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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33704
Experience:  15 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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I financially assisted my daughter in obtaining an 18 month

Customer Question

I financially assisted my daughter in obtaining an 18 month apartment lease...in doing so, we both signed the lease and I was listed as her "roommate", not a personal guarantor. I was told by the Apartment Manager and staff member handling the lease that I could remove my name from the lease after 6 months by declaring that I was "moving out" and my daughter could continue leasing the apartment as long as she could prove gainful employment, no other criteria was provided. My daughter has not missed any of the rent payments or in-house utility bills since occupying the apartment, and is gainfully employed, working 2 jobs. When we approached the apartment management to let them know I would be "moving out" based on our verbal six month agreement and present my daughters check stubs. we were subsequently told that she didn't qualify given her income level...and "she would need to make triple what she was making " exact words used by the management. Therefore they would not release my name from the contract as verbally agreed....some interesting notes in the matter,....I did initial and sign the lease contract but was never provided a copy nor was I ever provided a key or entry pass not did I ever occupy the apartment...In fact, during my signing session, the manager "hurried" through the contract while all the while discussing another apartment rental lease with an individual at the same table....my daughter wishes to stay in the lease and I would like my named removed....do I have any legal position in the situation that would allow her to stay and my named removed from the lease ?
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 month ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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Was there ever anything in writing about them agreeing to release you after some period of time?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
No, it was verbal by both the apartment manager and staff member.
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 month ago.

Ok, thank you for that information. Unfortunately, if this wasn't included in writing in the lease, then their verbal promises wouldn't be legally binding under a legal doctrine called the "Four Corners Doctrine" which basically says that the entire contract and all its terms are contained within the "four corners" of the written document.

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So if they didn't write it on the lease itself, it wouldn't be enforceable.

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You could try to sue them in small claims court based on an equitable doctrine called "equitable estoppel" and claim that the only reason that you signed the lease was based on their promise that you could be later removed. The problem here is that if they say that they never said that they would release you, but that they would "try", then a judge is probably going to rule in their favor.

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I am very sorry that I don’t have better news, but please understand that I do have an ethical and professional obligation to provide customers with legally correct answers based on my knowledge and experience, even when I know the answer doesn’t make the customer happy...

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I appreciate your advice. I may indeed pursue legal action based on equitable estoppel....I would have never signed the lease without their promises to remove my name as discussed. My fault for not getting the promise in writing....
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 month ago.

Yes, I realize that it is frustrating when a shady leasing agent won't stand behind their promises. If you and daughter were both witnesses to these promises, a judge might rule in your favor and from a different angle.... just by filing the suit you may get them to release you so they dont' have to go pay an attorney a couple thousand to represent the company in court in the lawsuit.. So you may leverage them into releasing you without ever having to go to court.

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As an aside, in addition to being an attorney, I have also been a landlord for over 26 years...

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thanks

Barrister

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