In the spring of 2014, a news story about a landlord in California garnered a lot of attention. The landlords had sent his tenants a notice that said each tenant needed to prove that their income was at or above a certain amount and have a certain credit score or else they would have to move out.

Angry tenants spoke to the press and to their attorneys as the story grew.

Interviews with lawyers and other landlord/tenant experts immediately pointed out that the landlord was in error. A few days later, the landlord sent out another letter to tenants asking them to disregard the earlier notice.

Landlord Legal: Can Landlords Change Rules Mid Lease?

We’re a tenant screening company and not lawyers… that is why we asked our friends at Avvo if they would shed light on this question.

Listen below as we discuss with Esther Sirotnik of Avvo’s General Counsel on this subject.

If you need professional advice, we highly suggest Avvo’s online directory as a cost-effective resource.

After getting Esther’s take, let’s go back to the original story from California and see how it applies.

Case Analysis

So what was wrong with the landlord’s request? Income is not a protected class and a landlord has the right to set up any approval criteria as long as it doesn’t cross over into discrimination.

Smoking, criminal history, and several other distinctions are not protected either, so why did the landlord catch so much heat for his notice?

The reason the landlord got into such hot water with tenants and the landlord/tenant community at large is that he attempted to change the conditions of the tenancy during an existing lease agreement.

He was trying to re-screen existing tenants and impose income levels and credit scores that were not previously established. In other words, the landlord tried to change the terms of a contract while it was still in effect.

The question, can landlords change the rules in mid-lease, has a simple answer—no.

Why Can’t Landlords Change The Rules?

It may seem like the landlord should be able to change the rules for something because they own the property and should be able to switch things up when they want to, as long as the rule change is fair, right? Wrong.

A lease agreement is a contract, which means that two parties come together on an agreed-upon exchange of benefits for both sides. Landlords and tenants sign a lease agreement and agree to do certain tasks, perform certain duties and also give up some things in the process.

If a change in a rule affects the terms and conditions of the contract, that can be a problem. Any rule change that affects the tenant’s wallet or how they live in the rental property day-to-day can be considered a change in the terms and conditions of that lease agreement contract. Landlords simply cannot change that when they want.

Enacting Rule Changes Properly

There are ways that landlords and tenants can make changes to the lease agreement. This is known as a lease addendum and it means that the landlord and tenant both agree to amend a certain part of the contract they signed.

A lease addendum gives the tenant some power in approving or negotiating the change, because it cannot take effect unless both parties agree and sign. The change only occurs if they both enter into that agreement.

An example of this might be that in the original lease agreement, the landlord promises to pay for basic cable as part of the rental agreement. The tenant wants to get a satellite TV service installed but it is much more expensive.

The landlord and tenant reach an agreement that the landlord will no longer provide or pay for basic cable and that the tenant can get satellite TV installed at the rental property and will assume all costs for that service. The lease addendum would outline these new terms and both parties would sign the addendum.

5 Common Changes Landlords Try to Enact Mid-Lease

Inexperienced landlords often try to affect changes in mid-lease because they don’t know any better. Often it is a reaction to a current tenant problem, such as making new rules about parking, restricting access to a property amenity like a pool or clubhouse or imposing additional requirements for yard maintenance. Here are 5 common changes landlord try to enact mid-lease:

  1. Raising the rent before the current lease agreement expires
  2. Changing the late rent date or late fees
  3. Charging tenants to use a previously free amenity, like the pool or parking space
  4. Adjusting lost key or lockout policies
  5. Imposing arbitrary rules based on tenant behavior that doesn’t violate the lease agreement

While there are dozens of things a landlord may want to change, it’s important for both tenants and landlords to know the proper way to usher in a new policy or rule. It can be done, it just needs to be done right rather than in the middle of a current lease agreement.

When Can Landlords Implement Rule Changes?

Landlords can implement rule changes when a tenant’s lease agreement expires. In other words, landlords should notify the tenant of the upcoming change well before it’s time to renew the lease agreement so the tenant will know of the change before signing the new lease.

If the tenant is in a month-to-month lease agreement, the landlord must provide sufficient notice to the tenant of the change—generally a 30 day notice although some states may allow for longer or shorter notification periods.

Rules can also be established for new, incoming applicants that can choose to abide by them when signing the lease agreement.

So the California landlord cannot make the changes he requested for his current tenants, but he can impose income and credit limits on applicants and future tenants as long as it is written in the lease agreement and is not violating any state or local laws.

If a landlord wants to implement a major change, the two ways to do so are via a lease addendum or waiting until the current lease agreement expires.

Can a landlord raise rent after the lease is signed?

A landlord cannot raise rent immediately after the lease is signed. They must wait until that lease ends.

If a tenant signs a one year lease than after 11 months a landlord typically will issue a rent renewal letter.

At that moment the landlord will inform the tenant that the rent will be increasing. Once the 12-month lease is up at that point the landlord can increase the rent.

About the author

I started RentPrep in 2007 and our mission is to pull the stress out of being a landlord.

We do this by helping you find the best tenant and providing educational resources along the way.

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Comments

  1. No Nonsense Landlord

    If you are in a HOA, and the HOA rules change, the tenants must abide by them. That may be an exception.

  2. Landlord Tenant

    What about items in a lease, that aren’t followed by Landlord, but then new Landlord tries to enforce? Sure, it’s ‘in the lease’, but they seem to be disregarded and should be able to be avoided.

    • Stephen Michael White

      If it’s in the lease, and you agreed to it, it’s enforceable. If the previous landlord chose not to enforce something he could have rewritten the lease to leave those items out. Otherwise the new landlord has the right to assume that the signed lease in place is binding.

  3. matt

    Curious if I can update or change the lease, convert it to a month to month, etc., for late payment of rent, or one member moving out like in the case of a marital separation. I know that they are both liable for the rent, but maybe changing the lease, or converting it to monthly with the remaining tenant is a better option.

    • Stephen Michael White

      In the case where the terms have been violated or major changes, such as divorce occur, yes you can change the lease. I would obviously be sure that you communicate everything so the tenant is aware of all changes.

      • matt

        Thank you for the response. I had them sign a cancellation of the original lease, and then wrote a new lease for the remaining tenant. I believe that this should be sufficient.
        Thanks!!

        • Stephen Michael White

          Perfect landlording Matt!

  4. Sarah

    I rent from an apartment complex and I just got a call that they misquoted my rent each month. I’ve already signed a lease at the amount they originally gave me.
    They say that I will be charged 60 more dollars a month. Is this allowed?

    • Stephen Michael White

      Sarah, in my opinion… you signed the lease and they signed the lease. Therefore THAT is the lease and you would need to be given proper notification before any changes are made, including a price increase. So to directly answer your question, no this is not allowed unless they take the appropriate steps to end the current lease and begin a new one.

  5. Darlene

    Can the landlord send you a notice saying that you are now responsible for paying the water bill when the 12 month lease that was signed only 6 months ago ?

    • Stephen Michael White

      That would change the lease terms and a new lease would be in order. Did they give proper notification that the lease would be terminated and a new would be put in it’s place?

  6. Darlene

    The original lease that was signed by both parties stated the landlord would pay for the water.

  7. Jean

    Can a landlord impose a no smoking ban mid-lease?

  8. kansasrenter

    I recieved a notice that my complex wants to implement a no smoking no vaping in the units policy. They asked everyone sign the notice and return it within 30 days. First do I have to sign it. Second is it legal if there is not a no smoking policy in the lease.

    • Stephen Michael White

      KansasRenter, the quick answer is yes, the landlord can institute a no smoking policy.

      A smoker is not a protected class, and therefore a landlord can ban the activity on their property if it is outlined in the lease. Which it sounds like it will be for you. This is not uncommon at all, in fact I would say there are more smoke-free rental units than those that allow smoking these days.

      Sorry to be the bearer of bad news for you. Here is another resource for you to check out if you’re interested.

      http://www.rentprep.com/blog/landlords-ban-smoking-rental-property/

      • kansasrenter

        It is NOT written in the lease…..

        • Stephen Michael White

          A landlord can still institute the change of policy if the lease says policies may change or be put into place, without ever specifying that the policy relates to smoking.

  9. bryan

    What if the owner says “dogs are allowed” and during the mid-lease he says they are not? Same with other items or rooms.

    • Stephen Michael White

      Bryan, check your lease to see if it mentions that policies can change. And like I’ve mentioned in previous comments, there is a good chance something specific happened to make that landlord have to change the policy. Usually an insurance issue.

  10. Courtney

    I am a Texas renter with a signed animal addendum for two dogs.

    Our apartment is implementing new restrictions and conditions for pet ownership:
    Limited number of “aggressive breeds” allowed on property
    No rescue dogs
    Must be sole owner of the dog from adoptable age
    Pet interview

    These are new implementations, not in the original addendum I signed however the TAA lease does say reasonable changes can be made in writing.

    While I don’t have a problem complying with a pet interview, both dogs are rescues. One dog is what could be considered an aggressive breed.

    Do I have legal standing room? I am happy to move (early lease cancellation – no eviction, no additional costs) if need be and will not be renewing (I’m sure they’ll implement the rules in their renewal and we’ll be out) but they cannot make me get rid of my animals based on this can they?

    • Stephen Michael White

      Courtney, it sounds to me like the apartment owners are being harassed by their insurance company. I’m hearing more and more about this as insurance companies are cracking down on dogs and specifically “aggressive breeds”.

      So it most likely is not an issue of the owners all the sudden having a change of heart. In fact, since they originally let you have 2 dogs, I’d say it’s not their choice at all. So in terms of legal standing room, I don’t think you have much. They will be sure to follow the letter of law I can bet.

      Advice on moving forward – all you can do is be proactive and have good communication. Go to them as a good tenant and lover of dogs, not as an angry tenant. Maybe there can be an exception or there is something they can do for you. But either way, you’ll attract more bees with honey than vinegar.

      • Giselle Sullivan

        I disagree with this. The issue of insurance coverage is the owner’s issue, not the tenant’s issue. The owner must abide by the terms of the lease unless a new lease is agreed to and signed by both parties. Additionally, there are a variety of insurance companies on the market that the landlord can switch to in lieu of breaking this agreement. So a) yes there is legal standing as the landlord is in violation of the agreement and b) their changing insurance policy does not negate the fact that they must abide by the original agreement. If it is a change in the law that is a different story, but to my knowledge no laws have been enacted that make it illegal to own rescue dogs so that is a ridiculous provision.

  11. Brittany Neal

    I have a lease that lists I have storage space in the garage, the landlord is now insisting I move my things out Sunday no later than 10 am. She just told me yesterday, then cursed me out when I said that’s not enough notice. To be honest I have been there 2 months and I am stressed out the lady waits for us (me and other roommate) to come home and fuss… its a little stressful, no one wants to argue with elderly ppl its rude. However I would have to purchase additional storage for my items in the garage, can she do this?
    if so, can I request a new lease from here stating exactly what I am getting with the property and my payment?

    • Stephen Michael White

      Brittany it sounds like you’re dealing with someone that wants you out. A good landlord doesn’t treat good tenants this way. If you’ve been a good tenant and you were allowed storage in the garage, and I assume you’re taking up more than what was allowed, you should not have been given such little notice that the lease was going to change. If she never offered to change the lease, and it still states you’re allowed garage storage, then she is in the wrong.

      My advice is to move on and find a better situation. Not every tenant/landlord situation is going to work. Like you said, you don’t want to come home and be confronted by the landlord everyday. Be polite and explain that you rented the place with the understanding that storage was included, that’s why it’s in the lease. Then offer to move out so that she can find a better fit for the property and kindly ask for a good reference.

      She’ll either straighten up and see the error of her ways if she doesn’t want to lose a good tenant. Or if she believes you’re not a good tenant, she’ll gladly let you go and try to find a better fit.

  12. tyler hill

    My landlord offered me fridge that was left in her home from prev. Tenants I said sure I’ll take it under impression shed throw it out otherwise. However she listed it as part of the lease and items that must stay with the home upon move out. Since this fridge is listed as part of the home and its having maintenance issues she said she will rewrite pg. 5 of lease and have me sign it and have fridge removed from list and I will responsible to buy new fridge. I’m not agreeing with this and should I be held responsible to buy new fridge if she put it on lease as part of items that’s stay with home ??????

    • Stephen Michael White

      Tyler, I’ll start by saying this does sound like bad business on the landlord’s part from what you’re telling me. If the lease was written to include the fridge, she should cover the costs of repair and replacement. Writing a new lease to avoid the costs is only going to piss a good tenant off obviously.

      So one of two things is going to happen in this scenario –
      1. you are a bad a tenant and she’s trying to get rid of you. This may not be the final nail in the coffin, so expect worse things to happen if you stay.
      2. you are a good tenant dealing with a bad landlord. You can try and reason with her to save your tenancy but if she’s blind to the fact she’s alienating a good tenant, your reasoning might not get you very far.

      Either way, it sounds to me like you need to find a better situation and a new apartment. These things never end well when both parties think they’re right.

  13. Kurt

    What happens if a addendum was signed by the tenants (me) in Feb but the apartment manager doesn’t sign in til 3 months later. Is it still binding?

    • Stephen Michael White

      Yes sir, it’s binding once it’s signed.

  14. Austin

    I recently signed a lease for an apartment that states that I can use a 1 lb canister for grilling. A few days later I get a note in my door saying that grilling is now not allowed. What are my options?

