Kind of maybe moving, Mr. Landlord
August 24, 2012 8:05 PM   Subscribe

Job opportunity has quickly come up in new city, but nothing settled. Would have to be there October 1 though, what do I tell landlord?

An out of the blue, but dream job opportunity has come up for me. I've had a phone interview, which went fantasticly, and waiting for the in-person (boss on vacation for the next week), with what would be an October 1 start date. Catch of course is that the job's in New York and I'm in Chicago. And the second part is that I don't actually have the job yet, although (knock on wood) things seem really positive at the moment.

My lease is up at the end of August, with the understanding last year that after the first year, it'd be month to month. I wasn't planning on leaving the city, so hadn't really brought up a new lease with the landlord, was just going to keep paying every month. Last year, he said that he would need 45 days once I was month-to-month.

So my question is, my plans are certainly not set (and probably won't be until mid-September) with this new job, so there's a bit of limbo, but is the right thing to do in regards to my housing situation, that would be fair to my landlord?
posted by anonymous to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't see any reason to not take a straightforward approach with him.

Talk to him ASAP and explain the situation--that if offered the job you will take it, but that you will not know until two weeks before you would be moving out.

More than likely, the 45 day thing is flexible and while he may not be able to post the ad until you're gone for sure, he will at least be more prepared.

Your second best option would probably be to try and find a subletter for the month of October (if you are considered "on the hook" for this month). Depending on how desireable your neighborhood is, that could work. You could frame it for the sublettee as an "opportunity for lease renewal".

Your worst case scenario would probably be to negotiate some kind of reduced payment, so you can cut your losses and he's not out of pocket.

In any case take the new job if it's offered. These things will work themselves out. In most cases people appreciate being approached transparently and honestly.
posted by SpicyMustard at 8:28 PM on August 24, 2012

The right thing to do here, like the right way to give notice at a job, depends a lot on how your landlord will react. If you say you 'might' be leaving, will he decide he wants to line up a more secure tenant during the back to school renting season and give you 30 days notice?

Does he even have the right to require 45 days notice once you're month to month? I would be surprised if he did - from a quick read of the Chicago Rental Ordinances, it doesn't seem to talk much about notice periods except saying that the landlord must give at least 30 days notice to terminate a month to month tenancy.

I mean, obviously 45 days notice would be better for him, but he might be asking for things you don't have to give. You should try and be aware of your rights so you don't end up getting screwed, even if that looks unlikely.

The landlord does have to make 'a good faith effort' to re-rent the apartment once you're gone, and you're only possibly on the hook for rent if he can't find anyone. Depending on the neighbourhood (as SpicyMustard said) you might have nothing to worry about - you could even try helping him with the search. You shouldn't have to make it a sublease arrangement, they should be able to be a new tenant, unless there's something causing problems.
posted by jacalata at 9:33 PM on August 24, 2012

I would say make sure your lease is month-to-month first. Then give notice.
If you can find someone to swoop in and take your spot, that may save you grief and the possibility of having to pay an extra month.
posted by jander03 at 9:18 AM on August 25, 2012

Everything I've seen says you need to give at least 30 days notice of moving out in order to get your security deposit back ... but you really need to check your lease. My last lease had special language about month to month, for example. You should also find out if there is a penalty or fee for moving out without giving notice. "Fair" kind of depends on a mixture between your legal responsibilities and your relationship with your landlord, but I would give notice at the last possible moment, myself.
posted by sm1tten at 9:35 AM on August 25, 2012

In that sort of situation, I waited until my employment change became firm, and then gave notice. Yeah, it sucks to pay for two places at the same time, but it doesn't force you to move if the new opportunity falls through.

Obviously, if you aren't legally required to give 30 days notice, you don't have to.

The two-places-at-once conundrum can be mitigated by staying somewhere interim in the new location (like a friend's house, if you know people there) for a week or two so you can apartment search with your feet on the ground.
posted by bookdragoness at 12:06 AM on August 26, 2012

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