How do I convince my current landlord to cancel my lease?
March 14, 2006 4:35 PM   Subscribe

ApartmentLeaseFilter: I live in one of several complexes operated by one company. We're moving out because of lack of the incompetence of said company, help me out of the last month of rent, either by being a pain-in-the-ass, or legally.

Since we moved in, the office nearest our apartment has "changed" hours to a couple a day, and they're at random times such that it's impossible to guess when someone will be there. Recently, a fedex package was delivered to the office, rather than to my apartment. When I saw the package was delivered, I tried the main office, I was told that nobody with that name works in the office... a week later, after bitching out Fedex, filing a claim, and apologizing profusely to the client whose work depended on the package, I found out that the package had been delivered to the office that's usually closed, and promptly forgotten about.

It's nearly impossible to get any information from them, whenever I call, they tell me that all of the paperwork is over at the other office, and they'll call back later (which they don't) (hence why I'm taking the "asshole" route).

I've lost one client because of the fedex fiasco, and attempting to move out is a pain, because I can't get a hold of anyone to discuss it.


I'm thinking that a large "THESE APARTMENTS TREAT THEIR RESIDENTS POORLY, EMAIL ME FOR DETAILS" sign, attached to the back of my pickup and parked on the street is a nice start at being a pain-in-the-ass... is there anything else I could to to make them want me out so much that they'll cancel my lease early?
posted by hatsix to Home & Garden (12 answers total)
 
You're movin out because of a Lack of incompetence?

Wouldn't that be Competence?
posted by Megafly at 4:50 PM on March 14, 2006


I think you mean "lack of competence"..if they lacked incompetence, you'd be happy.
posted by nomisxid at 4:52 PM on March 14, 2006


very true... my incompetence in forming coherant phrases usually lets me down :-(

oh... wait... thats a crappy sentence too... ARGHHH...
posted by hatsix at 4:54 PM on March 14, 2006


What about maintenance? If something major was to go wrong, and required immediate attention, could you get someone on the phone to remedy the situation? Is there a clause in your lease about this?

Not that I would suggest causing anything major to go wrong, but you should always know what your options are..
posted by bh at 4:59 PM on March 14, 2006


Many leases have an opt-out clause, where you just pay a nominal fee to break the lease. You may not need to cause trouble.
posted by frogan at 4:59 PM on March 14, 2006


Wow, your apartment sounds like the one I moved out of a few months ago. What we did was send letters about everything--every package that sat in their office, every time they didn't shovel the sidewalk, etc. We also took photos--photos of piles of trash, the illegal fire-hazard causing activities of our neighbors, etc. We had tons of documentation of their incompetence. By the time we went over to their office to talk about breaking the lease, they at least knew we meant business.

We still had to pay to break our lease. I imagine it wasn't as much as we would have had to if they didn't seriously hate us by then. Unless you have a solid legal argument, you probably will have to pay something also.

It is a good idea to check into the tenant law in your area to see if they are doing anything serious enough to violate your lease.
posted by divka at 4:59 PM on March 14, 2006


(we had not opt-out clause, BTW. if you do--go for it. but again, you'll probably have to pay a month's rent or two for the privilege of getting out of there.)
posted by divka at 5:03 PM on March 14, 2006


Talk to a lawyer. This may cause a lot more trouble than it's worth. I had a complex in Seatac tell me all kinds of things that I wanted to hear, and then turn around and sue me a year later, leaving me with a judgement on my credit report.

Lawyer up and see if they'll let you out of the lease early. Otherwise, you're probably screwed.

My complex doesn't take packages, and the office is also closed at random times. I went and got a UPS Store box to accept my packages, and the problem has been solved. There's probably no reason that you cannot do the same and if your biggest issue is package delivery, they'll likely suggest the same thing. Or they'll just say that they don't want to be responsible for accepting packages because they don't have to.
posted by drstein at 9:42 PM on March 14, 2006


As a former leasing agent, I suggest you definitely look into the local Apartment Association that's in your area. The whole reason it was started is for situations like this.

I'd call the Apartment Association (just google that in quotes and you should easily find it), and make sure you have your property name, the company name and as many details as possible. Like, the hours and days you went by the office, their attitude toward you, the FedEx problem. Anything you bring to the table will help you get your problem resolved.

I'm only up to snuff on TAA leases, but here in Texas there is a reletting fee that can be paid to get you out of your lease. If your place has a 30 day notice, you have to pay for 30 days rent (easy way to do that is to give notice on the first of the month so you're only paying for days you're in the apartment) plus 85% of one month's rent (usually without any discounts you've been getting, if any).

Another side trick...... your place might be managed by a realty company, but it's probably owned by another. The owners of these places never know what's going on and will do what they can to resolve issues like this. Me being the utter bitch that I can be, I'd call the OWNER and let them know of the problems and that you're moving out because of management issues. Call up the apartment office and ask what the management company is and if they own your property. They HAVE to tell you. And if they don't, that's one more thing to go to the AA about (they should be able to get you the owner's info, anyway).

Who knows, if you say the right thing, you could get the entire staff replaced. Which is a good thing for the rest of us.

(ps. is there any way that you tell me which property it is in an email? I'm moving to that area in the next year or so and I'd like to know which place to avoid. my email address is my username at gmail. )
posted by damnjezebel at 11:50 PM on March 14, 2006


You live in Everett, Washington. I'd look over this document rather carefully, as it summarizes Washington's Residential Landlord-Tenant Law.

Approaching this from a perspective of "how frickin' annoying can I be to the landlord" may backfire significantly on you. I'd proceed with that only as a card in your pocket — attempt negotiation first.

For example, how about you approach the landlord and state, "I'd like to terminate my lease as of April 30, 2006. That gives you six weeks to find a new tenant. Will you allow me to break my lease early?"

They say, "No," respond with, "I'd be happy to forfeit my security deposit for your cooperation in this matter. Note that Washington law indicates I would be responsible for rent throughout the rest of my lease only if you make and fail at a good-faith effort to look for a tenant. In this market and in this city, I doubt you'll have a problem. We could have a legal problem here."

They still say "no," then you drag out the threat of your truck "ad" (if you really think they'd respond to that sort of tactic), and ask them if it's really worth the bad P.R. value.

I asked my landlord if she would allow me to break my lease. She simply did, no questions asked. You never know.
posted by WCityMike at 12:40 PM on March 15, 2006


Just tell them you're leaving. Or, just leave. Will they know to where you go? No. My father owned property and when he has had tenants just up and leave, he wasn't going to spend his time and energy chasing them down. He was going to find new tenants who would actually pay. His thoughts on leases are that they're really for the protection of the tenant. And considering how incompetent the management company sounds, I don't think they'll have it together enough to hunt you.
posted by saffron at 4:49 AM on March 16, 2006


Thanks t WCityMike, I read through the Landlord-Tenant Law...

I asked for a copy of my Lease (I had misplaced my original), and low and behold, they only required a 20 day notice, rather than the 30 day notice that the not-so-helpful Manager said. So I called her back, she said I had already signed the notice that I was moving out at the end of april, and I reminded her that I wrote down that I would be leaving on April 5th...

So, After a bit more arguing, and showing that I've done my homework by stating my rights by law, I eventually got her to back down.

I didn't get any of my deposit back, it went towards "cleaning the fingerprints off the dishwasher", and other VERY miniscule things that they found on move-out inspection. Oh well, the deposit wasn't much, and it was much less than one month's rent.

P.S. if anyone wants to know whether or not they should rent at Lake Park Apartments in Seattle, WA, Don't.
posted by hatsix at 10:00 PM on April 24, 2006


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