    • Stephen Michael White

      Austin, you may not have many options if the rules changed and the lease changed. Or if there was an addendum in the lease stating that changes like this could be made in the future. Unfortunately a lot of times it’s circumstances out of the landlord’s control that caused immediate changes like this. I could have been an accident that happened and caused their insurance company to threaten to cancel, or something of the like.

      My advice is to talk to them and see what the specific rules are. Perhaps there is something that you can do, like charcoal grilling or something that doesn’t involve the use of flammable gas.

  15. Shea

    If there are two tenants on the lease agreement(California) and one gives legal notice they are leaving is the property management obligated to notify the other leasee and/or have them sign a new lease?

    My roommate moved out and stopped paying rent without informing me. I am unsure at this time if she actually put in written legal notice. I have a meeting with my property manager tomorrow.

    • Stephen Michael White

      Shea, it depends on how that original lease was written. In a roommate situation the lease will typically mention what should happen in the event one person leaves. And typically what should happen is one of two things – either the remaining party is solely responsible for the lease, or the remaining person must re-apply and prove they can pass the screening/credentialing process on their own before a new lease is written with the remaining tenant.

      So I’d take a look at your original lease and bring it with you to your meeting.

      And good for you that you’re setting up a meeting! Too many tenants don’t see good communication as Step #1 in any situation where the lease is enforced, and of course that only makes things worse. At the very least, your property manager should really appreciate that and try to make the situation work for you I would think.

  16. John v

    Can a landlord enforce rules of an old lease? Original lease stated that I was to pay for a parking space annually and professionally clean the townhouse upon vacating. The property manager at the time of signing that lease stated verbally that we had option of cleaning the unit by ourselves but it was subject to their approval and that the owner wanted the parking space maintained but it was voluntary after the first year. Since that lease was signed the homeowner changed property managers twice and we had signed two more lease agreements with two different companies and neither stipulation in regards to cleaning and parking was on the new lease agreements.

    • Stephen Michael White

      John, when a new lease is signed the old lease is null and void. You can request items be included at the time of signing the new lease, but if it’s not mentioned then it is NOT implied that the old lease’s provisions would still apply.

      Hope this helps.

      • John v

        Thank you yes it does help. One more question, in CA the return of a security deposit us 21 days. Does that mean post marked in mail or in hand. Ex. Landlord mailed it out 20 days after vacancy and I got the refund 3 days later which is past the 21 day mark.

        • Stephen Michael White

          I’m not 100% certain, but I’d be willing to bet it’s post-marked and not in-hand. Just like taxes or anything else dealing with official deadlines, it goes by the post-marked day because once it’s in the Post Office’s hands the sender has no more control over when it arrives.

          • John v

            Another question. Which move in report would a landlord use to make deductions from a security deposit. The one from original lease which is detailed with faults to property or one from a subsequent lease which the landlord merely checked off all boxes as satifactory. Please note the subsequent checklist was not signed by tenant.

          • Stephen Michael White

            John, I would go with the one from the original lease and treat the subsequent one simply as an informal inspection considering it wasn’t signed by the tenant.

  17. Jason

    Hello, I live in CA and moved into an apt complex six months ago. This complex allows for bamboo privacy fences to be put up around the patio. A quarter of the apartments have them and now today I received a notice on my door that says I can no longer have it the fence that they gave me permission to put up when I moved in. The only verbal stipulation was that the fence conforms to the same type as the rest of the communities, which I did. There is nothing in my lease that states patio furniture or fence rules but there is also nothing that states anything about being able to take them away. They have given us seven days to remove something that cost us $400.00 and gives a tremendous amount of privacy from a a very visible, highly trafficked area. Can the complex decide that we must remove the fence in mid-lease? To be clear, no where in the lease does it say they can arbitrarily change rules over patio fences or furniture that was permitted upon signing the lease.

    • Stephen Michael White

      Jason, I just want to be sure I understand.. you DO have the same bamboo fence as a quarter of your neighbors, or is yours different?

      If everyone is being asked to take them down there has to be a reasonable explanation (I would hope). If it’s just you, then chances are yours is different and doesn’t meet their standards, or someone thinks it’s ugly.

      Talk to management and ask (politely) why the letter was sent to you. Good communication makes good landlords and tenants.

      • Jason

        Hi, thank you for taking the time to get back to me so soon. Yes, the bamboo fence was one of two approved styles (actually the much thicker, sturdier, and more expensive of the two choices we were given) and I had it properly secured. I called the management office yesterday and they said that they remembered giving permission to me to put it up and never had a problem with anyone having them but then the owners of the complex, Equity Residential, toured the property and decided that they didn’t like the fences as well a many other things that have always been allowed such as satellite dishes, and in in the future Chrismas lights, reeves, or the storage of bikes out on the patio, etc. I explained that I was going on their good word, purchased nearly $400. in fencing, and now 6 months later must throw it out because the apt has no place for storage and the management said they sympathize, that they apologize, and they disagree with the owners but can do nothing about it. They also agreed with me that it was unfair to change the rules on renters in mid-lease but that their handbook says its okay. This is the same ownership that believes they have a legal right to contact a doctor to ask about the medical condition of a renter to qualify for a Service dog. I just believe that even if they have a legal right to make us take down something they approved upon us accepting our lease, that having a right does not make it the right thing to do. Especially when there is a financial loss. It all just seems shady.

  18. Jean

    I rent a parking space in San Francisco. The building was just purchased and the new owners just informed me that theywill be terminating all outside parking rentals. I signed a one year lease four years ago which then changed to month-to-month.

    Do they have the right to just terminate my lease even though I have never missed a payment nor been late?

    • Stephen Michael White

      Jean, unfortunately they do have the right to terminate the lease, especially being on a month-to-month. Chances are your original lease mentions something about the potential for new ownership. But even if it does not, a month-to-month can be terminated with a month notice.

  19. Cyntia

    I live in California in an apartment complex. The building managers is always bringing family and friends over and they all use the swimming pool ( I personally don’t mind) but last weekend his teenagers nieces and nephews were using the pool and splashing water all over the place and now all the tenants received a letter from the owner saying that to control the water splashing now any child under 16 has to be supervised by an adult when using the pool and only tenants are allow in the pool, no family or friends are allowed. Is that llegal?

    • Stephen Michael White

      Cyntia, the short answer is yes, that is perfectly legal. Especially because you’re dealing with a swimming pool. I’m actually shocked there wasn’t already a formal rule about supervising children and restricting use to only residents.

      The rules that are now in place are very typical in most apartment complexes. It’s unfortunate that the reason yours finally changed wasn’t the fault of a tenant’s, but the problems that occurred with the manager’s family and friends are exactly why those rules exist.

      On a positive note, now you’ll be able to enjoy the pool that you’re paying for as an amenity without having to worry about unsupervised children that don’t even live there splashing you and causing problems. In my eyes, this is a win for the residents.

  20. john

    i have live din my townhouse since 12/09. My lease does not expire till 12/31/15 .
    My landlord died a few weeks back now it seems as the other family members are taking things over in his passing.
    We have had serious issues with very bad windows. I am a housing (sec8) tenant. Now because the place did not pass the yearly inspection they have decided to get 2 new windows. ( too cheap to get all 5 windows)
    But now I am told that they do not want us to have ac units in the windows.
    It is summer in Chicago which it can get brutal as far as heat goes, (The humidity is enough to kill ya)
    I pay the power bill.
    I have pulmonary issues as well as I have a son who is asthmatic.
    For upstairs bedrooms how can someone think we wold not need ac?
    Needless to say they are far to cheap to ever consider central air.
    If i am correct they can not do this mid-lease and nor would I sign a new lease that says we are not allowed ac in our bedrooms.

    • Stephen Michael White

      John, rules can change mid-lease. So I would try to communicate with your landlord and explain that air conditioning would be a “must-have” for you. If you’re a good tenant, and there are no insurance or legal reasons they’re not allowing you to have AC, I’d think they would accommodate.

      Now if you’re a pain in the neck and the new landlord wants to get rid of you so he doesn’t have the same headaches as the previous one.. that would be a logical reason for the changes too. Without knowing the full story, I couldn’t say if this was the case.

      For more info on air conditioning and tenant rights check out this article we wrote not too long ago.

  21. paul

    I live in an apartment complex in Orange County, California. A new property management company was hired and implemented a new rule about parking. One bedroom units would have one parking space and so on. The lease does not state anything about how many parking spaces are assigned to each unit. Does the property management company have the right to do this?

    • Stephen Michael White

      Paul, the lease may not mention parking specifically (although it should), but I can almost guarantee it mentions that rules can be made or implemented at the owners/management discretion. If there is a problem with the new rule for you personally, I would go to the management company and explain your situation. If you’re a good long-term tenant I can’t see why they wouldn’t either make an exception or provide a way for you to occupy an additional parking spot.

  22. Torrence

    I recently moved into an apartment with spouse. Prior to moving in, her ex and landlord signed a written agreement between prior tenant for what I was told called back rent. The landlord now wanted to impose late fee after I’ve been residing in the apartment for over six months. Our rental receipts does indicate late fees and nothing of this was mentioned or written. But recently the landlord was stating that I am paying for back rent and current rent that I’m paying on time for is late. I do not agree with this. I feel as though the landlord is using unethical scare tactics to justify this change that was already set fourth. The landlord started aggressively saying that by law I can be charged a late fee after mention of a fee was written on the most receipt for this month was done in error.

  23. Onya Love

    🔊 My, now teenage son and I have lived in a Townhouse for the last 10 years now. When we first moved in, my son was 5 years old and rent was $540 a month not bad for two bedroom one and a half bath washer/dryer hookups and water sewer garbage paid. Perfect location elementary school middle school and high school. over the last 10 years I have seen at least six different Management come in and come out. And been raised to nearly a $670 month.
    . While these complexes are in the state of Oregon the owner of the complex lives in California, sometimes I wonder who is going off of what law.
    Being that I have been here for 10 years I am one of two long term tenants in this complex of 12. Over the last three years with just this management, we’ve had multiple notices about the water usage and multiple notices they were wanting to come in to take a look at each unit to make sure that there was no water leaks anywhere. They inspected under the house Units, in the house Units and around the house Units.

    In the state of Oregon especially the town that I live in which will be Nonabel. Our water and sewer rates are already higher than usual 30 even higher than California water rates for the owner lives. It started out with Management wanted us not to wash our vehicles to save and conserve on water. . Water very well but you just writing a little I had already cut back on so much water usage that there was technically nothing more I could cut back on . Unless you wanted me to take showers at a friends house or do my dishes while I showered . 🚽Over the last 2 years I cannot tell you how many new tenants have come in and nor followed the rules with the water consumption. Hence why they don’t last for that long .🛁
    Approximately 5 days ago Management comes to the door and hand deliver is everyone a written notice that the owner is now I’m flying that we need to not only pay our monthly rent on time but is raising it an additional $30 a month for the fee of water. What I don’t understand is how the landlord is able to do this or even the owner when in the rental agreement states water sewer garbage paid.🚿 I do what I can to conserve the water usage in my personal unit that me and my son living. However being that I have been here for 10 years, the othe 10 units have pps in and out as little as 4 months to a year. How is anyone supposed to get an average rate bill with people in and out of the units all the time.
    The newest set of tenants isa young lady approximately 23 years old and on housing assistance, she has a huge Rottweiler for a quote Medical companion which she washes the dog outside in the complex driveway.. So I had not yet complained and do not plan to because I have already spoke with young lady myself however her water consumption is ridiculous. I understand it’s hot and you will cool down but when Management is telling you do conserve on the water and you purposely go out and buy a swimming pool and fill it up every other day that is tons of water that the Management is talking about when it comes to conserving.
    How can i bring me up to the attention of the management without causing a ripple in the tenants and I that share the same walls even. I do not speak with this young lady very often I like to keep to myself but she does her own thing however this is caused a huge issue.
    My questions are in the state of Oregon will you sign a rental agreement of water sewer garbage paid with your landlord live here 10 years can they legally change it first off. Secondly how do I get to Management to take a little bit closer look and what’s what and who’s who. Being that it is a small complex being a quote rat would be obvious no questions asked.

    Signed…..
    🛀
    Being hung out to dry…. 📍

  24. Stephen White

    Torrence, it sounds like you’re in need of a new rental agreement. In the meantime talk to landlord and see what can be done to get back into a “current” status.

    Let him know you plan on staying, and paying on time, but you don’t want to pay for late charges the rest of your lease.

    In terms of what rights he has to charge the late fees, if it was on the original lease and you’re wife is still the primary applicant living in the unit, you’re likely going to be paying late fees because they’re due. Keep in mind, this has nothing to do with you personally, the landlord is trying to recover losses and ensure it doesn’t continue to happen. I instruct landlord to enforce late fess all the time for this very reason. Read this to see it from another perspective than the guy who is stuck paying his new wife’s debts. http://www.rentprep.com/collecting-rent/rationale-for-collecting-late-rent/

  25. Gina

    I have an unmarried couple living in my California rental, they have been there for 3 years and they are currently on a month to month rental agreement. They are ending their relationship and one of them is moving out. They originally qualified for the rental together but for 3 years they have CONSTANTLY been late on their rent. Now that the income will be reduced, I expect that eventually I will have an eviction to deal with over unpaid rent. I would prefer to put somebody else in the home and end my collection nightmare. Do I have the right because of this change in tenancy to insist that the remaining tenant re-qualifies and/or ask for additional security deposit. If she does not qualify alone, can I request that she moves, and if so do I have to give a 60-days notice even though they were the ones to change the tenancy? I would like to give a 30-day notice if possible.

