How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Jane Doe Deer Your Own Question
Jane Doe Deer
Jane Doe Deer, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 3896
Experience:  Attorney since 1986; Plain English explanations of Landlord/Tenant & Purchase/Sale
Type Your Real Estate Law Question Here...
Jane Doe Deer is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

We want to terminate our rental agreement early. It currently

This answer was rated:

We want to terminate our rental agreement early. It currently says that the Term is from October 1, 2010 to August 31, 2010. Does the error in dating allow us to treat the lease as month to month instead of one for a definite term?

The same clause has a handwritten note following it saying that "60 days notice is required to terminate the lease or vacate the premises unless the Landlord otherwise agrees (i.e., sublease, etc.)". Would this clause negate the fixed term of the lease and allow us to terminate prior to August 31 [2011]?

Thank you for contacting Just Answer.



Answer: You have a tricky situation, because although I think that you have a valid argument that the agreement should be considered month to month, one can never be sure of what a judge will decide. But if it was written just as you stated, above, AND there are no other notations anywhere else in the document that would indicate it was supposed to be through, say, Sep 30, 2011, you have a good shot...not guaranteed, but a good shot.


The handwritten note (if you signed it AFTER that note was written in, not before) is usually interpreted to mean that you have to give notice 60 days before the end date of the lease, or it will automatically renew.


Search through the printed part of the lease and see whether it renews on a month to month or annual basis. Usually after the term of a lease is completed, it rolls into a month to month. If so, normally only 30 days notice is required to terminate; it sounds as though the landlord wanted to make this 60 days, instead.


Everything else aside, if you break the lease, the landlord must try to find a new tenant and re-lease or re-rent the unit. He or she can't just sit on his/her hands.


You may want to bookmark this link to the Landlord Tenant law:


This may also be helful to you, now or in the future:



If you can negotiate a resolution with the landlord, that's always the best. See what he wants, and what you can offer.






I'm happy to answer follow-up questions. If you have none, please

"ACCEPT" my answer.


There can sometimes be a delay of an hour or more in between my followup answers because I may be helping other customers, conducting legal research, or taking a break. If we're writing late in the evening, I may need to get some sleep and resume helping you the following morning.


Bonuses of even a dollar are much appreciated and help support this site.



I REALLY appreciate FEEDBACK so that I can continuously improve!


All my best,


Jane Doe Deer


Customer: replied 5 years ago.

One follow up question. There is another clause (para 9) labeled "Notice of Intent to Surrender" which requires "at least 30 days notice prior to the normal expiration of the lease" and goes on to provide that failing such notice "Tenant shall become a month to month tenant as defined ... by Minnesota law." In that event, Tenant must give 30 days notice to the intention to surrender.


Does that clause affect your answers to the previous question?

No, it confirms it. If the landlord handwrote in 60 days, and you agreed to that with your signature, you agreed to 60 days notice.


However, I have an argument you could make, if it came to that. If the landlord handwrote in 60 days, and didn't cross off the paragraph with the 30 days (and have you initial) you could argue that the contract includes conflicting and confusing terms. When contracts have ambiguities, and are prepared by the party in power (in this case, the landlord), 99% of courts will interpret the contract in the favor of the party to the contract not in power (in this case, the tenant).


Any time a business, employer, landlord, or anyone else in power prepares the contract, and the other party has no ability to negotiate the terms, these are called "contracts of adhesion" (you can research that term, contract of adhesion, on Google or Wikipedia if you want to get into it in more depth, yet read an explanation written for a lay person). So, if both, conflicting terms exist, you can at least make a viable argument, should this ever go to court.


BTW, you didn't say why you wanted to move. If you read through the law, you may find something that applies, such as needed repairs.


One final thought - another valid reason to leave would be if the apartment was not as promised. You could argue that the landlord breached the contract by not providing you what you agreed to.


I am not telling you what to do - these are all things to consider; various options.


As you know, I cannot give you legal advice here. I can't tell you what to do or not do, but I can tell you options.


My best,



Customer: replied 5 years ago.

You are being extremely helpful. One of the main reasons for moving is that landlord's failure to complete repairs that affect our room in particular -- leaks from an upper floor, mold in the bathroom and carpentry work to reinstate a staircase railing and closet. The landlord promised the repairs would start Oct 1, did start them several weeks later and then fired the builder. There is an outstanding City of St Paul notice to repair with a due date of Dec. 8th but this coexists with a letter from the landlord to us giving the Oct 1 date. The failure to make repairs also undermines our ability to find replacement tenants, although we have/are trying to do so.


My guess is that none of these arguments is conclusive but taken together might justify giving 30 days notice. But if we do that, won't the landlord likely hold onto our security deposit?

I don't know what the landlord will do of course, but if he holds onto your security deposit, you can go to Small Claims Court and ask for that, the cost of filing, the cost of service of process and interest.


Be sure to do a walk through, get witnesses, and take pictures and notes when you DO move.


If you look at the portion of the law on repairs, follow it to the letter. That part of the law, and the fact that the City is involved, helps you out tremendously. I could take another look, if you'd like, but usually in Landlord/Tenant laws, if serious repairs are needed there are several options, and there's usually an option to move out - perhaps with LESS than 30 days.


If the City gets involved and redtags your unit, you won't even be allowed to stay there. You'll HAVE to move out, and the lease becomes pretty much meaningless. There should be a section of the law on that, too.


You're lucky to live in a state that has a landlord/tenant law that it does. Some states have almost no real protection for tenants.


It's 6:05 pm where I am visiting relatives, so I think I'm going to stop working for the night.


I'll check back tomorrow for any follow-up questions, but I'd appreciate it if you would "accept" in the meantime if you are satisfied with my answer to your question.


Good night!





Jane Doe Deer, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 3896
Experience: Attorney since 1986; Plain English explanations of Landlord/Tenant & Purchase/Sale
Jane Doe Deer and 10 other Real Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Previous | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK

Meet The Experts:

  • Tina



    Satisfied Customers:

    17 years of legal experience including real estate law.
< Last | Next >
  • Tina's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    17 years of legal experience including real estate law.
  • Barrister's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    15 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
  • Dimitry Esquire's Avatar

    Dimitry Esquire


    Satisfied Customers:

    JA Mentor, multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation & admin
  • Ray's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    Texas Attorney for 29 years dealing in real estate
  • LawTalk's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    I have 30 years legal experience. Additionally, in CA I held a Real Estate Broker's license.
  • Ely's Avatar


    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    Qualified attorney in private practice including business, family, criminal, and real estate issues.
  • P. Simmons's Avatar

    P. Simmons


    Satisfied Customers:

    12+ yrs. of experience including real estate law.

Related Real Estate Law Questions