She then called me and said she wanted to talk about getting her name off the lease. I told her it was a binding document and that she owed the balance of the lease for half of the rental amount. She was free to pay it monthly, to the remaining lessee, or pay it in full, when I'd be happy to rewrite it. She has paid the month of April; but has also left a large quantity of things here. After she gave her old keys to the remaining tenant, I had the locks changed. She has been told by each of us that she is welcome to get her things when he, or I am here. Today she demanded a key to the new locks saying "it's the law ! I still live here". I offered to be home all day tomorrow so I could unlock for her but she snapped that she would "rather have a key". Do I have to provide her with a key to the new locks, or just reasonable access to her things ? I believe she is trying to force my hand to take her off the lease, thereby (in her mind) no longer having to pay; and, to use the space as free storage until August.
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Legalease replied 7 months ago.
Hello there -- Can I ask a few questions -- -Did she give you a formal written notice of termination ? Verbal only? What does your lease document say about the proper method of giving notice ? -Has she paid her share of the rent to the current date ? -Do you know if the relationship between the two tenants was a romantic break up and you might be getting caught in the crosshairs of this one ? -MARY
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Lease states 60 day notice in writing from lessor or lesser if either chooses not to renew, otherwise self-renewing. She gave me no notice gave roommate a day. Yes, she paid her half of the current month. Not a romantic issue except she "found someone she card for".
Expert:  Legalease replied 7 months ago.
Hello again ---There seems to be a problem with your payment method and out customer service department for the phone call. I am happy to talk with you on the telephone -- do you want to contact customer service at(###) ###-####to see if you can straighten this out ? I will be online for another hour or two and will be available all day tomorrow. -In the meantime, I will answer according to your response above and then we can talk if you straighten the payment matters out. =Please give me a few minutes to type a response -- I type slowly !!-MARY
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I just signed up for the 7 day free trial
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
A written answer is sufficient. Thank you, Mary
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Are you still typing or have we been cut off
Expert:  Legalease replied 7 months ago.
Hello again ----Telephone calls are additional and it appears that you pressed the button for that service so if you did not intend to do so, that is fine -- I will just answer the question here and if you later decide you want a telephone call you can arrange it through customer service. As for the deposits and payment plans offered -- I have no idea how it works (they deliberately keep us in the dark because they make money from subscription plans - and then offer us under 10 dollars an answer when they do, so they do not want us knowing how much they earned compared to what we were paid) ---Here goes -- Under these circumstances at the current moment, you should give her a key unless the roommate objects to it or there is a restraining order in place (that is why I asked about the romantic relationship). She has not terminated her lease in writing as required by the lease and because the lease is your form, that could be put back on your plate by an eviction court or civil court at a later date. My suggestion here is that you tell her that you will give her a key when she pays the rent for May and that will indicate to you her desire to live up to her end of the contract until August or an earlier date if you can let her out of it. It is not unreasonable legally if you take this position and hold the new key until you get the May rent. You can even tell her that you have a right to determine what her intentions are -- whether to be a tenant or not. Then, If she fails to pay the June rent then you will consider her to have abandoned the unit and you will change the locks again without giving her a key unless she comes forward with the monthly rent within the first few days of June (At that point you can consider the unit abandoned by her because she has not lived there for more than 30 days and you have received no rent payment from her in the May to June time period). I do suggest that you put all of this in a written letter to her and see if she pays the May rent by a few days into the month. If she does not, then send her a second letter stating that because she has not paid the rent for May 2016 you consider that to be her formal notice that she is not returning as reinforcement to the verbal notice that she has already given to you and her actions of not actually living in the unit since XXXXXX date (whatever the date was). -I am uncertain of what your lease agreement says, but many form leases make joint tenants "joint and severally liable" which means that each tenant is responsible for their half of the rent AND individually responsible for the entire rent amount if the other tenant fails to pay. So your remaining tenant is technically on the hook for the entire rent each month if he cannot find another roommate that you approve of to help pay the rent (you have the right to approve or reject any proposed tenant put forth to you as a replacement by the remaining tenant and if they have a poor rental history or bad credit or something that makes you hesitant to let them move in, then you have every right to reject the proposed new tenant and still pursue the full rent against the remaining tenant). SO, look for that language of joint and several liability in your lease and if it is NOT there, you should work it into the next version of your lease so you will always have someone to pursue in the event a roommate leaves like this in the future. -Please let me know if you have further questions. If not, can you please press a positive rating above so I will be credited for my time. I receive no credit for assisting you unless you scroll upward and press a positive rating in the ratings section at the top of this page. A positive rating is given by pressing the middle star or the fourth or fifth star on the right. Bonuses, while not required, are greatly appreciated and most of the bonus amount is paid to the lawyer. A bonus box will appear after you press a positive rating if you wish to give a bonus which is much appreciated !! THANK YOU VERY MUCH !!-MARY
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
So you are telling me that she has the right to simply walk ou
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
So you are telling me that she simply has the right to walk out at will and both the other tenant and I have to give her full access at any time, via a key ? Somehow that seems to negate the whole idea of a lease as a protection. She gets to be willful and irresponsible while we have to wait months to be rid of her. The remaining lessee does not want her there when one of us is not. He is having back surgery in May and cannot pay the whole rent until he is recovered. This apartment is located over my 2 1/2 car garage. Only 1/3 is for the apartment. When she was going to take her belongings last week I put tape across the two access points to my side. A bookcase disappeared from my side at that time. I would not care to make an issue of that because it was originally hers. She gave it to me rather than take it to the dump. It does serve to show her feelings of entitlement. I will be happy to press the stars for you after you clarify this email. I guess I also have to call the cust service number to find why It says I am being charged on my free week. Thanks for your help

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