30-Days Notice?
August 18, 2004 9:08 AM   Subscribe

Moving Filter: Do we have to give 30 days notice that we're going to move? [mi]

Our lease ends at the end of the month. I'd told our landlord that we would be interested in renewing the lease a few weeks ago. He sold the building though and the new guy wants to raise our rent $100. We haven't signed a new lease yet (our old one requires 30 days notice), and we didn't find out about the rent increase until yesterday. Can we move at the end of August. Or will we have to give 30 days notice first (I know you're not a a lawyer...)?
posted by drezdn to Home & Garden (15 answers total)
If the lease is ending, 30 days is just a courtesy. So yes, you can still move out.
posted by cmonkey at 9:19 AM on August 18, 2004

Hopefully someone with some nous can correct this, but here's my take.

There's a reason you have a lease. It means you're tied into a contract for a certain amount of time which primarily involves you trading money for accomodation. When the lease ends, there are no obligations on either side, other than that you cannot be in the property anymore (and, in most cases, you can get a deposit back). There is no law that says you have to have another lease in place before the first one expires, and since you don't have to give notice on something that's expiring anyway (notice is given to change the status of a contract or lease), I see no problem.
posted by wackybrit at 9:20 AM on August 18, 2004

Check your lease. There should be a provision about this, because most people do not move as soon as the lease term ends. Likely either you have an automatic month-to-month rollover (in which case, yes you'll need to give 30 days* if you don't act fast) or else an automatic renewal of the lease term (in which case--ouch).

*Usually you need to give notice equal to the rental interval. So if you're renting a room by the week, you need only give a week's notice; renting month-to-month = month notice; etc. However, the same rule would apply to changes in the terms, such as a rent increase; at least 30 days before the change applies, and more if your contract or state law stipulates a longer notice period.

That said, talk to the new guy. If you two can come to an agreement, problem solved. He could be open to it; an immediate rent increase suggests that he may be gently trying to push you out the door anyway.

(Oh, and yes, IANAL, so caveat emptor blah blah)
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 9:30 AM on August 18, 2004

As ncm said, read your lease carefully. They often contain provisions that if you don't renew, it converts to a month-to-month term until you give notice. (Mine does.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:40 AM on August 18, 2004

Regardless, it won't actually convert to month to month until the landlord recieves rent. A fixed lease won't re-start until they both sign it.

So all drezdn needs to do is tell the new landlord he's moving out, and all is well.

I am a trained renter's rights legal information giver - not a lawyer, though
posted by cmonkey at 9:49 AM on August 18, 2004

most people do not move as soon as the lease term ends.

They don't?
posted by ChasFile at 9:50 AM on August 18, 2004

Your landlord isn't going to sue you for one month's rent, regardless of the terms of your lease... but then again, regardless of the terms of your lease, he might refuse to refund your security deposit if he is pissed off. You might be able to get it back with enough stern letters & calls to legal services, but that's a huge drag and waste of time.

So I say think psychologically, not legally--what can you do now to minimize his being angry when you move out?
posted by armchairsocialist at 9:51 AM on August 18, 2004

The lease is TOTALLY to protect you and your rights as a tenant and does NOTHING for the landlord. You can do whenever you want. In New York, the law is that if you can find another tenant, you can move whenever you like. Upping the price without giving you thirty days notice is what sounds illegal to me. You can go down to housing court and say that your rent has been increased with no notice and that you are being unfairly evicted from your home. It is way in the landlords interest to let you leave without thirty days notice.
posted by xammerboy at 9:53 AM on August 18, 2004

Upping the price without giving you thirty days notice is what sounds illegal to me.

No, it's perfectly legit if it's a new lease. When a property changes hands, the new landlord isn't even under any obligation to let an existing tenant reside there beyond the the current month (in the case of a month-to-month) or beyond the lease the current tenant is on (in a fixed term case). This probably doesn't apply in rent-control cities, though.

I would suggest, drezdn, that you go through every room and photograph every inch of everything in detail, since you don't know if the new landlord will try to stiff you on the deposit. Also, if he doesn't return your full deposit, ask for a list of what he's deducting from the deposit, at which point you're allowed (at least in Oregon) to shop around and find a better deal.

Also, if he does not either return your deposit or give you a reason why he is not returning your deposit within 30 days of moving out (moving out is pretty much when you hand over the keys), you may be entitled to three times your deposit, depending on the laws in your state. You would have to take him to small claims court to get this, though.
posted by cmonkey at 10:10 AM on August 18, 2004

cmonkey: This kind of thing thing varies widely from state to state and even city to city. A good number of cities do have laws limiting rent increases without 30 days or more notice. I don't know about MKE, though. drezdn: You should get advice from someone familiar with local renters' rights laws. It looks like the City of Milwaukee maintains a hotline at 286-2268 where you can obtain information on your rights and responsibilities.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:21 AM on August 18, 2004

You shouldn't need the 30 days. The old lease, which required 30 days, was between you and the former owner. No such contract exists between you and the new owner, and property contracts generally don't transfer from one owner to the next, you have to sign on with the new owner.

BTW, If you're looking for a new place in MKE (actually the very very east side of Tosa) let me know, I have a friend who just purchased a duplex and is looking for a tenant.
posted by djc at 12:09 PM on August 18, 2004

My lease spells out how much notice I must give before I leave, but it also spells out how much notice the landlord must give before changes in rent or other aspects of our relationship, including changes to subsequent versions of the lease. It's possible that one of the landlords (old or new) has violated their written agreement by not providing sufficient notice of a rent increase; you could always bring this up if things get ugly.

On a friendlier note: most likely the occasion of a rent increase allows you the option not to stay. I would also bet that new ownership affords you the same option.
posted by Songdog at 12:16 PM on August 18, 2004

{disclaimer: not an official legal opinion for any particular circumstance}

It really depends on your state law. In most cases and most states, a lease cannot be legally transfered to a new owner without your consent - even if there is a provision in the current lease allowing for it. However, this is usually overlooked because after you write the first cheque to the new owner, it's considered consent. So most landlords don't actually bother to have tenants sign a new lease when the property is sold. They just say to start making your cheques out to so-and-so. So chances are you are free to move at the end of the month, though you would have to check with a local attorney or tenants association/fair housing council to make sure.
The rent increase would be considered a "material" change in the lease terms. General common law, and I believe every state law, would hold that you're under no obligation to pay that. (A lease agreement wouldn't be worth anything if a landlord could just raise your rent at any time during the term.) So even if the new owner is able to hold you to the 30-day notice requirement, you are also able to hold him to the old rate. Worst case scenario is you'd have to give written notice, stay until 20 September, with rent pro-rated at your old rate. As a practical matter, chances are the new owner won't want to pick a fight over 3 weeks.
posted by sixdifferentways at 4:11 PM on August 18, 2004

My lease says that I have to let them know within 30 days, even at the end of the lease, whether I'll be renewing the lease (no month-to-month for me) or else I forfeit my deposit. Haven't taken it to court, but I don't see why it wouldn't be legal if I signed a document agreeing to those terms.

Of course, this is North Carolina, where it's legal for the landlord to do damn near anything they want short of running you through with a broadsword.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 4:42 PM on August 18, 2004

Response by poster: There's a note in the lease that says "A lease for a fixed term expires without further notice. If tenancy is to be continued beyond this lease term, parties should agree and make arrangements for this in advance of the lease expiration."
posted by drezdn at 6:02 PM on August 18, 2004

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