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.
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Best of luck!