    • Stephen White

      Gina, because of the change in tenancy a new lease would be appropriate. Which then means if the single tenant/applicant does not qualify you would have no reason to accept that person.

      I would be upfront with the remaining tenant and say – I really want to get another tenant in as soon as possible. If the unit is completely cleaned out and in good condition after 30 days I’ll return your security deposit along with $500 cash

      I personally like this approach because it’s an insurance policy that your tenant won’t get angry and destroy any property, and it gives them incentive to be out within that 30 day time frame. Regardless if you offer the cash or not, you should be issuing a 30 day notice in writing.

  26. Kristina Robin

    My lease is up in Nov. I HAVe a very friendly pitbul. And now that my bf and I r no longer together she wants to sign another lease…but now she doesn’t want the dog here because of the ppl downstairs r moving in w a baby.. ( my dog is quite and always sleeps during the day) . And is BEST friends w. My 20month old. Can she do This when my orig lease allows my dog…? I put security deposit.. now if I Break lease cause i refuse to give her up

  27. ashields124

    I moved into a new apartment earlier this month. My original lease listed my cats as living here but did not list pet rent. About two weeks in they call saying there was a glitch in the system and I need to sign a new lease that would require pet rent. Do I have to sign, given my cats were listed on my initial lease?

    • Stephen White

      Does the initial lease mention that the lease can be changed with notice?

      • ashields124

        It states “This Lease, which includes the Term Sheet, these Terms and Conditions, the Resident Handbook and Community Policies, the Move-In/Move-Out Inspection Form, and all Lease addenda or other agreements that may be referenced on the Term Sheet or attached hereto, contains our entire agreement. We both acknowledge that there are no oral understandings between us, and neither of us have relied on any representations, express or implied, that are not contained in this Lease.”

        No information about changing the lease.

  28. Stephen White

    Kristina pit-bulls are a tough breed for landlords to deal with for a number of reasons. A lot of times the insurance company that covers the rental property will specifically mention the breed by name and refuse coverage because they’re considered a dangerous breed.

    That aside, the fact is that you’re signing a new lease because you’ll need to re-qualify as a tenant on your own. So yes, the rules can change from lease to lease.

  29. Stephen White

    The specific language I would be looking for should say this – The terms and conditions of this agreement are subject to future change by OWNER after the expiration of the agreed lease period upon 30-day written notice setting forth such change and delivered to RESIDENT. Any changes are subject to laws in existence at the time of the Notice of Change Of Terms.

    Do you see this contained anywhere in the lease?

    • ashields124

      No, that language is not listed anywhere on our lease.

      My roommate and I have not signed the new lease requiring pet rent, but they have charged us pet rent on our monthly bill anyways. The signed lease does not have it listed.

  30. Stephen White

    At this point I would look to start a conversation with the property manager. Remember to be less confrontational and more concerned. Ask if you can have a specific addendum or if an exception can be made.

    Good communication is the only thing that will get you the resolution you want.

  31. Mollie

    I live in Austin tx and signed a lease with my apartment complex specifically because it has a fenced in area that my dog could play in. The lease was vague about if dogs were allowed off the leash in that area but I asked for clarification via email and was told I was allowed to have my dog outside off leash as long as I was with him, and I always followed the rules. Some tenants didn’t though and that was annoying. In January a new property management place took over without any warning. They decided no dogs were allowed outside. I tried to show them the emails I had sent with the old management but they wouldn’t compromise. I tried to work with them, saying I would keep him on a leash or accept a fine if he ruined anything. I even offered to clean up all the dog poop weekly because some owners weren’t picking it up and I thought that might be the issue, and they refused. I was always super civil and nice and they were always really rude. They’ve changed other rules and handled it horribly and now that it’s move out time they’re making new rules involving professional cleaners and other things we have to pay for even though it’s not in the lease. Is this allowed? Am I allowed to break rules since they broke them first? Thanks!

    • Stephen White

      Mollie, did you sign a new lease with the management company that took over?

      • Mollie

        No they were suppose to maintain the lease we originally signed

        • Stephen White

          Hmmm, I would have a discussion with them and find out what their intentions are. Ask them to kindly review your lease with you to ensure understanding.

  32. Karen Thompson

    I move into a rental home in Tennessee, June 1st. While talking to the landlord during the first look at the house, we discovered we were from the same hometown and he had graduated with my brother-in-law. I thought this was a good sign! I decided to rent from him and although we did move in as the old tenant moved out, the landlord and I agreed that it wouldn’t be a problem to work around the handyman making minor repairs. I was never given a walk through list sheet but made a list via email to him on things he said he would take care of as he showed me the house that first day and when we signed the lease. In the lease, I am responsible for the exterminating company coming out to service the premises and I am also responsible for keeping the gutters cleaned out. The landlord gave me a gallon of bug spray on the day we signed the lease and suggested that I should maybe go around the place inside and out. I did without thinking anything about it and within 2 days there were 2″ American cockroaches coming out. (Since I was given a cleaning allowance, due to the quick move in, I discovered several dead one’s too.) I immediately contacted the landlord and told him. We went round and round until he agreed to pay the first quarterly treatment. I checked the gutters at this point and discovered they had not been cleaned out for years. The prior tenant was here 3 years and is apparent he didn’t fulfill his lease agreement for both issues. I’m also having an issue about getting the painters in here as he had agreed. He keeps saying he thought I was going to paint the inside and after email exchanges over a month ago, he said the painters would be 3-4 weeks out. That was fine until I received his email last week saying, I’m still confused about the painting issue, I thought you were going to paint it. The bath tub was to be re-enameled with 2 weeks of moving in, we are going into our 3rd month here and it’s still speckled and rough. Yes some of the repairs we talked about have been made, but I’m paying $1500 a month and I shouldn’t be living with bugs, dirty walls and nasty tub. The exterminator had to come respray within 4 weeks. As I told the landlord, had I known the bug infestation was like this I would never have signed the lease. I feel he knew it was more of a problem than he lead me to believe. Do I have any recourse to end this nightmare? He keeps dragging his feet and I still have to pay.

  33. DukeOfUrlz

    I live in an apartment complex that changed ownership 07-01-2015. I have a lease agreement for a 13-month rental ending in March, 2016.
    With the change of ownership the new owner has unilaterally decided to switch from RUBS (resident utility billing system) to a ‘flat rate’ billing system. I have received a 30-day notice that will it be effective September 1, 2015.
    My primary concern is that my water and wastewater utility cost will double with the new ‘flat rate’ billing and I will ultimately be paying for something I do not use. I travel quite extensively and am not even using water or generating wastewater regularly. I fully realize the utility company has a base pricing structure for just having the connection (maybe a 1,000 gallons a month baseline), but if I am away, why must I pay the ‘flat rate’ to cover other tenants uses?
    Moving to a ‘flat rate’ totally undermines anyone that is conservative with their water use while it rewards those that waste large volumes of water, but yet have a ‘flat rate’ expense as everyone else.
    I have verbally spoken to the management here locally and they stay they are just following corporate orders and don’t know anything about the rhyme or reason behind it.
    I have been trying for three days to get in touch with someone, anyone, in the consumer protection division of my county government but we have some weather-related emergency conditions that are of a much higher priority than squabbles between tenants and landlords over utilities.
    My primary questions are:
    – Is this new property owner allowed to do this?
    – Since my signed and dated lease specifically states my lease is governed, in terms of utilities, that RUBS shall be used, not flat rate, I believe I have a basis for rejection. Do you believe I do?

  34. Joshua

    I live in Ohio and I’m renting an apartment. I have a 6 month lease and i have only been here for 2 out of the 6 months. The property manager gave us all notice (on July 29) that as of August 13th we will have to start paying our own water/sewage bill. My lease says that my rent covers all utilitys execpt electric. The property manager says that they have to do this because they’re losing money and i understand that, but they are not lowering our rent because of it. Is this whole ordeal common and is there anything i can do about it?

  35. Stephen White

    Duke, unfortunately the new management company can change the rules if they’re giving you notice and making the changes across the board, which it sounds like they are.

    To give you a glimpse into the thought process of a large property management company – they need to set rules and standards that help them manage a large number of people. And while that might inconvenience or alienate a few good tenants, the overall goal is to have a system in place that is easier to manage.

    I don’t think you’ll have any basis to dispute the new rules with any higher authority. In these cases the best thing to do is find a place that uses the billing system you want. Or a place with a smaller management company that might be willing to make an exception because of your travel situation.

    But when dealing with a larger property management company, that has a corporate office, you’re likely never going to convince them to make an exception for one person. For them, it’s too hard to manage special exceptions and they’re always going to try and standardize everything they do.

  36. Stephen White

    Joshua, the ordeal is somewhat common. However according to my math, you have not been given proper notice of the changes. As a tenant, you are required 30 days notice before a change like this can be made. This gives you time to decide if you want to abide by the new terms, or find a new place.

  37. Stephen White

    Karen, Karen, Karen.. you’re probably not going to like my response but I’m going to give it to you straight. You should have never entered into the lease without having the home move-in ready.

    I see a lot of problems stem from these agreements where the tenant play a part in getting the place rent-ready. Ultimately this is not your responsibility and by making special exceptions you’re taking on responsibilities that are not yours.

    But since you’ve made the special arrangements, at this point all you can do is document everything and continue to manage the work that needs to be done. Your only other option would be to talk with the landlord and explain that you do not want to continue your arrangement. I would recommend having a meeting in person, at the rental home.

    • Karen Thompson

      Thank you for your response and yes, I trusted his word, but even hometown folk will screw you given a chance! I am going to meet with him and see if he will agree to amending the lease to 6 months. It’s worth a shot after I get all my pictures and emails together to make my case. As of today, the exterminator bill is still not paid and with it being in my name, it’s showing me as the who owes it. It’s just frustrating knowing he’s playing me and I can’t do anything about it.

      Thank you again!

  38. Stephen White

    Good luck to you Karen!

    And give us an update when you can, I’m curious how this will play-out for you.

  39. murkymoo

    my landlord recently decided all the leases would be changed to august, and we’d all be charged a rent increase. I messaged them saying my lease is for October and to please send me a correct contract. they obliged, but now are saying I have to pay the rent increase now in august. I don’t agree with this at all, and from what I can gather from my research and my consultation with an attorney, this is illegal. am I right?

  40. Brian Johnson

    Our property owners have suddenly said grills are banned IMMEDIATLY and it’s a $500 fine. It’s not a city ordinance, and we have lived here 4 years and grills have always been fine. There is nothing in our lease against grills. Is fining us $500 with ZERO notice even legal?

  41. Allison

    Can a landlord change rules by putting a letter on everyone’s door even though a lease addendum was not signed? For example, my landlord keeps changing the rules about when and where visitor’s can park. Today a vague letter was left about having reserved parking spaces for an additional fee. My lease says nothing about assigned parking other than having a permit.

  42. grey rivera

    Id like to know if its legal to change property management without notice? According to the manager they switched to new management july 18th and supposedly left a notice on our door about it on the 19th of july? I signed my contract june 1st. Its august 8th and i just now found out about the change because i stopped by to make a payment and noticed there was new staff. Is the contract still valid since the contract was made with a diff property management?

  43. nj

    I have a question for u. I live in nj and I am renting a townhouse of a Co worker. We have a signed lease. I signed my lease in april and moved in, on June per our lease. In our lease we agreed for me to pay the mortgage and now she wants me to pay into a separate account. Yes she sent me an amendment to the lease. Asking that I not pay the mortgage. I am afraid to do that. I want to continue paying the mortgage in case she does not. My question is can she make that change in the lease? Do I have to pay with her new terms?
    Signed nj.

  44. Tanner

    I live in Springfield, MO. Signed my lease as of June but didn’t move in until August. In the Lease it said all utilities were paid. I did sign an addendum before I got my keys to move in. I have one roommate that was grandfathered in to his place because he has lived there for 3 years now. He did not have to sign the addendum. In the addendum they changed that utilities we’re paid up to $45 per person, per apartment. We have a 2 bedroom. So we have $90 we can use before they charge us. But for him not having to sign the addendum. What are the options they can’t only make me pay for extra if we go over. This is a off campus housing for college students so I do not know the other guy. I was reading and since I did sign the addendum then I have to go by the new way, is that correct? Even if the original says all of utilities are paid. I thought addendum meant they were going to add to the lease not change the current conditions. Can you help?

  45. Stephen White

    They can raise the rent so long as you have been given proper notice (typically 30 days) and the increase doesn’t conflict with any rent control laws/ordinances in your area.

    • murkymoo

      so wait that doesn’t make sense. I haven’t signed the new agreement yet. its for October. so they can just demand extra money from me before the start of the new contract? that doesn’t sound fair or legal.

      • Stephen White

        If they gave you notice in August that the August rent was going to go up (due in September, 30 days notice) this is potentially legal. Again depending on the state and ordinances.

        I think the confusion is the fact that the lease is being changed to take effect in October. Which can be a separate event from the rent being raised. So I see it as two different things – one being the rent increase, and the other being a new lease.

        If they confused this and said that the new rates would take effect in October, when the new lease is in place, then they are wrong. But if they said that there will be a rate change taking place in 30 days AND there will also be a new lease in place come October, then these are two different things.

  46. Stephen White

    Brian, fining $500 with zero notice would be illegal.. however it sounds like you’ve been given notice when they told you grills were banned.

