ChicagoHousingFilter: My landlord needs to sell my unit, and wants to terminate the lease upon sale. I have a year left on the lease and don't know what to do about her request.
posted by sldownard to home & garden (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My landlord is a nice person, with whom I am on good terms, but she is in the middle of a divorce, and the judge has ordered her to sell the unit so they can split the assets. My South Loop high-rise condo 1br where I've been for the past two years has thus been on the market since January. Although I don't like dealing with the realtors (who have been very pushy and rude), I have made the unit available for every showing they have requested, and have even succumbed to some of their put-stuff-in-storage demands just to get them to shut up.
I work full time and go to school half-time, and am expecting to graduate next spring. I am hoping to go on to grad school in the fall, in a foreign country. In order to do that, I need to keep my grades up, not get behind schedule, like, at all, and make my application deadlines, plus save cash. I was not planning to move, was expecting to spend all my free time on school, so last spring when I re-signed my lease, we signed for two years, which will take me nearly all the way through until graduation (at which point I was hoping to either re-sign a short-term lease or go month-to-month, assuming I'll be leaving the country in August-ish). I live within walking distance of work and school, which saves me buckets of commuting time, and is thus really valuable to me.
Yesterday, my landlady emailed me to ask if I would be willing to let her "buy out the lease" so that she can terminate the lease upon execution of a sales contract. She didn't spell out what "buying" out the lease would entail (I am assuming it means "let you out of it without a penalty," as opposed to her paying me some sort of pro-rated amount based on the number of months left on the lease), but offered a lump sum equal to slightly more than one month's rent. Based on past experience, I think that that lump sum amount will not cover movers + packing materials even if I self-pack.
I like my apartment and am happy here, and can't really afford to take the time to move. If I have to move myself, I think the only way I can do it while keeping any of my sanity intact is if I take a quarter off from school, which means I won't graduate on time, will likely miss my grad school application deadlines, and since the program only starts in the fall, means I could be set back by a whole year.
However, I am really unhappy with being caught in the middle of the divorce (her ex-to-be has caused other inconveniences, such as subpoenaing me to be deposed for being accused of paying cash under the table for a parking spot which is clearly spelled out on my lease, which I emphatically was not doing), and I dislike the realtors' interference and high-handedness. I also worry about the security of my belongings, with strangers parading through here, and worry that they will not pay attention to my cat while opening the door to my 30th floor balcony.
So I am tentatively willing to make a compromise counter-offer, because I hate the idea of moving but I kind of want to run screaming from all the drama. I know I'm not willing to be given n days notice at some random point in the future, because I can't be trying to write 30 pages of research papers and just be told "ok, it sold, now get out," but I am willing to pick a date to terminate the lease, so I can plan, find a new place, etc. But the lump sum she has offered is too low to move on, and certainly doesn't compensate me for the lost vacation time from work or a quarter lost of school (potentially a year!). if I do that, so I think that I would have to ask for more. I think it is fair to ask her to pay for movers to pack and move me in addition to a "zomg, this is totally screwing up my life here and I did not sign on for this" penalty. My question is this: Is hers a reasonable request? What is reasonable for me to push back on? And how exactly do you find a dollar value for "zomg, you are screwing up my life"?