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barristerinky, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 37380
Experience:  Attorney over 16 years, landlord 26 years
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My new lease begins August 1, and as such my apartment leasing

Customer Question

My new lease begins August 1, and as such my apartment leasing office issued a written form of request of my intent to renew my lease sometime this past May. As such it had indicated that my monthly rate would increase $10. "no other changes was revealed at that time of my submitting my confirmation to renew for August 1. My water expenses are covered in my lease agreement with no other charges. On July 10 they introduced a new tenant rate project where they will charge a monthly usage water rate fee based upon the tenants unit size. This would be in addition to the monthly rate amount. For me it would be an additional 19.95 per month. This comes at a time less than a 30 day notice of such an occurrence of the start of my new lease on August 1, which may be a factor of my intent stated back in May of my lease renewal. I feel this is wrong and unlawful for them to implement this new program for my acceptance, especially without a proper 30 day notice. Do I have any legal course to fight this
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  barristerinky replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
Did you accept their original proposed rental rate increases and sign a new lease for the new term when they sent you the notice in May?
Does your lease state that they have to give you a 30 day notice prior to the expiration of your current fixed term lease?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
In answer to your questions. I signed the form of intent to renew my lease accepting the additional $10 monthly fee amount. (There is a 60 day notice requirement within the lease if I do not intend to renew my lease agreement)There is no 30 day notice for any modifications. Under provisions Item 19 states "Modifications. No modifications of this lease shall be binding unless they are in writing and signed by the landlord and the tenant."In reviewing the lease agreement for 2013 and 2014 there was a change with provision item # ***** concerning Utilities2013 Utilities, Residents are responsible for electricity only
2014 Utilities, renters insurance and personal taxes are responsibility of the resident
There is no other mention of utilities throughout the lease.
I have not been charged any water utility fees throughout the entire year of the 2014 lease
It is important to note that provision item #20 states as follows:
Agreement. This lease sets forth the entire agreement between the landlord and the tenant. There are no verbal or written agreements that are not contained in this lease between the parties.So utilities having been only defined in the 2013 lease agreement and not clearly defined in the 2014 lease agreement along with not having been charged any water usage fee one would reasonably believe that I would only be responsible for electricity.I have not received a copy of the new 2015 lease agreement for review yet.
Expert:  barristerinky replied 2 years ago.
Ok, then this is kind of in a grey area because an intent to renew is not quite the same as actually signing a renewal lease. Although you have expressed an intent to enter into a new contract you haven't technically done so until you sign a new lease agreement for the new fixed term tenancy. With that said, if you haven't signed a formal renewal lease that sets out the terms of your tenancy for 2015, then once your 2014 lease expires the landlord is free to add any additional terms in the new lease that they choose.
It would then be up to you to determine whether you wanted to accept the new terms of the 2015 lease or not. Had you gone ahead and signed a renewal contract back in May when it was first proposed then the landlord wouldn't be able to make any changes to that contract without your explicit approval.
But since no signed 2015 lease exists, the terms of the new lease are still subject to change.