    Keep in mind that it’s not always an issue of city ordinance that changes rules. In fact, when dealing with pets and grills it’s more often an insurance issue. They likely instituted the hefty fine as a deterrent since they’d face the risk of not being covered in the event of an incident.

  47. Stephen White

    Allison, a notice does not have to be signed to be in effect. It’s good business, but not required to be enforceable.

    Parking seems to be a very common issue and typically in response to known problems. So I’m guessing there has been some issues and this was their answer to dealing with the problem.

  48. Stephen White

    The contract is still valid, and the new property management company will assume the responsibilities of the existing lease.

    The only time this becomes a major issue is if the new property management company starts changing the rules without proper notice. But if nothing changes, the notice you were given (on the door) is sufficient.

  49. Stephen White

    NJ – I think having you pay the mortgage was irresponsible on her part. She obviously realized this and made the change.

    In 100% of rental situations, you pay the landlord and they are responsible to pay the mortgage, if there is one, and taxes on the property.

    Of course, I can see where you are coming from and like the idea that you at least know the mortgage is being paid. But put yourself in the landlord’s shoes for a moment.. what if you don’t make the payment and the negative payment history is effecting her credit, not yours. It’s her tradeline and her mortgage, not yours.

    So yes, you do have to pay her direct and she will make the mortgage payments. She should have structured it like this from the beginning but she obviously didn’t think it through.

    Nothing out of the ordinary going on, so you should have no reason to be concerned.

  50. Stephen White

    Tanner, I’m a bit confused… why would they make you sign the new addendum and not the other tenant? Even if he was grandfathered in as you say, the new rules still apply to him, correct?

    If this is the case, he should have to sign the addendum as well. If he doesn’t I’m reading this as you CAN be charged extra and not him. Which you would have a valid concern.

    I would contact the landlord and see what their explanation is given that scenario because you shouldn’t get stuck with overage charges on your own. And being a roommate situation, the chances of this happening are certainly greater than if you were on your own or splitting rent with someone you knew and entered a lease with.

  51. Matt

    hi I live in Taylorsville Utah and I have a lease with this company and then I am still in that lease and they want to change the rules and I have read that in order for them to do that they need a lease addendum in order to make the changes and I have ask them were that was and they say that they don’t need it because the note on the door was ok but something tells me that they just cant over ride the laws that protect us because I have tried talking to them and they say that there right and I am wrong please advise

    • Stephen White

      Matt, depending on the changes, an addendum may not be required. If it’s a change that applies to all tenants, and deals with the property, a posted notice may be sufficient.

      What are the rules that they changed?

  52. Rhea

    I received a notice on my door August 7th, stating that the property I live at now requires parking permits in order to park on property in effect as of 09/1/15… This was not something that was indicated on my original lease, also in addition that I would be required to provide evidence that I am the one who owns the vehicle or I cannot get a permit to park, and I am only allowed 1 permit for 1 car! Again not on the original lease contract agreement. I live in the state of Texas and I am not sure this is legal, and this specific complex tends to think they are above the law. I need some advice on how to proceed.

  53. zach wheeler

    I live on the top floor of an apartment building in Oakland, California. When I moved in 3 years ago there was a private key access to my floor in the elevator that only people on our floor had access to. With no warning the landlord has removed the private key access so now anyone in the building can come up to the roof/our floor. Our patio is next to the roof so now any tenant can come to the roof and walk onto our patio area. Is this change legal? We’ve now lost all privacy and this change was made with no warning.
    Thanks.

  54. Shainna

    Just signed a new lease with apartment complex, they put the wrong rent on the lease, we signed because it’s cheaper than what the office told us it would be. Now I have received a notice stating a different rent, higher rent. Will I be obligated to fulfill the lease agreement or will they have to give me an option to leave if I don’t agree with the terms? Lease is signed and in effect currently

  55. Jennifer

    Hey I have a few different things to ask about.

    1.
    I have a severe allergic reaction to bees, wasps
    stings the apartment complex I’m in has been notified of several nests on my
    patio and around my door in the breeze way. They have yet to take action to
    taking these down is there anything I can do legally?

    2.
    I have filed 3 noise complaints about my neighbor’s
    upstairs banging crap around and jumping around at all hours of the night. The only
    option they gave me was to move but to another unit costing me almost $200 more
    a month. Is there anything else I can do?

    3.
    Lastly I lost my employment contract which moved
    me down here to Tampa, FL and was unemployed for a few months I spoke with the
    office about possibly getting out of me lease early. Needless to say they would
    not, nor allow me to sublease. OK no problem I secured further employment in
    the meantime. I asked for a copy of my lease when I first signed it and then
    also when this happened. I found that the changed my lease duration by
    extending it 7 days. Is this legal?

    Thank you for your time.

  56. Will

    My family and I moved from Atlanta to Phoenix this week. Several weeks ago we signed a lease based on the leasing agent waiving the security deposit based on our previous rental history and credit scores. The lease was signed by both parties on July 28th after correcting the spelling of a couple of names and numbers. On Tuesday, the first time we went into the office to pick up our keys and pay our first prorated payment, we were told that the contract was a mistake and that we now owe an additional 400.00 because our discount was too high. Keep in mind, this is the first time that the leasing agent saw that we are an interracial couple. I explained that the reason we signed the lease was because of the discount and that I would not be paying any additional fees not included on the lease I signed. The property manager tried a bully method of saying that I had to pay the additional fees and that it could be split up in a payment system. I again explained that I would not be held financially obligated for anything not in the lease that was signed by both parties. Today, we did the walk through and started moving in the apartment and again, we were told that the regional manager had been notified and that we would have to pay the additional 400.00. I again explained that this was beginning to feel like discrimination and harrassment due to the additional fee only coming to light when the office saw us in person and I would be contacting the HUD. I asked for the regional manager to contact me directly. I have not heard from the regional manager and would like to know if I am correct in my standing regarding paying additional fees not listed in the lease.

  57. Stephen White

    Rhea, I’d say nothing sounds out of the ordinary so far. Typically these types of “new rules” are put in place because there have been problems and this is their way to deal with them.

    You can be given notice of a rule change like this and you would have to comply. If you can’t or if it’s not working for you then you’d have to find a place that could accommodate your needs better.

    Just curious, what is your situation that this causes stress for you? Do you have a vehicle that is not in your name? Or do you have multiple vehicles?

    • Rhea

      Hi Stephan, actually both are a issue, I have multiple vehicles… And I have one car that is not in my name. And the issue is the harassment from the office stating I cannot have more then one car, and also they don’t want me to have visiters without their permission. From my understanding I should not have to provide evidence that a vehicle only belongs to me, but to just provide the license plate… At least this has been my experience with previous complexes.

  58. Stephen White

    Zach, my question would be is the patio considered your space, or a common area? And was this detailed in the lease anywhere?

    If not, you may have just been benefiting for 3 years and now have to deal with the situation as it is. But if these things were outlines in the lease and that is now changing, I would bring your concerns up to the management. You’ve been a long-term tenant and chances are they don’t want to lose you.

  59. Stephen White

    Shainna, this is a tough one because it deals with integrity and the letter of the law.

    On the integrity side, you knew the mistake was made and took advantage. So you really can’t be surprised when they try to fix the mistake.

    On the letter of the law side, you received notice to change the rent amount. Which is the right thing for them to do. So now you have to decide if you’ll pay or break the lease. If you break the lease, you can guarantee that you’ll burn a bridge and not have a good reference from them.

    • Jennifer Gottfried

      The lease is only valid if signed “in good faith”. The fact that you knew that the rent was wrong essentially voids the lease. You have the choice of signing a corrected lease or moving. Your choice…

  60. Stephen White

    Jennifer, at some point you have to decide if it’s worth living here. From the sounds of it, it may not be. But to specifically address your questions –
    1. Your allergy to the bees has no legal weight on their time table to address the problem. Is it inconvenient for you? I’m sure it is, but the only thing you can do is notify them of your concern and track the time it’s taken to address. If it’s been an unreasonable time, or if they miss a deadline, then you have some ground to stand on.

    2. You have a right to a peaceful dwelling. And the apartment complex has an obligation to provide that to you, free of charge. It sounds to me like the option to upgrade is unreasonable if it’s going to cost more. So your only option would be to see the problem through with your current neighbors. If you were renting a duplex, they’d have nowhere else to put you, so they’re not obligated to give you the more expensive apartment at your same rate if that’s what you’re looking for. They need to address the issue in your current place.

    3. The lease being extended by 7 days sounds like a filing oversight. They would have no reason to extend it 7 days that I can think of since that’s such a nominal number of days. Have you brought it up to them? They may just acknowledge the difference and change things on their end once you show the original lease with the correct dates.

  61. Stephen White

    Will, I really want to believe that it has nothing to do with race discrimination.. but obviously I could be wrong.

    From an industry perspective, we are all very aware of the protected classes. From a cultural perspective, we obviously have a ways to go. But I really do see this as a mistake or oversight and now they’re trying to correct it.

    At the end of the day, you signed the lease and were told about the discount. You should be entitled to it. If they were smart they’d drop it and move on.

    • Will

      Stephen, I too wanted to believe it had nothing to do with discrimination but that didn’t change the way it felt. It felt like discrimination. The main reason being is that this lease was signed for at least 2 weeks prior to us moving in and the problem was only spotted after we arrived at the complex. Everything in the contract was exactly what was discussed with the agent prior to us signing. As for an update, the complex is chalking it up to a clerical error and are not going to make us pay the additional “fees.” Whether it was discrimination or not will be seen in the future. In general, discrimination isn’t a one time thing. This will definitely be a one year lease for us but my hope is that there was just confusion and maybe a training opportunity on the offices side.

  62. Thompson L

    I live in Boston Ma, I have just received a message from my management company that they want to institute direct deposit rental payments directly from my bank account to the landlord. I’ve been renting my apartment for a year and have already locked in the next year with a lease agreement. The lease says payments are to be made by check through the mail. Do I have to switch to direct deposit to pay rent? Honestly, I’m a little uncomfortable with the idea and would prefer to keep mailing my rent check in.

  63. Rachel

    My original lease contained an addendum stating the apartment could move me with reasonable notice. That lease expired in July 2014. I have since renewed my lease twice but never resigned the addendum. I was told by a lawyer that the addendum would have to be resigned with each lease renewal to be effective. My landlord is now trying to move me using the 2014 addendum. Is that legal?

  64. Stephen White

    Rhea, I hate to say it but in a place that has limited parking, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say 1 vehicle per person. Especially if you don’t own the second vehicle!!

    You may the one the neighbors complained about and the reason for the rule change. If space is limited you have to respect the other tenants.

  65. Stephen White

    Thompson, this is reasonable rule change that I’ve seen more and more. With less people using checks these days, and more efficient ways of handling a large monthly transactions, mailing in checks is slowly but surely dying.

    The notice is enough to effect the change in the lease and again, it’s not an unreasonable request in terms of what any laws would have to say about it.

    My advice is to embrace the change. In the long-run you’ll save time and money. And your landlord will be more organized and efficient.

  66. Stephen White

    Rachel, in most states there would be no need for the addendum. It’s already assumed that a landlord can provide reasonable notice to vacate – typically 30 days.

    I’m not sure what the reason is for getting you out, but I have to imagine there is more to the story. Most landlords don’t want to get rid of a long-term tenant.

    • Rachel

      They want to move me to renovate my apartment. Shouldn’t that be done when my lease expires? The moving rule is nowhere in the actual lease.

      • Stephen White

        The notice to vacate does not need to be in the lease. Unless it states otherwise, it falls under the typical rules of tenancy.

        And yes, I would think it would be easier to wait until your lease ended and give you notice of non-renewal. But again, there may be more to the story. They may want you out of there for any number of reasons ranging from they want to renovate so they can charge more rent, or they have been given a time frame to make certain repairs and get things up to code. Or there is always the possibility they want you out of there because of complaints, or late payments, etc. But the bottom line is that they can end your tenancy with proper notice.

  67. bill

    We have signed a lease 2 months ago, at the time the lease agreement stated that all utilities were included and rent was $925 a month. Fast forward 2 months and we have the real estate office claiming that electric is supposed to be in out name and saying the all included apartments are advertised at $1100 a month. They are threatening us by saying that they will have their lawyers looking at it and we would have to pay their fees. The lease we signed clearly stated all utilities included and $925 a month. They may have made a mistake but that shouldn’t effect us right?

  68. Stephen White

    Bill, I would ask to speak with their lawyer. Be polite and kindly ask to have the lease explained to you. It sounds to me like a mistake was made that they’re trying to back out of. But unless they give you official notice to raise the rent after your lease term, they are breaking the lease by changing it without notice.

  69. Stephen White

    Chrissey, I’ll say that it sounds like you’re dealing with a very amateur landlord. To flip flop on the lease rules and even letting you in early are signs of a landlord that has no control.

    You have to make a decision whether its worth living in this place and dealing with the problems you’ve already identified. Especially knowing your landlord is not willing to take action.

    Sometimes if it seems too good to be true, it is. I’d leave the discount you’re getting and the little bit of work and sweat behind you and move on. It’s a small price to pay to not have to deal with problems for the next year.

  70. Stephen White

    Ann, you don’t have grounds to terminate your lease early. You have been given proper notice and they are within their legal right to no allow smoking.

