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Legal Question: Landlord tenant dispute, specifically lease details.

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  • xrochester
    First of all, I apologize if this is not the appropriate forum in which to post this question. If so, then please just disregard and/or please point me in the
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 5, 2007
      First of all, I apologize if this is not the appropriate forum in which to post this question. If
      so, then please just disregard and/or please point me in the right direction.

      Here's my question:

      My girlfriend recently had to relocate to another city and break her lease in the process.
      Her landlord gave her a verbal OK to do this, with the caveat that she may be liable to pay
      the rent until such time as the unit was re-rented, as specified in the lease.

      However, the landlord also agreed to allow us to essentially re-rent the unit. He indicated
      that he was happy to do this since it would save the cost of a real estate agent to re-rent
      the unit, as the cost for this service is typically one month's rent. The landlord would of
      course have to approve any new renter we found based on their employment situation,
      references, etc.

      As a result, and at some time and expense to us, we took gorgeous professional pictures
      of the unit, built a Web page to advertise it, and placed ads in the local newspaper (as well
      as Craigslist and other places), and showed it to prospective tenants.

      To make a long story short, we found numerous qualified tenants based on the strength of
      our advertising efforts and he signed a lease with a new tenant with no lapse in rent.

      But here's my problem: he kept her $1,500 security deposit. We were led down the path of
      believing that we would avoid any costs by renting it ourselves. He agreed to allow us to
      do that although we didn't get it in writing. By not telling us that he was going to keep the
      security, and willingly accepting all the work we did to re-rent the unit, I feel this
      amounted to being unjustly enriched. In addition, since he agreed to let us out of the lease
      if we re-rented it, he shouldn't have kept our security.

      Do you agree? Do we have a case in attempting to recover the security deposit?

      Thanks,
      Jim
    • Jim Parker
      Jim, Verbal agreements can t generally be used to override written agreements. When two conflicting agreements exist, one oral and one written, the written one
      Message 2 of 2 , Nov 5, 2007
        Jim,

        Verbal agreements can't generally be used to override written agreements.
        When two conflicting agreements exist, one oral and one written, the written
        one almost always prevails.

        Your security deposit is a different matter though, and your state may have
        statutory rules as to how and when her deposit should be returned, depending
        on reasonable deductions for damages (excluding normal wear and tear) or
        disputes.

        Did she do a "walk-through" before she initially took possession of the
        property? Did she take pictures then and list any defects that existed at
        the time?

        she obviously has pictures now, and although she might not have anything to
        compare them to (if she didn't do the initial walk-through) she should be
        able to easily demonstrate that the property was not significantly damaged
        during her tenancy and that the property was left in "rentable" condition.

        By the sounds of it, she probably has a better-than-average case, as it
        would be difficult for the landlord to demonstrate any financial loss that
        her security deposit would be required to cover.

        Then again, if her lease explicitly states that early termination will
        result in loss of her security deposit, then she's probably out of luck,
        regardless of what verbal agreement she reached with the landlord
        afterwards.

        Jim

        =========================================

        JIM PARKER
        Axis Investigative Services, Inc.
        Florida License #: A-2000163






        -----Original Message-----
        From: infoguys-list@yahoogroups.com [mailto:infoguys-list@yahoogroups.com]
        On Behalf Of xrochester
        Sent: Monday, November 05, 2007 8:09 AM
        To: infoguys-list@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [infoguys-list] Legal Question: Landlord tenant dispute,
        specifically lease details.

        First of all, I apologize if this is not the appropriate forum in which to
        post this question. If
        so, then please just disregard and/or please point me in the right
        direction.

        Here's my question:

        My girlfriend recently had to relocate to another city and break her lease
        in the process.
        Her landlord gave her a verbal OK to do this, with the caveat that she may
        be liable to pay
        the rent until such time as the unit was re-rented, as specified in the
        lease.

        However, the landlord also agreed to allow us to essentially re-rent the
        unit. He indicated
        that he was happy to do this since it would save the cost of a real estate
        agent to re-rent
        the unit, as the cost for this service is typically one month's rent. The
        landlord would of
        course have to approve any new renter we found based on their employment
        situation,
        references, etc.

        As a result, and at some time and expense to us, we took gorgeous
        professional pictures
        of the unit, built a Web page to advertise it, and placed ads in the local
        newspaper (as well
        as Craigslist and other places), and showed it to prospective tenants.

        To make a long story short, we found numerous qualified tenants based on the
        strength of
        our advertising efforts and he signed a lease with a new tenant with no
        lapse in rent.

        But here's my problem: he kept her $1,500 security deposit. We were led down
        the path of
        believing that we would avoid any costs by renting it ourselves. He agreed
        to allow us to
        do that although we didn't get it in writing. By not telling us that he was
        going to keep the
        security, and willingly accepting all the work we did to re-rent the unit, I
        feel this
        amounted to being unjustly enriched. In addition, since he agreed to let us
        out of the lease
        if we re-rented it, he shouldn't have kept our security.

        Do you agree? Do we have a case in attempting to recover the security
        deposit?

        Thanks,
        Jim
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