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Legalease
Legalease, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 16288
Experience:  13 years experience in RE Law, including LL/Tenant, contractor disputes, comm'l prop. issues
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Our landlords are having a custody battle over our rent. The

Customer Question

Our landlords are having a custody battle over our rent. The original lease says we are to pay our rent to Mona He, who is the undisputed titled owner of the house. However, in January, her husband, who is the only signer on the lease, gave us an addendum that told us to pay the rent to him, or face eviction.
For the past two months, we have put the rent into a savings account, and had my boyfriend's divorce attorney email their divorce attorneys, to let them know that they need to come to a mutual agreement on what we should do with our rent.
If we pay rent to the landlord on the lease, then his wife says she's unable to pay the mortgage on the house. If we pay the rent to the titled owner of the property, the landlord from the lease, is threatening eviction.
We do not want to be involved in the dissolution of their marriage, and we want to stop having to pay our own attorneys to help us resolve this issue.
What rights do we have? Is the addendum, which was only signed by one of the listed landlords, legal? Should we continue paying the rent to the person listed on our original lease? Do we split the rent in half and send a check to each landlord? Can we legally open an escrow account to withhold rent until they've come to a mutual agreement about who the rent goes to?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Legalease replied 4 months ago.

Hello there --

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Legally, you are required to pay the rent to the party stated in the lease because that is what you agreed to, period. Even if only the ex husband signed the lease and then sent you an addendum I am assuming that you did not sign or agree to the addendum to the lease and without the consent of BOTH parties to the original lease, it is NOT effective as a legal amendment to the lease agreement. So, unless you actually agree to his addendum in writing, then you are to continue sending the rent money to the party in the original lease. Unless and until you see a written agreement between the two estranged spouses, you should continue to send your rent to the party listed in the lease address. I am surprised that your own attorneys have not told you this ?? In the event that the estranged husband tries to evict you, then you go to court and challenge his right to evict you by showing the judge the property ownership information, the original lease AND copies of your rent payments to the OWNER of the house as far as you are concerned. The judge will not enforce his right to evict you.

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I suggest that you write a letter to both of them and copy their attorneys telling them you are following the instructions in the original lease document until you are shown a mutual agreement between them telling them what you should do (or a divorce court order). Simply state that you do not agree to the addendum provided by the estranged husband and will stick with the original lease language until the matter is settled between them. Tell them you will keep copies of everything (including payment receipts) in the event that any court has a question with whether or not the rent is being paid and has been getting legally paid. And then you simply have to wait to see what happens here in these matters. He may try to evict you but my bet is that the wife will be on your side in this matter and it will not go anywhere with a court.

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I hope that helps. Please let me know if you have any more questions on this matter. If not, can you please press a positive rating above so I will be paid for my time assisting you today? I am paid nothing unless you press a positive rating above before leaving the website. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

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MARY

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