    My advice would be to approach the management and explain your situation. Tell them that a big reason you were attracted to the unit was because of the ability to smoke there. There’s a chance they may let you out of the lease early. Just remember to communicate your concerns well. Emotions and finger-pointing won’t win any negotiations with a property manager.

  71. Stephen White

    If those are the fees you’re specifically talking about, it sounds like you’re a tenant the landlord is looking to get rid of.

    These fees are all related to you breaking a contract. The fees are obviously meant to enforce policies and deter activities that cause additional work for the landlord. Fees can be legal and enforced so long as you are aware of them. Which it sounds like you are.

  72. dan

    I live in Virginia. The lease I signed with my landlord states that I am allowed to sublease. Fast forward a few months later I told them that I wanted to sublease. They told me that I can sublease if I pay an extra $125 with my rent. This fee is to cover the wear and tear of the house. They are calling it a sub lease fee. This fee was never mentioned in the rental agreement that we signed.

  73. Vicki

    When I originally sign my lease the owner of the property hired a property management company to handle everything because he lived in another state. Right after I sign the lease a few weeks later the owner & the management company had some sort of disagreements & the owner is now suing them. A few weeks after he had a family member come to handle everything with the property. My lease states that dogs are not allowed unless approved otherwise by original owner, well the management company said that he agree to the pets & I paid 2 separate pet deposit. Once the family member that is not on the lease as a property manager took over she said that we could not have the dogs.

    I told her I needed to speak with the owner on this issue. Because I didn’t agree with her & wanted to discuss it with him he sent a email & paper in the doorway for a 3 day eviction requesting me & my 3 children to leave or he will go forward with evicting me legally if we don’t leave willingly. He also said that once he stop doing business with the management company I was no longer under a 18 month lease it change from month to month because he is no longer dealing with the company. That was the first communication me and the actual owner ever had & he is trying to evict me. Is this true about canceling a lease because a owner of a property stop doing business with a third party agency? Also can he evict me over the dogs without a warning & after paying 2 pet deposit?

    I need help because this seems very unfair.

  74. Stephen White

    Stacy, it’s not so much the fact that the property manager is coming into the picture, it’s the new rules that are being implemented.

    Landlords change property managers all the time, this is nothing out of the ordinary. But they are required to follow the provisions of the lease since that was agreed upon, unless an addendum is written. At which time, you would have to agree to, and sign, the new rules.

    In terms of harassment, inspecting the property every 2 weeks could constitute. The only time I’ve seen this is to remedy a housekeeping problem that violates the lease. This is common with hoarders.

    I feel like there is probably 2 sides to this story since the landlord has tried to evict you within the first few months of tenancy. What was happening to cause this?

  75. Stephen White

    Sergio, the landlord needs to stick with his original signed lease

  76. Stephen White

    Sounds like the landlord got busted for sharing wifi. If that was an included utility that is no longer available, an addendum adjusting the price should be signed

  77. Stephen White

    Ana, sorry to hear about your situation. I would say there has to be more to the story if the other tenants are not being forced to follow the same rules. I’m not one to jump to a discriminating factor typically, but you may have a point in this case. It’s unfortunate.

  78. Stephen White

    Michael, there is an addendum that can be used for this specific scenario. Email me directly and I’ll give you a copy of it steve@rentprep.com

  79. Stephen White

    You can certainly try for it Kailah, but I would think at most they’ll let you break the lease and move before they’ll reduce your monthly rent. You do have a good point though, for those who see the no-smoking as an attractive feature are now in a very different situation. This would warrant a new lease agreement in my opinion.

  80. Stephen White

    If you have a signed lease, then that will protect you. A landlord needs to follow the lease just like a tenant. If they miscalculated, they can’t change it until the new lease is written.

  81. Stephen White

    Trisha, this is a hot debate in the rental industry lately.
    First off, if you are under a lease term, you should be able to finish out the lease term paying the way you’ve been. The new lease would have the verbiage on paying the rent.

    If you’re month to month, then they could change this if you agree and sign the addendum or a new lease.

    I know California has ruled that offering only on-line payments is unlawful, but I think they’re the only state as of now.

  82. Chaos

    I’m in Iowa, in a HUD apartment. The new manager (we get a new one every 3 months it seems) is making tons of new rules, all of them verbal and none in the original lease I signed. He’s banning use of the trash chute on the upper floors while there are folks who can either barely walk or are in wheelchairs up there. We get bread and food donations on thursdays which had a limit on how much per tennant, until friday and saturday. Without telling anyone but me when I asked why all the food was in the dumpster he’s decided that that there is no limit and he throws everything away on friday..Just a few days ago he told me I had to clean my apartment before they would do the repair work I told them about months ago. One is tiles in the shower which will only get worse and the other is electrical. The problem is that between my heart failure and extreme sensitivity to light, sound, smell, taste, temperature, I can’t actually get the entire apartment done in one day, nor keep it clean until they decide to show up. I also can’t financially afford to pay for a maid every week. He also isn’t specifying how clean and as I’ve worked as a janitor, that translates to spotless. Another is that absolutely no furniture can ever be put in the dumpster, we must pay to have it hauled away and cannot give it to another tennant. The community regularly puts things they no longer need on a table in the community room. He’s told me that isn’t allowed anymore. These are just the ones I’ve heard from him verbally so i have no idea what he’s telling others and none of it is written. The lease is yearly, but they’ve never shown me anyone other than the original one I signed in 09.

  83. Stephen White

    Sounds like he’s trying to push you out. But yes, you are correct, you need to be given notice before any charges can be added.

  84. Stephen White

    The landlord should put together a new lease with the proper titles and specify the policy on holes in the walls. I would speak with the “landlord” and find some middle ground or leave while you have time still.

  85. Stephen White

    Yes, you are on a month to month. So a new lease can be introduced at the end of the lease term (end of any given month).

    It’s not only legal, it really makes sense. I understand the frustration you must feel being such a long term tenant, but understand that the new landlord needs to do this to protect himself.

    Be open minded and read through the lease. Address any concerns openly and honestly. At the end of the day, no landlord wants to lose such a long term tenant, so I’m sure you’ll be treated with respect.

  86. Stephen White

    Sakura, the bottom line is that you both signed a lease agreement. They are just as obligated to follow the terms as you are. If you decided to pay your rent on the 10th instead of the 1st you’d certainly be in violation of the terms. Just as they would be to charge additionally for items that were not agreed to.

    Keep a cool head and try good communication first. Explain that you’re following the lease and have an open conversation about it. Hopefully they’ll understand but most likely you’ll be creating an enemy and won’t be offered a lease renewal. At least not with the same terms lol

  87. Stephen White

    If you’re not breaking the lease, you should be given proper notice of any changes to the lease. A 3 day notice would typically be issued if there was a breach, but it doesn’t sound like there is in this case. I would ask for a meeting to review the lease and get clarity.

  88. Stephen White

    Sounds like you’ve got your hands full Michele!
    Good luck and keep us posted with what happens.

  89. Stephen White

    If it’s not in your lease, then you shouldn’t pay any additional fees. Period.

    I’d review the lease and if you don’t see it ask to have it explained to you by them. Both parties are responsible for following the lease, so they can’t just make up charges.

  90. Stephen White

    If your lease states that you have access to the shed, then you should have a reduced rent rate. Actually, they would be in violation of the lease by not allowing you to use it.

    If it’s not mentioned anywhere in the lease, you can fight it but it won’t be easy without documentation.

  91. Stephen White

    Jerome, I’m not sure if this would be in the lease but rather in the by-laws of the HOA. They can impose new rules often and believe it or not, text message would be considered proper notice. Technically notice can be given verbally but most people know that is asking for trouble down the road.

    So I agree that texting is pretty unprofessional, but its notice that can be proven was received at the end of the day.

  92. Stephen White

    At the end of the day, if you have medical documentation, you cannot be discriminated against. I would ask them what they need to see specifically from a doctor and then provide exactly that.

  93. Stephen White

    Mary, it sounds like your landlord is trying to drive you out.

    Unfortunately a garage and parking is not typically considered “common grounds” and are usually specified in the lease. A common ground would be more like a sidewalk, hallway, driveway, or any other part of the property that people need to enter to access their unit.
    If your landlord was just “being nice” by letting you use certain areas that were not specified in the lease you’re fighting a losing battle trying to gain access again.

  94. Stephen White

    Jimmie, it is common practice for a new lease to be drawn up considering you’re on a month to month. But, when a new owner purchases the property, each tenant is still under the lease terms they originally agreed to, until new terms are presented and agreed to.
    So, technically you can have a new owner and still have your original lease agreement.

  95. Stephen White

    Next time they have the music loud invite the manager over.

    In these types of situations the typical solution is to move you from the unit and place you with tenants that are not loud. I realize you didn’t do anything wrong, but if they’re not being loud during the municiple quiet hours, you’re fighting a losing battle unfortunately.

    Nobody wants to live near someone so inconsiderate, and the property manager should see this.

    • Alexandra alvarez

      That’s the problem the manager already knows and she said she won’t do anything about it and she said she believes everything that the neighbor says and says that if she gets another complaint from us that we are the ones that are gonna have to leave and her contract says no loud music and she is not following her contract rules which I do not understand

  96. Stephen White

    You have to be given proper notice as per the lease terms. So the way I’m reading this, you’d pay the month FOLLOWING the written notice. Not the month prior.

    I would ask for a meeting to have the terms explained. Having them read it aloud and in front of you will either give you clarity on what they’re doing, or it will make them realize they’re wrong.

  97. Stephen White

    It depends on how long your current lease is in effect for and the terms of the lease. If getting a pet constitutes signing a new lease, then you’ll sign the lease with the new terms. Since you didn’t have a pet at the time of the original lease, I would assume that a new one would be drawn up to include the pet.

    As for the $300, this is a pretty standard pet deposit. If you keep the place clean and damage free you’ll likely get this money back upon move-out.

  98. Stephen White

    David, unfortunately you don’t have a lot of options. Since the water feature isn’t part of the unit, and not considered an amenity, you basically got lucky that you liked the feature. I can see it going the other way, and some people wouldn’t like the sounds and complain.

    Either way, the bottom line is that the common grounds can be changed to the owners discretion as long as it doesn’t impede on any tenant rights. And unless the playground is noisy after quiet hours, I doubt there is anything going on that could be seen as reason to change it.

    The only 3 options I see you having is 1. move when the lease is up 2. ask the management company to move your unit and explain the situation or 3. deal with the new situation and chalk it up to an unlucky happenstance.

  99. Stephen White

    Oxana, if you tried to reason with the property manager and that didn’t work I think you’re only other option would be to call a local attorney. They will be able to review the agreements and the electric bills to determine how/if they can represent you.

    You can also try to contact your local municipality to see if they have an organization that can help you as well.

    I can’t understand why they’d try to get away with this if it’s that obvious that you’re paying for everyone else. Are you sure that this is actually the case and you’re not reading the billing statement wrong? I’ve seen plenty of cases where this has happened and the whole thing was a misunderstanding.

  100. Stephen White

    Not unless the lease itself is changed George. The landlord/manager is responsible for following the lease terms just as much as you are. So if it’s in your lease that the spot is yours, then it’s yours until the lease changes.

  101. Stephen White

    Aleemah, the answer should be no. You cannot be charged anything you didn’t agree to in your lease. If you’re sure the new lease doesn’t contain anything in there regarding this, it’s worth setting up a call or meeting with the property managers to have them explain the lease and how they think you’re responsible.

    Typically they’ll realize a mistake and make it right, or you’ll find that you did in fact agree to the charges and maybe didn’t notice. I’ve seen both cases.

  102. Stephen White

    Cee Cee, unless you were promised the property would be dog free, the policy is likely just written into new leases. Meaning it effects the individual tenants in a unit, not the property.

    A lot of places deal with complaints and it’s later determined that the animal or pet was in fact a service animal. So this could also be the issue. But if they stated that pets are now allowed, that would be reflected in the individual leases and there would be no need/obligation to notify the other tenants.

  103. Stephen White

    Candy,
    Lets address the real issue here – which is not about changing the lease. The real issue is that the landlord doesn’t want to continue to chase rent payments.

    Late fees can be accepted, but the fact is that once the rent is not paid on the date it’s supposed to be, notice to pay or quit can be given. So you NEED to come up with a better system for paying or commit to paying earlier and avoid this whole mess.

  104. Stephen White

    Yep. Once you sign, you agree to the terms.

  105. Stephen White

    If your lease doesn’t say anything about paying the electric, you shouldn’t pay until a new lease is presented. Which you can choose to sign or not if you’re still under a current agreement.

  106. Stephen White

    Ana, I do feel like you’ve been treated unfairly. Especially since they admitted the fault was on their end.

    I know this is not what you want to hear but.. my advice is to use what little leverage you have right now and get out of that lease and move. I specifically advise this because you said yourself “the stress you’re under is not justified” and I’d agree.

    Of course you can always get an attorney and fight this to the end, but there’s no real winner there. You’ll pay a pretty penny on the attorney and in the end you’ll want to move anyway.

    This is a clear case of the landlord/property manager being in the wrong from what I can tell. These are not the kind of people you want to be renting from.

  107. Stephen White

    I think I glazed over the part where you mention “change” the parking spot. I was thinking that you lost the spot all together.

    If this is simply a case where your spot has been changed, and you’re still provided a spot, then it is what it is. Your spot has been changed. Again, unless the lease specified the exact spot, they only have to provide “A” spot, not “THE” spot. Make sense?

