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Flagbridge-RE, Consultant
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 4618
Experience:  Real Estate Consultant, Negotiator, Mediator, Arbitrator. Law Degree
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My Lease was changed by my landlord after I signed it. From ...

Customer Question

My Lease was changed by my landlord after I signed it. From a year long lease to month to month. I did not agree to this change in my Lease. I signed my lease on feb 8 2008, they signed the lease on feb 28, I had been living here for 20 days when the change was made.
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Flagbridge-RE replied 9 years ago.

Do you have a copy of the lease that was signed as a year long lease?

Is there any provision in the lease that says "Any changes made by hand to this agreements must be initialed and acknoweldged by all parties to be binding" ?

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
No I do not have a copy Of the first lease, We were told the lady that signs for them was out and they would be mailing it to us. We did not grt it for 21 days and it was changed, all other changes to the lease (ie where thing were crossed off and changes were made, We singed next to them) you can see on the lease that is croossed off and changed but we did not sign it.
And arn't all parties that sign the lease to sign it in front of each other?
And I have not found anything saying they can change it in the lease it' self.
Expert:  Flagbridge-RE replied 9 years ago.

The month to month change is not legally valid or enforceable. This is a change after that fact, and clearly not part of the basic element of contract formation that being a meeting of the minds.

I suggest you send her a letter telling her that there appears to be an error with the lease. The change from year to month to month is not enforceable.

(Copy the lease, and send her a COPY with a highlight).

Tell her that you had signed the lease as a result of the yearly term, and that is the term that shall be applied therein.

The law does not require the lease to be signed in front of each other, however you should ALWAYS get a copy of the lease you signed with your signature and the signature of the witness who saw you sign it.

In this situation the change is not enforceable, but you need to put her on notice that it is not enforceable, and clearly an error.

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Customer: replied 9 years ago.
All I want is out of the lease now with out having to pay all these fees they say I will Owe them. I have court next week , and wanted to know for sure if I have a leg to stand on.
Expert:  Flagbridge-RE replied 9 years ago.

This is completley different situation from what you had said above.

Why are you going to court?
Why do you want out of the lease?

Customer: replied 9 years ago.

I asked them to change the lease back to what We had signed, they said no. I do not want rent from people who do this sort of thing. I told them I was moving out and now they say I owe them for two months rent, $150.. fee for getting out with out a 60 day written notice. it comes to about $2640.00 just so I can move out. Because I made stink about it we are in court trying get out of the lease.


Expert:  Flagbridge-RE replied 9 years ago.

Did you sue them or did they sue you?

Customer: replied 9 years ago.

They are sueing me. I am being a jerk about this ( it is not right what they did )

I told them I would not pay rent until they fix this, The way I saw it, If I pay rent it means I agree with them changing my lease. All I would like is for them to not cheat people by changing the lease. I did not sign a month to month lease and I did no agree to give 60 days notice, I signed a year long lease and there was nothing about 60 days on the lease when I signed it. I called and complained as soon as we saw the error. They told us that there was nothing I could do about it. So as a jerk I refussed to pay my rent until they put it back to what I signed. I owe them for this last month and have had the money the whole month, all they had to do was put it back to what I signed.

Sorry I did not bring the whole thing out. Long and short of I'm trying to get out so I can get with someone honest. I'm sure have gone about it the wrong way.

Expert:  Flagbridge-RE replied 9 years ago.

Dont be sorry for giving me the details. I need to know these things.

Unfortunately you are correct insofar as you may have done yourself more harm by not handling this properly.

You know the expression "Two wrongs do not make a right"

Here is what I suggest you do to minimize any back lash. I think if the below is done properly, based on what you stated, you may be able to walk away from this, and may have a few bucks in your pocket.

1. Pay all rent due, before the court date. You have made it clear you do not agree to the change, and therefore do not think this is a form of constructive acceptance. I see where your concern was, but it does not apply in this case as you made it crystal clear you do not agree.

2. With your rent check send you landlord a note telling them that if they want to change the lease to a month to month, you have given one months notice, which is what is required by law.

The reason you want to do this is you want them to respond by saying "The lease says......"

You can use that in court to demonstrate to the judge that they are using the lease as a convenience tool. When the lease is written in their favor they want to use it. However they feel they can change it unilaterally. This supports the next point.

3. Amend your answer. Go to the court house and ask to amend your answer to this complaint to include a counter complaint.

Your answer should be amended to state something to the effect of

The landlords clear manipulation, fraud, and improper leverage of their position, has rendered me in a position where mitigation is not possible. At law I have no obligation to try to work with any individual and/or legal entity which clearly acts fraudulently, dishonestly, and manipulativly. In order to assert my rights to fair dealings, I needed to affirm my position in the strongest possible way. I gave the landlord one chance to remedy, which they failed to do.

It is my position that at law I am not required to work with such distrusting, dishonest, and fraudulent individuals.

Your Counterclaim is.

a) Constructive eviction
b) Bad Faith
c) Breach of Contract.

File for the maximum allowed in your state. (probably $5k)
Also ask that you be allowed to leave the premises within then next 30 days without recourse.
Finally ask that the deposit be submitted to the court, so it is not unreasonably withheld.

Your constructive eviction complaint is.

- By unilaterally changing the terms of the agreement, and failing to correct, they have forced me to seek a more stable rental environment. This has been deliberate and calculated.

- By you asserting your legal rights to have the contract enforced, the landlord has broken the Landlord Tenant law by acting in a manner to evict you just because you are enforcing your rights. This is a clear contravention to the law, and to public policy.

Your bad faith complaint is.

- The landlord has clearly manipulated my faith in an honorable and legal agreement by changing the terms without notice, and failing to remedy. This is contrary to public policy and the courts can not allow a landlord to benefit from such actions.

Your breach of contract complaint is.

- Should the courts find the change legal, the landlord has breached a known obligation to month to month tenancies. That is the period of notification shall be the period of tenancy.

(You need to confirm that your statute or province have a notice period of 30 days for month to month). For example Ontario is a 60 day notice for month to month, while New York is 30 day.

Focus on the bad faith, the distrust you feel, and like you said, the landlord can not get away with this type of action.

I like the way this came together, and think you have a good case if your present it properly.

Clearly you should seek local legal assistance to help present the above properly.

If this helps please click ACCEPT

Bonuses and Feedback is appreciated.

Best of luck!