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Andrea, Esq.
Andrea, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 12554
Experience:  I have practiced law for 25 yrs. with an emphasis on real estate, business law, criminal defense and family law.
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The owner of a house that we live in just gave us notice

Customer Question

The owner of a house that we live in just gave us notice that the rent was going up 80% in 30 days. Our current contract was up last April, 2015. No new contract has been issued, just a typed letter indicating the increase. Is this legal? How can we buy time on this as we cannot afford this type of increase.
Thanks, Tom
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hi, my name is ***** ***** I will be glad to help you, but need some additional information, if you do not mind,
I understand and can certainly appreciate your predicament. Normally and the usual language in a lease has 2 alternatives when the initial lease expires -
1. The lease might state that it renews for an additional term in the absence of specific language that it terminates; or
2. The lease might state that upon the expiration of the initial lease term, the lease will continue on a "month to month" basis.
So, I would like you to take a look at your lease and see what language it contains regarding what happens after the initial lease term expires.
Q. What exactly does the "3-Day Notice" state ?
Thank you and I look forward to your reply,
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Andrea,

The lease that recently ran out is about 20 pages long. How do I get a copy to you? Also, I couldn't find anything in it that indicated it would be renewed. The "Three Day Notice" to the tenant states that we owe the January, 2015 monthly rent plus the $30.00 charge we deducted from our February, 2015 monthly rent because we had to cancel our rental check because they moved, never told us, and they never received the check. So we canceled the check & re-issued another check minus $30.00 we had to pay to our bank to cancel the first check. They verbally told us to just deduct that bank cancellation fee and that is what we did, but, now, they have it listed as a non-payment. By "Certified Mail" we received this "Three-Day Tenant Notice" to pay them for what we described or they can take "Possession". We will pay them the January, 2015 monthly payment but why should we pay them the extra $30.00 check cancellation fee we paid the bank when the Agent for the owner told us to deduct it in the February, 2015 monthly payment?

Thanks, Tom

Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 2 years ago.

1. A lease does not need to contain language specifically stating that it will automatically renew for an additional lease term. The law will imply this, unless the lease specifically states that upon the expiration of the initial lease term, it will become a “month to month tenancy”.

2. I am almost positive that the lease must contain some language with regard to the increase of the monthly rental amount. And, in any event, the law would imply that the landlord must give the tenant some advance notice (30 days, 60 days, etc.) for an increase in the amount of the monthly rent. However, I would have to review the language of the lease before I could give you a definitive Answer with regard to the rent increase.

3. Although I seriously doubt that the landlord has the right to demand that you vacate the property upon 3 days’ notice, I would not be able to give you a definitive Answer regarding on this issue without looking at the language of the lease.

JustAnswer has started a new feature called “Additional Services” and for an additional amount, we are permitted to review documents for customers and inform them on exactly what rights and obligations a particular document that they signed imposes on them. I would be penalized by JustAnswer for reviewing any customer’s documents without first sending you an “Additional Services” offer which you would be free to accept or reject.

There is no obligation on your part, but JustAnswer’s rules do not permit me to review a 20-page document which, in this case, is your lease for the same value you placed on your question and I would be penalized if I did so. I will send you an “Additional Services” offer and then you can let me know what you decide. I can tell you, however, that my 25 years experience in real property law and drafting a multitude of documents relating to all possible interests in real property, qualify me to review your documentation and tell you exactly what rights and obligations it gives you.