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Q: Can landlord sue for broken lease even though...

 
 
Reply Sat 6 Aug, 2005 07:55 pm
SOUTH CAROLINA
Confused Long story short:
Paid June's rent then told landlord I was leaving... Landlord confirmed my notice by doing a dmg. inspection & changing the locks mid-month... Meanwhile, ex is still living there, and now that he didn't pay Aug. rent landlord is going to evict him... Landlord says is is going to sue for rent through the end of the lease (or until he gets it re-rented)
Question Questions:
1. Can he sue me for rent even though he changed locks on me mid-June even though I paid June's rent? (All of my stuff was out of there & changing the locks was definately to my benefit -- to protect me from liability for any future damages -- but STILL, it stands to show that I was essentially "prohibited" from there before he had any grounds, i.e. nonpayment, to kick me out)
2. Since the lease was prematurely ended, does he have a right to charge for damages even though the deposit covers them?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 2,559 • Replies: 12
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2005 10:47 pm
It sounds like the landlord is just pissed because your ex didn't move out when you did. Was the lease in your name or the exes? If the locks were changed, how come the ex still has access? Sounds like the landlord had no problems with you breaking the lease until he discovered that the pad wasn't actually vacated as stipulated. His beef is really with the boyfriend, not with you. But if your name is on the lease, there's not much he can do to the bf in legal terms, except have the police chuck the poor sod out for trespassing. Now, you, on the other hand, signed a document. . .
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peace is good
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2005 10:59 pm
Actually, both of us were on the lease... He changed the locks (supposedly to protect me from liability for any damages accrued after I left) & ex still had access b/c he chose to stay there... So we're both on the lease but he has access to the place & I don't -- yet we're both being sued on account of his eviction for non-payment.
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2005 11:07 pm
Hmmm. That makes it a little more complicated. OK, so no trespassing charges can be brought against ex; he's on the lease. However, you have moved out as per your verbal agreement with landlord. Ex has not. If there was any such a thing as logic in legal procedings, logic would dictate that you have kept your end of the bargain and that whatever beef landlord has in terms of nonpayment of rent, that beef is with ex. But don't count on Tarheel State courts being so understanding. (You realize, of course, this whole argument is predicated on the assumption that the landlord actually intends to make good on his threat to sue? He might have no such intention. You don't know.) Do you have any lawyer friends? I'm not up on South Carolina law regarding rental property. Just trying to be helpful from a layman's point of view.
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2005 11:20 pm
peace_is_good: several questions:
1. when was the original lease due to expire?
2. when you vacated in June, did you terminate your part of the lease or did you just move out?
3. did you pay the full rent for June or only your half?
4. who paid the rent for July?

Merry Andrew: North Carolina is the Tarheel State. South Carolina is the Palmetto State.
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 02:15 am
You're right as rain, joefromchicago, SC is the Palmetto State. I should know, having spent time in both places. Encroaching senility, I fear.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 04:35 am
Here in Texas, I bel;ieve the landlord has the right to act as he has. Landlords often change locks on tenants for these type of reasons. So long as they continue to allow the resident to get in and out, there is no foul. Your move out was probably not preceded by a written notice from the sound of it. I bet your lease demands one.
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squinney
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 05:56 am
Short answer is that when you gave notice, moved out and the landlord accomodated you by changing the locks, A NEW LEASE SHOULD HAVE BEEN WRITTEN WITH ONLY YOUR HUSBAND ON IT.

The landlord agreed to changing the locks to protect you from future damages, but did NOT release you from responsibility for rent.

However, after all is done, if you end up paying any rent you can sue your ex or have that amount figured into the divorce settlement.
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JPB
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 10:38 am
psssst, squinny..... shhhhh, what if they weren't married? Cool
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squinney
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 11:13 am
If not married, she can still sue him to get back his part of the rent if she is sued by the landlord and made to pay the full amount herself. It is likely that the contract reads such that the landlord can collect from her, the ex or both.

I would also think that, having left voluntarily and asked for the locks to be changed and a damage report filed, there is no case for claiming she doesn't owe the contractually agreed to rent due to not having access. She ASKED to not have access.

To me, it looks like she forgot to ask that the contract be changed to indicate only the ex was responsible for the rent from that point on. She voluntarily broke the contract, and the landlord wouldn't have had to have agreed to a new contract, but she could have asked just in case.
If he had said no, she would have known all along that she could still be held responsible for the rent if the ex didn't pay it.

As far as damages, yes. The landlord usually has a clause in the rental agreement that indicates that if you break the contract you can be held responsible for the rent until such time as it is re-rented or the original contract date expires. There is a cost involved in running another ad, showing the property, and cleaning the property. On a one year lease there may be $XX built into each payment that is set aside for this purpose. If you breach the contract, as you have done, then that money is no longer coming in to the landlord and you can be held responsible for it.
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peace is good
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 12:20 pm
Answering Q's
I actually did write a letter to the LL, requesting that I be taken off of the lease (and/or that he write a new lease) & that I be freed from further rent payments since my leaving was confirmed to the extent that the LOCKS were changed. I also said in the letter that my ex(fiance) had agreed to find a roommate, etc. to help with the rent since I was leaving... Also told the LL in the letter that I COULDN'T stay there b/c I felt threatened by my ex -- LL knows that he threw a glass at me & damaged the door, and I have forged checks to prove that he was stealing from me (also have another incident that I can verify as a theft issue).
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squinney
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 02:24 pm
Re: Answering Q's
peace_is_good wrote:
I actually did write a letter to the LL, ...


Okay, but did you get an answer? You can write letters all day, but if he doesn't respond with a new contract you are still obligated.

As far as why you had to move or that the LL was aware of domestic violence, none of that changes the contract and has nothing to do with your contractual agreement to pay rent.

Put yourself in the place of the landlord and think about what is logical and fair.
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peace is good
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 04:34 pm
From the landlord's perspective...
If I cut ME out of the picture & pretend I were the LL, yes I would be highly irritated that I didn't receive the current month's rent & that I didn't have the security of having my mortgage pmts covered through the next several mos (lease is thru Feb. '06)... He DOES deserve this mo's rent, obviously. I guess my problem is just that...
1. I wish he would just try to get the $ from my ex since HE was the one who drove ME out & he's the one who has KEYS to the place -- the LL knew that he was going to be taking on the financial responsibility for the house now, with the help of a roommate if need-be
2. Also I'm scared that the LL might try to milk me for more months' rent than he really has to -- I KNOW (based on the location/price, etc. of the house) that he can get it re-rented, starting September... the deposit takes care of the damages, which can be fixed by then (assuming my ex hauls butt in due time). Can/do LL's generally take advantage of broken leases, or is it in their best interest to get it re-rented ASAP?
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