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The initial term of my lease terminates at the end of this…

The initial term of...

The initial term of my lease terminates at the end of this month (February 28). The agreement was that the lease was to go month-to-month under the following terms (and I quote) "Month-to-month: This lease shall continue in force from month to month after the expiration of the Initial Term. However, either party may terminate this lease at the end of the Initial Term by giving written notice to the other party 60 days prior to the end of the Initial Term. Either party may terminate the month-to-month lease at the end of any rental month, provided that written notice of not less than thirty (30) days is given to the other party 60 days prior to the last day of the desired final rental month of the tenancy. Notice: notice requirements may vary depending on the jurisdiction." My landlady put the house on the market and emailed me on January 29 saying "I wanted to give you written notice that I will be terminating the lease and we can go month to month. But our lease state that I need to give your written notice 60." She has received an offer for the house. My new house may not be ready for a few months. I need to understand my rights under the lease, given our communications about this, to ensure that I can stay as long as possible. Frankly, I find the wording of the lease somewhat confusing.

Lawyer's Assistant: Since estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

Sorry - I hit return before I was ready. Maryland.

Lawyer's Assistant: What are the terms of the lease? Any issues related to maintenance or upkeep?

I put the relevant terms of the lease in my prior message. We have no issues with respect to upkeep, etc.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

I don't think so.

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Answered in 1 minute by:
2/11/2018
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 14,152
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. Because I want to provide you with the most accurate answer possible, do you mind if I take a moment to review your question?

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Of course.

Great, thank you! Bear with me a moment while I review…

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I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Ok, so the agreement isn't extremely well written so I have to go by what a court would probably say in this case and what the law says. A court would likely say that you or the landlord have to provide a 60 day notice prior to the end of the initial term if the lease agreement was not going to be continued. The law says that either party is not bound to continue a lease agreement after the end of the initial term. If a landlord provides notice that is not within the agreed upon terms, then the landlord must re-send the notice or wait the agreed upon time. If a tenant does not leave the property at the end of the agreed upon time, then the landlord may file an unlawful detainer action against the tenant. The landlord cannot lock the tenant out of the property, shut off the gas, water, heat, or do anything that would be considered a "self-help" eviction.

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In your case, it is possible that the landlord isn't within the terms for notice of the agreement. Moreover, if you did decide to stay, you could stay on the premises legally. You'd be required to still pay rent and the landlord may sue, but that may be months from now before they get a court order.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Well, clearly, the landlady did not give me sufficient notice to end the lease at the end of the Initial Term, therefore it went Month-to-Month. Now, if she want to give me notice, it seems to me that she needs to give me a minimum of 60 days notice prior to the end of the rental month when she wants me to leave. It appears that the first "rental month" before which she could possibly give me 60 days notice right now is April; that is, she could give me notice that she wants me to vacate on April 30. On the other hand, what about the "30 days notice 60 days prior to the end of the ......"? What does that mean? Is she supposed to give me 30 days notice that she is giving me 60 days notice? Or is she giving me 30 days notice 60 days prior to the end of (some) rental month, that is, 90 days notice? Or what?

To be frank, the, "30 days notice 60 days prior to the end of the ......" makes little sense and I have reason to believe that this might have been an oversight by the individual or organization that developed this particular lease. This isn't uncommon with many contracts that aren't reviewed by an attorney and if it was reviewed by an attorney, this is something they've just missed.

To me, it seems contradictory at most and unclear in the very least. The way I read this is that she has to give you at least 60 days notice. The 30 day notice has to come at least on or before day 60.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Ok, no argument that the lease is unclear! If I were to say that she can't close on the house before April 30 (or at least that the new buyers need to honor my lease until April 30), do you think that I could make a case?

Well, she can still close on the house at any time. Nothing will prevent her from selling the home; however, if a tenant is living on the property and the new owner is constructively or actively aware there is a tenant on the property, then your rights don't change. You're still allowed on the property until you leave or until proper notice for eviction is given.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Don't know what "constructively or actively aware" means, but they must know there is a tenant. If my landlady doesn't inform them that I have a lease in force, then there will be a problem, but not mine, I think. Do you have any recommendation in case the worst happens and my landlady decides to ignore the issue and the new owner show up saying "Whaaat? Why are you still here?

I'm sorry. What I meant is that if they know you're on the property, then they have to honor the terms of your rental agreement. My recommendation would be that as soon as you find out who the new owner is, contact them and explain that you have a valid rental agreement and send it to them as well. It is probable that the landlord will tell the new owners you're living on the property, but smart money is to tell them you live there so they have actual knowledge of you being on the property.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Well, I always try to be smart with my money! Thanks for your help. This just sucks, but I wanted to know if this was just me and it was something a real lawyer could understand.

The pleasure is all mine! For your next lease, I would run it by an attorney just in case so if there are unclear terms you can get them sorted out in advance.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
OK, will do.

You're too kind, thank you.

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