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  1. #1

    Default Roommate Left Without Notice, Landlord Wants Us to Sign a New Lease

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: California

    Hello.
    My roommate and I signed our lease which ran from June 2008-June2009.
    Beginning from mid-March, my roommate asked me on numerous occasions
    if I planned on continuing the lease.

    I told her that my answer is yes and asked her if she was going to continue the lease with me. Her answer was a "yes" each time.

    When we informed our landlord that we would like to continue our lease until June of 2010, he told us that unless I pay a lay fee of $50 for a late rent for the January of 2009 (my mother and I went to the post office to drop off the check and had no idea that the check was not received until a little after the 20th of the month, when I called the landlord regarding a repair), we could not continue our lease. I reasoned with the landlord that I did send my check and do not understand why he did not call me when the check did not arrive, as he did the year before when our checks were lost in the mail. I sent another check in late January along with my February rent, but was still charged a $50 late fee, which I thought was unfair and felt I did not need to pay.

    To continue with the story, I told the landlord that even though I still feel that I do not feel that I should pay the fee, because he won't allow us to continue the lease (we're fourth year college students and did not want to move again, with just one year left), that I would pay the late fee.

    I informed my roommate that I will pay the fee so that we can continue our lease and my roommate confirmed once again that she would continue the lease with me. Then on the last day of May, she packed her bags and moved out of the apartment (I thought she'd gone home for the summer) and received a call from my landlord on the following day, who told me that my roommate had moved out of the apartment for good.

    He also asked me if I would like to continue the lease and that he cannot process my check for June's rent if I do not sign the new lease. My contract states that after a year of lease, it automatically rolls over to monthly, but my landlord insisted that I need to sign the new lease, or else he cannot process the check and if he cannot process the check, it would count as a late check.

    After I signed the new lease with hopes of finding a new roommate, I realized that I have signed away my legal rights to the older contract and my roommate, who gave me no notice (she did not give the landlord a written notice either), would no longer be responsible for her share of rent ($600), but would also have legal rights to her portion of security deposit ($600).

    Is there anything that I can do? Is there no justice?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    75,940

    Default Re: Roommate Left Without Notice/Helpless Due to Landlord's Demand to Sign a New Leas

    If he has the check but is choosing not to process it, it's not a late check. Granted, he may try to charge you a late fee anyway, but if the check is valid and in his hands it's not late.

    In any event, it sounds like you chose to sign a new lease as the sole tenant, putting yourself on the hook for the entire amount of the rent for the duration of the new lease.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Cinnaminson, New Jersey, United States
    Posts
    205

    Default Re: Roommate Left Without Notice/Helpless Due to Landlord's Demand to Sign a New Leas

    Unfortunately, you are the sole owner of the new lease. He coerced you into signing but that would be near impossible to prove. From now on, send your rent via certified mail so you have proof of the day you sent it. If it is send on or before the day your grace period ends, you can not be considered late regardless of when he cashes the check.

    He sounds like a bit of a shyster, so cover your behind as best you can.

    You can read all of your tenant rights on the HUD.gov website.

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