Breaking pseudo-lease

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Topic: Breaking pseudo-lease

Real Estate August 1, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Breaking pseudo-lease

I’m pretty sure I”m in the clear here but I thought I’d ask to make sure and reassure myself.  I’ve been renting an apt. for the last year or so.  No formal lease signed and I paid cash upfront (mutual acquaintance agreement!).  I had planned to stay through Oct. 1 though I haven’t paid the Sept. rent yet. 
There was no security deposit and I never received receipts or copies of electric bills though I requested them repeatedly.  Long story short….acquaintance decides to renovate the apt. to ask for higher rent which I can’t afford so I find new place and agree to Sept. 1 start date. 
I gave my 30 day notice to current landlord who is angry because “the agreement was through Oct. 1 and I expect you to honor it”.  I have no such intention but want to make sure that there can be no legal ramifications. 
Again…  I am pretty sure I’m okay since there really is no paperwork (just some e-mails) involved or deposit but you never know (:

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So the landlord wants to break his side of the lease (by asking for higher rent before the one year period is over) but then gets angry when you want to respond in kind?

I’m no legal expert but have worked with leases a bit. I wouldn’t be suprised if the landlord has a case.  Even though there is no paperwork, there is still the email communication which can prove agreement and the fact that you’ve been paying rent could imply that you have both been acting under the assumption of a lease.  However, your rent payment is probably more than small claims will allow, so landlord would have to take you to court and that would cost both of you lawyer fees.  You could always meet somewhere in the middle if it comes to that, before court.  Just curious, does landlord have the necessary permits to rent?

Another factor: After the first year, DC allows you to go month to month. That could be superceded by another agreement, and it’s not clear how long you’ve been there.

OP here…it only gets better.  Yes, I”ve been here now for over a year.  Landlord has thrown a fit and says unless I pay up I need to be out by noon this Monday.  And she will take whatever actions necessary. 
I have never dealt with someone so eager to fight and make others miserable.  I offered to  leave before the 20th but now have this fear that I will come home one day and be locked out.
Grrrrr…..nasty woman!

She will probably lock you out, which is illegal if you have paid August’s rent. You need to talk to the Office of the Tenant Advocate ASAP:

So I spoke with someone that is legal counsel and deals with leases and you might have entered into an oral contract, but you could argue that your oral contract never barred you from ending the lease early. Situations like this are why most leases cover every base and aspect of renting under the sun.  With regards to your recent post, even if you haven’t paid your rent I don’t think you can be locked out without being evicted. it could end up being a headache for you to get your stuff, but it would be a much greater headache for the landlord.  The law mostly favors the tenant over the landlord when it comes to things like this.

OP here….thanks y’all.  I’m much more relieved now and I”ve always heard that it’s “easier to get rid of roaches than evict a tenant”  (:

OP here…in case anyone is still following this thread.  My update is that though I haven’t heard back from the “land-beast” my new place is letting me stay there for the rest of Aug. rent free!  It’s a fabulous place and they are wonderfully kind and laid back.   Woodley Park here I come!!!!!!!!
Just going to vacate by tomorrow as much as possible and let her clean up the rest….here’s to karma!!!

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