  108. Stephen White

    This is a weird one Burrell.. I can honestly say I’ve never heard of this situation before.
    The bottom line is that if the lease you agreed to doesn’t say alcohol is not allowed, you’d have no reason to assume you can’t have it.

    Is this student housing by chance?

  109. Stephen White

    Correct, Alfredo.

    Who would pay for something especially when you weren’t there for it. And the late fees are just adding insult to injury. Of course you shouldn’t be paying late fees on something you never knew was even due!!

    Tell the management company to get their act together and stick to the letters of the lease. If it’s not in the lease, you don’t pay. Period.

  110. Stephen White

    Your lease is in place until a new one is presented. At which time you can choose to sign or ride out the old lease.

  111. Stephen White

    Not if it wasn’t in your lease agreement. Ask them to review the agreement and explain it to you.

  112. Juan Carlos Arreola

    I live in CA and I moved in with my parents because I am currently going through a divorce and need to get back on my feet. They’ve been living in the same apartment for over 20 years. Their lease was up and I attempted co-lease the apartment with them since my dad cannot afford the apartment by himself. Unfortunately, something came up on my credit check regarding a rental in NC where I used to live. It surprised me because I had rented at two other apartments after that one and it had never come up. The landlady at the apartment complex then said that we’d have to pay month to month until we renewed the lease and I took care of my issue. It’s been hard resolving the issue in NC due to time differences and miscommunication with a third party contractor that handles collections for my old apartment. We have been paying the higher month to month rate on time, but now we have received an eviction notice. The eviction gives no statement as to why. Can we fight this?

  113. Stephen White

    Pay with the late fee included or come up with the money on time.

  114. Stephen White

    Have a conversation and review the lease with the landlord. He is responsible to follow the lease just as you are.

  115. Jen Smith

    My apartment complex just sold. The new company wants to start charging to get your packages which has been free. They sent a note to everyone but it’s not in the lease.

    • Stephen White

      Jen, I would assume that they would only use our service for screening at the initial lease signing and renewals. So the note they gave would suffice if they’re letting you know that screenings will be required and paid for by the tenant. It’s the same as charging an application fee. There would be no need to rewrite every lease to provide notice.

  116. Stephen White

    Josh, a month to month does mean that a new lease can be put into place to implement new rules, effective with proper notice. Typically 30 days is proper notice.

    It sounds to me like everything is on the up and up with this situation. It might be a different story if you were 2 months into a year lease term, but you can have a new lease presented every 30 days on a month to month.

  117. Stephen White

    Ali, it sounds like someone is trying to get rid of you. But bottom line is that if you sign the lease you’ll be bound to it’s terms. So you can either choose to accept the terms or not.

  118. Stephen White

    It’s not very useful for them to gather the screening information after you moved in, so I’m not sure why it’s being requested. It sounds like an afterthought if nothing else.

    Have you been late or indicated that you’d be late?

  119. Stephen White

    If the majority doesn’t apply to you then I would assume they have made some changes across the board and want to provide full disclosure and proper notification. There’s no harm in signing it unless you disagree with something.

  120. Stephen White

    Bibbi, if you feel like you’re being targeted is it because it’s your dog that is creating the problem?

    Either way, the issue is that there is a current dog poop problem. I would assume that in your original lease you agreed to clean up after the dog. So the cleaning fee I see more as a penalty for people not cleaning up after their dogs.

  121. Stephen White

    What would there be to sue for? I assume that the basement tenants haven’t caused you any damages, so what would the suit be for? Just to win? That seems like a giant waste of time. Suing is not always the go-to option so forget about that.

    Do you still need to follow the lease? Quick answer is yes. If anything you could be released from the lease if it was broken because of the basement tenants taking your laundry space.

    If they haven’t taken your laundry space and you still have access, then you really don’t have much of a case to break the lease.

    It sounds like you need to communicate with the landlord to get some answers. If you don’t like the answers you’re getting then you need to find another landlord. It sounds to me like he’s trying to squeeze every inch he can from the property and if it impedes on your happiness your only recourse is to move if the new tenants are there under a lease and taking your space.

  122. Stephen White

    Were you upfront about the pets when you moved in? Or were they purchased after you moved in?

  123. Stephen White

    If that was never discussed or is not in the lease, I would say no. At the very least, you have to be provided a payment method that doesn’t include fees. Whether that be by cash or check.

    I would assume that the landlord changed providers and is now being charged, so I can’t see them eating that cost from here forward. They’ll likely want you to pay through a different method. But if they insist that you pay via credit card, they should have to eat the cost since you haven’t had to pay in the past. Then you can expect to see the fees outlined in the next lease agreement.

  124. Stephen White

    This is a tricky topic because either answer, you have a fight ahead of you that you’ll be battling.

    To answer directly, a landlord cannot make that change to force you to stop smoking in the dwelling without changing the lease typically. You are correct, that change can only be made to a common area without changing the individual leases.

    But here is why it’s a no-win situation for you.. If you fight it, you’re likely going to have a long battle ahead with the outcome being that you still can’t smoke in the common areas and ID yourself as a pain in the neck. In which case they won’t want to sign a new lease with you anyway.

    And if you stay until the lease ends, you won’t be able to smoke under the new lease. In my opinion you’ll either need to adjust to the new rules or look for a new place. Or fight a battle you might win in the short-run, but lose in the end anyway. Make sense?

  125. Stephen White

    Nope, you’re still under the terms of your original lease if nothing else was ever signed. Regardless of who is managing the property.

  126. Stephen White

    If the apt complex has breed limitations its likely because of insurance coverage. Some insurance companies will not cover certain breeds, so this might be out of their hands unless you can produce something that shows your dog has been formally trained as a service animal and not just a pet.

  127. Stephen White

    Does the original lease mention parking at all? If not, then it’s a common area change that can be made with a notice.

    If he’s paying for parking as part of his rent, then it’s his spot. Unless the rent was reduced or lease changed to reflect the changes in parking.

  128. KayCee

    I am currently in the middle of a year long lease in Providence, RI. My building was just bought by a new landlord as of yesterday. He immediately sent us an email that included addendums to our current lease. However these addendums include removing the washer and drier that all of the tenants chipped in to pay for and implementing a coin operated washer and drier which will be installed at the end of this week. He also added a late fee clause. He also stated that he is not responsible for any snow removal including the public sidewalks in front of the house. Is he able to change the lease like this? He never proposed these changes to us in person nor did we have the option of signing a new/updated lease or anything.

  129. coco liggins

    I have a very important questions. I live in St. Louis MO… I am renting a loft down town and out of no where I get a noir under my door stating the owner and property management has change and that we needed to come sign the new lease. I don’t want to rent from this owner nor this property management.

    Do I have any option where I can end my lease. I spoke with them about let me end my lease and they said No. I have not sign new lease at all, what can I do to get out of this lease or anything? With out having to pay 3 months rent.

    If the owner sell building and change management is that not considered breaking the lease or contract since the owner sold complex not just changed property management. Please let me know something ASAP

    • Stephen White

      Don’t sign the new lease and leave when your current one expires. Remember to give 30 days notice prior to your vacancy

  130. James Ehlert

    Hi Stephen, I’d like to start off saying great article. The apartment I live at has been animal friendly since June, but this last Wednesday I got a notice for a $100 fee for having an animal. Apparently new management changed policy and made having animals forbidden. On top of that they are fining me $100 per day starting tomorrow if I don’t get rid of my dog. Is this legal and if so what can I do?
    Thank You,
    -James

    • Stephen White

      James, if you’re under a lease agreement then you will be protected by those terms until you sign a new lease. So it depends on what your current lease says about pets and how long you’re under that lease.

  131. Stephen White

    Just tell them you’re undecided if you’re going to renew and don’t want to commit to anything. You’d rather ride your current lease out and see where you are with things as August gets closer.

  132. Stephen White

    I’m confused by this situation.. is the new tenant a roommate that you don’t know?

  133. Stephen White

    I’m confused why they’d be asking for additional security deposit mid-lease. Is it because you got a pet?

  134. Stephen White

    Did you end up finding a replacement tenant that moved in, as discussed via text message? If so, then you held up your end. If not, and the unit remained vacant, then the letter of the lease would apply. But if it was rented, the landlord cannot claim lost rent, he will not be able to get those 2 months from you. No judge in a court would approve that, I’ve seen it dozens of times.

  135. Stephen White

    No Rhonda. The lease you signed must be adhered to by both you and them for the term of the lease.

  136. Stephen White

    Regardless of the owners, your lease is in effect for the duration you signed. The new owners are responsible for upholding the terms just as the previous owner. Nothing out of the ordinary here. They will likely notify you of the change via notice or addendum, but won’t have you sign a new lease until the original is up.

  137. Stephen White

    Jeremy, you want to be careful with subtracting rent without the landlord being aware, or approving first. This puts you in the wrong and creates more problems. You need to address the additional charge first. Ask for clarification and a review of the lease with all applicable addendums. If you both find that the charge was never mentioned, you can deduct since the landlord is in agreement.

  138. Stephen White

    I don’t see an issue with ensuring that the vehicles parked on their property are not only those of their tenants, but properly registered. Many properties have limitations on the amount of parking each unit can have to be fair and allow for everyone to have a spot.

    It may seem like an inconvenience because you haven’t had to do this in the past, but it’s not out of the ordinary for many places.

  139. Stephen White

    Nope. You are required to pay what the lease says you have to. When you sign a new one in January it should contain language about the charges. Then you will have to start paying if you sign the new lease.

  140. Stephen White

    Jessica,

    Here is an article that will help explain my answer – http://www.rentprep.com/leasing-questions/require-tenants-carry-renters-insurance/

    The bottom line is that to make changes like this, you must change the lease. Which you would have to agree to. At the end of the day you can refuse to sign a new lease, ride out your existing lease until it ends and move out.

    Or… you can get the insurance that will likely cost less than $20/month and protect more than just what’s in your apartment. At the end of the day, it boils down to whether you want to stay or not. If not then don’t sign the lease and get insurance. If you do want to stay beyond the lease term, then sign the new lease and get the insurance.

  141. Stephen White

    in short, yes, they can do that.

    Property improvements can be made without the approval of the tenants if it doesn’t affect their lease. And charging a higher rent amount would make sense if they’re renovating. It’s a choice you’ll have to make; is the higher rent and renovations worth staying for?

  142. Stephen White

    Since a landlord is not a collection agency, they do NOT have to follow the Fair Debt Collecting Practices Act. So yes, they can call friends, relatives and even call your work.

    This is why a rental application asks for nearest relatives and references. Nobody calls your friends to ask if you’re a good person, they use those numbers to track you down when you don’t pay.

    My advice, pay your rent and like magic all the harassment will stop.

  143. Stephen White

    If your lease is valid until June 2016, you don’t have to sign anything new.

  144. Stephen White

    Terry, I don’t think the mafia gives anyone 10 extra tries to get their money! Much less 5.

    If your rent is due on the 1st, it’s late on the 2nd. Giving you to the 5th is being generous trust me. And the $50 late fee is to deter you from paying late and encourage you to manage your bills appropriately and get the rent paid on the 1st like it’s suppose to be.

  145. Stephen White

    If it’s part of your lease then the landlord cannot take it away! You need to have a conversation with him and find out what his intentions are as well as explain that you’re not okay with paying for something you’re not getting.

  146. Stephen White

    First I have to say WOW.. I’ve never seen the dog poop problem actually reach the point of DNA testing!

    I’m guessing with such an extreme measure, every attempt to fix the problem failed until this was proposed. So as crazy and ridiculous as this may seem, I see it as unfortunate that it got to this point and people couldn’t clean up after their own pets.

    In terms of whether they can charge for the service, it all depends on the lease and what it says about imposing new rules and programs. It may not mention anything specific about the DNA testing, but might say that measures can be taken to enforce the lease at the cost of the tenants.

    My advice is to talk with the management company and ask questions. I’m sure (or at least hoping) they’ve thought all this through and will have an explanation for you. Keep me posted, I’d like to hear how the testing goes and what they say.

  147. Stephen White

    Cassandra, with the municiple noise ordinance being 10pm-7am you shouldn’t have to change the rules at all. Those hours would be implied.

    What I would do is use a written notice that explains there has been a complaint, and remind them of the hours as per municiple ordinances. Also be sure to mention the number of occurrences that constitutes ending the lease in the event the first notice doesn’t do the trick.

    First rule of managing properties, ALL communication must be in writing! Use the notice, don’t change the verbiage in the rules and follow through on your actions.

  148. Stephen White

    A lot of states and municipalities have ordinances that state the occupancy standard is 2 people per room. So I can see where they would think that 5 in one room is too much. Can you ask to be moved to another unit with more rooms?

  149. Stephen White

    Rick, you’re in a tough spot. On a positive note, we all want tenants that respect community guidelines like you do. Sometimes I wonder what amazing things people could accomplish if they poured their energy into something worthwhile instead of trying to find loopholes in rules.

    Now for a sad dose of reality, your community guidelines will not be respected by the tenants if the property managers don’t respect them. And if there is no enforcement of the rules, clearly they don’t respect their own guidelines.

    So in this case you’re dealing with a poorly managed property. My honest advice is to seriously evaluate how long you’d like to live in the community. It shouldn’t be your battle to get the management company to enforce their own rules, and nothing will change until they change their business practices.

    If you don’t already work in property management, you should consider it Rick!

