What if my new loft isn't finished on time?
April 4, 2006 7:37 AM   Subscribe

I'm about to sign a lease for a new loft that's currently under construction. They have set a move in date for the new place: August 1st. My current end-of-lease and move-out date is July 31st - what if the new place isn't finished?

The new landlord has assured me that the loft will most definetly be finished by August 1st - possibly sooner, even. He's verbally guaranteed me this. I have no reason to not trust him, but I don't really have the money to extend the lease at my current place if the worst happens and my new place isn't ready by the time I'm supposed to move from here.

Is there something I can/should do before [or possibly attached to] the new lease which stipulates that if the loft isn't finished by said date, the new landlord will cover the costs of temporary living until it is done? I don't want to come across as a "problem tenant" as these lofts in fairly high demand... but at the same time I want to make sure I'm protected. Is there a middle ground?

Reccomendations? Thanks!
posted by nitsuj to Grab Bag (14 answers total)
If I were you, I would make the lease contingent upon the construction being finished TO YOUR SATISIFCATION (that way if ithere are lots of small broken things- light fixtures, sinks,etc. - its NOT finished). Now is the time to negotiate BEFORE you sign the lease.

Alternatively, you could put in a clause that basically says that the lease doesnt start into move in, which is contingent upon the property construction being complete. Again, I would define what "complete" means in the addendum to the lease.

Best of luck!
posted by zia at 7:51 AM on April 4, 2006

On preview, I would definitely NOT sign the lease based on your landlord's verbal assurance.
posted by zia at 7:52 AM on April 4, 2006

Get the guarantee in writing, along with exactly what they'll do for you in case the loft isn't done.

A verbal promise is nice, but isn't going to be worth much if they aren't able to let you move in.
posted by bshort at 7:53 AM on April 4, 2006

Stipulate that the lease for the new place has a clause where your deposit is returned if construction is not completed by X days before your move in date.

Verbal guarantees mean absolutely nothing.
posted by de void at 7:54 AM on April 4, 2006

I've been in your position before and know how stressful it is. I think you have the right idea with putting a rider of sorts on the lease. Anyone else would do the same in order to protect themselves.

If the landlord balks at your refusal to take his word for it, run away fast!
posted by elisabeth r at 8:07 AM on April 4, 2006

The middle ground is to request that that the landlord adds a clause to the lease stating that if your loft is not completed by August 1, the landlord will provide comparable temporary living quarters for you in that building or in another nearby property for the same rent. Probably best to add that such temporary accommodations shall not exceed one month. It should also state that if your loft is not ready by September 1, you have a right to terminate the lease with an immediate return of all advance rent and security deposits paid with no penalties.

If the landlord/developer is of any size, this should not be a problem. Remember, a lease in their hands is a guaranteed revenue stream. If, however, the property is in high demand, you might just need to take your chances.

Your current landlord might permit you to hold over for a few weeks, or a month, but again, not if he/she can get another tenant in there with a long-term lease.
posted by flyingrock at 8:14 AM on April 4, 2006

In fact, the lease probably has stipulations in it that say that any verbal promises are worthless.

Look for an "entire agreement" section.
posted by Caviar at 8:15 AM on April 4, 2006

I will tell you as a matter of absolute fact that no loft or condominium or new house has ever, in the entire history of the universe, been finished on time. There is not the slightest chance of it being ready for move-in on August 1, unless you consider "no plumbing" or "no walls" to be acceptable move-in conditions.

Accordingly, you *absolutely* need to plan for a place to stay in August. Be sure that "move-in condition" is completely described in the lease - EVERYTHING finished, completely, before you have to start paying on the new lease. That way, you won't be paying on two places at once.
posted by jellicle at 9:18 AM on April 4, 2006

What jellicle said. My condo was ready four months late. Make contingency plans.
posted by dame at 10:11 AM on April 4, 2006

Just another vote, from someone in the residential construction business-- it won't be ready on time. Count on two months late, and if it's earlier than that, you'll be lucky. I hate that part of this business-- the "promises."
posted by orangemiles at 11:01 AM on April 4, 2006

Depending on where you live & the terms of your old lease you should be able to convert to a month-to-month lease for a time. new jersey has a pamphlet available you can order (http://www.state.nj.us/dca/tenantrights.shtml), but most other states should have a "tenent's rights" document which can give you an idea of what your options with your current landlord are. I know in NJ basically if you do not renew a long-term lease you It's unlikely you would be forced to move from your current location if you were willing to pay your current rent or something slightly higher. Explain the situation to your current landlord. You might be supprised at their willingness to work something out. People tend to be pretty understanding if they are asked in the right way.
posted by jeffe at 11:03 AM on April 4, 2006

Most state's tenant law guarantees that you can occupy the property on the first day of the lease. If it isn't ready, you have some recourse.
posted by electroboy at 11:04 AM on April 4, 2006

Ask your current landlord for an up to 60 day extension without needed to sign a new lease?
posted by Izzmeister at 12:17 PM on April 4, 2006

It won't be finished on time, guaranteed
posted by growabrain at 11:41 PM on April 4, 2006

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