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 ScottyMacESQ Your Own Question

ScottyMacESQ
ScottyMacESQ, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 11282
Experience:  Licensed General Practice Attorney, Texas
Type Your Real Estate Law Question Here...
ScottyMacESQ is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I am a college student in Philadelphia, PA. I moved into a

Resolved Question:

I am a college student in Philadelphia, PA. I moved into a new construction 2 bedroom apartment built by Company A that I share with a roommate. We each signed a separate lease with Company A September 2013 which expires July 2014. Company A made several promises to my roommate and me to give us various pieces of furniture and to fix broken appliances, which they never did. Now Company A has sold the property to Company B who just sent me an email asking me to sign a new lease which changes the terms making my roommate and I joint tenants jointly and severally liable for each other and also making us responsible for certain utilities and property upkeep that we were not responsible for before under the old lease. Company B made no prior effort to notify me or get me to agree to the change in terms. Frankly I am unhappy in this apartment and would like to move out. Do I have grounds to say Company A has acted in bad faith by attempting to change the terms of the lease without notice and I am under no obligation to sign a new lease nor am I under any obligation to accept a new lease even under the same terms as the previous lease now that they have proven themselves to be untrustworthy by acting in bad faith?
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 8 months ago.

ScottyMacESQ :

Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.

ScottyMacESQ :

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. First of all, you should read the terms of the original lease that you have with Company A and see if it says anything about "successors" and "assigns". If Company A and successors and assigns have obligations and rights under your first contract, Company B most likely can hold you to the terms of the contract AND you can hold them to those terms. The promises, if they were in writing, you could still hold Company B responsible for, as they would "inherit" the obligations that Company A had to you.

ScottyMacESQ :

Now if it does NOT bind subsequent owners, then you have no obligation to them, nor they to you.

ScottyMacESQ :

In short, the two options are mutually exclusive. They can't force you to sign a new lease to stay there if they're successors to the old one. If they're not successors to the old one, they could force you to sign. Likewise, if they're successors to the old one, they can force you to abide by the terms of the original agreement, but if they're not successors to the old one, you can certainly reject the new lease and move out.

ScottyMacESQ :

Furthermore, even if they are successors to the old one, it's possible that their actions of trying to get you to sign a new lease has breached the old one. This is called the "covenant of quiet enjoyment" in that they can't take actions to try to dispossess you of your rights during the lease term. Now this would be a defense should you move out and they try to enforce the old lease against you, in that their actions clearly indicated that they were not going to stand by the old lease.

ScottyMacESQ :

If I were you, I would ask what would happen if you did not sign. They probably would say that they would ask you to leave, etc... you want to make certain that you have this in writing (email, etc...) so that you can prove it should it be an issue.

ScottyMacESQ :

Once you have them on record clearly indicating that they are not going to be bound by the old contract, then you should give your 30 days notice to vacate and leave after that time is up.

ScottyMacESQ :

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate this answer either a 3, 4, or 5 (good or better). Please note that I do not get any credit for this answer unless and until you rate it that way. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!

Customer:

I would like to get a point of clarification: the current lease has this clause:

Customer:

Heirs and assigns: it is agreed and understood that all covenants of this lease shall succed to and be binding upon the respective heirs, executors, administrators, successors, and, except as provided herein, assigns of the parties hereto, but nothing contained herein shall be construed so as to allow the Tenant to transfer or assign this lease in violation of any term hereof.

Customer:

I assume, therefore, that this does allow the new owners some leverage.

ScottyMacESQ :

Yes, but also you. That is, you can tell them that it's either this clause that would bind them, or they can waive that clause and let you leave.

Customer:

What they are saying is that they are willing to give me a new individual lease, but there still would be some terms that would not be exactly the same, for instance I would be responsible for snow removal where I am not now responsible for that.

ScottyMacESQ :

Understood. To the extent that there are differing terms that modify the original, that is a new lease that would change the original.

ScottyMacESQ :

Now if it's a "suggestion" rather than a "take it or else" type situation, then it would be more difficult to say that it was unambiguously a revocation of the original lease/

Customer:

They sent me and my roommate an email saying here's your new lease, sign it and return it by Nov 6. No mention that it changes the terms, no previous discussion. I think that is a clear exhibition of bad faith. They have the previous individual leases my roommate and I have and they know our terms, there's no excuse for what they did.

ScottyMacESQ :

It does sound like that. Note, however, that "bad faith" is a defense to a breach of contract action. You don't want to use bad faith as a primary strategy. That's where you want to get them to tell you what happens if you don't sign it... If they say that they're going to kick you out, etc... that would be enough to show that they were not abiding by those terms of the lease and that you were therefore relieved of your obligation under that lease.

Customer:

Then I've jumped the gun. I sent them an email and said they exhibited bad faith and I want out. What do you recommend?

ScottyMacESQ :

See what they say. And again, say that you want to know what happens if you don't sign the new lease.

Customer:

If they say they will hold me to the terms of the old lease, do I have any alternatives? I still want to get of this place, since there's a lot wrong, including electricity is not hooked up to a meter, i think they're stealing it from the building next to us.

ScottyMacESQ :

If they want to hold you to that old lease, you can still let them know about the appliances, furniture, and other issues. Send certified letters, threaten legal action (if they don't answer), etc... Be a squeaky wheel. Go to small claims court if you have to .

Customer:

Ok, so if they want to hold me to the old lease, there's really no alternative except to make noise and be a pain and hope they let me out.

ScottyMacESQ :

Exactly.

Customer:

ok, thanks

ScottyMacESQ :

My pleasure.If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!

ScottyMacESQ, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 11282
Experience: Licensed General Practice Attorney, Texas
ScottyMacESQ and 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... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...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
< Last | 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

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    4813
    16 years of legal experience including real estate law.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MU/multistatelaw/2011-11-27_173951_Tinaglamourshotworkglow102011.64x64.jpg Tina's Avatar

    Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    4813
    16 years of legal experience including real estate law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/LA/lawpro/2012-6-25_171315_PT206740s.64x64.jpg Law Pro's Avatar

    Law Pro

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    6227
    20 years extensive experience in real estate law, foreclosure, finance, and landlord tenant law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BA/barristerinky/2012-6-10_22423_office.64x64.jpg Barrister's Avatar

    Barrister

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    4966
    13 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 24+ years
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/LA/LawTalk/2012-6-6_17379_LawTalk.64x64.JPG LawTalk's Avatar

    LawTalk

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    4446
    I've more than 27 years legal experience. Additionally, in CA I held a Real Estate Broker's license.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RA/rayanswers/2012-6-7_23346_Untitled1.64x64.jpg Ray's Avatar

    Ray

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    4030
    Texas Attorney for 29 years dealing in real estate
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PH/philip.simmons/2012-6-7_161915_BIGPhilipSimmons.64x64.jpg P. Simmons's Avatar

    P. Simmons

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    2377
    12+ yrs. of experience including real estate law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/mnphillips2/2009-03-13_203105_10984459-249293407.jpeg Phillips Esq.'s Avatar

    Phillips Esq.

    Attorney-at-Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    2355
    B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.