  150. Stephen White

    Woj, I’ll give you my thoughts on your points below –

    1. PooPrints is a company I just heard of. They actually gather DNA from all the community pets and if there is an issue with picking up the feces the management company can match the DNA to find the offender. I love the idea as much as the next guy, but this seems like an extreme way to handle disrespectful tenants. To me, this has more to do with people not respecting rules because the management company does a poor job enforcing policies. There is no easy fix to this problem. It plagues rental communities across the country and strict enforcement is the only solution.

    2. Your rights to the common areas should be spelled out clearly in your lease. I’d double check that to see if the new policies negate or conflict with any of your rights. If the language is not clear or the policies are not outlined, then they could change so long as you still have the ability to access it.

    3. Again I would refer to the lease. If something is spelled out and you are not getting an amenity you’re paying for, I’d ask for a rent reduction. But if it’s not spelled out, then it’s just bad business to offer future amenities and follow through.

    My advice, you seem like a reasonable person and a voice of reason. Be a leader in your community and work towards a solution. There is power in numbers, the management company may take things a lot more seriously when they realize they’re alienating a large majority of the tenants.

  151. Stephen White

    From the sounds of it, no. They cannot collect this fee if the lease states that it’s transferable.

    Hopefully you left the previous unit in good shape after you moved. If you did, I would take the attitude that none of the previous deposit had to be used to clean or repair due to a pet. So at this point they’re just gouging you for more money. Ask the new manager to review the lease in person and explain the charges. If there’s no reason to pay, it should be clear after the meeting.

  152. Stephen White

    So did he pay your security deposit? If yes, then he should be refunded the amount upon termination of the existing lease. You would then need to provide a new security deposit for the new lease, without him co-signing on it.

    If he paid the security deposit, as a favor I’m assuming, why would he get the money back? Do the right thing and give the guy who helped you out his money and take care of your own lease with your own money.

  153. Stephen White

    Are they terminating your lease before it ends, or exercising a decision to not renew the lease?

  154. Stephen White

    Lexy, that fee is probably going right to the bailiff/sheriff. I’m assuming your lease likely states that you’re responsible for any fees associated with the process of eviction. In which case you’d be responsible for the fee. I’m guessing you cut it too close and the order to serve you was already in transit. It’s like something crossing in the mail.

  155. Stephen White

    They have to still give you an option to pay without fee. They can make changes to a policy like method of payment, but they can’t take away a free option for you so the fee is unavoidable.

  156. Stephen White

    Isella, I agree with you. I understand payment method to be the same thing. At the very least, they shouldn’t be able to change something that was “included” in the rent to now be an additional charge, regardless of the billing method.

  157. Stephen White

    You can’t refuse to switch management companies, it is what it is. But you can refuse to sign the new lease. They will be managing the property under your existing lease, which they have to honor for the lease term. Your security deposit should have been transferred to the new owners and they would have to treat it as if they collected it. Meaning they’d return it at the end of the lease.

  158. Stephen White

    The late fees should be outlined somewhere. They can’t just make up charges. I would ask for a breakdown because the charges don’t make sense.

    To try to give somewhat of an answer.. you wouldn’t typically charge late fees on to late fees. What you would do is add the late fee to the month’s rent, then if less than the full amount was paid, the remaining balance would be subject to late fees. So it kind of sounds like you didn’t pay the full late fee, which caused your rent to be incomplete and therefore late. Right?

  159. Stephen White

    So let me understand this..

    You have a pet that makes a mess of the property. So much so that the landlord had to address it formally to try and fix the problem.

    But instead of being thoughtful and understanding of the issue, you feel victimized because your dog doesn’t feel comfortable making a mess on the edge of the property, where it makes the most sense?

    And to add an extra layer of insult to injury, your mom who is an industry professional thinks you should let your dog make a mess wherever it feels because the lease cannot be changed? Regardless if it makes sense as a respectful, responsible pet owner?

    I hope this sounds ridiculous to you too when I break it down like this. Here’s the bottom line, you should be cleaning up after your dog and wouldn’t be having this issue if you did so in the first place. Your landlord can make changes to common areas, like a yard where the dog does his business, without changing the terms of the lease, but through a simple addendum. Which is what your landlord probably did.

    Your mom is wrong. Take responsibility for your dog and stop being a victim. If it’s that much trouble to walk to the edge of the property, or take a small walk around the block with the dog, then maybe the responsibility of having a dog is too much for you to handle. Sorry to be so harsh but you sound like you’re in serious need of a reality check Chris.

  160. Stephen White

    I’d ask the landlord to clean up the language in that lease. It doesn’t make sense that you’re responsible for the other tenants animals.

  161. Stephen White

    If it’s not stated in the lease, you’re not responsible to carry it. Florida is not a state that mandates renter’s insurance.

    On a side note, here are my thoughts on your situation. If you plan on staying at this place you should consider getting the insurance knowing you’ll certainly be required to do so on the next lease you sign. If you are fighting with them every step of the way, they’re more likely to not want to renew the lease when the time comes.

    As a voice of reason, you should consider renter’s insurance anyway. It covers more than just the inside of your apartment (like stolen property from vehicles, etc.) and it’s extremely affordable. You may have not had a need for a while, but if that luck runs out you’ll wish you had it. For the $10 or $15/month extra, it’s well worth the piece of mind.

  162. Stephen White

    Sylvia, it sounds like they are offering to accommodate you in spite of the hiccup. Your only other option would be to wait for the unit you originally wanted to open up. Or don’t move in there. Since they didn’t honor the lease, you can break it.

    But if your question is “do they have to offer the higher priced unit at the same price as the one you originally wanted” the answer is no, they don’t have to do that.

  163. Stephen White

    It could be a promotion that they’re running. Or perhaps the unit you are in might be similar size, but be more desirable for one reason or another.

    I’d ask about it. It can’t hurt. But at the end of the day, you signed the lease with an agreed upon price, so there is no responsibility to reduce your payment, regardless of other advertised prices.

  164. sassycat

    We live in California, and are in the middle of a year long lease. We were paying the landlord directly as per the Rental Agreement, but he’s now hired a management company, and they’re asking us to pay them directly instead of him starting Jan 1st.
    He’s a bit sketchy,and is suing his previous tenants for a myriad of other issues, so we’re apprehensive at best.
    is this legal, or are we within our rights to insist we continue to pay him as per the original lease agreement?

    • Stephen White

      Did you get any kind of “official” or at least written notification of the change? A change of management addendum or something?

      If yes, then pay the new management company as directed. But DO NOT pay in cash whatever you do! Pay with a money order or check so that you have tracking ability if needed. And of course getting a receipt is always good too if possible.

  165. Stephen White

    Lease renewal time is when changed can be made, but you’d have to be aware of them. Both parties need to agree to the terms if they changed. The auto renewal only works if there are no changes and the same lease terms can be used.

    Be sure to check if there is a certain period for cancelling the renewal. If you disagree with the changes and don’t want to automatically renew, they’ll need to be notified properly and according to any terms outlined in the original agreement.

  166. Stephen White

    If the landlord confirmed it, I’d go with it. Requesting more at this point is just going to make them think you’re a pain in their ass lol

  167. Stephen White

    Paul, this is a new one to me. I’ve never heard of a tenant being required to carry liability versus renters insurance. Besides, a renter’s policy will carry some liability on it anyway. How much is the insurance they’re requiring going to cost you per month?

  168. Stephen White

    They signed and you signed it. It’s legally binding and they have to follow it just as you do.

  169. Stephen White

    Gayle, sounds like a generic agreement that states the 30 days. In this case, the 21 days as per California law would supersede.

  170. Stephen White

    Thanks for the clarification. I couldn’t find anything favoring the landlord in this situation. With the 21 days being law, the tenant’s rights are to be assumed, I would think. But I’m a New York landlord and not an attorney, so I would double check with your attorney on this. My vote would go to the 21 days overriding the 30 days as per the signed agreement. It may not make common sense (because the tenant signed and agreed to the terms), but think about most State laws.. they always supersede.

  171. Stephen White

    Sounds like you got yourself a bad landlord Crystal.. I’m guessing the deposit is long gone. It’s sounds like you’re in NYC – I would check out the local landlord/tenant division in your borough to see what recourse you’ll have.

  172. Stephen White

    Sounds like a situation that was out of their control. If they gave an addendum after your lease term, and you signed it, then you would absolutely be responsible. Think of it as paying $250 to never have to think about the owed money again. No worries whether it’s on your credit, or if it’ll hurt you down the road. I’d pay and move on.

  173. Stephen White

    Jennifer, of course you can say no-pets in your lease. But it sounds like you allowed them and required an additional deposit, as per the letter of the lease. So at this point, you’re stuck following the lease just like the tenants have to. If you didn’t specify the additional deposit amount you need to make sure it’s made clear in an addendum.

    If you truly don’t feel comfortable allowing pets, I’d state “no pets” versus using a ridiculously high pet deposit. In the meantime, if they’re under the lease that allows pets, deterrents is all you’re really left with.

  174. Stephen White

    The lease you both signed is in effect. If you choose to not sign the new one, you’re under the original until it expires.

  175. Stephen White

    My gut reaction is no, they don’t have the right to charge additional fees. They need to follow the letter of the lease.

  176. Nathan Kurland

    Can my landlord ban electric scooters like the hover boards mid lease. They said they just added a ban of them to the lease, but I feel like they cant do that, even if some of them are catching on fire. I own a nice one, not from china, that will not catch fire.

    • Stephen White

      Of course hover boards!! Come on, really? Even IF they didn’t catch fire, they’re a motorized vehicle that can be banned from common areas and the entire property for safety issues just like skateboards and roller blades. Or dirt bikes for that matter. They’re an insurance claim waiting to happen. Take the hover board to the park and have a ball, but respect the landlords wishes to keep the property safe.

      • Nathan Kurland

        Not using them, just owning them. They banned them from the entire property.

  177. eeyore

    I am a tenant and my lease states i am responsible for heat,electric,cable and phone. Which i am ok with. We have oil heat. Without my knowledge or approval my landlord went behind my back and filled our oil tank and is now wanting us to pay an add’l 200.00 a month towards oil and they also called the oil company and added a service contract in their name for my apartment and when i call the oil company they wont give me any information. Can the landlord do this? Go behind my back fill my oil tank and then ask for the money when the lease clearly states i am responsible for my own oil

  178. Shannon

    I live in Blythe California. On a month to month lease and my landlord is telling me to fill out a different lease with a bunch of new rules. One being I must provide a key to my apartment and that inspections can now be done. As a single female I am so uncomfortable with this. Do I have to obey?

  179. Angelica Salazar

    I am in a 1yr month to month lease. I moved in this house in November. Recently my landlord violated the terms by not giving a proper notice for the monthly inspection. When she arrived she then said that she would sending me an additional addendum to add to our lease after having already been here for a few months. What are my rights at this point? Do I have to sign this new addition to my lease even though it was not brought up until now?

  180. Stephen White

    Your best bet at this point is to continually follow up and document everything. You’ll need this before you’d be able to claim that the property is being neglected. Check with your local municipality in California what their laws are. Every state is different and California is like the Galapagos Islands where everything evolves differently lol

  181. Stephen White

    Casey, I’ll answer your question directly first.. you cannot evict the tenant if they provided a remedy within the notice time frame. In this case, remedy would payment in full of ALL late rents and any fees.

    Now having said that, the mistake that was made was you gave her too long the first time around. I get that you didn’t know what you were dealing with then, but now you do. That 3 day notice to pay or quit needs to be given immediately, I can’t stress that enough.

    I can see one of two things happening in this situation, 1) she pays in full this time and you’ll have to stop eviction proceedings. But if you’re quick with the next 3 day notice, you’ll catch her before she can come up with the money. 2) she comes up with SOME of the past due money within the 3 days.. in which case, you follow through with the eviction proceedings immediately.

  182. Stephen White

    No. You still need to be given proper notice of any policy changes. Even on a MTM lease

  183. Stephen White

    No judge in the country would make you pay out 2 years of a lease term. The landlord is responsible for making every effort to re-rent the space and can only charge for vacant time until the unit is occupied. The MOST I’ve ever seen a judge award a landlord for a remaining lease is 2.5 months.

    So from a business perspective, it might be worth the hassle of just leaving early and plan to pay up to 3 months. But obviously it’s always best to try to work things out with the landlord first. Explain the situation and offer to be as reasonable as you can. Maybe she’ll start marketing the place and let you leave without a problem when a new tenant is found.

  184. Stephen White

    You can do it one of two ways –
    1. if the current lease term is expired, a new lease can be presented to represent month to month. If the current lease you’re using doesn’t already mention this, as many do.
    2. If both you and the tenant agree on the month to month terms, you can sign a new lease.

    However, if the tenant does not agree and they’re still under the lease term, you have to follow the lease as well. You’d have to wait out the end of the lease term in that case.

  185. Stephen White

    Your proof is that you can smell it. I would issue a notice to remind of the policy. This then creates the necessary documentation you would need to terminate the agreement if the problem continues.

  186. Stephen White

    Your current lease is in effect until the terms expire or you sign a new one. The new landlord cannot come in and charge for things you didn’t agree to, or terminate the lease early. I would explain that you’ll ride out the remainder of the lease and then you’ll be on your way. If the new landlord tried to evict or sue, they’ll lose in court for sure if the reasoning was due to unauthorized changes on the lease.

  187. Stephen White

    If nothing changes (rent, rules, etc.) that they could get away with a simple addendum to the original lease versus voiding the original. They are moving you in an effort to resolve an problem, keep that in mind. So if you said you preferred to move out, and gave ample notice, I can’t imagine they’d fight you on it.

