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Richard - Bizlaw
Richard - Bizlaw, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 9721
Experience:  Commercial and residential leases in NY & NJ & US
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I am a tenant in an apartment. We filled out the lease with

Customer Question

I am a tenant in an apartment. We filled out the lease with the landlord when we moved in. Under the TERM section it states "The term of this lease is (12) months, hereinafter referred to in this lease as 'term' which begins on 6/1/2016 and ends at 5pm prevailing time on 'blank*', unless this leaseis earlier terminated under provisions of paragraph 'blank*'" i would like to find other living arrangements. I want to know if he can take me to court and make me pay the rest of lease. We left other things blank because he said it was okay. I just want to leave and not worry about him taking me to court. in the third section of my lease it states, "Tenant hereby agrees to pay rent for the leased premises, the total sum of (650.00) dollars payable in equal monthly installments of (650.00) dollars in advance without demand during the term of this lease, beginning on the (1)day of (june) 20(16) and on the first of each month thereafter. This lease shall terminate on the (1) day of (june) 20(16), unless the lease is earlier terminated under the previsions established under the agreement" ()- indicates things i wrote in. does this mean the lease cant still hold up in court? or are we basically on a month to month here?"This lease shall terminate on the (1) day of (june) 20(16)" doesn't that statement right there make the lease over?
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Richard - Bizlaw replied 2 months ago.

Hello, my name is ***** ***** I will try to help you. Please remember I just report or interpret the law, so the outcome may not be what you hoped for.

A court would try to read the poorly written lease to implement the intention of the parties. Since the lease is supposed to be for a year, I believe a court would enforce the year period. Since there is nothing in the space for an early termination, I do not think there is a basis for early termination unless the landlord has breached the lease. for these reasons, if you left before the lease expires in one year you would be liable for the balance of the lease.

You did not say what state you are in but in most states a lease for one year or less can be oral. So even if the lease were not considered "valid" because it is so poorly written, the landlord could use the written lease to support his position that the lease was for a year and not month to month.

If I have answered all your questions, please positively rate my answer as that is how I receive credit. If you have more questions, please let me know. If the answer was especially helpful you can provide a bonus.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
i live in Pennsylvania Can i still get sued? even tho the total amount is 650? I'm trying to leave mainly because he is trying to charge me 200 more and pay utilities that were included when i first moved here because "rates are going up". Also my boyfriend was here and walked out of my room one day and the landlord was standing in the hallway. he didn't knock or give him any kind of notice that he was coming. we live in a duplex and the landlord lives below me. Everytime i am outside he yells at me for where i park my car even tho he said i could park it where its at? Also his wife had went through our mail box and we found a letter that was taped shut one time.
Expert:  Richard - Bizlaw replied 2 months ago.

In PA a lease for up to three years can be oral. 68 P.S. § 250.202. However, since your lease recites $650 it would be interpreted as a monthly rent not an annual rent. Any attempt by the landlord to charge more would be a breach of the lease. If the utilities are not in the written lease and you have not been paying utilities previously, that would also be considered a breach of the lease. If your boyfriend was visiting, that is none of your landlord's concern. If he lives with you and there is nothing in writing the prohibits that or limits occupancy to just you, the landlord has no basis for complaining about the boyfriend living there. Opening your mail is a federal felony. If you report it to the post office they will probably send a postal inspector.

If the landlord persists in trying to overcharge you for rent and charge you for utilities send him a letter stating that you will not pay and if he insists you will vacate the premises as that was not the agreement. Do not say anything about the term of the lease. If he does not stop then you have a basis for leaving.

The letter will not prevent him from suing you but it will lay the basis for you being able to say he breached the lease and not you.

If I have answered all your questions, please highly rate my answer as that is how I get credit for working on your question.

Expert:  Richard - Bizlaw replied 2 months ago.

I answered your question about a week ago. If I have answered all your questions, please highly rate my answer as that is how I get credit for workingo on your question.

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