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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33708
Experience:  15 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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I'm an Ohio resident who just resigned her lease. The lease

Customer Question

I'm an Ohio resident who just resigned her lease. The lease is only one page and instead of them raising the rent they lowered it. At the top it reads 'The monthly installment of this lease shall be $629.00 per month' then it goes onto give the additional rental fees 'flat rate water 33$, 100$ concessions/specials, $3 technology fee. Then it reads 'The total of the monthly installments and additional monthly rental fees is $532.00 per month (hereinafter, together, the "Rental Payment"). All other terms, covenants and conditions contained in the Lease shall remain in full force and effect and binding upon the parties. That is literally the whole thing other than my name and address. I signed this lease and so did my landlord. I then gave them a check for $532.00 for next months rent which they took and made a copy of and gave to me and signed and dated it. They have no cashed it. But now they have called me non-stop. I believe since there is no amendment clause or anything on here they are bound by this amount but i don't want to get evicted. Can you help?
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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What is their explanation about why they haven't cashed the check?

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Or have you not talked to them yet?

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And you have a signed copy of the lease, correct?

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Is the $100 concession/special a one time deal or is it a monthly reduction?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
My rent isn't due until November 1st. My lease doesn't start until November 1 so this is why they didn't cash the check. Yes I have a signed copy of the lease where both myself and the landlord signed it. Yes the $100 is a price reduction/special and it's month to month. On the lease though the 100$ doesn't have a negative sign or anything like a discount. It's just lumped in with the $33 water fee and the 3$ technology fee. It reads at the bottom, 'the total additional monthly rental fee shall be $36 per month' but does not have what I currently pay in it. Then it goes onto read 'The total of the monthly installments and the addtional monthly rental fees is $532.00 per month (hereinafter, together, the "Rental Payment").
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 month ago.

Ok, it sounds to me as though they signed a lease with you and gave you a discount on the rent that they may not have intended to do. But if both you and the landlord signed the lease, it is legally binding and you can hold them to it and have no legal duty to agree to amend or change the lease.

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But they shouldn't cash your check until the rent is due anyway.. They are likely trying to call you to say they applied the $100 by mistake and to try and convince you to come in and sign a new lease..

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Can they evict me though if I refuse to sign a new lease? They could also put an eviction notice on my door, right since really I should be paying more instead of less, isn't that the case?
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I believe my rent should be $569.00 per month. I currently pay $554.00 a month and this lease says my new rent is $532.00 a month. They didn't add the 100$ special by mistake, they should have added the $33 water and the $3 fee but took it away it seems. They just didn't do the math right. Regardless, if it were Novemeber already I could see that they were screwed and have to honor it, but being I signed this in October (two days ago) and it hasn't taken affect yet, couldn't they evict me or void it?
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 month ago.

Can they evict me though if I refuse to sign a new lease? They could also put an eviction notice on my door, right since really I should be paying more instead of less, isn't that the case?

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No, you have a valid and binding lease. The fact that they for some reason gave you a discount wouldn't negate your lease.

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I mean, if you want to pay more and sign a new lease, then you are free to do so. But I think you can hold them to the existing one.

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Now if you discussed it with them and you agreed on a certain price before you signed, and this is just a clerical mistake that was made when you got there to sign, then yes, they can redo the lease because this is not what both parties agreed to and is simply a mistake..

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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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Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Months prior they told me the rent would increase by 11$ so I asked a few times to set up an appointment to sign the lease. They said someone would call and no one did so when I walked in I asked to sign it. There was no discussion at that time what the rate would be. They just asked if I knew about the $3 technology fee which they do have on the lease and I said yes.
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 month ago.

Ok, then that puts it into a grey area, but if they told you that it goes up $11 and the math doesn't work out...then this might just be a math mistake that they could legally correct under the legal doctrine of "mistake" that says if a written contract doesn't accurately reflect the agreement due to a clerical or mathematical mistake, then it can be corrected and the parties get back together to execute the corrected document.

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But I would probably make them beg a little and see if they might give you some other incentive to re-sign..

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I just spoke to them and they said it was a math mistake and that I could see that on the lease. However, there aren't any clauses or amendments on this lease stating it's up to them to make changes. In short, it's a one page lease that's poorly written. It doesn't even say the rent is going up or anything it just states what additional charges there would be and in any regard when you do look at it the math doesn't add up. But if they can void this lease due to their error is my concern. I believe it is binding but you're stating they can go back on it since they made a mathematical mistake, then I have no choice, right?
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 month ago.

But if they can void this lease due to their error is my concern. I believe it is binding but you're stating they can go back on it since they made a mathematical mistake, then I have no choice, right?

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Unfortunately, correct. Under the legal doctrine of "mistake" that I went over earlier... If there was not a "meeting of the minds" about what the agreed on amounts were, or there was and it was written down incorrectly, then either party could get out of the contract.

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So if you had been in a hurry and signed one for $100 over what you agreed on with them, then you could void the contract as well...

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thanks

Barrister

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