  188. Stephen White

    Are they presenting you with a new lease?

    • “Cessie”

      No. There is no lease. Just a notice that they will start collecting pet deposit and giving us only 5 days to pay it. The notice was served today March 5th. So i am worried because this is something that came up out of nowhere and i don’t have the money to pay it. So now im worried if i will get evicted just cause i can’t pay the pet deposit. Please help.

      • Stephen White

        Proper notice is typically 30 days, not 5 days for changes. I’d ask them if they can work with you considering you had little time to prepare.

  189. Stephen White

    Yuck, I hate hearing stories like this Laurie. You were a good tenant that paid the rent for years without an issue. If they want to enforce the lease, they should have said “from this day forward the payment…”. If you were unaware, and they were clearly unaware if they never billed you in the past or mentioned the payments were late, they should eat the $125 to save a long-term tenant. They clearly don’t value a long term tenant unfortunately.

    My advice, pay the late fees and move out. Let them know their tactics are amateur.

  190. Stephen White

    First thing – treat the yard issue like any other damage situation. The dogs caused excessive damage, so the tenant’s should be responsible for repairs. Follow the proper steps to notify them of the damages, get it fixed, and send invoice.

    Second thing – you cannot raise the rent on a lease term unless the lease notifies them of this. Which most of the time only includes language to increase rent annually and incrementally. For this situation, you have to wait 30 days before the lease term ends, then notify them of the rent increase. Which gives them time to decide if they want to stay or leave.

    Wild Card situation – There’s a slight possibility that the tenants give you problem about paying the invoice for the damages. in which case, depending on the language of your lease, may put them in breach of the agreement. You can then follow the proper steps to terminate the lease on the grounds of non-compliance. Not sure how much time is left on the lease term, which would dictate how likely this scenario is. If there’s 2 months left, it’s not worth the hassle of terminating the lease early. Let the lease expire, notify them of non-renewal, and take the damages out of the security deposit.

  191. Stephen White

    They have to follow the lease to the letter, just the same as you do.

  192. Stephen White

    It depends on what your lease states. Does it address parking and how many spots you’re entitled to?

    • Tate Owen

      It does address parking. It does not say how many spaces you’re entitled to.

      It says that they have the right to tow a vehicle parked in a spot marked for a future resident, but they now have a good 7/17 parking spots in the front parking lot taken up by this. Can they just randomly mark these spots like this in the middle of the lease and then tow my car?

  193. Stephen White

    I have to imagine that any judge would uphold the handwritten stuff if you both agreed and signed. Which means she has a 2 year lease term you have to uphold.

  194. Stephen White

    This sounds absolutely crazy to me. And wrong on several levels. Starting with no notices given. Of course you can fight the issue, but ultimately you’ll be losing your space in the end one way or another. You sure that you’re not being inconvenienced on purpose?

  195. Stephen White

    I feel like the late fee/bounced check part of the story is separate from the mowing part. There’s a chance that might have more to do with the non-renewal than the mowing. But in any case, it’s certainly shady that all of the sudden your lease renewal is invalid after you signed it months ago. Do you have proof that they signed or acknowledged their part? Even if it was an electronic response, is there any language that suggests the signing process was now completed?

  196. Stephen White

    I would think they would have drawn something up about the accommodations. At least an addendum. My advice is to work with the property management company and NOT the collection agency. Bring these concerns to them in an intelligent, non-aggressive way and try to reason with them.

    I can see how this got to this point, especially if you didn’t notify them of your intentions to break the original lease. But I’m sire a good attorney could make an argument that the lease was not enforceable considering the property management company did not fulfill their obligations with regard to move-in. etc.

  197. Stephen White

    It’s absolutely legal with proper notice, which you’ve been given. Shouldn’t be a big deal.. unless you’re the offender! Pick up the poop for god’s sake!!

  198. Stephen White

    You shouldn’t need a new lease just because you hired a property manager if she was still under her current lease term. A simple notice of change of management should suffice. That should temporarily solve one issue. Down the road, you need to decide if it’s worth keeping a high-maintenance tenant. In my opinion, it’s usually not.

    And I would absolutely have a problem with the changes and additions to the property, whether they were beneficial or not. Where is the line then? What are you going to do when she makes a change that you don’t like, or is bad for the property? She’ll make the argument that you didn’t have a problem the other times she made changes.

  199. Stephen White

    After a lease term you would go month to month. So a new lease can be presented anytime in the month to month term.

  200. Stephen White

    Weird.. I wonder what the addendum would be for. Maybe for tax purposes they are trying to use it as documentation? I don’t know. Never heard of anything like this before.

  201. shayla

    My lease is up June 30th I got my renewal and also a section stating starting April 1st the apartment complex will began charging for a water and sewer,how is that right?

    • Stephen White

      You should have to start paying on the new lease term, unless your current lease states that you can be charged.

  202. Stephen White

    You’d be wasting your time trying to “go after” anyone for this. In the end you wouldn’t be entitled to any kind of reward, or at least nothing significant. It’s a shame that the people wasted your time and mismanage their business. And clearly these are not the kinds of people you want to be renting from. So I’d request a refund for any money you may have paid for an application fee or whatever and then move on. Unfortunately holding someone accountable for a misquote is more work than its worth. Just bad business on their part.

  203. Stephen White

    What would the additional deposit be for? A pet?

  204. Stephen White

    He can request that your brother be on the lease if he is living there. Which it sounds like he is, on the weekends. It wouldn’t hurt having him on so I don’t understand the resistance to do so. But he cannot change your locks. Add your brother to the lease and resolve the issue. This is the fastest, easiest way. If you want to drag it out a little, file a police report saying that your landlord locked you out. This is not legal. Your landlord will be forced to change the locks back. But then you’ve made an enemy of your landlord and you can pretty much guarantee future problems. That’s why my advice is to add your brother, which you’ll be forced to do one way or another anyway, and end the problem quickly and easily. Let everyone get on with their lives.

  205. Stephen White

    Susan, in my opinion making this change will likely cause more problems than it’s worth. If you have long term tenants, then don’t do it, as it will certainly alienate them. Maybe making some rules about the backyard would be better than taking it away completely.

  206. Stephen White

    Is it a charge from the utility company or the landlord?

  207. Stephen White

    He cannot. Until a new lease is presented. You can agree to pay the fee if you plan on staying there, otherwise I’m sure refusing may sour the landlord/tenant relationship, even though it’s the landlord’s mistake.

  208. Stephen White

    The lease cannot change once it’s signed. Unless the lease accounts for some inflation or something per month, but this sounds like a case of mistaken numbers. I would bring a copy of the lease and ask for an explanation.

  209. Stephen White

    If you choose to not sign the new lease, they would have to honor the terms they agreed to. Now having said that, I wouldn’t expect to get the same deal on the new lease, and I wouldn’t be shocked if they found a reason not to renew your lease.

  210. Mercedes Randall

    I live in AR. We recently signed a 2 year lease one a new home. It was in the middle of being built when we signed the lease. The floors were not put in at the lease signing and it says nothing about them in the lease. We were told before we signed the lease that they were going to be the same ceramic tile as all the other homes being built on the same street by the same rental company. The floors were not laid till the day before we moved in. We only had two days to get out of our old house so we couldn’t refuse to move in at the time. The problem is they laid down the cheapest floors they could. They are basicly just a giant sticker that looks like wood. The real problem that comes in to play is that just walking across them or scooting your chair out from the table they scrape all the paint off the floor because it’s so cheap. It will never hold up to our 2 dogs and 3 kids. In two days it already looks terrible. We are paying a crazy high rent for a NICE home. And we were the only ones who recieved this floor and I feel like it’s because we signed the lease before it was finished so they tried to make as many price cuts on the house as they could because they weren’t worried about finding a tenant for it.

    • Stephen White

      I agree, it sounds like they were in a rush. At the very least I would document the flooring problem as best you can. And let the management company know about your concerns so they can’t come back and blame you for the damages down the road. Be persistent, a high-end place should be concerned about the tenants experience in this world of social media we live in these days..

  211. Stephen White

    Probably not Misty. All the changes sound like common-area changes, which can typically be made as long as they’re across the board and proper notice is given. Sounds like it may be time for you to move on in Sept and find a place to better suit your needs.

  212. Stephen White

    What does the document say? I would think that the document will ultimately protect the fence, unless it mentions something in there allowing the management company to make changes. Or if the terms have changed. Also, I would ask for the reasoning, maybe there is a legitimate reason the fence needs to come down. I was recently told by my town that a fence on my property was too close to my driveway and they made me remove a section of it. So sometimes its not in anyone’s control to make these decisions.

  213. Stephen White

    I would ask them to explain further. There may be something in your lease that applies to this, even though it doesn’t specifically say “pool”. In other words, this might fall under some sort of maintenance clause or something. I’d force better communication from them and mention that this is all a surprise to you.

  214. Stephen White

    You can take someone to court if it’s not eviction related. In other words, they vacated or abandoned the property, so there may not have been an actual eviction. And yes, a landlord can implement a no smoking policy if they so choose.

    As for denying the arrangements after the lease expires, this may be legal. I have a feeling there’s more to the story on this. Like the tenant wanted to pay just for the 2 weeks or something. In which case, I could see a landlord denying this request simply because they want to get the unit ready to rent as soon as possible, and would be losing money by delaying another 2 weeks.

  215. Stephen White

    If your lease term ended, and you’re on a month to month lease now, you may not be locked into any of the “amenities” you were on the initial lease term. And as for the garbage pickup, they can certainly enforce a policy if that policy is given proper notice, and doesn’t violate any other lease terms.

  216. Stephen White

    But your agreement is likely going to change because of an occupant leaving. So yes, your landlord has a right to be concerned if your co-occupant was part of the approval process.

  217. Stephen White

    Yes. A new lease would outline new terms. And that could certainly include rent increases, and the addition of charges. In fact, this is the only way to make these changes to a current rental situation like yours. So they’re doing it the right way.
    If you feel there’s something not right about the increase, check local comparable rental units to see what the rent should be. If you’re paying way above, there’s a good chance you’re being pushed out by the current owners. If it’s right in line, then you probably getting away cheap for the first 2 years and someone caught on.

  218. Stephen White

    They are in the wrong, clearly. That is my only thought. Absolutely call your attorney.

  219. Diane Vance

    I have lived in my current apartment for almost 7 months. My leasing office is trying to say that I never registered my dog when I moved in but I did. I gave full disclosure of all my pets to them when I applied. They are now trying to make me pay a $10 monthly pet fee, which is not on my current lease plus a $300 non refundable pet deposit. My lease shows a $150 non refundable pet deposit which I paid. Can they make me pay the monthly fee and the deposit? I was never told that there is a restriction on my dog. I told the woman who did my lease my dog is a pit bull just to make sure there were no restrictions. She never said a thing about a breed restriction. Can they evict me over this?

  220. Kim Myers

    I have a lease and the landlord is selling the house to someone on a land contract. My lease is not up until 01/17 but they are trying to come in and make the house a duplex and make me move everything to one side. Can they do this while i still have a iease?

  221. Chrissy Roberson

    I have a question I have a private landlord, and she decided 30 days before my lease is up to give my contract to another person she claims to be a property manager, but she herself is a private landlord. I am wondering if she can do this? I’m at my wits end. Someone please help me….. I live in Kansas can she do that?

  222. Stephen White

    If your lease says storage is free, then storage is free until you’re under a new lease agreement.

  223. Stephen White

    I would contact the California Housing Authority. It sure sounds like they want you out of there.

  224. Shannon drew

    I think month to month th can be changed as long as there is a 30day sent out to you.

  225. Shannon drew

    I am having the same type of issue. The landlord wants to charge me 400 for use of my garage and then stated she might turn it into a place for her to stay in .. not Kool

  226. mistieballer

    I live in an apartment in Texas, i was notified that management will no longer be accepting money orders or checks for monthly rent payment, instead must start using WIPS CARD to pay rent at authorized locations which im also charged a cash administration fee & only cash is accepted for rent. I am currently under a 12 month TAA lease which states checks or M/O is accepted for rent paying in person at office or night drop. I don’t see how management can change this in mid lease? It does not say anything about paying wit WIPS CARD or being able to changepayment type. So i dont see how its possible. Its impossible to be able to withdraw over 300.00 from bank each day.

  227. Brianna

    So I was looking into an apartment complex and the rent was 900$ a month and before I signed my lease the landlord was changing the rent but didn’t let me know so he had me sign my lease which stated 900$ a month and the next day that I signed my lease my friend said she was moving in the same apartment complex and that the landlord told her the price would be 860$ a month and now ( 2 months have passed ) and the website where the applications are to apply says rent is 725$ now. Is this fair? especially because we are all receiving the same apartment no remodeling is being done. I’m sure they keep putting the rent down because they don’t have enough people to fill the units.

  228. Tonya

    I live in california witv no rent control. I signed a lease renewal on 5/1/18 for a 2 year lease. At that time of new lease, the rent was raised $30. On 7/15/18 I received a notice that starting 9/1/18 the rent will be increasing another $70. Can a landlord increase rent in the middle of a lease?

  229. Zoi

    Hello. I am wondering. If all parties sign a lease that water is included and a week after signing the lease you get notified that water is no longer included and a addendum would be sent and need to be signed. Is this leagal? Can they do this after signing the lease and it being signed in full by all parties?

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